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.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Watcher:

It's been some time since I visited your blog spot, however I can see you have been pounding away at the keyboard with your thoughts of West Covina. How I find some of your humor silly and light hearted, most of it is slanted with anger from emails by people who clearly don't support the Council (since you don't attend meetings, you must get your fuel from someplace - besides you have stated particular residents email you. And I know it's not me.) See, I am paying attention.


It's kind of funny you make mention of some items and say I'm wrong, ironically those very items you say I was wrong about; I wasn't even at that meeting because I was sick. First, approving seven homes; wasn't at the meeting. Spit on a guy, that's the tow company you must be referencing to; wasn't there. (did it ever occur to you there are issues that would create putting something out to RFP you may not be aware of?) And trying to sell a park to condo issue, you must be referring to the lower portion of Shadow Oak park... do you want a copy of the meeting minutes when Hernandez made the motion to sell that land? Just let me know. And it wasn't sold, the Council (the four of us you don't support - no matter what) voted to spend 1.5 million on creating an extension of the existing park which now it makes it one of the largest parks in West Covina.

As far as leaving, it's not what was being said; it's the fact the Mayor who is the parliamentarian of the meeting (parliamentarian means keeper of the rules) refused to keep said rules so it was time to go. We do have rules of decorum (decorum means behavior/action) to follow. I don't know about you, but I like to drive the speed limit so I don't get a ticket or kill someone. Besides saying things that are not true about someone else is far from a business meeting.

And lastly, of all people, you, who seem to be so protective of the rights of other people and supporting saying what needs to be said; I will say what needs to be said - I stand for the people of West Covina that live in the South Hills area; (Touhey OR Herfert DON'T live in South Hills area by the way - I can send you the information on that too if you want) but lets not discriminate as to where someone lives... it's not becoming of you and the positive stories you write.


West Covina Watcher said...

Well, I have to say a lot to you, my dear councilwoman, but I'll be brief. The reason I don't know first-hand what happens at the council meetings is because you voted to take said meetings off the air, even when cities like freakin' Rosemead (ROSEMEAD!!) are putting them at least online. The fact that all the equipment works and the council won't even fathom a volunteer crew to work it is HIGHLY irritating and frankly makes me scratch my head in amazement.

The RFP issue. I'm all for RFPs, but you don't seem to have a need for them with businesses like Athens, whose business practices smell as bad as their service.

I'd support the four of you if you didn't make decisions that basically circumvent the people's will. That Athens contract was bogus. I pay more for less? In what world does that make sense?

The park issue: The four of you changed your minds AFTER the people got pissed enough. And the fact that those who initially wanted to buy it were clients of Mike Touhey is highly suspicious. To say otherwise is just fantastic (the old meaning of the word, not the new one.)

And the walk-outs... That was just ridiculous. I haven't seen what exactly what was said, but I'm sure the man in the back of the room with the video camera has some footage. But it's your job to stay there, even if you don't like what is being said. That's what the people expect from their elected officials. You don't just childishly walk out like that, even if your colleague was being the childish one. If I walked out every time a co-worker pissed me off, I'd be out of a job, as would most of America.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your time explaining your views. It really helps me understand and see there are clearly things being said that are not what they appear.

The taped meetings; yes, there are those who want these back on.... we understand your concerns/frustration. As you know, our budget situation due to our economy is up in the air right now. Still waiting the State's word if they are going to dip into City monies.... soon, hopefully soon.... People know the belt needs to be tightened and are feeling the squeeze.

Interesting you talk of Athens, the most recent contract, I was not at the meeting. I do feel Athens does a good job in our city and meets many of the requirements set by the State and Federal Government that other cities are not complying with which can have great penalties/fees attached.

Yes, we changed our minds on the park issue. We didn't know what the residents wanted until they came to the meeting to tell the council. Mayor Hernandez had the idea originally to sell the land and Council Members Lane and Touhey were not on the council. I think people's perception of an issue is all in where they heard the story from originally. These type of issues are a process and possibly those who are not familiar with City government may not understand the process, however in the end, I think the residents received what they wanted.

