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.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

NEWSFLASH: All 5 Councilmembers agree on something

And that something is ....

Judy Chu for Congress!

Why? Probably because she was once an assemblymember, the other only serious candidate is State Sen. "One Bill" Gil Cedillo, who is, frankly, a carpetbagger. His current district includes Los Angeles, Alhambra, Maywood, San Marino, Vernon, and South Pasadena. How far west are those from West Covina, Covina and Baldwin Park? Some say the seat is tailor-made for him. Some believe the seat should go to a Latino, but what would probably be a better idea is a Latino who actually LIVES in the San Gabriel Valley and hasn't spent his/her entire career on a school or water board. While both are important posts to have, I don't think it trains you well for the rigors of Congress. Municipal or State elected officials would probably fair better in the Beltway.

Judy Chu is from Monterey Park. She was on City Council, in the Assembly and now the State Board of Equilization.

Funny thing, though...

Baldwin Park Mayor Manuel Lozano and Irwindale Councilman Larry Burrola are endorsing both candidates.


What's the point of offering an endorsement when you're endorsing both candidates. That's just dumb, a purely wussy move because it's obvious they don't want to piss anyone off.

Another thing our five illustrious leaders probably agree on?

We're all f*&@ed!

According to the guy who should be the suing the feds and state for making his life a living hell, Finance Director Thomas Bachman, "The sales tax shortfall and other revenue decreases will increase the current year General Fund deficit to almost $3.9 million." Man, that's a lot of scratch.

How do we close that gap? Anyone? Well, we're spending $1.3 million annually on Big League Nightmare, but it's here and there's not much we can do about that. Can a city take donations? How about **drumroll, please**


Yes, yes, yes! Man, that would be awesome. If people are willing to watch a couple of morons raise 18 damn kids, I'm sure people would watch five morons* raise $3.9 million in deficits. I would totally watch it. And they should have a camera in closed session, too. I'm sure it can be edited to leave out sensitive information, but the camera can catch all the drama. Maybe the crew can instigate a fight between Hernandez and Herfert!

Oh, and one of those confession cams for the staff. To think the juicy things they would tell America. I'm salivating just thinking about it.

What about you, readers? What would you like to see on this TV show?

*No, Mrs. Sanderson, I'm not calling you a moron, I just couldn't think of better wordplay.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I *heart* Little Manila (and you should, too)

I like to pretend I'm a foodie. I can't cook, but I love to eat (as my previous posts indicate).

But you know who can cook? Mrs. Watcher.

I often tell her the moment I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her was when she cooked for me a nice spicy shrimp and beef dish. We had been dating for about six months before she cooked for me, and when she did, I knew that if I didn't make a move someone else better looking, richer and smarter would nab her. Luckily I thought that, 'cuz guys better looking, richer and smarter than me are about a dime a dozen.

Anyway, when she gets in a rather culinary mood, she ventures to Little Manila in West Covina to stock up at Seafood City. I was reminded of her ritual when I read this in the Tribune.

Little Manila, which is what us West Covinians call it, is always bustling. We have the Filipino McDonalds (Jollibee) and Goldilocks bakery (if you've never had an Ube cake, you haven't lived).

And as an interesting side note, I heard a LONG time ago that the owners of Seafood City and Island Pacific Supermarket, directly across the street, have had a decades-long rivalry stemming from the Old Country. I don't know how true that is, but it would be interesting to find out.

Another interesting side note: Officer Chiles Way (off of Amar) is named for West Covina Police Officer Charles Chiles, who died in a plane crash in 2000.

I know most of my readers come to this site to see my latest ramblings about city hall, but honestly, there's a lot more to West Covina than those five knuckleheads sitting on the City Council. I don't know what happened at the meeting last night because, you know, the whole "meetings taken off the air" thing. So, drop me a line about what happened!

With that being said, go to Little Manila. Go to Bamboo Bistro and have some karaoke with your pork sisig or Max of Manila's world famous fried chicken. And please, for the love of God, have some Ube. Tell them the Watcher sent you. (that won't get you anything free or extra, I just think that's something you say)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Teenage Girl Attacked in West Covina

This horrible incident shocked a neighborhood today.

A young girl, walking in her own neighborhood, was attacked and sexually assaulted outside at 6 a.m.

