Glendora candidates meet with Tribune editors

Remember that story the Chicago Tribune did about their editorial meeting with the candidates for Mayor where all the candidates ganged up on Rahm Emanuel and it was a pretty testy meeting?

Well, we had our Glendora candidates editorial board meeting (which I sat in on, but I am not part of the editorial board) and it was … not like that meeting at all. In fact, everyone was really nice to each other and Doug Tessitor kind of encapsulated the tone of the meeting in his comments.

“The exciting thing about this whole discussion … this is the first time one of these meetings that I have been excited about the people running for local government,” Tessitor said of his fellow competitors.

Most of Monday’s discussion with the board centered around pension reform, local development and leadership styles, not unlike the recent candidates forum.

All the candidates agreed on the idea that employees need to pay a full share of the CALPERS pension benefit. Currently, three employee groups pay a full share of the employee portion of the pension benefit with police union negotiations upcoming.

Any differences on the subject came in how the change should be implemented as most candidates favored a tiered system while a few said a full-switch was needed.

I will have more on those topics and more in a story this weekend.

Various candidates will be meeting with our editorial board for the next month, who will in turn endorse candidates for the March 8 election. I will have something on Azusa later this week.

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

Notes on the Glendora candidates forum

Last night was the Glendora council candidates forum where the seven contenders sparred (not really, more like, politely conveyed their views) over various city issues.

First and foremost, I must say that Ken Herman was a gracious moderator. Despite the questionable choice to choose a once candidate, incumbent Mayor to be the moderator that adds the opportunity for someone to cry foul over the forum’s fairness, it wasn’t an issue.

Herman read the questions, kept everyone within their allotted time, and commended the candidates as a group. He never singled out a candidate, interjected or gave his opinion.

Now for the highlights.

- In a forum where many of the candidates talked about leadership styles, the need to communicate better with residents and listen, incumbent councilman Doug Tessitor showed his experience.

For my two-cents, he had the money quote of the night – right or wrong. “Any decision you make has two sides. No matter what decision you make, it makes someone mad and someone happy. The person who is happy thinks you listened. The person who is mad thinks you didn’t listen.”

- Jason Nagy pulled a John Boehner, choking up during one bit.

OK, I feel genuinely bad for that joke. Nagy was clearly passionate last night and often spoke about his run being from his heart. No ill will intended.

- Cynthia Carrasco told me she is training for a bicycle marathon. So don’t be surprised if you see some bicyclists with some “Vote for Cynthia” jerseys.

- John Fields, while responding to a question about lawsuits from residents, said he felt some lawsuits were based on personal vendettas. He went onto say that some public records requests are also based on vendettas and he wondered if there was a way to filter such requests.

Short answer: No. Public records are just that. Public. Anyone person has a right to view them, vendetta or not.

- On the flip side, Fields promised to bring some flair and excitement to the council in the form of entertainment. This is actually a pretty good idea. Get people wondering what you might do if elected and maybe you get the curiosity vote. I can dig it.

- When asked the fully loaded question of what new state taxes the council candidates would support, the candidates had this shocking reply: None.

Who would have guessed? I am glad we got that question out of the way because otherwise who knows what could have happened.

- As a footnote, two candidates – Fields and Erica Landmann-Johnsey – graduated from Cal Poly Pomona representing the green and gold. Go Broncos! (If you haven’t figured it out, I am an alum)

- Landmann-Johnsey defended herself well with the forum’s most personal question regarding lawsuits against the city. Landmann-Johnsey was part of a group, Friends of Glendora, who filed a lawsuit against the city. In response, she said “”Lawsuits are sometimes necessary for people … who feel they are not being represented.”

- To the same question, Joe Santoro said “You’re really in jeopardy when someone wants to sue you.”

- Meg Whitman should have taken some lessons from Judy Nelson. Nelson, a business owner in Glendora, said she had not voted or paid attention to city politics for many years as she focused on her life. She owned it.

“I learned that is the wrong way to go,” she said.

Friendly reminder: Candidates Forum. Tonight. Glendora.

The seven candidates vying for a seat on the Glendora council will meet for a forum tonight.

All seven candidates have been confirmed to attend the event at 7 tonight at the Citrus Valley Association of Realtors Community Room, 504 E. Route 66, Glendora.