As far as a buyer of the land, I was not aware of one until Rowland Unified sent a letter of interest. I know you won't believe me and feel that we all conspire together. But that's okay, I know the truth. I think it's sad when people criticize others for things they heard from someone else that is hear-say. It amazes me people believe that kind of talk... But I guess it makes for a better story.

I understand if you disagree with the walk out. Yes, you are right, it is my job to say there, just as it is the Mayor's job to keep decorum and the law at that meeting. Of course I didn't want to go, however, it's best to stop a problem. I actually received a few emails and phone calls stating they could understand why we removed ourselves from a bad situation... So there is two opinions here, and that's okay too.

You say you'd be out of a job if a co-worker upset you and you walked out.. interesting comment because if someone was breaking a law in your job, there would be a price to pay if someone behaves or acts inappropriately at the work place. As a business owner, we work very hard to make sure our employees are treated with respect and our employees work together even if they don't agree. They must not disrespect one another. I actually find the opposite of your opinion to be true... if you continue to allow bad and illegal behavior of others, it will continue and not ever resolve.

I have an idea; I will write a brief break-down of our meetings until we can get them back on the air: Here you are -

The meeting was basically good. There was a presentation to Oswald Academy. After the presentations, oral communications took place. Prior to that, the Mayor commented he was going to work to make sure decorum is followed and the residents are respectful. Many residents spoke about different issues. Some stating they would appreciate the Mayor to keep decorum. (I do take notes when people are speaking so I can forward them on - but will keep names out of it) Some residents spoke out against the districting petition and stated it would be premature to start a ballot for the petition being circulated. One resident stated a petitioner came to her door and she asked if this district measure would cost the city money and the response from the petitioner was no. Mayor Hernandez stated it could cost anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 depending on where the ballot would be placed - attached to another election. Council Member Touhey asked the city clerk what the costs were previously for elections. She stated 115,000. (sorry don't really remember the dialogue here) I felt the answer was anywhere from 10,000 to 150,000 and up. Due to this fact the resident wanted her name removed from the petition. The city clerk stated she could come to city hall and fill out a form to do so, but it must be done before the petition is submitted. She stated she didn't like only getting to vote for one person instead of five... She also questioned overnight parking wanting to get information on creating no overnight parking on her street. She was disappointed the parking ordinance was not passed.

Two residents wanted town hall meetings to educate the people on districting. Another resident brought a flyer for the Cultural Exchange on Sunday, February 15 from 1 to 3 pm at 15124 E. Amar Road La Puente.
The petitioners spoke and seemed quite upset. The last speaker addressed the budget and staff will be getting back to them .

Then the council motioned to approve the Consent Calendar. The two items on the agenda; Cable TV, it was mentioned by Mayor Hernandez that Pete Reynolds was interested in paying for the labor cost for Cable TV. A motion and second was made to bring the item back when a letter of intent with the details come from Mr. Reynolds. The item of the districting petition anticipating final signatures came forward. Mayor Hernandez explained he wanted to piggy back to save money on the election. I stated we would need to wait for the signatures to be submitted and approved (a process) is what is required by the elections code in reference to petitions. We can put an ordinance forward, however it must not be tied to a circulating petition. Motion was made to receive and file.

There were two AB 111 reports stated. And we adjourned.

S. Sanderson

The Commish said...

I'd like to add that Oswalt Academy was originally a Community Services Commission item that those of us who voted for it were pretty excited about. I didn't go to the meeting either, because I've been to enough to last two lifetimes. Plus, I was having dinner with some co-workers.

If you're a foodie, you have to try the Napa Rose in Anaheim at the Disneyland resort. Just take LOTS of money. I'll be taking lunch to work for two weeks to make up for what I spent there, and forget about my weekly outings with friends until February.

But it was totally worth it.