Glendora appears on top-ten list of places with poisonous water; city officials not pleased

Note to county officials: If you accuse Glendora of having poisonous metals in its water, expect to receive a scathing letter in return.

Late last month, Glendora appeared on a top-ten list of places in L.A. County with high levels of arsenic in their water. Arsenic is toxic metal used in some pesticides, as a wood preservative and for making transistors.

A county well on Dalton Canyon Road came in sixth place out of the worst offenders. It had nearly twice the recommended level of arsenic for healthy drinking water. Still, its level was only one-fourth of what people in Saugus have to drink.

The list was part of a survey of 195 water wells conducted by the county at the behest of the board of supervisors.

Glendora Patch picked up the story.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, Councilwoman Judy Nelson, apparently concerned about having poisonous water in The Pride of the Foothills, asked City Manager Chris Jeffers what the deal is.

“The way that that has been portrayed is greatly misleading,” said Jeffers.

He assured the council that the city’s water is safe — the result of state regulations requiring the city to perform “22,000 tests per year,” using “sub-atomic level analysis.”

“This water is poked, pricked and otherwise analyzed beyond death,” Jeffers said.

Plus, he said, that county well doesn’t even serve Glendora residents.

Jeffers said the county will soon be hearing back from the city about this matter.

“The water division is writing sort of a letter back to the agriculture people and the board (of supervisors) to express our disappointment and frustration with the way that was a carried out,” Jeffers said.

Playing on a theme at Tuesday’s meeting of alluding to vulgarities, Councilwoman Karen Davis said she’ll “edit that colorful language in the letter for you.”

County officials, you’re officially on notice. You heard it here.

SGV foothill cities round up

Moving from west to east, just because it makes sense to me:

AZUSA – At its meeting Monday, the city council approved the three following items:

A 5-percent increase in salary for a civilian administrator in the police department. City Manager Fran Delach said the pay increase is in response to new duties. That increase pencils out to an additional $405 a month.

Taking responsibility for 330 feet of Azusa Avenue north of Arrow Highway and adjacent to Corky’s Corner. That small section of road was still being managed by Caltrans, despite the fact that Corky’s Corner was annexed by the city in 2008.

Putting finishing touches on a new retirement plan for the city’s police officers. Under the new plan, new hires will be able to retire at age 55 with 3 percent of their pay for each year of work. Current officers can still retire at 50 with the same benefit. Police and city officials have been working on the deal for at least a year.

Other news: Delach said he’s offered the police chief job to Azusa police Capt. Sam Gonzalez. Current Chief Robert Garcia officially retired in June, but has been working for the city on a part-time, interim basis. Nothing has been finalized yet.

GLENDORA – The city council will on Thursday vote on whether to ratify a state of emergency declared last week by City Manager Chris Jeffers. Jeffers estimated that the city has spent about $250,000 to $300,000 on cleanup and overtime costs from last week’s windstorm. By declaring an emergency, the city makes itself eligible to reimbursed by the state or feds for some of those costs.

The Business Improvement District will consider giving $1,000 raised at the Village Wine Walk to the Glendora War Memorial at its meeting Thursday morning.

SAN DIMAS – The Planning, Parks and Recreation and Equestrian commissions will hold a special joint meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. to take a look at a survey of the city’s foothill trails. Parks and Rec. Director Theresa Bruns said the city is thinking about expanding its trail network. Three committees in one meeting? San Dimans sure love those trails.

In other news that probably almost no one will care about, the San Dimas Development Plan Review Board has cancelled its Thursday meeting. The next meeting has been scheduled for Dec. 22.

I’m still awaiting phone calls from Irwindale and La Verne. Irwindale may have declared its own state of emergency this week. La Verne might be holding a special election in the spring for some kind of changes to taxes on telecommunication services.

UPDATE: Irwindale City Manager John Davidson says the city council ratified a state of emergency declaration at its meeting Monday. He says an estimate of the damage was not yet been compiled.

UPDATED: No Bell type salaries in local San Gabriel Valley cities

The reporting staff here at the Tribune came together like the A Team … no wait … The Justice League (way more fitting) to check in on local cities to see what the City Managers and City Councils are making in the wake of news reports about the city of Bell’s City Manager making something like $800,000.

Here is the rundown. (Note: most of us had this information on hand as we regularly check on these things. In cases we didn’t, the city handed over the information readily)

Glendora City Manager Chris Jeffers makes $201,816 annually.

La Verne’s (soon to be retired) City Manager Martin Lomeli makes $194,580 annually. (Side note: La Verne City Council just passed an ordinance for City Manager pay with $160,600 as the base pay with $195,000 at the peak)

San Dimas City Manager Blaine Michaelis makes $196,452 a year.

Azusa City Manager Fran Delach is paid $212,483 annually. (He got a 5 percent raise at the beginning of this year)

Rosemead City Manager Jeffrey Allred gets $175,000 a year.

El Monte City Manager Rene Bobadilla makes $170,000 a year.

South El Monte City Manager Tony Ybarra takes in $120,000 a year.

Covina’s Daryl Parrish’s annual salary is $199,500.

West Covina’s Andrew Pasmant gets $223,656 a year. (UPDATE: Councilman Mike Touhey called to tell me that Pasmant took the equivalent of a 5-percent pay cut on his deferred comp. That saves the city about $11,000, Touhey said.)

Walnut’s Rob Wishner is paid $196,650 a year.

La Puente’s Josi Kenline gets $160,000 a year.

Industry City Manager Kevin Radecki takes in $158,133 a year.

Diamond Bar’s James DeStefano’s salary is about $194,000 a year.

Baldwin Park’s Chief Executive Officer made $152,000 a year in 2006, up to $800 a month in lodging, $1,200 a month in health and dental – reimbursed in cash if not all spent – and $300 a month in vehicle expenses or a city car.