Incumbent Mayor Ken Herman – who is not seeking re-election – will moderate the forum.

The candidates will introduce themselves to the public at the event. Pre-determined questions will be asked of the candidates, who will be given a short time to speak on each issue.

The city election is scheduled for March 8. There are three open seats in Glendora with only one incumbent seeking re-election.

A new year means a new round of weekend recap

Another long weekend has passed us by and in its wake we are left with a new year, the knowledge that we are back to those grueling five day schedules, and that you probably spent most of the weekend hungover and therefore didn’t want to stare at a computer screen reading stores.

With that knowledge, I offer you a recap of what you missed.

While war rages for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and plagues them after their return home, the men and women who served feel the rest of the country has lost interest.

On a recent Saturday night, while cruising the city in his patrol car, El Monte police Lt. Chuck Carlson said he hasn’t noticed an increase in crime or gang activity because of the decrease in proactive policing. Nor has the recession – which is largely to blame for El Monte’s city budget woes – sparked an increase in crime, as hard economic times often do.

While it’s not uncommon for a Little League team or a service club to partner with a restaurant to raise money, politicians in Azusa are pioneering a new use for the practice.

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

Appointments all around in Covina, West Covina

If you are a politician in Covina and West Covina, times appear to be good (in the sense of getting elected).

In West Covina, Karin Armbrust went from second loser to being appointed on the council to replace newly minted Assemblyman Roger Hernandez.

Armbrust will serve the remainder of his term, which ends in November. She was selected from a pool of 19 applicants.

Then in Covina, with no challengers for incumbents Peggy Delach and Walt Allen, the election was canceled.

Instead the council appointed both incumbents, saving the city a cool chunk of change.

Glendora council candidate connected to allegations of misconduct at Rio Hondo College

Reported in today’s paper that Rio Hondo college is investigating potential problems with its Police Academy beyond a testing breach being investigated by the state.

At the heart of the allegations – that include employees watching porn and improper range training – is the school’s former Dean of Public Safety and the academy’s supervisor Joe Santoro.

Santoro, the former Monrovia Police Chief, is also a Glendora resident that announced his bid for the City Council this week. With his background, both educational and administrative, Santoro was a potential favorite in that election. Now, the fate of that election bid may be directly tied to the outcome of these allegations.

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

UPDATED: If Measure A (Azusa Rock Quarry referendum) is turned down, could Azusa just renegotiate a new agreement?

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The Tribune had an editorial meeting with members of the Canyon City Alliance and Azusa council members Robert Gonzales and Uriel Macias today.

After listening to their pitch, an interesting comment came about during discussions about Measure A and the Azusa Rock Quarry mining project.

It is and has been the position of the majority of the City Council, Azusa, and the CCA that a no vote on Measure A would only nullify Vulcan Materials Co.’s amended mining plan’s development agreement, but that its use permit would stand. Essentially, the mining would be allowed to continue but many of the benefits negotiated by the city with Vulcan Materials would be lost (a fact that remains questionable).

Now, of course that all comes with the caveat that legal challenges – and you can be sure there would be one – could argue the CUP and development agreement are tied together and upon success in a legal challenge, they both could go down.

But barring that hypothetical, the question was posed what would stop Azusa from negotiating a new development agreement connected to the project if this one is rejected?

The answer, in short, was nothing, according to Macias.

The long answer was no one knows what will happen during a no vote. Litigation? New deal? It is all something of an unknown, Macias said.

“With (Measure A) we know whats going to happen,” if it is passed, Macias said. “With a no, we don’t know. (Supporting Measure A) is us taking control of our own destiny.”

But to me, that said that, barring a legal victory to the contrary, a no vote on Measure A could lead to the city renegotiating new benefits with Vulcan. Whether or not Vulcan will listen, is certainly a question. And the company would then be put in the position of having a significant amount of leverage.

UPDATE: Azusa Councilman Keith Hanks phoned me and reminded me that there is a one year “cooling off” period following a referendum of a council action. So if a new deal were to be struck, it would have to be done in 2012.

UPDATE TWO: Macias called and had this statement regarding the potential for future negotiations:

“We have done that already. We told them no when they wanted to expand to 270 acres and the first time in May when we negated it and went back to the negotiating table. We have in fact already done that.”

