Monday, January 28, 2008

City Plans for Water Unclear (Daily Bulletin Jan. 27. 2008) Owen led aggressive legal effort, however he was fired.

BS Ranch Perspective

I am thinking that now that Owen is gone, they should look to get another attorney and look to what has worked for the other Municipalities & Counties and if they had a Law Suit work then stay with a Suit, however if they went directly to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) that they should look to get out of the suits as soon as possible and then go to the EPA and get the Reverse Osmosis Filters that are needed to remove the Perchlorate from the water supply that is brought up from the ground water Supply. However to just take the existing road without looking to what worked the easiest and most inexpensive for the other Municipalities and Counties would be Stupid!!

BS Ranch
City plans for water unclear
Owen led aggressive legal effort
Jason Pesick, Staff Write

RIALTO - City Attorney Bob Owen was the quarterback of the city's high-profile battle to pursue the parties charged with contaminating the city's drinking water.

But last week, the City Council fired him. What's not clear is if they want to send his cleanup strategy out the door with him.

The water supply is contaminated with perchlorate, an ingredient in explosives, and the cleaning solvent trichloroethylene. Although an audit the council requested on the cost of the city's efforts has not yet been made public, the best estimate is that $20 million has been spent trying to hold dozens of suspected polluters responsible.

Only $3 million has been spent on treatment.

"I think we have to take a look at the strategy, what it's going to cost," Councilman Joe Baca Jr. said when asked if he wants to nix the specialized lawyers Owen brought in.

Baca, Mayor Grace Vargas and Councilman Ed Scott, a member of the council's perchlorate subcommittee, voted to give Owen 30 days' notice. Owen's contract states the city will have to pay $500,000 to end his contract early. Councilwoman Deborah Robertson and Councilwoman Winnie Hanson, the other member of the subcommittee, wanted to keep him.

"I'm hoping that this is not detrimental to our court case," Hanson said. A massive federal lawsuit to determine responsibility for the contamination is set to begin this year.

As costs have mounted and state regulators have failed to initiate

a widespread cleanup, the City Council reversed a long-held view and invited the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to town to declare part of the source of the contamination a Superfund site.

The council decided to pursue the suspected polluters in court long ago, Robertson said.

"We did it with the understanding that we would pursue litigation and seek to recover as much as we can," she said.

She said she has noticed gradual changes in strategy as of late. The city has tried to reach settlements with the suspected polluters and has sought state and federal money.

"These exit strategies don't appear to do anything to return anything to the ratepayers," she said.

The ratepayers are the customers of Rialto's water department, which serves about half the city. The customers have funded the bulk of the city's efforts through a surcharge on their water bills.

Baca said residents should not pay a surcharge that funds lawyers and experts.

"It should go to treatment," he said.

Scott said the city can't eliminate the surcharge while the litigation continues.

But he said any money from a settlement or court order should reimburse ratepayers before going to the city.

He said he hopes the litigation can end soon.

"In fact, the olive branch is out there to settle the lawsuit," he said.

He also said the lawyers working on the case remain in place.

"Currently, we're steadfast on the existing strategy," said Scott. "There's been no change by the council on the lawsuit. That's not to say there won't be at some point."

(909) 386-3861

Chris Webber Set to Return to Warriors (Associated Press Jan. 28, 2008)

BS Ranch Perspective

There was a good reason that the Pistons got rid of Webber, and that was that he cannot run up and down the court and do what he used to do any more, he is another Shack, he doesn't know that he is finished in Basketball.

BS Ranch

Chris Webber set to return to Warriors

29 minutes ago

Free-agent forward Chris Webber is set to rejoin the Golden State Warriors. Webber sent an e-mail to The Associated Press on Monday night confirming he will sign with the Warriors. The team said it has no announcements planned for Monday night.

Webber was acquired by the Warriors in a draft-day trade with Orlando in 1993 after becoming just the second sophomore ever to be the top pick in the NBA draft. He won the Rookie of the Year award and made the playoffs in his only season in Golden State.

But Webber clashed with coach Don Nelson and demanded a trade before his second season, and was eventually dealt to Washington in November 1994 for Tom Gugliotta and three first-round picks. At the time, Webber cited unhappiness over Nelson's sometimes abrasive coaching style as a main reason for his wanting out of Golden State.

Webber has not played in an NBA game since the Detroit Pistons lost to Cleveland in last season's Eastern Conference finals. The Pistons did not bring Webber back this season and he has been looking for a team to join.


AP Sports Writer Larry Lage in Detroit contributed to this report.

