Friday, June 12, 2009

I think I'm covering the wrong city!

The LA County District Attorney's Public Integrity Division has been busy in the good ol' San Gabriel Valley this week.

First, three city officials in Temple City (well, two officials and one official wannabe) were indicted on bribery and perjury, and then yesterday, the DA's office raided the home of La Puente Mayor Louie Lujan and is campaign treasurer.

I said it before and I'll say it again: Investigations are great hit-piece fodder, so when Lujan runs for City Council in November, he's probably going to have a tough time getting re-elected, much less win the Democratic Primary for the 57th Assembly District next year. I always believe that one is innocent until proven guilty, but this guy has a pretty sketchy record, dating back to his first days on the City Council. First, he spent enormous amounts of taxpayer money on fancy meals in fancy restaurants, then his in-laws and his wife were busted for voting twice in his election in 2001

Like I said, though, I'll reserve judgment, except to say my mother always told me to never trust a man whose name is an alliteration.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dirty Deeds Done... Well, Just Dirty

With the new baby on the way, I think I need to find a bigger place. But first, I have to unload the one I have. Anyone can tell you it's a buyers' market; anyone who reads, anyway. Now, if only there was a way for me to sell this house for more than I actually paid for it in this market.

Hmm, I suppose I can "sell" it to myself for more than I paid for it, and that way the next sucker who buys it will think he/she's getting a discount when I knock the price down. Brilliant, but legal? I don't know. Maybe I should ask the Wiz Kids at West Covina City Hall.

For those of you just tuning in, this is the latest to fall through the cracks, and boy what a doozy. Once again, the city is entering into an agreement with Pacific Development/TELACU Industries to build more senior housing. The city will dole out $8.6 million to build the 65-unit affordable senior housing complex with its partnership with Pacific/TELACU. Now, if that name is familiar, it should be. They built a similar development right next to the property in question, and it was developed by Thomas Corley and Hank Attina.

Now, if the name Hank Attina rings a bell, that should, too. He is bestest friends foreverest with West Covina City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman. They're such good friends, Good Ol' Arnie represented his good buddy in court when he got popped for a DUI.

But that's not even the meatiest part of this bone. Turns out Bill McIntyre (the same one who employs Mike Touhey as a consultant. What a happy coincidence) sold the property to an LLC called Home LLC for $3.67 million in May 2007. Then, Home LLC turned around and sold it to JV Home for $4.4 million in July 2008.

I know what you're wondering. You're wondering how, just how, can the price jump that much when the rest of the market was in the shitter? Easy: Home LLC and JV Home is RUN OUT OF THE SAME ADDRESS! I shit you not. How can that even be legal?

And how can it be legal for the City Council to commit so much money to a property without appraising it first? Man, there should be a law against that.

Wait... there is: It's called California Government Code 7267.1.

In it, it states: "(a) The public entity shall make every reasonable effort to
acquire expeditiously real property by negotiation.
(b) Real property shall be appraised before the initiation of
negotiations, and the owner, or the owner's designated
representative, shall be given an opportunity to accompany the
appraiser during his or her inspection of the property. However, the
public entity may prescribe a procedure to waive the appraisal in
cases involving the acquisition by sale or donation of property with
a low fair market value.

Low fair market value, eh? Does $3.6 million on a piece of empty 1.08 acre-land sound like low market value? Well, I seem to remember back in 2006, the city sold BKK land to Mike Touhey-client developer Charles Co. for $1.8 million. It was 2.8 net acres, and back then, the Staff urged the council that we were getting paid top dollar for that property.

But you know, that was two years ago. Things have certainly changed since then, right? So let's see what we got goin' on now.

According to the official site of the National Association of Realtors, I can buy 2.2 acres of land, in West Covina, for a mere $1.1 million. Does anyone remember how many acres that Workman land has? That's right, kids, 1.08 acres. And just for shits and giggles, let's see how much $3.5 million could buy me in the San Gabriel Valley.

What, what's this? I could buy about 2.5 acres in nearby Industry. That's about twice what the size of the Workman lot.

Look, I'm a guy who knows how to navigate Google. That's it. The City Staff is loaded with experts, attorneys, economists, etc. and they STILL couldn't see the city was getting bent over? Maybe if Chris Chung spent more time actually doing his job and less time calling people racists, he would have picked up on this. This thing passed 5-0! It was on the consent calendar, for crying out loud.

Then, on Thursday, seeing the error of his ways, Mayor Hernandez called a meeting, hoping to overturn the decision. But alas, he was the only one at the party. None of the other four showed up. Well, I'm sure their excuses are good, but the fact that those excuses are worth about $9 million in taxpayer money is hard for me to believe at this point.

I'll make a public plea that someone who has more than a laptop and a lot of spite take this under consideration. Where's the Public Integrity in this? Now, if only there was, oh, I don't know, some sort of legal body who actually monitors these types of things...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Chu Wins!

Judy Chu won the Congressional seat left by Labor Sec. Hilda Solis. Congratulations, Dr. Chu. I'm so glad someone who actually LIVES in the SGV will be representing it.

