Jim Lloyd remembered

The West Covina City Council adjourned its meeting Tuesday night in honor of former councilman-turned-congressman Jim Lloyd, who passed away Thursday in Florida.

Lloyd served on the West Covina City Council from 1968 to 1975 and immediately afterward was elected to Congress where he served three terms from 1976 to 1981. The centrist Democrat lost to upstart Republican David Dreier, who remains in office today.

In addition, Assemblyman Roger Hernandez, D-West Covina, was getting ready to adjourn the state Assembly in Lloyd’s honor.

Lloyd was a Navy pilot in World War II and Korea and also served as public information director of Guantanamo Bay in 1962 during the cuban missile crisis. He lived in West Covina with his wife, Jackie Vaughan Lloyd, until recently. Lloyd moved to Cameron Park, near Sacramento, to be with his son, Brian, 57, after his wife passed away last year.

Lloyd, 89, died after crashing his 2003 Acura on Scenic Highway in Pensacola. He was visiting his son, Seth, who is training to be a Navy pilot. Lloyd apparently sustained a massive stroke and lost control of the car. He died 11 days later. No one else was injured in the solo-car crash.

The story is one of the most clicked on stories I’ve written. I keep getting emails and phone calls about Lloyd, whom as far as I can recall, was the only West Covina council member to be elected to Congress.

Eileen Spiegelman, the former co-owner of Marty’s Restaurant, called me today and said she wanted to send her condolences to Lloyd’s son, Brian. She said Jim was “a very frequent customer.” She called Jim “a wonderful person.”

Marty’s Restaurant, formerly located at Vincent Avenue and West Covina Parkway, was a place where city hall types, judges and lawyers from the nearby courthouse would meet for lunch and dinner, she said.

She said Lloyd was a regular customer.

People can send letters and cards to Chris Freeland, deputy city manager, West Covina City Hall, 1444 West Garvey Ave., West Covina, CA 91793. There is no iinformation on any memorial service. Brian said his father would be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in the summer.

-steve scauzillo

La Puente Mayor’s next appearance will be …

At a special La Puente council meeting earlier this month, Mayor John Solis requested moving the regular Jan. 10 council meeting to Jan. 11.

“The reason I did that was because I don’t think we’re going to have a quorum that day,” Solis said.

He explained that Councilwoman Nadia Mendoza recently had a few deaths in the family, so she likely wouldn’t be able to attend.

Solis also mentioned that he and Councilman Vince House would be out of town at a conference in Sacramento for “one-on-one” time with legislatures and to voice their concerns about the end of redevelopment.

Councilman Dan Holloway wasn’t so convinced – was there something specifically on the agenda that Solis didn’t want approved by a majority vote?

“I want to make sure that we’re being told (Mendoza) won’t be here,” he said. “I will support this if I have assurance that there’s not going to be a quorum. I don’t want to move a meeting just because two council members will be out of town and three of them will be here.”

No fuss, no muss. It was easily approved by the three present members.

And then on Monday, Jan. 9., County Sheriff’s officials released a sketch of a man suspected of raping a La Puente girl. The TV crews were all over it – and so was John Solis.

Residents captured glimpses of Solis being interviewed by several local television stations that night. (Too bad I can’t find any online videos to post. Except this one.)

Anyway, I go about my business and attend a very late night public hearing in West Covina the next day – the day Solis was supposed to be at a conference, right?

Nope. He was at the same West Covina meeting I was at. His friend, Mayor Mike Touhey, is on the council.

“I thought you were going to a conference?,” I asked Solis.

Looking a little flustered, he said he was sick and dragged himself out of bed to do interviews that morning. I guess he was fully recovered by the time the West Covina meeting came to an end at about midnight.

Solis assured me House went to the conference.

Still, at the Jan. 3 meeting, both Solis and House got defensive about the number of conferences they attend and the expenses they incur.

Council members have come under heavy scrutiny for the trips they take by members of the Coalition of Concerned Residents, a watchdog citizens group that recently formed.

“I keep hearing and hearing over and over again that we’re blowing the city’s money going to these conventions,” House said. “We don’t go up there to party and have a good time. I don’t get paid one penny more for those days I’m out of town. I only get my expenses and that I have a legal right to have.”

