The Robles saga continues

There’s more Albert Robles drama, Airan Scruby reports. Robles, a Water Replinishment District director, is scheduled to appear in court today. He is being charged with committing misdeameanor campaign law violations.

He is also running for the job of District Attorney Steve Cooley.

“How Steve Cooley is manipulating our justice system … should shock the conscience of all Americans,” Robles said. “The DA’s office has never prosecuted anybody for what they’re accusing me of.”

Here’s more from Airan’s story:

Robles, 39, will discuss his motions to dismiss the charges against him, including two counts of sending campaign mailers without return addresses on behalf of Pico Water District candidates.

He is also charged with one count of making a campaign expenditure of more than $100 in cash, and one count of making a campaign contribution of more than $100 in cash, two ways of prosecuting for the same act: paying for the campaign mailers he allegedly sent.

If convicted, Robles could face a $10,000 fine and six months in jail for each offense, and would lose the ability to run for public office for four years.

The charges against him come from the Political Reform Act, a set of California statutes meant to increase campaign openness. Robles said cases like his are usually handled by the California Fair Political Practices Commission, and that the charges against him were filed because District Attorney Steve Cooley has a vendetta against him.

And the deficits continue

The Los Angeles County officials are going to release the 2008-09 proposed budget today. The forecast is bleak, largely because of a drop in property and sales tax revenues and a $200 million deficit in the health department, Rick Orlov and Troy Anderson report.

Ross DeVol, director of regional economics at the Milken Institute, said most local governments’ financial problems are related to the sharp downturn in the housing market.

“The housing market will be more severe in California than elsewhere because we had the largest run-up with speculators and others,” DeVol said. “We have a lot of foreclosures and it’s going to depress prices and will take some time to recover, perhaps not until the first part of 2009.

“It affects the local sales tax because people are not buying furniture or appliances or home-related products. They don’t have the discretionary income to buy as much, and you see car sales down as well. All these big-ticket items affect the revenue stream.”

Shoppers should pay for bags

There’s been a lot of talk recently about charging money for plastic bags. My thoughts? Charge away. That’s something that they’ve been doing for years in Europe. And it makes sense. I’ve got hundreds of those plastic bags stored under the sink, and each time I go to the grocery store I think: Oh crap, I should have brought some of those bags. But I can guarentee that once the stores start charging me for bags, my habits would quickly change.

Alison Hewitt reports that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors aren’t giving up on their efforts to charge shoppers for bags.

Support among Los Angeles County supervisors for a proposal that would charge shoppers 25 cents for each plastic shopping bag they use has dwindled after a state bill faltered last week in Sacramento.

County officials supported and even helped write the bill that failed to pass a committee hearing last week, although a compromise emerged that would allow local governments to levy their own plastic bag fees.

Roski to stop by Tribune’s office

Billionaire developer Edward Roski, who is proposing to build an NFL stadium in Industry, is going to stop by the Tribune’s office today to pitch his idea to the Editorial Board. I’ll be sitting in the meeting as well, and I will ask him any follow-up questions that have come up since he launced his proposal to build this $800-million stadium on Thursday. The meeting is at 10 a.m.

Are there questions that you want me to ask?

BP’s numero uno

I’ve had this for a few days now, but I’ve been debating whether to post it.

I figure since it is a public document and it does shed light on the Baldwin Park chief saga, its worth putting out there.

From the looks of this e-mail, sent to Chief Executive Officer Vijay Singhal on Wednesday, El Monte police Lt. Ken Alva had some serious competition for BP chief. Notice how Suisun City Police Chief Ed Dadisho -who basically withdraws his application for police chief in this e-mail – refers to himself as the city’s No. 1 choice.


Suisun City gets an “F”

Not that it really matters anymore, but heres some interesting information about Suisun City Police Chief Ed Dadisho, who until he dropped out on Wednesday was vying for the Baldwin Park Police Chief position.

