Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

Citizen About Town

Citizen About Town

By Nancy C. Arcuri, Editor and Publisher

E-mail: nancyarcuri@thecitizensvoice.net

Fax: 626-307-9081

Council watchers are very concerned that Monterey Park Mayor Betty Tom Chu is becoming more and more self-absorbed in her own personal interests in her last few months as mayor. She has made several statements that are considered racist and has tried to restrict our freedom of speech.

At the July 20 Council Meeting Mrs. Chu sponsored a resolution to support the Chinese American Citizens Alliance’s redistricting maps for two Assembly Districts, one Senatorial District and one Congressional District. The maps were drawn along racial lines that would have supported one ethnic group over the other ethnic groups living the areas.

Councilmember Teresa Real Sebastian reminded Mrs. Chu that not all of the residents of Monterey Park are Asian and there are several other ethnic groups living in our city.

Former Councilmember Francisco Alonso stated that it would be a mistake to have the city support this one ethnic group’s redistricting maps as the voters asked for input from their fellow voters not elected officials. He suggested the each Councilmember could personally address the issue.

Mrs. Chu failed to get the required three votes to support her action.

During Oral Communications at the August 3 Council Meeting Mayor Chu stated that as mayor she could change the format of Oral Communications. She instructed Dave Barron, the city clerk to call on speakers that had not addressed the Council at the last two meetings.  The city attorney did not attend the meeting as it was considered a Budget Hearing.

Mr. Barron said that he would have to create another database to keep tract of all of the speakers. The procedure was the first speaker card on his desk was the first speaker called to speak and the other speakers were called in the order that their cards were received.

One speaker was a representative from the AQMD and the other speaker was an employee of So Cal Edison. They each gave an update from their employers to Council and the residents.

Mrs. Chu asked the representative from the AQMD about the status on the 710 Freeway which has not yet been completed. She stated that the extra traffic going through the city is a health hazard to the residents of Monterey Park, many who are elderly Chinese. She called it a racist issue.

The representative of the AQMD told me that they could not take a stand on any issues. She was just making a report to the Council.

Finally the city clerk was allowed to call up three residents to address the Council.

I objected to her trying to use the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ Gadfly Law that restricts speakers to addressing them once every 90 days.

I stated that I am of Irish-German heritage and I have lived in this community since 1971. I told her that I found her statement on the 710 Freeway racist and I did not appreciate her remarks. I too want to see the 710 Freeway completed but it is not a racist issue.

I can’t wait for Betty Tom Chu to be rotated out of the mayor ship of our hometown.  She has micromanaged our city and has destroyed our infrastructure with the assistance of former Councilmember Venti.

On the July 20 agenda item 16 Councilmember Chu had requested the city attorney to amend our Code 2.40.065 that gives the taxpaying voters protection from any Councilmembers giving our fire service or police service to another city or the county without our right to have the same paramedic ambulance and fire service or better, without our right to have an independent audit on the financial costs, without our right to have an ad hoc committee of residents review and recommend any changes to our hometown fire service.

This amended code would delete our right to have an independent audit on the financial costs and our right to have an ad hoc committee of residents review and recommend any changes to our hometown fire service.

Three members of this Council owe the firefighters union for campaigning for their Council seat. Are they are trying to circumvent the will of the residents of our city?

Interesting enough attached to this item was a feasibility study done by Los Angeles County on Monterey Park Fire Service. The Board of Supervisors voted to approve the merger of the Monterey Park Fire Service into the county on July 19.

The Monterey Park Fire Services first responsibility is to save lives and their second responsibility is to save property.

The majority of the 911calls to Verdugo Dispatch is for medical assistance for our residents. The majority of our residents are 65 and older. They are very happy with the four minutes or less response time for medical emergencies by our own paramedic ambulances within the golden hour.

At this meeting Council Meeting City Manager Paul Talbot and City Attorney Mark Hensley advised the Council and residents Mayor Betty Tom Chu put item 16 on the agenda at the last minute.

The County union representative admitted that they determined the new verbiage to be placed on the ballot. I am sure with Betty Tom Chu’s assistance.

Betty Tom Chu and Teresa Real Sebastian voted yes. They owe their council seats to the firefighters union for campaigning for them.

Mitch Ing abstained as he agreed with the residents that there was nothing wrong with the language in the code.

David Lau and Anthony Wong voted no as they agreed with the residents’ rights to determine the future of their hometown.

I have a copy of a letter dated June 2, 2010 from P. Michael Freeman advising Fire Chief Cathy Orchard and Interim City Manager Don McIntyre that they would not be able to meet the city’s voter approved mandate that “on-duty staffing levels, facilities and equipment shall be maintained” would be a difficult hurdle to overcome. Consequently the County Fire Service would not be able to staff the existing city equipment with the same city staffing levels and achieve any savings for the city.

I have a copy of a letter dated October 12, 2010 from then Mayor Pro Tem Betty Tom Chu asking P. Michael Freeman to reconsider our request.  Mrs. Chu sent her letter on behalf of the City Council of Monterey Park.

I do not recall this issue being discussed in an open meeting and the Council voting on this issue.

Since the majority of 911 calls are for medical emergencies we need to keep our current city fire service.

We the residents would loose our four minutes or less response time and our paramedic ambulance service.

I agree that we could brown out one fire truck to reduce our $700,000 to $1 million in overtime to our firefighters based on the latest city budget.

I am still interested in investigating a regional approach with the cities of Alhambra, South Pasadena, San Gabriel and San Marino that was discussed during the July 6 meeting.

To the few firefighters in Monterey Park who want to go County do what everyone else in corporate America does. Apply for a County Fire Service job.

This five member Council owes their allegiance to the taxpaying voters. We have the right to review the feasibility study on regional participation with Alhambra, San Gabriel, San Marino and South Pasadena as well as the county’s plan. We have the right to make an educated decision that will impact the future of our hometown.

We, the people are the government and we must always be vigilant to protect our hometown and our United States of America.

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