On a related note, I asked Canyon City Alliance officials if they would be donating to candidates in the City Council election. President Liz Ramirez said those discussions have not taken place with board members. Chamber of Commerce board member Mercedes Castro said that after Jan. 26 (the referendum special election is Jan. 25) the group intends to disband.

UPDATE: (I really hope this is the last one, I have received more phone calls on this post than any other.) Castro called me and told me she misspoke when saying the CCA would disband following the referendum election. The group will still exist, but may close its offices, she said.

Macias then jumped in and said he would not accept any money from Canyon City Alliance.

It is well known that Vulcan is a member of the CCA, contributes services and is the major source of funding for the group.

(An earlier version of this story identified Mercedes Castro as the Chamber of Commerce President. Castro is the former president.)

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

Herman to leave Glendora council. Could March election be the biggest political shift for the city since Herman was first elected?

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if you haven’t seen it yet, some fantastically handsome journalist is reporting that Glendora Councilman Ken Herman will not seek re-election in March.

The decision comes in a year where political ally Gary Clifford stepped down and his appointment is only serving as a fill-in.

That leaves two seats wide open on the council and incumbent Doug Tessitor left to fend off challengers all by his lonesome.

It won’t be terribly lonesome. He still as Herman’s full support in seeking re-election and Tessitor has been around since 2003, only one year less than Herman.

The pair stormed onto the Glendora political scene in 2002 when Herman, Gary Clifford and Cliff Hamlow were all elected to the council during a 2002 recall campaign. Tessitor was elected the following year.

The move started a changing of the guard in Glendora and set a political majority for nearly a decade. But with Clifford departing this year and Herman’s tenure ending in March, Tessitor will be the sole voice left from the once prominent majority.

How much will change is uncertain. Two candidates for council are John Fields and Jason Nagy, both of which are soon to be new members of the local Kiwanis club of which Herman is president.

In addition, current council members Karen Davis and Gene Murabito often agree with Tessitor and Herman on city decisions. The group is often known as a 5-0 council, even though Murabito and Tessitor love to joke about that distinction.

When I talked to Herman today, he said he hopes nothing changes.

“I hope it continues to be the way it has been,” he said. “I hope it doesn’t have a radical change.”

Potential Glendora council candidate plans to leave post at Rio Hondo college

Likely candidate for the Glendora City Council will leave his post at Rio Hondo college, officials said today.

WHITTIER – Rio Hondo College officials have announced that Dean of Public Safety Joe Santoro, who was overseeing the college’s police academy when it was suspended by the state in October for a breach in testing security, has gone on personal leave and plans to retire next summer.

Santoro, the former police chief in Monrovia, has worked at Rio Hondo for more than seven years.

During his tenure at Rio Hondo, officials said the police academy received a 2008 award from the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) for training excellence and organizational achievement.

Currently, the academy remains on suspension following an incident where a police academy instructor discovered actual test questions on a cadet study guide, which college officials said they self-reported to POST.

Santoro has applied to run for Glendora’s council. With his history as a police chief and educator, he could be one of the top competitors. His sudden exit from Rio Hondo and the police academy’s suspension during his tenure could taint his campaign. At the same time, the fact the program was awarded for excellence can’t be ignored.

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

I screwed up: Glendora council deadline correction

I erroneously reported in the newspaper today the deadline to submit papers to run for Glendora City Council was Monday. I was wrong. I’m sorry.

The confusion arose due to the fact the deadline is different for various cities. The difference comes down to this: some cities are open Friday, some are not.

For example, Azusa is closed on Fridays so the city’s deadline is Monday. Glendora is open Fridays, so the deadline is this week, instead.

One caveat to everything I just said: It is almost a certainty that Glendora’s deadline will be extended. The rule is that if no incumbent applies to be reelected, the deadline to apply for council is extended. In this case, while Ken Herman and Doug Tessitor will most likely run for reelection, Terry Kent most certainly will not.

When Kent applied to be appointed to council earlier this year to replace the vacant seat left by Gary Clifford, he vowed not to run. It was a condition the council was looking for in an appointed person. Kent, if he intends to fulfill that promise, would then not seek election to the seat thus forcing an extension of the deadline.

The new deadline would be Dec. 15.