Apparently, under Dadishos watch, the Suisun City Police Department received F grades two years in a row from a governmental watchdog group that performed public records audits of more than 200 law enforcement agencies across the state.

Kimberly K. Fu, a staff writer for the Vacaville paper, The Reporter, did some stories in 2006 and 2007 about the audit and the grades. Heres a excerpt from her January 2007 story.

Suisun City police officials also rejected their grade, noting special circumstances.

In Suisun City, all police records are stored at City Hall, which is located on the same property, just yards away. When the auditor was referred to go to City Hall for all of the information, it was scored as a failure.
This was an unusual case, admitted CalAware’s Franke. In many cases, the reason departments failed had much to do with failing a legal standard, but thats not the case here. This was a failure of customer service.

Francke explained that in order to pass, the Suisun department would have had to take ownership of the request.

In other words, instead of just sending a member of the public elsewhere, the police department would have had to take care of the request, by obtaining the information within 10 days, and then asking the customer to pick it up.


Suisun Citys Acting Chief of Police Ed Dadisho was disappointed in the score, because he noted that it is critical of the citys business practice, and is not really a reflection on the department’s willingness to cooperate.

As a police department, we are committed to being transparent to the community, which includes the media and other interested parties, he said.

We are in the process of revising our entire general orders, which havent been revised in over 12 years. The California Public Records Act is one of the areas that we will be focusing on in the revisions of our general orders, which will be done by the end of January.

I should also add that Suisun City PD has had its fair share of controversy. According to The Reporter, in 2006 a Solano County grand jury deemed former Suisun City police Chief Ron Forsythe a weak leader and said the city should hire a consultant to audit the Police Department. Allegations also surfaced that Forsythe was misusing public funds.

David sues Goliath of water

Central Basin Municipal Water District, which manages ground water pumping from its basin, sued the giant of the Southern California’s water industry, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Central Basin believes that MWD’s recently approved conservation plan is just another way to stuff money into MWD’s coffers, Central Basin director Art Aguilar tells reporter Mike Sprague.

“Although Metropolitan would like us to think of this as a `conservation plan,’ it is actually an economic plan that virtually robs from the poor to pay for the cost of new development in more affluent areas,” Aguilar said.

Central Basin is one of 26 member agencies of MWD that buy water from the district and then re-sell it to private and public water utilities

Let the dog fights continue

This was tucked away in the paper today:

A state bill that would have allowed police to seize property of those convicted of dogfighting failed to pass out of the Public Safety Committee on Wednesday.

The committee deadlocked on the bill, 2-2, with Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, abstaining on the vote.

Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, voted against it, and Sen. Bob Margett, R-Glendora, voted for it.

The concerns of committee members, which were raised by Romero and Margett, were that forfeitures would be unfair to property owners who did not know dogfighting was happening at their property. Margett voted for the bill despite his objections.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which opposed the bill, went further with its objections, saying any kind of forfeitures not tied to clear evidence that a profit had been made by the dogfighting would not be consistent with California law.

Rocky Rushing, the chief of staff for Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, who proposed the bill, said the legislation would be shelved for this year.

“We’ll take a look at it again next year,” said Rushing. “It was a good day for dogfighters and the ACLU.”

The fight in Glendora

Dan Abendschein reports that a lawsuit against Glendora over a senior housing project could be settled out of court. The community group that filed the lawsuit wants to city to do an enviornmental report for the site, located at Bonnie Cove and Gladstone, because they believe the traffic will be heavily impacted as a result of the project.

“Their claim is that this project will impact city traffic,” said D. Wayne Leech, Glendora’s city attorney. “The city did an original survey several years ago, and then an updated survey this year, and both found there was no impact.”

What do you think? Is a survey enough or shold the city perform the environmental review? Leech thinks it’s a trap.

“Other than them withdrawing their claim, I can’t see a solution that would work for the city,” said Leech. “This lawsuit is without merit.”