Is having Mayor Ken Herman be the moderator for the Glendora council forum a conflict of interest?

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Was just informed today by those running the Glendora candidates forum next week that incumbent Mayor Ken Herman – who announced he would not seek reelection this spring – will moderate the Glendora council forum.

This raises a number of alarming questions that don’t seem to do any favors for the public.

I have no problem with Herman as a person and he has always been willing to talk about any issue regarding the city when I call. He has never hidden from an issue when I asked and even when the topics haven’t been positive for the city, he remained professional.

But having an incumbent councilman moderator a candidate forum may allow for some to question the political fairness, objectivity and neutrality of the role.

There are some serious questions that can be posed regarding actions of the current council and their impact on the city: i.e. Monrovia Nursery, City Manager Chris Jeffers, administrative contracts/benefits, union negotiations, and more.

Will Herman be willing to bring up issues that may be critical of some of his own decisions?

The conflict isn’t as clear since the majority of the candidates are newcomers with only one incumbent seeking reelection. But the one incumbent happens to be the only other councilman with a tenure close to as long as Herman’s. In fact, Doug Tessitor was part of the group that helped recall the majority of the council back in 2002, with Tessitor functioning as the spokesperson for the group that featured Herman, former councilmen Gary Clifford and Cliff Hamlow. Tessitor won election to the council the next year.

These guys are buddies. I can’t imagine none of the other candidates objecting because of that clear conflict.

Speaking off that, one of the candidates, Erica Landmann-Johnsey is well known by the council, and those who regularly attend council meetings, as being part of a group of citizens that regularly speak at meetings and often chastise the council.

In fact, Herman and Johnsey have had public disagreements that resulted in the two verbally sparring across the council chambers during a meeting. Now Herman will be moderating the first candidate forum for this election where Johnsey is running for his (and/or Terry Kent’s) open seat.

Herman has never been one to hold his tongue. At a council meeting, if a speaker is aggressive, insulting or highly critical, he won’t shy away from rebuttal, as he has demonstrated in the past.

If Johnsey, or another candidate, opines with a critical opinion of the current council – or even Herman – will Herman reserve his comments or will we have an additional debater in our moderator?

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

Prop. 8 statements rolling in

After the major news that the California Supreme Court overturned gay marriage ban Prop. 8 in a ruling announced today, the statements from the various political groups are starting to roll in.

I mean, what is the point of having a political or advocacy group if you can’t send a mass statement to 1,000 reporters each trying to write their own unique, insightful and informative piece.

Anyway, for your viewing pleasure, some of the statements I have received thus far:

From the California Democratic Party’s Southern California Chair of the LGBT Caucus Jess Durfee
“Today’s ruling is a victory for equality and an affirmation for all Californians who believe that our state must never be party to keeping committed, loving couples apart. This is but the latest victory in a long march toward full equality that has yet to be realized for the majority of LGBT couples and families in the United States. California Democrats will continue to fight on the side of basic fairness and equality under law until the right to marry is extended to all couples.”

From the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles
“Today is a great day for anyone who believes in the power of justice, family, and love. Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community have the right and freedom to form unions that are just as loving and respectful as any other Californian. The ruling today makes it unconstitutional to take away that right. We celebrate the judge’s decision and we join LGBT organizations nation-wide in rejoicing this long-overdue ruling.

As an immigrant rights organization it is our responsibility and commitment to ensure that all members of our family are treated equally, humanely, and justly.”

From the Interfaith Alliance

“We are pleased to see that Judge Vaughn Walker was sensitive to the concerns of people of faith who oppose same-gender marriage on religious grounds but that he recognized, as do we, that their religious freedom will not be impacted by the legalization of same-gender marriage. America’s diverse religious landscape leaves room for a variety of theological perspectives on same-gender marriage; indeed, some faiths enthusiastically support it and others vehemently oppose it. Under this ruling, as with any constitutionally based marriage equality law, no religion would ever be required to condone same-gender marriage, and no member of the clergy would ever be required to perform a wedding ceremony not in accordance with his or her religious beliefs.

But in a country that guarantees both religious freedom and “justice for all,” the laws of our land must be based on what is fair and equal, not simply on the religious views of any faith community.”

I have yet to receive any statements from local conservative groups, but when I do I will add them to the list.

In addition, here is a lengthy post I found interesting regarding today’s decision.

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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Lujan’s resignation letter

It’s a little late but here’s former Mayor Louie Lujan’s resignation letter. Lujan resigned hours before he appeared in court Thursday to plead guilty to one count of perjury. The letter is time-stamped 5:25 p.m. Wednesday.

City of La Puente:

For personal and professional, I hereby resign from the City Council effective today at 5:30 p.m. Thank you for the support and the opportunities that you have provided me during the last several years. I have enjoyed my time working with each and every one of you; you will all be missed.

Respectfully,
Louie Lujan

U.S. Labor Secretary Solis mum on Industry NFL stadium

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis was in town Tuesday morning, visiting the Los Angeles Electrical Training Institute, a union center in Commerce that teaches electrical skills, and talking green jobs.
So we asked Solis – the former U.S. representative for El Monte, West Covina and Baldwin Park – what she thought of the plan to build a $800-million, 75,000-seat “green” NFL stadium in Industry.
Solis punted the question, saying she was “not really aware of it.”
When asked if she had any thoughts, she replied: “Not really because I’m here mostly to talk about what our investments are.”
Solis was referring to the federal grants and contributions made to California to promote green jobs.
Maybe Solis was caught off guard by the question but the NFL stadium issue has been a hot topic for the region and state, given Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approval of the stadium plan.
Labor unions heavily backed the stadium plan as billionaire developer Ed Roski and his Majestic Realty Co. touted the project as a way to create 18,000 jobs and create $760 million in yearly economic output.