Add one more to the list of potential Glendora, Azusa council candidates

I can’t tell you how much I am excited for the upcoming city council elections in March. There are so many story lines for two of the cities I cover in races that should be highly competitive.

In Azusa, the Azusa Rock Quarry referendum and the project’s general implications should make for some fireworks for councilman Angel Carrillo and Urial Macias, both seeking reelection. The election may also test the power of Mayor Joe Rocha.

Former planning commissioner Jorge Rosales is planning to kick of his campaign in two weeks on Saturday Dec. 11. You may know Jorge through his involvement with Azusans Against Mining Expansion or as the guy who takes pictures at every city function. He also happens to be buds with Mayor Rocha.

Also in the mix is Peggy Martinez, a former Downtown Azusa Business Association director, who is a fixture in the city, and Paul Naccachian, who ran and lost two years ago but has become more prominent and vocal in the community on the Vulcan issue as well as others, such as bicycle helmet safety. The newest name on that list is Madelyn Payne, chair of the city library commission and president of the Friends of the Library group.

And then there is Glendora. With recent revelations about their city manager having left Monterey Park four years ago with about $500,000 in unused leave time and their own city’s issues with benefits as shown when their police chief retired in 2009, there is some ammunition for potential candidates against incumbents Doug Tessitor and Ken Herman.

Plus, the city has butted heads with its employee union over employee compensation. The city has taken a hard line against benefits for employees, including the way the CALPERS retirement plan is funded. That could play well with voters, but if the unions are pitted against the incumbents, campaign contributions could favor contenders.

As for the update on potential challengers in Glendora, I have already reported that Jason Nagy, John Fields, Ed Brubaker and Erica Landmann-Johnsey previously pulled papers. Now you can add Joe Santoro to the list.

The deadline for papers to be filed is still about two weeks away and I expect a few more names to be added to the list before it is all said and done.

Consider this: When Gary Clifford resigned from the council earlier this year, the council had 15 applicants for the position. They chose Terry Kent who pledged to not run for council. That means, besides the two incumbent positions, there is an open slot on this council. New blood is coming in and someone can run and not have to challenge the incumbents to do it. I expect a big field.

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Who doesn’t believe in comebacks?

I must apologize for the lack of posting on the blog over the last month. As those avid newspaper readers may well know by now, I have been covering the Manling Williams murder trial and subsequent penalty phase (who am I kidding, no one reads bylines).

But as the Thanksgiving holiday has passed and the jury remains in deliberations, we can get this motor running. We can pick ourselves up off the mat and get in the ring.

And what better to reignite this bonfire of city politics and general news blathering than a review of this weekends most important news items. (OK, no more metaphors)

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has completed its investigation into West Covina Police Chief Frank Wills. Wills asked for the review after it was revealed that officers from the West Covina Police Department investigated allegations of vandalism and rape against the ex-husband of Wills’ then-girlfriend.

In El Monte, 108 of the city’s 278 employees received wages topping $100,000 last fiscal year when you account for overtime, benefits and other perks.

The San Dimas Brasada residential project is becoming a reality despite years of push back. The environmental impact report is scheduled to be reviewed in December.

That is all for now. Let’s take this slow. Don’t want to rush it right when we are just getting started again. As for now, I will be waiting on a decision in the Williams’ case. And I want to post something on that later today and talk about the death penalty. Controversy is just what we need to get reacquainted.

League of California Cities releases a survey of city manager salaries across the state

The League of California Cities (doesn’t the name make it seem like a superhero group?) released a survey today of city manager compensation from cities across the state. Of the 468 cities asked to participate, about 90 percent responded, according to a statement from the League of California Cities.

If you want to see the survey, click here.

The survey includes notes on additional benefits, but nothing detailed. The salary totals are the total income for the manager from their 2009 taxes, rather than a base salary.

Some immediate things that jumped out at me was Daryl Parish’s income from 2009, which was a whopping $328,830. That sum includes a cash payout of sick and vacation time from a “previous employer” (probably Colton) of about 1400 hours over an 18 month period.

