Good Cops -Bad Cops

December 31, 2008

We have pretty good cops around here.

For the most part.

Not a lot of ego problems.

Some, but not much.

Then there are bad cops.

A Belleville Police officer arrested a St. Charles man for wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the word “POLICE.”

Now, Adam C. Weinstein, of St. Charles, has sued the department for what he calls a violation of his constitutional rights.

According to police documents, Weinstein was arrested in 2006 outside a bar in Belleville for “impersonating officers.” He was wearing a black t-shirt with the word police striped across the front and back under a sweater. The t-shirt became exposed when he removed the sweater because he was hot.

“Those t-shirts are a sign of solidarity,” said Howard A. Shalowitz, an attorney representing Weinstein. “How many people wear NYPD caps? Are they impersonating police?”

According to the lawsuit, a waitress told Weinstein that some police officers wanted to speak with him outside the bar. Weinstein went outside, he said, and was greeted by Belleville Police Officer Jeff Vernatti.

Vernatti, Weinstein alleges, asked him for his police credentials. Weinstein says he told the officer he didn’t have any credentials because he wasn’t a police officer.

That’s when, according to Weinstein, the police officer started screaming curse words and became physically and verbally abusive. Weinstein says he was cuffed and later released by the officer, but made to take the t-shirt off while standing in the cold.

Weinstein was ticketed for impersonating a police officer, but it was later dismissed. The ticket only alleges Weinstein wore the t-shirt.


January thaw is coming soon!

December 31, 2008

After a few glancing blows yesterday’s storm was a direct hit … A solid foot.

The County Snowmobile trails open today.

That means in 10-14 days a January thaw is coming!

Can’t let those trails stay open too long.

Waterboarding Anyone?

December 30, 2008

There is no penalty large enough for people who do not clean their sidewalks of ice … None!

South El Monte Continued…

December 19, 2008

I have to admit I am fascinated by this story. Why is the Mayor of South El Monte spending so many late nights at City Hall working and should the Council stop her from working those hours?

The latest

On most evenings you can find South El Monte Mayor Blanca Figueroa in her wood-paneled City Hall office, which is crowded with her personal touches — figurines, plants, plaques, photographs, three flags, a tattered Bible, a refrigerator, a microwave and two fish tanks housing Ricky, Lucy, Fred and Ethel, her four betta fish.

“It’s my home away from home,” said Figueroa, who admits she’s often there until the wee hours doing city work. “I put on my slippers, put my hair up. It’s comfortable.”

No Mayor,  that is weird. The story continues …

“The mayor has been living at City Hall for the last eight months,” said City Councilman Hector Delgado, who added of her office, “Does it look like a professional office or does it look like somebody’s bedroom?”

Figueroa says she spends most of her days in meetings, so she needs her evening hours to catch up on e-mail and paperwork. And she has to do that work at the office, she said, because she does not have a fax machine or a copier at home.

Figueroa, who frequently refers to herself in the third person, has been saying in recent days that she will try to comply with the wishes of her colleagues. But she makes no firm promises.

“The mayor’s work is never done,” Figueroa said. “The mayor’s got to burn the midnight oil.”

Burn baby burn?


I guess I haven’t heard everything…

December 18, 2008

A couple days ago I wrote  about the Mayor of South El Monte having a curfew instituted on her work time at City Hall. I ended that post saying there had to be more to the story … there just had to be.

This might be the end of it, but I doubt it.

South El Monte Councilman Hector Delgado sent this letter to the Tribune earlier this week. Among his accusations is that Mayor Blanca Figueroa lives in City Hall. Figueroa has denied this, saying that she has a home but has so much work to do that she needs City Hall to be open late.

Here is the letter:

I would like to take a moment to thank my colleagues on the South El Monte City Council for their support in establishing an “After Hours” policy on a 4-1 vote. The effort and thought that went into establishing this policy is reflective of the genuine concern to address the issue of safety and liability.

Our communities’ safety and tax payer money clearly outweighs a single person’s individual desires. I question the work that is allegedly being done by the Mayor at city hall after hours. I have repeatedly asked what work is being done at two or three in the morning by her. She has refused to answer me or any of my colleagues.

We as tax payers have a right to know what the Mayor is doing. I call on the Mayor to provide the entire council, city manager, and most importantly our residents written reports that account for the work she purportedly is doing and provide us an explanation as to why with a laptop, wireless card, cell phone, fax and copy machine she cannot do her work from her home.

The truth is the Mayor is living at City Hall. I invite any resident of South El Monte to come and see for them selves. Residents have every right to view our offices and know exactly what we are doing while we are at City Hall.

Lastly, I would like the Tribune to poll any elected official in the San Gabriel Valley, and ask them if they stay in their public offices until two or three in the morning several days a week.

Once again, I thank my colleagues, Mayor ProTem Louie Aguinaga, Council members Joseph Gonzales, and Angelica Garcia who understand that safety and liability clearly out weights the Mayors extraordinary accommodations.

Hector Delgado


City of South El Monte

Stay tuned if I learn more!

The joy of living in a small city

December 17, 2008

No traffic jams. No standing in lines.  On and on and on…

But when I read this …  it really brings the joy of living in a small city into focus.

Michael Mills, a veteran health inspector in New York City, helps create a map of the city you won’t find in any guidebook: a rat map. That’s right, a map of the New York neighborhoods that rodent populations call home.

Today, rodent complaints by residents from all over New York are electronically pinpointed on the city’s computerized rat map, which allows inspectors to track complaints and hot spots over time and determine how well rat-control efforts are working.

I’ll take the occasional skunk in the yard any day.

Local Bloggers

December 16, 2008

I recently came across a blog from Concord, CA … MayorofConcord.Com (Not Really).

This is a really good local political blog!

It was back in August of 1974 when I moved to Concord. I wasn’t there very long … couldn’t wait to get out of California … but Concord was home for a very short time.

If anyone is thinking about starting a new blog on their local political scene, this is a good model.