April 4, 2019

There was ample warning given to city officials before the fire at the ElDorado nature center on April 3 2019

Most are already aware of all the publicity surrounding the fire that occurred on April 3 2019 at the El Dorado nature center. Most who use it or ride by it on the San Gabriel River (SG River) bike path are also aware that the area is fenced off from the river and for the most part inaccessible (or supposed to be) from humans. It is in an area that is meant to be "natural" and so there is no tree trimming, grass mowing or any other maintenance of those premises. As a result its a perfect place for the "homeless" ( I use that term loosely) to set up camp.Its also the perfect place for a fire to start. Police and Park rangers don't patrol that area as they rarely bike or ride down the bike path in their vehicles. The squatter camps and trash cannot be seen by passing motorists on roadways and cannot be seen well from the air. I think its ironic that this is all going on while our Mayor Garcia touts his "Everybody Home" initiative on top of the millions if not billions raised by Propositions H and HHH (Garcia touting his Imitative here in Sept 2018 and in April 2018)

Yet despite all this the city is well aware of the problem as you will see from emails below.  This is simply a case of either city management refusing to tell police to clean up the situation or worse a feeling by many at the city that since the problem is not visible to most voters to just leave it alone and wait until problems happen. As long as the problem is well hidden from the majority of voters they ignore it. These are photos sent to the city in Dec 2017 showing the destruction to the fence in the very area where the fire occurred on April 3 2019. Tearing down the fence along the bike path is the only way really for the homeless to gain access to the area where the fire occurred. People are not supposed to be in this fenced off area. This is only visible to bike riders on the SG river trail. Weekly fence damage patrols need to be done in that area.

We are aware of at least three physical attacks of bike riders by homeless on the SG River in the last few years. We have been told by police on the river not to ride down there without pepper spray. We have also been told by police that many of these "homeless" down there would have been in jail but for voter passed propositions (passed in the last few years) that allow "low level criminals" to escape any jail time. (As an aside the cops explain that courts only look at the current offence for the violence determination and ignore all prior violent convictions so the "non violent offenders" claim is bogus..here is an example) Again all homeless are NOT the same. Many are criminals, drug addicted or mentally ill. These are the ones that typically refuse help. 99% of the homeless we see down on the river are adult males between 30 and 50 years of age. No children. No families.

The city leaders of course claim that (1) they did not know about the "problems" and (2) that "the law" "prevents" them from doing "anything". They are wrong on both counts. The emails below take care of item one as well as direct face to face communications we have had with police and park rangers over the last 24 months on the problem. As for the second issue, fortunately the City of Long Beach had a large very capable bureaucratic City Attorneys office to deal with how to legally move these homeless off the trail and into shelters. But they simply don't want to be bothered with the problem until of course it blows up in their face.

The city of Lakewood is responsible for the west side of the Carson street bridge (or rather under it) and has posted no trespassing signs there on the bridge and in January 2019 removed a large homeless camp of many individuals. This camp is now once again starting to form. They have been advised of the problem and how to fix it but like Long beach they are know it alls and will not listen to citizen complaints, dismissing them as not credible or simply "we cant do anything". The Santa Ana river was filled with hundreds of homeless in 2016-2018 and that problem was cleaned up.

There is a legal process to move the homeless out of camps and into facilities. We are not talking about that many people on the SG river, no where near the daunting tasked that faced the cities on the Santa Ana river. The problem is that it has become chronic and we suspect the same individuals are causing the problem over and over again. The city needs to step up and start tackling this problem where it is least seen, not just the visible homeless on the sidewalks around city hall. Problem is cleaning up the river does not garner a lot of re-election votes as so few voters are aware of the extent of the problem.

Onto the fire issues. We have known of three fires on the SG river all in Long Beach. Im sure there are many more as most are not covered by the media and swept under the rug by police and fire depts.

FIRE 1: The first fire was around April 1 2017 and occurred at a homeless camp at the SW corner of the Carson St Walmart parking lot (photo) which was on SG River property (at the NW order of El Dorado park). It was 15 feet off the bike path. Fire and Police dept were on scene. As it was recent it was brought up at a Councilperson Mungo's public event on April 10 2017. Basically Mungo and the police (present) told everyone they could not do anything about it. You know legal stuff that none of you little people could understand.

FIRE 2: On or about November 30 2017. Again this was at another spot favored (prized) by the homeless: The east side of the Willow street bridge over the SG river just 100 feet from where the fire was on April 3, 2019. This fire was under the bridge itself, which I'm sure makes motorists feel comfortable as they traverse that bridge daily. The people living under this bridge were tossed out of there using the legal procedure Dec 13 2017 but within a month they were back again. We have talked to fire personnel in that area literally warning these homeless under that bridge of high water threats in the river but doing nothing to remove them. The problem at this bridge (like Carson st.) is well known. Every time the police and fire go down there to retrieve another dead body in the river they are reminded of the problem. The concern especially at Willow street is that gasoline generators are being used by the homeless. That's right. Gasoline. What could go wrong. No idea what "business" they are running under there but from talking with Seal Beach police in that area its mostly stolen bikes (chop shops for bikes).

FIRE 3: April 4 2019. This fire of course well documented by the media due to its size and location. the perfect place for a fire. hard to get to an no hydrants nearby (just river water which they failed to use)

The next problem that will be occurring is at the 405 freeway and the SG River. This place is notorious for homeless. Seal beach and Caltrans have cleared out a large camp (Feb 2019) at the side of the SB 605 ramp to the 405 north. A few years ago they were literally living INSIDE the freeway bridges over the river accessing them thru panels cut by Caltrans to add seismic updates to the bridge. More recently they are using the holes to store (likely) stolen bikes! A photo from March 7 2019. I would hate to see what it now looks like up inside that bridge. Wonder what internal damage they have done to the bridge itself. I know for a fact many of these homeless carry large bolt cutters and other tools to gain access to non permitted areas. Lock and fence cutting is also occurring at Carson St bridge and SG River as we write this. City of lakewood is well aware of it.

The email exchange with various council people and Long beach city officials is below along with the dates of the communications. Judge for yourself if the fire at the Nature Center was preventable by the city had they listened and taken appropriate timely action. Time has come for some real action with respect to the homeless on the river. Hopefully this fire will draw more public attention to the problem that has been well known by the city for years.

On Wed, Feb 21, 2018 at 8:36 AM, Stacy Mungo <Stacy.Mungo@longbeach.gov> wrote:

Sir or ma’am, 

We will look Into this. I have addd Councilman Supernaw as this is in the 4th and I know he’d like to keep an eye on it.


On Feb 19, 2018, at 9:46 AM, Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us> wrote:

On Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 10:49 AM, Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us> wrote:
Sadly the fence has two new "holes" (just north of willow along river bed east side) and a sagging spot halfway between willow and spring. that sagging spot likely occurred as the fence installers did not properly secure the top of the chain link fencing to the top guide wire still in place between the poles (which you can still see in place in my blurry photo)

Here are some pics from this week. get it fixed before they start going in there again if they are not already.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Wed, Dec 20, 2017 at 11:06 AM
Subject: Re: Homeless issues in Eldorado Park Nature Center
To: Stacy Mungo <Stacy.Mungo@longbeach.gov>, "Stacy Mungo Councilwoman City of Long Beach, 5th District" <district5@longbeach.gov>
Cc: Pat West LB city Mgr <patrick.west@longbeach.gov>, "Marie Knight | Dir. Long beach Parks, Recreation and Marine" <Marie.Knight@longbeach.gov>


I ride by thre 3-4 days a week. They are very well hidden from above and even from bike path. military grade camouflage. One thing that would help is keep checking the chain link fence between the nature section and the river bike path. They use the bike path to get in there and have damaged the fence in at least 5 paces to gain access. Keep that fixed and they likely will stay out

As for fires that place is ripe for a fire and most of the people in there likely have lighters or other ignition sources for cooking or for smoking or using drugs

Finally even if these people cannot be locked up they can be "arrested" for most of the things they are "likely" doing and that give you the right to take all their "crap" and store it for 90 days (per ACLU cases) either way its out out of there. If you keep doing that they will get the msg. My retired cop capt friend said whenever they got a homeless person setting up they would move them out as they know more would follow and word would get out that it was a good place to camp. next thing you know its the Santa Ana river. Govt is good at kicking the can down the road and putting off problems until they are huge  and blow up.

On Mon, Dec 18, 2017 at 11:17 AM, Stacy Mungo <Stacy.Mungo@longbeach.gov> wrote:
Hi, just want you to know I’ve followed up with staff and we’ll get a response going. You bring up a good point about the fires. Thanks for your vigilance!

-          Stacy Mungo

From: Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2017 8:37 AM
To: Patrick West
Cc: Mayor; Council District 5; Christine Schachter; Marie Knight; Valerie Davis; Angela McGrath
Subject: Re: Homeless issues in Eldorado Park Nature Center

Thank you Pat for responding. You are the only one that did out of all the people below. Here is an interesting news article from today on what Santa Ana is doing. of course the lazy reporter did not bother to cite the ordinance number or quote it. I found it and attached it as I know cities like to copy ordinances of other cities. Lets hope Eldo does not become the place all the Santa Ana river and Santa Ana civic center refugees head to next. And I really do fear a fire either under bridges or worse in the nature area. I bike past that area daily and see what is going on. Go take a look for yourself. they are well hidden

On Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 2:00 PM, Patrick West <Patrick.West@longbeach.gov> wrote:
Thank for your email.  We'll make sure the appropriate entities follow up. Pat west

Sent from my iPhone

On Dec 13, 2017, at 10:47 AM, Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us> wrote:

I am sending this email again with new info. I want to be on record of telling the city the problem so that when this issue blows up in your face you wont be able to say you did not know about it or were not told
there was a fire under bridge at Willow (right neat nature park) on Nov 30 2017 as FD records will show. It was started by a long standing homeless camp under the east side of the willow bridge. There was another fire near wal mart at the carson st bridge in April 2017 that was brought up at the Mungo meeting on April 10 2017. Why homeless are allowed to camp IN eldorado park nature center area is beyond me. The park rangers chase out bikes, dog walkers and cars at sunset but Homeless are exempt? This is sheer laziness on the part of the LB elected officials staff and the police. enforce the park ordinances. The park is closed to ALL at sunset. Those are the rules. And I want to go on record as saying there is a very good chance the "Nature" section of the park (along the river north of willow south of Spring) has a very good chance of catching fire reading the stories below and the fires we have already had very near that section. act now. before its too late. This is not homelessness on public sidewalks or in the riverbed where APPARENTLY "different rules" apply. this is a park. I will bet that if I did not get a permit and let a bunch of boy scouts camped out in the park (esp the forbidden "nature section")  the rangers would be all over us in ten minutes rousting us out of there via their vehicle loudspeakers. This is disparate enforcement of rules that favor the homeless!! Outrageous!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Long Beach Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 3:23 PM
Subject: Homeless issues in Eldorado Park Nature Center
To: "Brad Futak, LBPD Quality of Life Unit" <brad.futak@longbeach.gov>, Chris Roth LBPD Quality of Life Unit <chris.roth@longbeach.gov>, Jeanette Rowe <jrowe@lahsa.org>, "Robert Cerince, Homeless Services Long beach" <Robert.Cerince@longbeach.gov>, "Tom Kirk, LA county dept Mental Health (LACDMH)," <tkirk@dmh.lacounty.gov>, Elsa Ramos | homeless services long beach <Elsa.Ramos@longbeach.gov>
Cc: "Stacy Mungo Councilwoman City of Long Beach, 5th District" <district5@longbeach.gov>, "George Chapjian, Dir Parks, Rec, and Marine Long beach" <George.Chapjian@longbeach.gov>, "Marie Knight | Dir. Long beach Parks, Recreation and Marine" <Marie.Knight@longbeach.gov>, Meridith Reynolds | Long beach parks dept <meridith.reynolds@longbeach.gov>, Byron Brno | LBPD <Byron.Brno@longbeach.gov>, Laura Farinella LBPD <Laura.Farinella@longbeach.gov>, Liz Griffin | LBPD East Division Commander <liz.griffin@longbeach.gov>, William Lebaron | LBPD <William.Lebaron@longbeach.gov>


As you well know the homeless on the SGRT are becoming a bigger and bigger problem and now that OC has evicted all the homeless from SART we are going to get more on SGRT. So now that they are invading the Eldorado nature center (a place that is to remain pristine and natural) and filling it with trash and debris what is going to be done? They need to be moved out. Anywhere. If you keep letting them infest that area as they are doing its only going to get worse. In the last few months it has gotten worse and their numbers are increasing. This is the PARK not the river bed (different issue legally and substantively). Here is where they are at (see attached). Something needs to be done and done now. I have heard ALL the excuses form LBPD and the park Rangers. (they told me to complaint to city hall and city leaders so here I am) I dont need to hear the excuses any more. We are beyond that. Action needs to be taken now.


Long Beach Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Long Beach, CA | A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ | click here to receive LAAG posts by email

March 2, 2017

Government emails on personal devices are public record: California Supreme Court

This took a while but it is the right decision. For years and to this day Lakewood city council members refuse to use city email like "todd.rodgers@lakewoodcity.org" and "prefer" to use their "private" email accounts (just like Hillary Clinton did at the State Dept.). Well those "private" accounts (or any account) are no longer safe or off limits form public records act requests if they have been used to conduct municipal or government business. So if you want to mingle personal business with public business like Hillary did at the State Dept. go ahead, but realize that those private email accounts are no longer safe. I really hope this puts an end to shenanigans by city council members and their cronies. Our initial story on this goes way back to 2008

Here is a lead story and the opinion itself. Enjoy. For once the public wins against City Hall.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA | A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ | click here to receive LAAG posts by email

November 3, 2015

Lakewood ranked 1,050 out of 1,268 small cities in Wallet Hub's 2015 Best & Worst Small Cities in America.

Lets see how the Lakewood City council spins this one. Lakewood ranked 1,050 out of 1,268 small cities in Wallet Hub's 2015 Best & Worst Small Cities in America. That is the bottom 18%. Yikes. Clearly all the fake awards like "Sports town" USA and "Playful City" USA and all the other fake awards the city paid for are not paying off. Better luck next year Lakewood.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA | A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ | click here to receive LAAG posts by email

August 3, 2014

Dangerous Condition on Arrow Highway between Azusa Ave and Cerritos Ave

Unfortunately it has come to this. Over the last 30 years infrastructure in California has crumbled and the pace is accelerating. We have warm weather year round but nonetheless are roads are crumbling. The problem (as pointed out by long time city staffers) is that there is no budget. But this issue is not a recent phenomenon. Its been a long time in coming. Years of "robbing" from city infrastructure budgets to pay for silly "pet" projects or to lure private investment (which should pay its own way) or feed ever hungry public unions and bloated pension plans. The problem has been ignored for years. Assumptions were made that streets would just last forever. Well the problems have now come home to roost. [as an update to this story we feel vindicated by this plight of this poor woman]

