There’s a poet lurking in San Dimas City Hall

I read reports prepared by city staff at least several times a week. They are by and large insipid, monotonous affairs – full of technical jargon and written with the sterility of an operating room.

San Dimas’ mid-year budget report that I’m busy sifting through is an entirely different animal. Sure, it’s full of sales tax figures and drones a bit about revenues and expenditures, but tucked into little corners of the document are tiny flourishes of poetic language.

My favorite example opens the section of the report dealing with the loss of the city’s redevelopment agency. I’ve included it below for your reading pleasure.

“Like a multi-trunk tree, the city’s General Fund and Redevelopment Agency have grown together over the years to produce a broad and successful economic canopy that has strengthened the City of San Dimas.”

Corny? Hell yes, but cheesy or not, it’s a welcome breath of fresh air from the gobbledegook I usually have to read.

I don’t know who wrote this report, but I’ll find out when I talk to city staff later today.

Awww … San Dimas soldier skypes with his dog before heading to Afghanistan

This totally has nothing to do with city politics or officials in any way, but it was just so adorable, I couldn’t not post it here.

Azusa grandmother Alma Taylor called me today to ask if I’d be interested in seeing a video of her grandson, Justin McKettrick skyping with his dog. Was I interested? Definitely.

You see, McKettrick of San Dimas is getting deployed to Afghanistan soon. I think he’s in Virginia right now. Grandma said he wanted to see his faithful friend one last time before he left. I won’t describe it. I think the video speaks for itself.

Controversial San Dimas businessman closes downtown liquor store

San Dimas residents are reporting that local businessman and perennial city council candidate Sid Maksoudian has shut down his high-end liquor store.

Assistant City Manager Ken Duran confirmed what many people were telling me: Chalet Gourmet, 120 W Bonita Ave., is closed for business.

After calling Sid a few times, I finally got him to pick up the phone on Tuesday. With some hostility he asked why his business is any of my business.

I persisted, but my efforts were rewarded only by an obscenity-laced response that I’ll assume means “no comment.”

Then he hung up.

Sid has during the years tangled with councilmembers, other downtown business owners, the Chamber of Commerce and organizers of the San Dimas Rodeo. As far as anyone knows, Sid still lives in San Dimas, so while he might not be a presence downtown anymore, it’s probably too soon to assume this is the last of him.

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.

San Dimas talks Gold Line site

Long after residents dissuaded San Dimas from locating a future Gold Line station at Bonita and Cataract, the city is still discussing the best place to put a station.

The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority is currently studying a site south of the tracks between Walnut and San Dimas avenues, and held a community meeting Thursday to gather information for its environmental report, due in draft form by late summer.

The desired site is now occupied by Storage Solutions, and the business owners aren’t happy about the idea. But city and train limitations leave few other options for a 400-car parking structure that isn’t taller than two stories. Other ideas include the auto shop and kennel next door, and expanding the park and ride across San Dimas Avenue. There’s also the undeveloped part of the Grove Station project, but Community Development Director Larry Stevens is pessimistic about that possibility because of entitlements attached to the property and the city’s vision for mixed-use development.

The light-rail train’s arrival is years away, probably a decade. It currently operates from L.A. to Pasadena, and construction is now underway on a Pasadena to Azusa extension.

No place like home for San Dimas council, employees

Before the City Council’s first meeting in the newly renovated San Dimas Civic Center, the city had an open house and ribbon-cutting celebration Tuesday for the $12 million project.

There was no actual ribbon, but Mayor Curt Morris and Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Templeman unveiled a dedication plaque near the building entrance. The open house featured public tours and commendations from various county and state politicians.

The expansion and renovation took about a year to complete. The new Civic Center opened for business April 5.

51597-San Dimas city hall unveiling.jpg

San Dimas candidates online

Incumbent John Ebiner, one of three candidates for two City Council seats in the March 8 election, has asked for your support via YouTube:

His website is sparse, featuring only a short statement and an e-mail address, but I imagine that will change.

Incumbent Emmett Badar and challenger Chris S. Grant also have websites.

In the mayoral election, it looks like Curt Morris’ website isn’t updated often, and I couldn’t find anything for challenger Sid Maksoudian. Sid ran for council two years ago and is well known for his criticism of the current regime, so I expect to have lots of information from him as election season gets into full swing.

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: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

I don’t think Carl Harstine will have a problem replacing those flags


Since my story ran today about WWII veteran Carl Harstine’s flags being stolen – twice – I have probably received at least seven e-mails and phone calls from people eager to replace the lost flags. And that was probably in my first hour of work today.

Pretty soon, Carl may have more flags than he knows what to do with.

As for the story, it has some people really fired up, including one person’s comment that flag thieves should get a 10-year prison sentence.

While the justice system usually bases the severity of a theft on its monetary value (flags about $40 each, poles about $60 in this circumstance) it is unlikely the perpetrators would face much more than your basic burglary charges.

But the “feeling” that something more has been stolen stems from our intrinsic sentiment that adds emotional value to the American Flag.

Where does that value come from? What does the flag mean to you? Can you trace those feelings to a specific moment, meaning, person or ideal? Tell me about it in the comments below or via twitter @dgtedford.

Also, don’t forget about another veterans related story in the Tribune today about a financial firm offering a special consulting program.

Email: | Twitter: @dgtedford @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune