Recent letters to the editor in the local papers

Pasadena Star-News, Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Curfew ignored

What does it take to get Wal-Mart to abide by its contractual agreement for the building of a supercenter?

Wal-Mart's violations of the conditions imposed by the city of Rosemead and agreed to by Wal-Mart are numerous and egregious and have been amply documented by neighborhood residents.

As an example, Wal-Mart's construction activities are supposed to stop at 8p.m. Yet from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. the other night, Wal-Mart's employees refused to stop the deafening roar caused by the workers breaking up cement.

Sheriff's deputies did not respond to residents' pleas to come to the site and take action to stop the noise. In desperation, Rosemead City Council member, John Tran, arrived at the site at approximately 10:30 p.m. and took command of the situation. He put pressure on the watch commander so that the sheriff's deputies finally arrived 22 minutes later.

At Tran's direction, sheriff's deputies drove onto the property with flashing lights and threatened the workers with arrest if they did not lay down their tools.

Why was the work being done past curfew time?

According to a guard, the workers told him that if the job was not completed, they would forfeit their $75,000 promised bonus.

This is the way Wal-Mart does business - with no concern for the health and safety of local residents.

Marlene Shinen

South San Gabriel


San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Friday, June 16, 2006

Officials no help

Local Rosemead and South San Gabriel residents were incensed at the noisy work being done the other night at the Wal-Mart site after the 8 p.m. curfew.

The next day, they went to Rosemead City Hall and confronted Don Wagner, the assistant city manager, and Brad Johnson, the planning director. Did the residents get straightforward answers to their complaints? No. They got no assurance that the city employees would do their duty to enforce Wal-Mart's compliance with the terms and conditions imposed by the contractual agreement.

Who do Rosemead elected officials actually represent, and what are the responsibilities of the city of Rosemead employees?

Lydia Martinez



Explanations Offered

There are many exaggerations and half-truths in Marth Wagner's May 24 letter that a relevant response is almost impossible, but I will try.

Joe Vasquez and Bill Alarcon may well be "two really fine, caring, conscientious gentlemen," but they lost the election, not on character issues, but because they voted to permit Wal-Mart to build a big-box development in Rosemead.

John Nunez and John Tran were elected to replace Vasquez and Alarcon, because they listened to the voters' concerns and opposed Wal-Mart's supercenter project.

Has Martha Wagner attended any Rosemead City Council meetings? If she had, she would be well aware that Nunez and Tran are models of dignity and decorum at council meetings. In contrast, Jay Imperial and Gary Taylor have been rude at times and have made disparaging remarks to people attempting to address the council.

Rosemead voters have the democratic right to recall Imperial and Taylor, who have lost touch with their constituents and who have already spent more than 50 years on the Rosemead City Council.

Dr. Lillian Sacco



San Gabriel Valley Tribune, June 20, 2006

Adhering to EIR?

Whose responsibility is it to monitor Wal-Mart's building project on Rush Street from Walnut Grove to Delta Street to ensure that the hundreds of conditions of the environmental impact report are being followed?

Is it Andrew Lazzaretto, Rosemead City Manager? Is it Don Wagner, Rosemead Assistant City Manager? Is it Brad Johnson, Planning Department Director? Is it Nancy Castruita, Rosemead City Clerk? Is it the Rosemead City Council members?

Well, whoever has the responsibility is doing a bum job.

Marlene Shinen

South San Gabriel


San Gabriel Valley Tribune, June 28, 2006

Recall is right on

Apparently the editors of the San Gabriel Valley Newspaper Group need a history lesson regarding the state's recall, referendum and initiative process. All three were adopted in 1911, shortly after the Progressive Party elected Hiram Johnson governor and the people of California seized control of their state away from "the octopus."

The tentacles of this special interest (centered around the Southern Pacific Railroad) had slithered into every reach of state and local government. California's politicians were held captive by the power and money of this monopolist. The entire system was corrupt, because it responded to big money at the expense of the will of the people. So the people struck back, instituting the progressive reforms noted above.

Rosemead voters embrace this legacy of direct democracy as their only chance to save their city from domination by a single powerful special interest. They have repeatedly asked for an opportunity to vote on the future of their city. Yet these pleas have fallen upon the deaf ears of an unresponsive quorum of career politicians.

Those politicians have forgotten that they serve at the pleasure of the people, and that a seat on the City Council is a privilege, not a life-long entitlement. They have also forced the city to spend $400,000 defending itself against Councilman Jay Imperial's desperate suit that attempted to derail the recall election.

Jay Imperial's spokesperson said it was "ridiculous" that this recall election would be held just seven months before a regularly scheduled municipal election. I agree. It is ridiculous. For less than one quarter of the cost of defending against Jay Imperial's suit, the Rosemead recall election could have been over and done with four months ago.

Instead, Jay Imperial, Gary Taylor and their dwindling number of political allies continue their strategy of delay, obstruction and distortion.

Don't let them get away with it. Vote "yes" on recall.

Todd Kunioka


[edited 7 July 2006]