And the public "servants" (now referred to by LAAG as the "public aristocracy") is starting to feel the pressure of these problems. But not to fear. City employees are very good at ignoring the public, dismissing them with belittling comments (to their face or behind their back) and basically telling them they know nothing and to go away. This is all done in a very "politically correct" fashion of course. We have even seen elected politicos go so far as to ask LAAG to praise the city employees for doing their job with our tax money (tax money to pay the employee for working and tax money to fix the infrastructure)! How is that for absurd! And all because the PROBLEM is directly attributable to them wasting our tax dollars and at the same time failing miserably to DO their job over the last 30 years! Then the public servants sit there in amazement as to why "these people" complain and why they are so cynical.

Typically voters/taxpayers complain about infrastructure problems via phone call. That's useless. Might as well call your aunt and complain to her. Records of those calls/complaints are gone the minute you hang up. How about emails you ask? Well those are typically "erased" as well or at least they will be if there is ever a lawsuit due to an injury. Cities are loathe to keep them for fear someone might find out that they actually KNEW about a problem and failed or more likely "refused" to fix it even though it involved public safety and could be remedied for very little of OUR tax dollars.

As you can see from the email below we complained (on June 1, 2014) about some very dangerous potholes right in the area where bicycles ride, especially large groups. This condition has slowly gotten worse over the last 6 months with the tiny bit of rain we did get this spring. The city that is responsible (Azusa) really did not come out and say that this southern section of the roadway was their responsibility but the border city (Covina) which claims it had no responsibility over that roadway section put the blame on Azusa! Way to go Covina!

All Azusa had to say in response to our initial reporting email was this:

"Yes that section of the roadway in your email is our responsibility. We are sending a crew out there in the next two days to assess the situation and will make emergency repairs as warranted that same day. Once they are complete we will send you and email indicating they are complete. Once that is done please let us know if we solved the dangerous condition at least temporarily." (they don't even have to thanks us even though unlike the (grossly over compensated) public servants LAAG does this for NO compensation.

But instead we got a bunch of dismissive backtalk (by one of the top Public Works people) about how we are not doing anything that helped the situation, and that the prior problem we alerted them to was also of no help, (even though they did exactly what we told them to do a year later), no thanks for calling it to their attention and basically dismissed us as bothering them. Again public servants transformed into public aristocracy.

We did note that the paving in front of Azusa City Hall is new and pristine!! What a coincidence!!

The thought in government these days is that all the "good ideas" come from government. They know it all. Nothing good  (ideas or observations) can ever come from taxpayers that actually understand the problem better than the city does as taxpayers have to deal with it on a daily basis. Bicycle riders unfortunately know the problems with roads much better than the public "servants" who never ride bikes on their own roads. Bicycle riders see all the potholes and defects right up close at speeds slower than cars. The potholes in these photos wont affect most cars and motorcycles nearly as much as a bicycle. The bicycle wheel in the photo does not do these holes justice. Some of them are 2 inches deep or more. You ride into these holes at 25 mph on a bicycle you are in for a nasty spill and then a car will run you over as you lay there. The failure of our infrastructure is much more dangerous to cyclists than to car drivers. The city people apparently don't get that (or more likely don't care) as they don't ride.

The repairs we are/were asking for would take a city crew 30-45 minutes to patch. Now granted the city may need to check on the patches after a rain but we don't have to worry about that for 5 months and then about 3 x a year. In the meantime a serous injury could easily have been prevented. But instead the condition still exists as of this posting. Sure we understand that it takes months and years to play catchup after "ignoring" road decay problems for years (well ignoring with money, not with lip service especially during campaigns). But we are asking for a temporary fix. Apparently the city does not care enough about public safety to make a 30 minute fix. We are too "busy" go away. Well the people that run this website are too busy as well but we find the time when it comes to issues like this.

So given that calls and votes do nothing, emails are destroyed or never "found" we feel that our website must do the only responsible thing it can...notify the public of the situation and its attempts to get it fixed by city leaders and staffers. We take this stuff very seriously as hitting the pavement with your face at 25 mph hurts a lot. If using this website to call attention to this problem in this way is what we have to do to get it fixed, then so be it. That is what the web is for. We don't want any government agencies to be able to use the very effective "no one ever told us" defense, which unfortunately works very well and the government agencies use it very effectively every day. They have for years. Well that won't work here in this situation that's for sure. Because once someone gets hurt on this street they will google it and guess what a bonanza they will find in this posting. Hopefully it will yield punitive damages as well where the government agency's employees have demonstrated a "conscious disregard" for safety. Only then will government entities (and their employees) learn to to act properly and promptly in the face of dangerous conditions reported to them.

Our emails and their recipients are set forth below. The two responses were mostly meaningless and not to the point (as set forth above) and we don't want to further embarrass the senders at this point in this forum. Again the point is we told them what to do, how to fix it, where it was and why it was dangerous. Nothing else matters after that given the cost to repair is negligible.