From one reader: "I'm sure you have heard already about the young woman who was
assaulted in our neighborhood. The area where she was attacked is
about 2 blocks from where we live. The residents have been asking for
better police presence forever but we never get anywhere."

The attacker is described as being about 5-foot-8, medium build with spikey hair. Police say he was Hispanic, but judging the fact that both Carlton from "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," and Cameron Diaz are both Hispanic, that's not really helping me out.

If you know ANYTHING, call the West Covina Police Department at (626) 939-8557, or the anonymous tip line at (626) 939-8557.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Walk outs! Better Than "Gossip Girl" (with less hot chicks)

So, instead of sitting there and completing what has been called time and time and time again a "business meeting," Steve "The Mad Scientist" Herfert, Sherri "I'll Do Anything Steve Tells Me To" Lane, and Shelley "I Like You But You're Wrong" Sanderson walked out while Mayor Roger Hernandez's thoughts as to why the city should have councilmanic districts.

God forbid that a representative from each part of the city be on the city council, instead of having four out of five members live in one neighborhood, which happens to be the neighborhood with the most money. So far, these four knuckleheads approved seven houses to be on two lots, two-story condos smack-dab in the middle of a single-family home neighborhood, practically spit on a guy trying to GIVE the cash-strapped city money, and well, let's not forget the whole trying-to-sell-a-park-to-condo-developers thing.

Meanwhile, the parks in their neighborhood, like Cortez and Maverick, are the crown jewels of the city. Well, there's BLD, too, but you actually have to pay to get into that one. And, well, it costs $1.3 million a year.

I wasn't there, so I don't know the extent of the "drama," but I know Hernandez is a pit bull who doesn't pull punches. The thing about Hernandez, though, is he does it out in the open. His adversaries do it behind closed doors, or use taxpayer money to do it. Most recently, Herfert complained to the Fair Political Practices Commission that Hernandez acted inappropriately when he suggested Chris Chung and Sue Williams take their matters to court, and if the courts find in favor of them, he'll pay the tab himself. Huh? Did I hear that right? Herfert is COMPLAINING about that?

I guess my reaction was similar to that of the FPPC because they sent the complaint back to him with a big "Eff You" on top of it.


I finally got my hands on a copy of that complaint myself, and it was funnier than an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." First, this woman CLAIMS that Hernandez "instructed" Trib reporter and Leftover Lady Jennifer McLain to print Williams' name in a story.

Really? A woman who basically single-handedly brought down a corrupt water board member and launched a couple of DA investigations with her stories let a council member "instruct" her to do anything? Oh, and this reporter and Hernandez were "text messaging" each other throughout an entire meeting? I believe that phone records track text messaging, and judging by the fact Ms. McLain still has her job leads me to believe that this claim is a fallacy.

Secondly, she's upset her name was in the paper. In case you didn't know, Williams' job title is PUBLIC Information Officer. Somehow, it seems she thinks it means otherwise. All Hernandez really did is say "Hey, look. We have a $2 million deficit and we can't afford the things created in better times, like the PIO position." Based on that, Ms. Williams says her hair is falling out, she has heart palpitations and, get this, "SEVERE RUNS!" LOL! A woman is "embarrassed" that her name is associated with budget cuts, but she's not embarrassed to tell the world that she lives on the shitter?

All of her complaints against Hernandez are basically third-person garbage that really has nothing to do with him at all, so good luck with that, lady.

Please, council, I implore you to let this one get to court because I would love to see this complaint played out live.

Did I mention that Williams retained the same attorney as Chris Chung? I think THAT'S interesting, and frankly, very telling. Especially since these two complaints and Herfert's FPPC complaint came after Herfert threatened to come after Hernandez.

Look, it's no secret I'm a fan of Hernandez. But you know what? A lot of people are. There are a few out there who want to take him down, but apparently, the voters disagreed with them. I like the fact that he fights for what the people want, and I like the fact he isn't afraid to piss off all the right people. That's what the greatest leaders of our time did. Will he be a great leader? Only time will tell. Until then, he has my support, because a guy who could barely scrape together a war chest in the last election, get totally bombarded with a negative media blitz in the days leading up to the election, and still manages to get public support is a guy who I think listens to the will of the people, and isn't afraid to do it.

And I also like the fact that he doesn't live in South Hills.