“Don’t just assume we’re out having a party every time we’re out of town,” he added. “I’m doing my duty. Please don’t berate me for doing it.”

Solis agreed.

“We do go and we’re going to continue to go to it because it benefits the city,” Solis said.

Maybe that stance changes when TV cameras are around.

West Covina may begin to broadcast meetings again

WEST COVINA — Residents may soon be able to stay home and watch city meetings live — something they haven’t been able to do since the televised programming was axed in 2008.

After going three years without broadcasting its meetings to West Covina households, the City Council this week instructed staff to research the cost of potentially implementing video webcasts or live television broadcasts of City Council and Planning Commission meetings.

“We want that transparency and we want to open that window and I’m happy,” said Councilman Fredrick Sykes, a long-time proponent of live broadcasts. “It’s going to be great for the seniors who do not like to drive at night and those who are disabled. There’s thousands of people we represent and it’s for the benefit of the people.”

The program began more than 20 years ago. It cost the city about $180,000 annually when it was broadcast through Charter Communications cable television, officials said.

West Covina began providing audio of City Council meetings in October 2010. And while those meetings are streamed lived, it takes a few days for them to be archived and available on the city website through the Sire Agenda system, which also provides city documents.

Still, West Covina is one of the few cities of its size that does not provide any type of broadcast of meetings to residents, Sykes said.

“It’s like the radio the way they have it right now, and it’s behind the times,” he said. “We represent over 150,000 people and not everyone has Internet due to poverty or what have you. But if we do both the Internet and the cable, now we cover a wider (spectrum) and can cover almost everybody in the city.”

West Covina councilman Sykes experiences new role

Newly elected West Covina councilman Fredrick Sykes and his family are still getting used to him sitting on the dais – so much so that Sykes wife, Dana, takes photos of him at the meetings.

Before the official start of Tuesday’s council meeting, the proud wife pulled out her phone and took a photo of Sykes, who was smiling and sitting in his seat.

“I think she was taking a photo to send a (text message) to our daughter,” the laughing Sykes said.

Sykes, 60, went into the November election considering himself the underdog since he had failed to capture a seat in two prior elections. But he ended up beating out former Councilwoman Karin Armbrust with more than 230 votes.

After years of attending council meetings, being a community activist and speaking his mind, Sykes, a retired Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, was officially welcomed to the dais on Dec. 6.

Still learning the ropes in his new role as city councilman, Sykes has one thing to say about being elected: “Be careful what you wish for.”

West Covina set to hire retiring city manager under 960 plan

The West Covina City Council at this week’s meeting unanimously voted to hire City Manager Andrew Pasmant – set to retire at the end of the month – under the 960 plan.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System allows retired employees to accept a temporary appointment and work less than 960 hours per fiscal year. It would save the city about $18,000 a month.

Read Staff Writer Martiza Velazquez’s story posted earlier this week:

WEST COVINA – After a decade on the job, City Manager Andrew Pasmant has announced that he will retire this month.

Pasmant’s official date of retirement is Dec. 30, however he may stick around longer to help the city transition to a new city manager, a process city council members said could take awhile.

“As I told the council in a letter, there are a lot of challenges that the city will still face and if they need my help, I will stay a little longer to make the transition as easy as possible,” Pasmant said. “The city has been good to me, so I want to reciprocate.”

Councilmembers are slated to discuss tonight how to begin their search for a new city manager and what to do in the interim.

One of their options is to hire Pasmant temporarily under the “960 plan.”

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System allows retired employees to accept a temporary appointment as a “retired annuitant” as long as the employee in the position works less than 960 hours per fiscal year.

The move could save about $18,000 a month, according to city documents, because the city would not have to pay benefits including retirement payments, health care benefits and accrual of vacation, sick leave and floating holidays.

Pasmant has also offered to stay in his position under the terms of his current contract until an agreed-upon date in 2012.

“I know it’s going to be amicable, whatever the situation is,” Pasmant said. “I know we have a good relationship and I’ll leave it to council what they think is in the best interest of the community.”

Councilman Steve Herfert said the process to find a new city manager won’t be easy or quick.

“What we’re faced with is we won’t probably find anyone as experienced as him. They will probably be newer and we’re going to take our time. We’re not going to do this real quick,” Herfert said.

Herfert said Pasmant has been a major asset to the city. The city has recently been recognized for being energy efficient and business-friendly.