From: Lakewood Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Sun, Jun 1, 2014 at 11:34 AM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Street problems
To: Tito Haes <thaes@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Vera Mendoza <vmendoza@ci.azusa.ca.us>, francesdelach@ci.azusa.ca.us, Candy Toscano <ctoscano@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Fran Delach <fdelach@ci.azusa.ca.us>
Cc: Walter Allen City Council Covina CA <wallen@covinaca.gov>, "John C. King, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Covina" <jking@covinaca.gov>, "Peggy Delach, Mayor, City of Covina" <pdelach@covinaca.gov>, transportation@covinaca.gov

​ Unfortunately once again local cities need to be reminded of their obligation to keep roads in good condition. Every Saturday (for that last 20 years) hundreds of bicycle riders head eastbound on the south side of E. Arrow highway to make a left turn on Northbound Cerritos Ave. Every sat. All year. (and yes thank you Azusa for repaving Cerritos Ave upon our request after 30 years of neglect)  The section of Arrow Hwy from S. Azusa Ave to Cerritos Ave​ has a number of areas where large chunks of asphalt have been broken out of the surface due mainly to the roadway slowly disintegrating. If the city feels that it does not need to spend sizeable portions of its budget every year keeping its roads properly resurfaced (due to years of failure to do this maint.), then it needs to run a monthly or weekly "road patch team" over all its roads to insure potholes and other road defects are fixed rapidly. If a bicycle hits one of these potholes there will very likely be a crash of 10 or more people given the size of the group that takes up most of the entire 2 eastbound lanes of E Arrow Hwy.. Im just making you aware of this now in writing so you cant later deny you did know of the dangerous condition. That way when you get sued this email will show up. It completely baffles me how derelict cities are in their ethical and legal responsibilities instead relying on the "oh we never new about it defense" well thats gone now. No more excuses. I like to call it "municipal malpractice".
It appears that that section of Arrow Hwy is divided between Covina and Azusa. (yet another opportunity cities use to dodge responsibility) I have to assume that Covina has responsibility for the south half of the road but can't be sure from google maps. Thats your problem to figure out between the two of you. However just to be sure I have put both cities on notice.
This is a major east/west thoroughfare and so it deserves some attention. "Properly" fixing the 10 more so problem areas in this road section mentioned above will take a few hours of city worker time. And most have the time apparently. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-street-services-workers-20140523-story.html

​I have to chuckle when I see blatant bicycle promotion like this  http://www.covinaca.gov/images/webuser/PublicWorks/Transportation/Covina_-_Info-post_-_Bikestation_-_04.10.pdf
then a total failure to ensure good roadway conditions to use those very bikes. Remember for those of you that dont ride costly road bikes​..the contact patch of most bicycle road tires is about the side of a quarter or less so think about that when doing roadway repairs/upgrades.  Use this as a handy guide as to the roadway surface quality that bicycles require http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/oppd/hdm/pdf/chp1000.pdf

​From: Lakewood Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 10:15 AM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Street problems
To: Alex Gonzalez <AGonzalez@covinaca.gov>
Cc: Tito Haes <thaes@ci.azusa.ca.us>, James Makshanoff <jmakshanoff@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Monica Vargas <MVargas@covinaca.gov>, Mayor Pro Tem John King <JKing@covinaca.gov>, Peggy Delach <PDelach@covinaca.gov>, City of Covina Transportation Division <transportation@covinaca.gov>, Walter Allen <wallen@covinaca.gov>, Kalieh Honish <khonish@covinaca.gov>, Daryl Parrish <dparrish@covinaca.gov>

​ We totally support bicycle infrastructure "creation". But over the years we have noticed there there seems to be more enthusiasm for "new" projects (maybe as a way to get votes, who knows) and less enthusiasm for "maintaining" what is already in place as that again is "boring" and not viewed as much by voters as a reason to vote for a candidate. Also when a new project is created there never seems to be a set aside to maintain that project over the next hundred years​. I keep telling cities. Take the money from the feds. (11% chance of passing)  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr3978?utm_campaign=govtrack_email_update&utm_source=govtrack/email_update&utm_medium=email  But the feds are guilty of the same problem. Only money for new stuff not fixing and maintaining old. Unfortunately with local govt we voters have found that using the stick approach works better than the carrot. We also find out only after prodding that much of this work re maint going on behind the scenes and is never posted on the website. It also crawls at a snails pace compared to most things. Post a chart with all the sections of all major streets and when they are due for resurfacing or when last resurfaced. I know that usually exists. just hidden from view? why? The internet is a (mostly) free resource. Use it for REAL info dissemination.

