Montebello Has A Felon On Its Council

Montebello City Councilman Robert Urteaga is a CONVICTED FELON. 

You can get the facts on as well as the latest information on the fight to keep Montebello out of the hands of greedy, special interest Athens Disposal Services.

South San Gabriel has Athens Contract

and it has been a "blessing".  In the first 6 month or so, Athens offered a "Clean Up Day", which meant everything i.e. old refrigerators, sofas, washers and dryers; old construction stuff like old toilets, shower stalls, etc, etc. were hauled away for FREE  I can't imagine what this might have cost if private companies did this.  They will do this twice a year.  They will also come out before the twice a year "Clean Up Day" without charge, if you call 1 week in advance.  

You know, everybody has a "little dirt" on them, yes, even elected officials, surprise surprise! However, most residents don't want every household service to be about politics, they just want it taken care of cheaply and efficiently.

Before the County made the Athens contract, we had 3 trash services, Athens, Waste Management and another (I can't remember the name).  If you left something out that couldn't fit in your trash can, you'd have to "tip" that driver before your old water heater could be picked up.  I don't care what they call it, a gratuity or tip, it is still a BRIBE!!!  I hear this is still the problem in Montebello, especially with the elderly on fixed income.  They don't know what the trash cost until they go into "collective bargaining" with the private trash person of the day.  This is an outrage!!!

I would also like the private Montebello trash collectors to respond to the fact that most do not live in Montebello anymore, even though they grew up here.

I didn't want to get personal, but, many of us here in SSG grew up with the Petrosian children, Vicky and Aron.  They used to live on Kennydale (maybe still live there).  When Vicky married a guy of Mexican descent, Aron all but "disowned" her and her children.  Montebello is 90% Hispanic, mostly of Mexican descent.  Why should they support Aron Petrosian, if he hates the fact his sister married and had kids from a guy " beneath his status???  It is obvious Aron hates Mexicans.

Checking out the Felony

I've heard both good and bad about Athens, their pricing, etc. The need for bribes is just a side effect of a competitive economy driving down prices. Maybe Athens is "nice" because they have a local monopoly, huh?

Anyway, being the sleaze-lover, I had to check out these felony charges. There are documents on the stopathens site. Urteaga forged signatures on some checks for Geropsychology/Manpro. So, it wasn't like he went and robbed them, or burglarized them. I suspect he was working for them in some kind of clerical or fiscal capacity, and had access to checks. He did it when he was 23 or 24 years old, probably just out of college with his Econ degree.

This is serious, but not as serious as the stopathens website makes it out to be. At best, it could be a foolish mistake by a young guy unfamiliar with typical office bureaucracy. At worst, he wrote checks to steal from the company.

If "nice" or a "contract" saves us thousands

well then so be it.

On the Montebello Topix Forum, someone named Mtb Man blogged:
....."I agree i was screwed into paying a local montebello hauler $1200 after already paying $400. He claimed i was overweight and that was what i owed! I understand maybe another $250 but $1600 total for trash? I know he screwed me and i couldnt do anything about it because he threatened to put a lean on my house! GO ATHENS atleast they wont be theives!".......

This individual paid $2000 in addition to his $300 trash service a year.  Athens charges us $66 bucks every 3 months, so that's $264 a year.  So, its not about being "nice", its about saving the constituents money, end of story.

Montebello Has A Felon On

Sheesh. For $2000, I'd haul it. There are a lot of people who advertise hauling and disposal, and I'm sure they'd charge a lot less. Two years ago, we got rid of some appliances for free.

My mom, who is a senior in SSG, is paying around $17 a month. I don't know the regular rate, but my neighbor complained it went up from $21.

I think the price is pretty good, except that they don't give you a discount if you have very little trash. For some reason, people in my family tend to produce very little trash - around 1 to 2 plastic grocery bags per person per week. (I'm staying with a friend who disposes of at least 2 13-gallon bags per week. I'm still surprised.)