As for City Council stipends, San Dimas councilmen make $620 a month while Mayor Curt Morris earns $830 a month.

In La Verne, the city council brings in $519 a month and is entitled to the same benefits as executive management employees. Council woman Robin Carder and Mayor Don Kendrick waived those benefits. In addition, the redevelopment agency pays $30 per meeting. City Clerk Evelyn Clark said they meet about four time per year.

Glendora council members bring in $700 a month.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Going beyond the check-out line: Glendora Albertsons’ store manager receives industry honor

Got this e-mail Albertsons about a Glendora store director Kathy McClard.

Apparently she received the honor of being named one of the “Top Women in Grocery” by industry trade magazine “Progressive Grocer.”

She received the nomination through her leadership and influence, according to the news release.

I don’t mean to take away from McClard’s accomplishments – I am sure she is proud of the acknowledgment and her hard work – but I had no idea this kind of stuff existed.

Here is an excerpt from the release.

FULLERTON, CA (July 13, 2010) – ALBERTSONS/SUPERVALU announced today that Glendora ALBERTSONS Store Director, Kathy McClard was named to Progressive Grocer’s fourth annual “Top Women in Grocery” listing for her outstanding efforts, involvement, leadership and success in the supermarket industry.

McClard is one of seven women to represent SUPERVALU, ALBERTSONS parent company, on this year’s distinguished list. She was honored in the Store Manager category. Progressive Grocer is a leading grocery industry trade magazine. All of its honorees were profiled in their June 2010 issue.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Weekend roundup and a brief glimpse into the future

For those of you busy watching the World Cup over the weekend, I got your local news for you right here.

How the free environmental pass to the Industry Stadium is affecting others.

A state water agency approved a set of tough new environmental regulations for the Los Angeles River on Friday that cities say could cost them billions.

San Gabriel Valley officials met Friday with the top state assembly Democrat to discuss a budget proposal that could bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to local cities.

In the wake of the death last week of a 15-year-old girl, organizers on Friday for the second time called off an unrelated rave expected to draw 5,000 partiers.

As for what’s to come this week, San Dimas and Glendora both have city council meetings tomorrow.

On Glendora’s agenda
is a request to change the City Clerk’s administrative assistant position to Deputy City Clerk and increasing the position’s salary by about $11,000 a year. The city hopes this can help to innovate and better services from the department.

The San Dimas City Council and Planning Commission are having a joint meeting to discuss the ongoing City Hall renovation project and the potential NJD Project Development in the northern foothills.

Two final items of note. Congratulations to my all time favorite baseball player Tim Salmon. Salmon, who has the most career home runs at 299 without ever appearing in an All-Star game, was the MVP of the All-Star Celebrity Softball Game in Anaheim Sunday.

Secondly, for your viewing pleasure and to stay fresh on Internet lingo, this is so double rainbow.

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

La Verne City Manager leaving his post (no, not for Miami)

We reported yesterday that long time La Verne City Manager Martin Lomeli was packing away the briefcase and moving on. The 23 year City Manager is retiring next month and will be replaced by Assistant City Manager Bob Russi.

In a day in age when City Managers last at one city about as long as star athletes do with one team, (Lebron reference #1) it is absolutely unheard of to have a City Manager retire after spending 23 years at his post, not to mention 30 years with the city as an employee as Lomeli has done.

He left the post gracefully, and humbly without making a big tada about it (that’s #2) using a written statement to the city and a replacement groomed and ready to go.

Just as a comparison. Chris Jeffers in Glendora started in 2007, before that he was with Monterey Park.

Fran Delach, Azusa’s City Manager, has been with them for five years. Before that he was the City Manager in Covina for six years.

Blaine Michaelis in San Dimas has had a long tenure with the city at 10 years.

Covina’s City Manager Daryl Parish started there in 2009, before that he was City Manager of Colton for 8 years.

El Monte fired their City Manager not long ago and is now being helmed by Rene Bobadilla. Rosemead is breaking in a new City Manager. La Puente and Monterey Park … well, you get the idea.

Suffice it to say, it speaks to Lomeli’s work with La Verne that he lasted as long as he did. Also, it says something about loyalty for a guy who, various city officials say, was renowned across the state as one of the best at his business. We all know that it is hard for some people when they are considered to be one of the best to not be consumed by ego (trifecta!).

Also, you got to respect the fact he didn’t make the decision during a one hour TV special. (All right, I’m done.)

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Interest in Glendora commissions, committees remains limited

Remember when I told you about Glendora’s issues with getting volunteers for come of its city’s commissions and committees? It is OK if you don’t, I got the link for you right here so you can eagerly get the background before reading on.

Waiting…

Go ahead….

Not long now….

Ready?

OK, so out of the 17 vacancies the city had, they are now interviewing eight people to fill positions.

So, the question still lingers: What should a city do when these commissions/committees see lack of interest? Can they still perform a needed advisory role with limited community involvement?

Email: daniel.tedford@sgvn.com | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

Commissions, committees and boards, oh my!

Cities are chalk full of boards, committees and commissions. Transportation, park, trails, business, water, etc., etc., etc.

Most of the positions are filled by volunteers, community people interested in public service or the specific subject the commission relates too.

Other commissions, most notably Planning, are more involved. There are many applicants and a number of City Council members have used the position as a spring board and/or learning experience before running for council.

But in some places, the abundance of such committees may make it difficult to fill all the positions.

In Glendora, that is one of the issues they faced recently as numerous commissions and committees didn’t have new applicants or enough to fill all its vacancies, forcing the city to extend its application period.

The city had 17 vacancies across seven city advisory groups.

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