on behalf of
LAAG's Active Voting Constituents

​From: Lakewood Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Sat, Jun 21, 2014 at 6:46 PM
Subject: Re: Street pothole problems [emergency maint needed]
To: Tito Haes <thaes@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Vera Mendoza <vmendoza@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Candy Toscano <ctoscano@ci.azusa.ca.us>, "Joseph R. Rocha, Mayor city of Azusa" <jrocha@ci.azusa.ca.us>, "Juana Hernandez, city of Azusa" <jhernandez@ci.azusa.ca.us>, "Jeff Ferre, City attorney City of Azusa" <Jeff.Ferre@bbklaw.com>
Cc: Walter Allen City Council Covina CA <wallen@covinaca.gov>, "John C. King, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Covina" <jking@covinaca.gov>, "Peggy Delach, Mayor, City of Covina" <pdelach@covinaca.gov>, transportation Dept City of covina <transportation@covinaca.gov>, citymanager@covinaca.gov, mwalczak@covinaca.gov, mayor@covinaca.gov, pw@covinaca.gov, "William.Priest, city atty City of Covina" <William.Priest@bbklaw.com>

Just rode this section of roadway again today. Problems start at the Lowes sign on E. Arrow Hwy and go east in the #2 lane to Cerritos Ave. (see below for more detail)
I really don't know why this is not fixed yet (after 18 days written notice which was acknowledged). this an item that does not need budgeting (so I don't want to hear that excuse) and takes 30-60 minutes of employee time. this is routine repair that needs to be expedited as it involves public safety.

Failure to get this fixed is a "conscious disregard of bicycle rider safety" and should someone get hurt I would tell them to sue the city for punitive damages. Thats right. look it up. Ask the city attorney how that works

​From: Lakewood Accountability Action Group <updates@laag.us>
Date: Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 12:32 PM
Subject: Re: Street pothole problems [emergency maint needed]
To: Tito Haes <thaes@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Vera Mendoza <vmendoza@ci.azusa.ca.us>, Candy Toscano <ctoscano@ci.azusa.ca.us>, "Joseph R. Rocha, Mayor city of Azusa" <jrocha@ci.azusa.ca.us>, "Juana Hernandez, city of Azusa" <jhernandez@ci.azusa.ca.us>, "Jeff Ferre, City attorney City of Azusa" <Jeff.Ferre@bbklaw.com>
Cc: Walter Allen City Council Covina CA <wallen@covinaca.gov>, "John C. King, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Covina" <jking@covinaca.gov>, "Peggy Delach, Mayor, City of Covina" <pdelach@covinaca.gov>, transportation Dept City of covina <transportation@covinaca.gov>, citymanager@covinaca.gov, mwalczak@covinaca.gov, mayor@covinaca.gov, pw@covinaca.gov, "William.Priest, city atty City of Covina" <William.Priest@bbklaw.com>

Your funding problems solved. see attached

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA | A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ | click here to receive LAAG posts by email

July 11, 2014

The last day to submit FCC comment on network neutrality is July 15 2014

The last day to submit FCC comment on network neutrality is July 15 2014. This is it folks. If you want blogs and small non corporate websites to have a chance to make a difference in the world this is it. Tell the FCC's Tom Wheeler than corporate greed is not ok and that he should look out for us, the ones he is sworn to protect, not his country club buddies from the cable industry that spewed him forth (We are aghast at the fact Obama appointed him). Yes Mr Wheeler you are a Dingo watching our baby. Wheeler disagrees

You can make a comment here.  Email address not required. This is your last chance to tell the FCC what you think. This is more effective than writing to Congress. After this they have to finalize the rules to deal with this defeat (thanks again to the Supremes) you can also send an e-mail to make your opinion known at openinternet@fcc.govr or direct a tweet to Wheeler @TomWheelerFCC

These are all the comments so far (205,000)   This is the FCC press release as of may 15 calling for comment.

Other good background info: PBS on the future


Businessweek: Wheeler Backtracks

Vox: Beyond Net Neutrality

Vox: Pressure on FCC

Vox: What is neutrality

And Last but not least, Susan Crawford's Book on the issue

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA | A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ | click here to receive LAAG posts by email

State Water Resources Control Board Prohibition of Activities and Mandatory Actions During Drought Emergency

The State Water Resources Control Board is putting teeth into its drought restrictions. This will affect Lakewood. Read the regulations or go to the homepage for the State Water Board Drought Year Water Action. Vote to take place July 15, 2014

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA | A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ | click here to receive LAAG posts by email

July 7, 2014

Lakewood is correct in opposing a California Assembly resolution which seeks to eliminate the ability of cities to outsource services

The City of Lakewood is opposing this California Assembly resolution (also reprinted below as of this posting; House Resolution No. 29) which seeks to eliminate the ability of cities to outsource services, including law enforcement and fire. The problem of course is that those two services are just provided for other government bureaucracies (LASheriffs Dept.; LACoFire) so there is no threat to government unions. Don't fret Assembly Democrats. Now as for trash services and street sweeping etc, as the recent price increase in Lakewood suggests, we need to make sure there is full transparency at the city level for all services provided. Transparency heads off problems (like this Assembly resolution) but people at the city of Lakewood try their hardest to keep things "hidden" in plain view. ["oh you can always come into the clerk's office and ask to see a document"...yeah like voters have the time, energy and know how to do that...they can't even find time to vote!] All documents regarding outside contracting need to be posted on the city's website. How many times have we brought this up? What are you afraid of [Lakewood City Council] if someone sees an outside services contract? All those contracts should have a clause in them that says they are to be web posted as well as all documents that relate to the contract. Don't like that Mr. Contractor then don't contract with the city. Can you imagine how much Lakewood services would cost (i.e. taxes) if we had to pay government union level benefits and wages to all service providers? We are already paying outrageous sums to "grass cutters" for parks and center medians vs what private contractors would likely cost. This resolution is opposed by cities and of course supported by bloated over priced public unions who are bankrupting the state. This Assembly resolution needs to be stopped...now. And they way to do it is with more transparency.