Athens Contract

Night Reader:

I'm sorry your mom's trash bill went up; however, it should make you both feel good that her "carbon footprint" is very low and that she is an "environmentalist" without even knowing it.

This situation is a classic story of "for the greater good" of the community.  The greater good of the community was served because in Gloria Molina's 1st District there are areas where there is a high turn over in rentals and furniture is sometimes left sitting on the sidewalks for months at a time.  Now, nobody has to call County Public Works, the apt owner or manager can just call Athens.  I know it used to be an unslightly problem because she used to send letters with phone numbers to call.

I think this would have been enough for Supervisor Molina, having known her for over 40 years. However, that the County now gets a percentage of the revenue or a contract fee must be just the cherry on top.
Not only that, there is still a lot of remolding going on here in S Rosemead and SSG (where people own their homes outright), and even if the contractor hauls away most of the stuff, you still have multiple 90 gallon trash bins full of debris.

I can't speak for other cities, but it seems to have worked out for the 1st District.

Athens contract

In my 42 years, I have never given a bribe to a trash hauler to pick up anything.  My mom once gave a trash man $5 to take a mattress.  We currently have 4 days a year when we can put out pretty much anything from the house, from hundreds of pounds of lath and plaster to water heaters.  Doesn't Goodwill or other charities still pick up any furniture in decent condition?  I have taken out trees, fences, my old shake shingle roof, and filled up 7 or 8 6 foot square bins over the years, and never paid more than $150 for each.  Hasn't Mtb man ever heard of the better business bureau or complaining to the city?  He probably didn't get a written contract, as I always have.  The weights and prices are clearly outlined to anyone who asks beforehand.  I don't really know who takes out my trash as I never see them, but my service has heretofore been exemplary. 

I do know that at the recent city council meeting when they supposed to certify the referrendum, the past mayor of Monterey Park came and begged us not to give Athens an exclusive, long term contract as she said that their contract has split the city into vicisiously warring parties and caused nothing but problems.  The people of Sierra Madre and West Covina don't seem to be particularly enamored with Athens, either.  All of the supposed benefits of Athens  could be publicly debated, but the backroom dealing, contemptuous of the people city council gang of three have poisoned any chance for civil discourse.  You'll notice that all the claims and counterclaims about Athens and the contract are being made by Athens, the city council, and lawyers.  Where is an economic analysis or rate comparison done by civil servants with expertise in economic analysis?   Montebello should look to the example of La Mirada, where to eliminate the corrupt practices of the Montebello City Council, they First ask their staff to get competitive bids and make comparisons of them to present to the city council and Then vote on the merits of the different bids.  The Montebello City Council has asked their staff to prepare an economic  report after the fact to justify their political decision. 


There is no clear way to determine whether Athens can deliver all they have promised.  The web is full of complaints and reports of Athens law violations, and also people perfectly happy with Athens.  Some cities appear to have huge price increases a couple of years after a new contract, and others don't.  The actual contract appears to be so vague and convoluted that both the pro and con Athens people are using it  to support their arguements.  I don't believe that results of corrupt practices can be trusted to be in the best interests of the people. 

To build a damned toilet the MUSD solicits bids from everyone, but a $75 million trash contract only gets one bid.  The current majority has the example of railroading the Montebello Hills Specific Plan onto a fasttrack for passage with no-bid and single bid contracts for a $700 million project with little public outrage or journalistic exposure.  Why would they think that the Athens contract would  be any different?

I haven't read the stopathens website yet, but my sources in law enforcement tell me that Urteage forged the 5 checks over a period of 10 months.  This isn't a 'youthful indescretion', but a pattern of conduct.  He also stretched out his 60 days of Caltrans service past the time frame that the court originally envisioned.  The origin of the $12,500 check that he has at his first court appearance is also not revealed.  Perhaps the Whittier Daily News could purchase the court transcripts and reveal  them to us.

Playing the Race Card?