Hey, didn't that guy in the back of this picture used to work for the Tribune? He used to cover West Covina.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Are you serious?

Before I go on with today's rant, I have this to say:


Now I'm not gonna say the "W.S." word for fear of jinxing it, but I will say that while my heart broke into a million pieces with the news of Manny, It was mended by a young man by the name of Juan Pierre who has made it a little easier to "Think Blue."

Now, on to the rant.

Community Development Director Chris Chung finally filed a lawsuit against Mayor Roger Hernandez, about four years after the alleged incident he's complaining about. Now, Hernandez is a racist against Chung because he is Asian.

Sigh. Seriously?

Wait... Isn't Hernandez backing Judy Chu over Gil Cedillo for the Congress seat?
And wasn't Hernandez John Tran's campaign manager so that Tran would become the first Asian American on the Rosemead City Council?

And, wait, ummm, weren't Hernandez and Tran lifelong friends? I could have sworn I read a few years back that they've been friends dating back to childhood.

So....Roger Hernandez has a thing against Asians? Look, this is what I think: I think Chris Chung has no case so he has to fabricate ongoing harassment to get some cha-ching out of the city, and the other four will give it to him because they want it to hold over their colleague. What I'd like to see is a fair trial. I think that's what the people deserve: a neutral third party. As they have proven in the past, the City Council cannot be trusted. They tried and failed numerous times to "get" Hernandez. It's obvious they cannot be objective.

That's all for today, except:
Judy Chu for Congress!
Vote tomorrow!!
Send a message: No carpetbaggers allowed in the SGV.

Monday, April 13, 2009

One Bill Gil is on a spending roll and other thoughts

It's not enough that Sen. Gil Cedillo is running for a Congressional seat in a district that he doesn't even live in, but the fact that he's spending this kind of money is ... Dude. I don't even know how to explain it!

And I shouldn't. I'm not the one spending campaign money on lavish meals and trips. Isn't a campaign war chest supposed to be spent on, oh I don't know, CAMPAIGNING?! This guy wants Hilda Solis' seat? He's not even in her league. This makes me want to publicly endorse Dr. Judy Chu! So there you have it. I join the ranks of a TON of other people who actually live in the Congressional district. Go Chu!

In other West Covina news, it looks like nearly 7,000 signatures collected by a group of people who probably put the rest of their lives on hold for a few months, passed the LA County Registrar's test and whether West Covina will have council districts will be on a ballot coming soon. Wow, letting the people decide, that's gotta piss some people off. I'm not one of them, though. I'm glad that West Covina is getting with the real and understanding that the people who live south of the freeway have a completely separate set of priorities than people who live north of it.

AND rumor has it that Steve Herfert it gonna run for Assembly as a *drumroll please** DEMOCRAT!!!! AGAIN!!! That guy changes political parties the way my wife changes shoes; the way Drew Barrymore changes boyfriends; the way Steve Herfert changes political parties!

This isn't unprecedented, though. He did it before in 2000 when his bitter rival, Richard Melendez was running. Now, Roger Hernandez is running and I'm guessing the plan for The Mad Scientist is to siphon votes from him because he hates him so much. But will it work this time? Will people see through his ruse? I think so, considering the guy only becomes a Democrat when he runs for Assembly.

Is there a way to see when exactly Mr. Herfert became a Democrat this time? If so, let me know so I could do some homework myself.

Have a grrrrrrrrreat day!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Should I? Should I not?

Hey Folks,

Watcher here, asking my readers a question. Apparently, this little blog could. I have been approached to sell advertising on this space to a company called Wikimetro, who I believe has clients who may be interested in advertising.

The only issue I have with this is if they pay me, I have to reveal my identity, and part of my allure, I'm sure, is people reading from time to time, trying to figure out who I am. So far, I've been accused of being an elderly couple, a young woman, and/or city employee. I like to keep my readers guessing, but with a third baby on the way, a little extra cash wouldn't hurt.

Let me know what you think, or if you have any personal experience with Wikimetro.

Thanks, guys and I'll be posting more often again soon.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Where have you been, Watcher?


I can write about how more than 7,000 West Covinians want council districts.

I can write about that. I will, eventually, but the wife and I have a new adventure on hand: another kid.

Yeah, I know. Overpopulation and blah blah, but this pregnancy is a little more delicate than the others because she's a little bit older so, essentially, I've been waiting on her hand and foot. Not that I mind. I've just been preoccupied with the other kiddies, and maybe -- just possibly -- going through a bit of what they call "Midlife Crisis." I'm not very old at all, but THREE kids? That's been on my mind a lot lately, and the fact that my company is cutting costs everywhere, and being the HR guy is NOT the most popular position to be in in these tough times.

So, when things get a little more settled, I will write then. Sorry for the delay, folks. Oh, and one more thing: I will no longer post on Leftovers, due to the fact some douche is saying asinine things in my name. FYI: The "West Covina Watcher" on that blog is a copycat and is NOT, I repeat, NOT ME.