“(City managers) set the tone for how the employees react and how professional the city is and I think we’re a very respected city and I think that has to do with his leadership,” Herfert said.

After retiring, the 56-year-old Pasmant, of Downey, hopes to do more philanthropic work and plans to stay active in local organizations.

“I think I have been very blessed to have worked here,” Pasmant said. “I’m very proud of the accomplishments we’ve had here in the city.”

Violent crime down in largest San Gabriel Valley cities


The amount of violent crime in the San Gabriel Valley’s three most populous cities dropped dramatically last year, reflecting a national trend, according to 2009 crime figures released Monday by FBI.

All three Valley cities of over 100,000 residents — El Monte, Pasadena and West Covina — saw a drop in both violent and property crimes with one exception. El Monte property crime saw an uptick from 2008 to 2009.

Highlights from each of the cities, according to the FBI and police chiefs:

  • West Covina brought back a crime analyst in 2008, which allowed the city to aggressively target certain areas and criminals, Police Chief Frank Wills said.
  • West Covina was also able to keep patrol officers on the streets, but had to cut its S.W.A.T. team to do so, Wills said.
  • Murders in West Covina jumped from three in 2008 to eight in 2009.
  • El Monte Police Chief Tom Armstrong said the drop in murders to three in 2009 from 12 in 2008 is proof that the spike was an aberration.
  • Pasadena had five murders in 2009 compared to three in 2008.

For more, read the story here.

Final note: We keep track of homicides in the San Gabriel Valley, as well as the FBI which relies on data provided by the law enforcement agencies. In some cases, we have a couple more murders than the FBI’s tally. Here are the totals from 2009, and what we have so far for this year. (The map pictured above shows all the 2009 murders across the San Gabriel Valley and Whittier areas.)

Email: james.wagner@sgvn.com | Twitter: @jmswgnr @sgvtribune | Facebook: SGVTribune

West Covina City Hall may be open 7-days a week

WEST COVINA – Councilman Mike Touhey wants City Hall open seven days a week to accommodate working people, at a time when civic centers are slashing hours.

In a Dec. 3 letter to City Manager Andy Pasmant, Touhey requests a “one-stop counter” in City Hall where a cross trained part-time employee works Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Touhey asked for the idea to be placed on the next City Council agenda.

This comes at a time when cities such as Covina are changing its hours and moving to a four-day work week to save money.

Below is the letter sent last week:


I would like to agendize a one stop counter for the next council meeting. A counter on the 1st Floor of City Hall where we have one cross trained Part-Time employee to work Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Also volunteer counter people to help the staff member similar to our SHOP Program. So residents can take care of business when they are off of work. Making City Hall more available for the people. City Hall open 7 days a week to serve you, I like the sound of it.

Friday 4 PM 9 PM

Saturday 12 PM – 5 PM

Sunday 12 PM -5 PM

I have had great concerns since we have gone to a 4 Day work week I think it’s poor customer service for the Residents.

Mike Touhey

West Covina city staff allegedly asked to unlawfully approve development project

WEST COVINA – Mayor Roger Hernandez at a meeting Tuesday called for an investigation of the West Covina Senior Villas project after a city employee told him that fellow employees are being asked to unlawfully approve parts of the project.

Hernandez said a city employee approached him because city employees are being asked “to unlawfully approve things to move the project forward.”

Hernandez asked City Manager Andy Pasmant to investigate the project and all employees involved with the development.

Developers Pacific Development/TELACU Industries proposes to build a 24-unit condominium complex on Workman Avenue. The complex would provide affordable housing to seniors.

Election violation in West Covina

It appears West Covina City Council candidates Fred Sykes and Colleen Rozatti have been using the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder County Seal on their campaign literature.

Both candidates were sent letters dated Sept. 29 by the County Registrar office demanding them to ceast and desist use of the seal.

“Such use is likely to cause confusion and mislead the public into mistakenly believing the statements have been made sponsored, endorsed or are otherwise affiliated with the Registrar,” the letter states.

Skyes said the seal is included on every candidate’s campaign filing statement.

“Instead of transferring that on a different paper, made a copy of it and used it to campaign in the city,” Sykes said. “I wasn’t trying to mislead anyone.”

He plans to make new campaign statements.

Rozatti could not be reached for comment.