Amended IN Assembly April 03, 2014 Amended IN Assembly March 13, 2014 CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2013–2014 REGULAR SESSION House Resolution No. 29

 Introduced by Assembly Member Gomez (Coauthors: Assembly Members Alejo, Ammiano, Atkins, Bloom, Bocanegra, Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Buchanan, Campos, Chau, Chesbro, Dababneh, Dickinson, Fong, Frazier, Gatto, Gonzalez, Hall, Roger Hernández, Holden, Jones-Sawyer, Lowenthal, Nazarian, Pan, John A. Pérez, Quirk, Rendon, Ridley-Thomas, Rodriguez, Skinner, Stone, Ting, Weber, Wieckowski, Williams, and Yamada)

 February 04, 2014 Relative to outsourcing public services.


WHEREAS, Public services and assets are the fabric that binds our communities together. They are also a ladder to the middle class; and WHEREAS, Faced with severe budget problems in the wake of the Great Recession, state and local governments across America are handing over control of public services and assets to corporations that promise to operate them better, faster, and cheaper; and WHEREAS, Outsourcing these services and assets often fails to keep these promises, and too often it undermines transparency, accountability, and shared prosperity and competition - the underpinnings of democracy itself; and WHEREAS, Outsourcing means that taxpayers have less say over how future tax dollars are spent and have no ability to vote out executives who make decisions that could harm the public interest; and WHEREAS, Outsourcing means taxpayers are often contractually limited to a single for-profit corporation; and WHEREAS, Outsourcing frequently means that wages and benefits for public service workers fall and the local economy suffers while corporate profits rise. The Center for American Progress Action Fund has found that of the 5.4 million people working for federal service contractors in 2008, an estimated 80 percent earned below the living wage for their city or region. For-profit corporations are three times more likely than the public sector to employ workers at poverty-threshold wages; and two million private sector employees working for federal contractors earn less than $12 an hour - too little to support a family. That is more low wage workers than are employed by McDonald’s and WalMart combined; and WHEREAS, Outsourcing means that taxpayers often no longer know how their tax dollars are being spent. Meetings and records that used to be open to the public can become proprietary information when corporations take over; and WHEREAS, The Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda is one model that may help ensure transparency, accountability, shared prosperity, and competition in the operation of public services and assets; and WHEREAS, Planks in the Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda would require governments to post information about their contracts online and require contractors to open their books to the public, ensure that governments have the capacity to adequately oversee contracts, to cancel contracts that fail to deliver on their promises, prohibit law breaking companies from getting government contracts, require contractors to pay their employees living wages and benefits, require competitive bidding on contracts that guarantee company profits at the expense of taxpayers; and WHEREAS, Recent polling shows that taxpayers oppose the outsourcing of public services and assets to for-profit companies and support these common sense controls to ensure that their interests are protected; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, That the Assembly opposes outsourcing of public services and assets, which harms transparency, accountability, shared prosperity, and competition, and supports processes that give public service workers the opportunity to develop their own plan on how to deliver cost-effective, high-quality services; and be it further Resolved, That the Assembly urges local officials to become familiar with the provisions of the Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda; and be it further Resolved, That the Assembly intends to introduce and advocate for responsible outsourcing legislation; and be it further Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ click here to receive LAAG posts by email

July 2, 2014

Using private email for official government business may finally be ended in California

update: This problem is still widespread in 2015 in many cities. This has to stop. It may take Hillary Clinton down. This story is flabbergasting.

Interestingly its only taken 4 years for this issue to finally come to a head after we first raised the issue in 2011. The problem is simply that of public officials elected and otherwise using private non government email addresses for official government business and communications (with residents..or worse) as a way to "coyly" avoid Public Records requests laws. Its an old Karl Rove trick from 2007 (which may have been where local politicos learned it). But the law looks like it may finally be catching up with the politicos who like to play fast and loose on this. This article (by Chriss Street no less) notes that the California Supremes are going to be taking up the issue and given California's penchant for "Sunshine", city and local government politicos hiding their emails in private email accounts better start cleaning up their email accounts now (time to purge!). You will note that unlike most small cities, the Lakewood city council members do NOT have their own email addresses @lakewoodcity.org. Hmmm how interesting. Even if they did have emails @lakewoodcity.org they are not published anywhere to be found.

