DA’s office says no decision on misuse of public funds allegations against Duarte prior to Tuesday’s special election

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office of Public Integrity said an investigation into the misuse of public funds by Duarte officials regarding an Azusa referendum remains open.

Furthermore, Head Deputy District Attorney for the department, David Demerjian, said he doesn’t expect any decisions on the case prior to the special election based on the referendum in question which is scheduled for Tuesday.

Azusa Mayor Diane Chagnon alleged in a complaint filed with the district attorney’s office in November that Duarte hired a public relations firm to help with a referendum campaign in Azusa and illegally discussed certain items in closed session.

Officials in Duarte rebuked the claims and submitted hundreds of documents to the attorney’s office in response.

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More comparisons between Azusa mining issue and Rosemead Wal-Mart

While researching this story comparing a referendum in Azusa of Vulcan Materials Co.’s new amended mining plan versus Rosemead residents earlier failed attempt to stop a Wal-Mart in the city, there were some other interesting parallels that I stumbled across.

Community groups filed lawsuits against the Wal-Mart projects’ environmental impact report for being incomplete, much like Duarte’s lawsuit against the Azusa Rock Quarry plan’s EIR, claiming it is insufficient.

A judge agreed that Wal-mart’s EIR was incomplete, but the ruling only stalled the project.

What I found most interesting was the Rosemead council came under fire for having an emergency vote to grant Wal-Mart a certificate of occupancy, something opponents said violated the Ralph M. Brown Act’s open meeting laws.

Azusa is facing similar claims after an urgency vote to reconsider the mining plan. The council had originally voted against it, but later voted to bring it back for a second vote at a council meeting without putting the item on the agenda. Duarte’s lawsuit includes alleging Azusa violated the Brown Act.

In Rosemead, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office faulted the council, but did not demand corrective action because the Wal-Mart was already built and open.

Will Azusa’s council face the same fate? And, if so, what are the potential implications?

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

UPDATE: Azusa Rock Quarry referendum deadline is today

I haven’t heard anything from the Azusa city clerk’s office this morning, but the deadline for the county to respond on the Azusa Rock Quarry referendum effort is today.

Members of the political action group Azusans Against Mining Expansion submitted 2,532 signatures to the city clerk’s office. They needed 1,650 registered voter signatures to qualify the referendum.

The referendum would then head to the ballot either next March during the council elections, or during a special election. Its intention is to repeal Vulcan Materials Co.’s development agreement with the city over its recently amended Azusa Rock Quarry mining plan.

AAME believe by repealing the development agreement, it will nullify the council’s decision to approve the plan. City officials believe it won’t stop the plan, but only take away money gained by the city via the development agreement.

The Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office deadline to respond for the confirmation of qualified signatures is today, but what time they will hand them over to Azusa is not known.

We will have something posted on the website the first we hear of it.

UPDATE: County told me the signatures have been reviewed and are now being looked at by the division manager and assistant registrar. It will then go to the County Clerk for final review before the results are given to the city either today or tomorrow.

She declined to give the preliminary results of the count.

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