There is an article written in San Gabriel Tribune about this subject.  The only point and focus I can gather from this piece is that the trash haulers are Armenian, with a long history in the trash business, and that it has pit the more successful Armenian family who owns Athens against smaller Armenian owned trash services.  But, that they are Armenian???
Here is a statement from the piece, ....."The Armenian community's strong ties to the trash industry began in the early 20th century".....

I don't get the article's point.  Okay, they are Armenians?, they have a long history in the trash hauling business?, they all go to the same Armenian Church??? 

To those "outside" the Armenian community (and that's a lot of other people) it doesn't say much about the "justification" to go with one company or many. 

I would have preferred that the article were more to the point, like 42 y/o Mtb citizen pointed out above, about the "no contract bid" and allowing the people of Montebello to vote on the "referendum".  That would be the crux of this argument.  End of story.

Otherwise, all the article does, IMHO, is PLAY THE RACE CARD!

Montebello Has A Felon On

I also would have preferred an article that actually compared the fees and services of the existing companies and the Athens contract.

But it's not "playing the race card" if both sides of the controversy are of the same race (or, in this case, the same ethnicity and religion).

Playing the Race Card

No, not really Todd.  It is playing the race card because Armenians don't live in a vacuum.  The group that contacted the SG Tribune knew they would be "appealing" to a broader group of readers outside their race and they probably thought they could get engender some kind of "leverage" with "sympathy". 

All minority groups in one way or another have faced prejudice and hardship.  So quite frankly, I find this article rather insulting in this time and age. 

Sorry if this offends some, but for goodness sake, it's like the OJ Trial all over again!

The Mtb City Council discovers competitive bidding

The criticism of the bidding history of the city council appears to have struck a nerve.  About half of the agenda of Wednesday's city council is taken up with voting on COMPETITIVE BIDS for a bunch of contracts.  Of course, the amounts involved are miniscule compared to the Athens deal, and non-existant compared to the proposed Hill project.  They even say that certain bids will not even be considered because the bidders haven't submitted the proper paperwork.  Too bad Urteaga and crew had to face credible recall threats before they would start to follow the law.  I couldn't find the Athens referrendum on the agenda.  Maybe Robert and friends think that if they ignore it, the petition will go away. 

If you want to discuss Armenians, how about a post questioning whether the Turkish genocide against the Armenians occured.  You could use Hitler's famous quote as the title: "Who remembers the Armenians?"

Playing the Race Card

Hey 42 y/o Mtb Resident:  I sort of gave you a compliment about "staying on tract" regarding this issue and focusing on the REAL point which is acquiring multiple contract bids and addressing the referendum and vote.

HOWEVER, if you think you can get away with RACE BAITING here, and especially to South Rosemead and South San Gabriel residents, who are a very educated, cohesive and a very DECENT and CIVIL community----YOU HAVE ANOTHER THING COMING!

African-Americans were kinapped, raped, brutalized, lynched, terrorized, enslaved and made to work on our plantations and on AMERICAN SOIL at the hands of AMERICANS-----------why don't we address that and give them the contract as well???

Montebello's brand of discourse of mud slinging, below the belt politics and THUGGERY does not and will not thrive in our community. 



Montebello Has A Felon On

I think the article was okay, not really racist one way or another, though it somewhat pushes the idea that Armenians should always haul trash in the area. (That's not really fair to other groups that may want to compete.) I agree with everyone here. They need to run a more analytical piece

I'm pretty neutral about Athens, but MTB is a city with 62000 residents, and business districts. It's not SSG with its 8000 residents and not much else. So the situation is different.

Thanks for the lowdown about Urteaga's check-writing.

That thread on the article is interesting too.

And this SGV Trib story reveals that he forged the checks to pay for sports gambling debts (he hints this was illegal betting, too):

There's some big shit-talking in the comments at Mayor Sam's

IMSHO, the guy's got some problems knowing how to do what's right. If you don't know how to gamble and win, you have to learn to accept your losses, and pay your debts. Urteaga seems to believe in the idea of "easy money" too much.

Yet another embarrassing politician.