|Notes from the Editor:
Pseudo Civics Wears a Zarape in Huntington Park
Huntington Park, CA - (4-18-06) Many of you have emailed asking what happened to WatchOurCity.com. This
website was temporarily out of service last week.
One email was so concerned that it asked if "they" already got to me.
The site has fallen victim to its own success: it has run out of storage capacity.
More capacity is being added, while at the same time a new and improved WatchOurCity.com is being created
for easier navigation. New features are being incorporated as well.
WatchOurCity.com has filled its brim. After two years of posting information on questionable actions by elected
officials, I never expected to run out of storage. There is that much and more to cover. Corruption is a never
ending enterprise. So I have to build capacity for the next two years.
In the mean time, you can visit the old site here if you need your daily fix of "Corruption 101". The "new and
improved" WatchOurCity.com should be fully functional within a few weeks.
Recently, the City of Huntington Park made much noise about its new-fangled website.
The city's official "new" web site still does a good job of sweeping under the zarape the corruption that
happens at the hands of elected and appointed officials.
For example, the city still does not post campaign contribution statements nor does it post city contracts or the
yearly budget. It doesn't post the salary of elected officials nor their travel expenses.
It doesn't post the fact that the previous Mayor was quietly convicted of "Grand Theft", a felony, and how even
that was kept a secret by his buddies in city council. If the city posted contracts, any resident would
immediately see that most contracts are being awarded to friends, campaign donors and associates of city
Just one non-profit alone is the recipient of several city contracts: a nearly $4 million dollar transportation
award, several management contracts for senior housing projects around the city, the meals on wheels senior
lunch program, and the HIV-Aids clinic, to name a few. The Oldtimers Foundation is the recipient of such city
largess. Its Executive Director is George Cole, a city of Bell councilman. Cole's fundraising consultant, Conrado
Terrazas, just happens to be John Noguez's partner and political fundraiser as well. These are the links missing
in the city's website. Millions of dollars of business and lucrative contracts to friends and associates.
One more item you won't see on the city's new website: the new chief of police owes John Noguez a few favors
since evidence suggests that Noguez and city attorney Francisco Leal conspired to hire Chief Mike Travis from
neighboring Maywood. Travis also has strong connections to city of Bell and George Cole, where he was a
police officer before Maywood. Not only does Mayor Noguez control the majority of council votes, but he is owed
a strong allegiance by Chief Travis.
Out of some 330 police departments in the State of California, how coincidental is it that with one fell swoop,
Noguez and gang manage to "fire" the old police chief Narramore, and give him a half million dollar parting gift
from public funds, then, within a few short days, announces a replacement chief who just happens to be
connected to Maywood and Bell? All is done without the faintest trace of an effort at a due diligence search for
the most competent candidate. Not that Travis is not competent. City attorney Leal is also city of Maywood's
It does remain to be seen if Chief Travis can remain independent of influence from Noguez.
Also, guess who Chief Travis will be endorsing during the 2007 city council elections when Noguez, Ofelia
Hernandez and Mario Gomez are up for reelection?
One improvement the city has made on its website: Meeting minutes are posted much quicker, within days of
the meeting, not months, as was the case before. Good going, guys! Kudos to the city clerk's office for their
CivicsPlus.com, the company that redesigned the city's website, did not do the site for free. The web design
contract must have cost some thousands of dollars in public funds.
The City's new website does not post the fact that Mayor John Noguez must have dejavu all over again since
he had the two councilwomen he manipulates, Ofelia Hernandez and Elba Guerrero, appoint him Mayor, again,
one year later, thus depriving his fellow councilman, Mario Gomez, the privilege since it is a revolving mayorship
post and it was Gomez's turn. But Gomez is so out too lunch that he actually voted against himself to take the
mayorship post, despite the nomination for Gomez as Mayor by the other Elba, the lone ranger Elba Romo. It
was a crass politically calculated move on Noguez's part to have his lackeys appoint him mayor, meant to
position him in the spotlight for his 2007 reelection, meant also to be in a prime position of power with the
intent of attracting campaign contributions like a festering wound attracts flies and maggots.
Lately, Mayor John Noguez is cross pollinating his successes here by hanging around Pico Rivera councilmen,
along with his "uncle", the owner of Leonardo's restaurants and dance halls, a campaign contributor to Noguez
and recent fast friend of Pico Rivera's mayor and his pet causes. What interests does Leonardo's have in Pico
that he would need Noguez to front for him? Noguez is diligently and methodically hustling his council
colleagues in Huntington Park to turn Leonardo's Dance hall into a card club casino, despite a state-wide
moratorium on new card clubs.
On April 17, the State's website that tracks political campaign contributions, reported that Leonardo Lopez,
owner of Leonardo's Restuarants, gave two contributions to Pico Rivera's Mayor David Armenta totaling $5,500.
Armenta is a good friend of Huntington Park's mayor John Noguez. Armenta recently orchestrated the hiring of
his council chum's campaign manager to be Pico Rivera's city manager without prior municipal management
experience. Pico's city manager salary is about $150,000.
The graphics on the city's website are great but some of the most important public records are still missing.
What a disappointment and waste of public resources.
The city wants you to be ignorant of this stuff that is in the public interest.
Instead, the city's new official website hustles pseudo civics wearing a zarape mantle.
Council members give "Immigrant of Year" recognition awards predominantly to campaign donors who also
happen to be friends, and recipients of city contracts. The same Immigrant of the Year is appointed to city
commissions that pays $65 per meeting. Huntington Park's city commissions are the envy of cities around. It is
one of the few cities that actually pays its "volunteer" commissioners.
Very few other cities dole out crony welfare as well as Huntington Park does.
Those city residents without access to an internet line presumably can read all about the pseudo civics in action
in the city's print newsletter mailed and paid for with public funds. Printing and mailing thousands of
newspaper style city newsletters is not cheap.
Since elections are coming up in about a year, the newsletter could be a much handy political propaganda tool
for incumbent candidates paid with public funds. There are parallels to what happened during city of South
Gate's corruption period where allegedly the convicted city treasurer there used a city newsletter as a political
I will continue to "report and comment" on the "foul innards" of city council and continue to follow the money in
the public interest.
Yours in service,
In the Public Interest