Our simple solution to the problem posed by the League of California Cities faux dilemma (in its opposition letter to the California Supremes) is not to allow elected officials and employees of government entities use non government email accounts to send and receive email messages (and attachments!) that pertain to government or taxpayer related business or issues. If the official errors on the side of inclusion and there is something personal on the government e mail server we let the government public records code sort that out. Its more than capable of doing that. We agree its too hard to police and store and get access to private email. That's one of the reasons the government officials want to use it and why we don't want them to. But that is no excuse to just allow officials to keep bypassing the open government problem Karl Rove style. If a government official receives a government related email on his private email account he/she just forwards that to his/her government email account and then responds (if necessary) with the government account. This can also be set up to take place automatically. All smartphones allow multiple domain emails on one phone. If you cant handle that then you have no business using email. Gmail allows you on the fly to select which domain and which email you want to reply from. This is simple people. Pay attention old fogies on the Calif Supreme court! Time for the email shuffle to end and evading public records requests.  This is not a technological problem. Its just a "problem" that local government officials don't want fixed.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ click here to receive LAAG posts by email

June 6, 2014

water and trash service rate increase hearing at Lakewood City Council Chambers on June 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Just so that everyone is aware there is a water and trash service rate increase hearing at Lakewood City Council Chambers on June 24, 2014 at 7:30 pm. You must object to the rate increase before that time in writing (presumably to the Lakewood city clerk at dhayward@lakewoodcity.org not to our site) which will be much more effective that rambling on at the meeting. (we find that communicating with the City is much more effective if done in writing so that there is a paper trail) In classic Lakewood "non transparency" style no information whatsoever has been posted about this rate increase (on www.lakewoodcity.org) as of this posting (and the city has been planning this since at least March 2014). We made the following public records request to the city this week and we will try (if we get a timely response from Lakewood) to post what we get back (if anything) on this site. We need this information well in advance of 6/22/14 so that we can respond to the proposed increase in writing before the 6/24/14 hearing. Hopefully with the new "bolstering" of the California Constitution and the Public Records Act under the recently passed Proposition 42 (on June 3, 2014) we can expect to see local government entities give a little bit more respect to public records act requests.

Here is what we were seeking in the public records request: 

1. copies of all staff reports or 3rd party reports and all attachments regarding the rate increase and its need and or justifications

2. Any surveys, studies or any other documentation showing water and trash rates in any other cities done at any time in the last two years

3. communications to / from the Edco trash/waste company wherein they justify and or explain the need for a price or rate increase

4. Any proposed amendments to the Lakewood municipal code regarding the rate increase

5. Any forms or rules proposed for protests to the rate increase

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ click here to receive LAAG posts by email

October 25, 2013

Swarming Helicopters over Lakewood 10/24/13

This is what we want to know. The Press Telegram article with the details is below (posted only about 15 hours late). The arrest was at 3:40 pm. Ok so far so good. Now there were at least two news helicopters (the high up hovering helicopters) and at least 2-3 low flying circling helicopters. One was black the other the green and gold Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) copter. The news helicopters left soon after the 3:40pm arrest, but the low flying helicopters did not stop circling until after 5pm. So if the arrest was at 3:40 pm (and that would seem correct based on the times below) why did the law enforcement helicopters keep circling for hours? Nothing else to do? Advertising to taxpayers what a great job LASD is doing keeping taxpayers safe from "felony" shoplifters on motorcycles? (I guess all the excessive force lawsuits in and out of the jails have made LASD over sensitive to this issue) Do taxpayers really need all these helicopters for an "accused" shoplifter? And this is not the first time helicopter hovering has been a problem. Just the first time we felt compelled to post something about it due to its excessiveness. I think LASD might as well just move to drones. At least they are quieter.

I guess the noise is only important to Westside and San Fernando Valley Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, as he did something about it.

As a follow up here is a small reminder why the risks of hovering over homes is outweighed by any marginal benefit in hour upon hour of hovering

Posted: 10/25/13, 6:43 AM PDT | http://www.presstelegram.com/general-news/20131025/irvine-motorcycle-chase-of-theft-suspect-hits-speeds-of-120-mph-ends-in-lakewood-arrest

A motorcycle rider suspected of stealing property who led law enforcement officers on a two-county chase at speeds up to 120 mph Thursday was arrested in Lakewood. California Highway Patrol officers picked up the pursuit about 3:15 p.m. on the San Diego (405) Freeway in Irvine, CHP Officer Denise Quesada said. Lt. Julia Engen said Irvine police were assisting Huntington Beach officers, who were investigating a series of property thefts that led them to the Irvine Spectrum shopping center. The motorcyclist aroused the suspicions of police officers, who tried to stop the suspect, Engen said. The pursuit continued through the streets of Irvine and back onto the San Diego Freeway to the San Gabriel River (605) Freeway toward Los Angeles County, Quesada said. An Orange County sheriff’s helicopter helped track the pursuit, because the rider was going so fast, Quesada said. At 3:40 p.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in Lakewood arrested the suspect at 6038 Amos Ave., sheriff’s Lt. Martin Rodriguez said. The man, whose name was unavailable, was wanted for felony theft, Rodriguez said.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ click here to receive LAAG posts by email