The city manager of Glendale, Jim Starbird, manages a city of more than 200,000 people and made $251,000 in 2009. Duarte’s City Manager Darrell George manages a city of about 22,000 people and made $215,440. Glendora’s City Manager Chris Jeffers made $234,000 for a city of 52,000 people. Robert Griego, Irwindale’s former city manager, oversees a city of 1,717 and made $235,502. Don Hannah, La Habra’s city manager made $171,903 with a city population of 62,822. Fran Delach, Azusa’s city manager, made $252,000 for a city of more than 48,000. Santa Ana’s City Manager David Ream makes $240,000 in a city of 357,000 people.

I don’t see West Covina or Whittier on the list. CORRECTION: Whittier is on the list. A gap on the list fooled me into thinking it was the end. I feel like I finished a school test before everyone else, turned it in, only to later realize there was a back side I never knew about. Anyway, Whittier is $283,346 for Stephen Helvey.

Are any other local cities missing?

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Glendora asks for state Supreme Court to hear redevelopment case, plus legal fees spent on four year battle

A few months back we reported on Glendora’s failed attempt to appeal a previous trial court decision (initiated and won by the county) that wouldn’t allow Glendora to claim portions of the city as blighted, and thus be in line for millions in redevelopment funds.

Well, Glendora is now asking for the California Supreme Court to hear the case and should hear back within weeks. More in tomorrow’s paper.

One of the questions regarding this issue was how much the city has spent on pursuing, what has been thus far, a losing battle.

Some speakers at recent city council meetings claimed the city spent more than $800,000 in legal fees. That doesn’t appear to be the case.

According to city records, the city has spent $459,714 in legal fees since the complaint against the city was filed by Los Angeles County in Sept. 2006. Those funds are taken from the city’s redevelopment agency fund and not the general city fund.

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Azusa Rock Quarry battle by the numbers

Just wanted to throw out a few numbers that will be addressed in a story we will run soon about the money spent in the ongoing battle about the Azusa Rock Quarry.

Legal fees, public relations, consultants, etc. Azusa, Duarte and (presumably) Vulcan Materials Co. have all spent money in regards to the now approved amended plan that has faced a lot of scrutiny.

Here are some of the figures.


The city set up a $700,000 fund – Fight Against Vulcan Expansion – a few years ago anticipating a lengthy battle. Of that money, here is a breakdown of funds spent.

Legal (Rutan & Tucker): $200,707.53*
Printing, Postage, Flyers: $14,359.17
Public Relations: $34,332.07**
Technical Consultants: $18,010

*Total is for billing from Rutan to the city between 2005 to July 21, 2010.
**Is a combination of funds spent on city contracted public relations from Marry Barrow as well as Englander, Knabe and Allen.


The city hasn’t needed to hire a public relations firm to defend or fight the plan considering they have a technical consultant on board for the environmental impact report and staff to defend its recommendations. In addition, Vulcan has their own ability (and money) to defend its plan.

As for the environmental impact report, it cost about $613,000. (Vulcan had to reimburse the city for that money)

Also, knowing that city lawyers have been very involved in this process and will be in the future, we can assume that a chunk of the money the city spends on its city attorney and other legal fees went toward this project. Here is a city breakdown of those numbers.

Retainer for services from Best, Best and Kreiger (namely City Attorney Sonia Carvalho) – $252,315 from the city’s general fund. Other legal service charges from general fund total $79,403.

The absolute total amount of money spent of legal services for the city across all departments is $1,317, 675.


Being a private company, Vulcan isn’t bound by the same public records laws as Duarte and Azusa. What we can say is they eventually had to pony up for the EIR with the $613,000.

In addition, we know they have hired and use public relations firm Curt Pringle and Associates out of Anaheim. Throughout the process (until post-approval) Curt Pringle’s Vice President Todd Priest functioned as the spokesman for Vulcan.

Curt Pringle and Vulcan have also put out flyers, launched an education campaign in Azusa to present the plan pre-voting/city discussions, callers and door-to-door campaigns (via another PR firm and Curt Pringle).

That all didn’t come free.

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