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Indicted Obama Fundraiser's Bond Revoked (Associated Press Jan. 28, 2008)

BS Ranch Perspective

The problem with this is the Richard testimony, Whether you were a Democrat or a Republican the fact remained that back in 1975 when Richard Nixon said that he didn't know about the Wrongdoing at the time that he said it, a great majority of people knew that he did. So, by his word that he took the majority of the monies that were Delivered to Obama's Political Campaign were in fact given to Charity or not, is a question that we are left to "Trust" him with? I guess the cooked books are the ones that we are left to look at as proof that the monies were given to the Red Cross for example.

But then we have to wonder how much did this guy actually give to the Campaign in the first place, there are a great many of made up names suddenly that can be also cooked onto those books to make it look like it was just him that had given just a little over $11,000.00 to Obama's Campaign there is a dark horse here that we are not seeing just like the one where his Church takes a Muslim that has for over Fifty years put down the White Race, the Jewish Religion, and the Oriental Race, all to bring himself and the Muslim faith up so as to make it better for him to make his pocket's full with the green of the poorest of poor. I am talking about Luis Farrakhan. What Christian faith would Honor such a man?? I ask you this??

Then you wonder what or if this is the man that you want as your President. Listen to Louis Speak, and then Listen to How Obama Speaks. He is a Muslim, and we are going to elect a Muslim right into the center of what we are fighting against.

BS Ranch

Indicted political fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko leaves Chicago's federal building in this Oct. 19, 2006, file photo. Rezko, who has poured thousands of dollars into Barack Obama's political campaigns, was arrested by federal agents Monday, Jan. 28, 2008, after his $2 million bail was revoked. Rezko has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, attempted extortion and money laundering, and is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 25. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Indicted Obama Fundraiser's Bond Revoked

CHICAGO (AP) — A judge revoked the $2 million bond Monday for indicted businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko, who has raised thousands of dollars for Barack Obama and Illinois politicians.

U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve said she grew concerned after learning Rezko received $3.5 million from a company in Lebanon; he had claimed that he had no income. St. Eve said she feared Rezko could be a flight risk.

The real estate developer and fast food magnate was arrested Monday morning at his home in suburban Wilmette. At an afternoon hearing, the judge ordered him into custody and scheduled a Tuesday hearing where Rezko's attorneys will attempt to get bond reinstated.

Rezko has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, attempted extortion and money laundering, and is scheduled to stand trial Feb. 25. He is accused of pressuring businesses seeking work before two state regulatory boards to make campaign contributions and payoffs.

Rezko had long been a fundraiser for Gov. Rod Blagojevich and for Obama, the presidential candidate and senator from Illinois. Neither Democrat has been accused of wrongdoing in the case.

Obama has said he had no indication of problems with Rezko when he accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. When prosecutors unsealed their charges against Rezko in 2006, Obama gave $11,500 in Rezko contributions to charities.

Obama has since sought to distance himself from Rezko, even as his main Democratic rival — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton — invoked Rezko's name and his "slum lord business" during a recent debate.

The Obama campaign declined to comment on Rezko's arrest Monday.

Federal prosecutors say Rezko was deceptive in leading St. Eve to grant bond by claiming in April 2007 that he had no income of his own and was instead living off the generosity of friends and relatives.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid J. Schar said $3.5 million from a Lebanon-based firm had been distributed to various funds and individuals, indicating that Rezko had more money than he had led the court to believe.

"This defendant has played a shell game and I think misled the court about what his assets are," Schar said.

He said Rezko's $2 million bond was no longer adequate to make certain he would remain in the United States and show up for trial.

Defense attorney Joseph Duffy said "there isn't anything that suggests flight." He said Rezko, a U.S. citizen born in Syria, returned from overseas to face the charges against him.

Duffy said initially that the $3.5 million was a loan secured by part of a 62-acre parcel of land south of Chicago's Loop. But then in the middle of the hearing he interrupted to say he had just been informed that it was not.

Asked after the hearing if the $3.5 million was a secured loan, he said: "I don't know that."

Prosecutors also said that some of the people who put up property in Rezko's name are renting out or trying to sell the property, raising concerns there may not be enough collateral to secure Rezko's bond.

Schar said in the case of one man who posted his home as bond, Rezko funneled the home's exact value back to him.

Once the estimated eight- to 12-week trial is over, Rezko still will face federal charges alleging he swindled General Electric Capital Corp. out of $10 million in connection with the sale of two pizza restaurant chains.

It was learned last week that an associate of Rezko's had sent a $10,000 campaign contribution to Obama's U.S. Senate campaign using money from the alleged pizza scheme. Obama's campaign then sent $40,000 in Rezko-related campaign contributions to charity.

Earlier this month, Obama gave to charity more than $40,000 in past political contributions from seven individuals with ties to Rezko. The decision to donate the money contributed to Obama's House and Senate campaigns — but not his current presidential bid — came after a published report that Obama is the unnamed "political candidate" in one paragraph of a 78-page prosecution document that outlines the case against Rezko.

Obama also has had to answer questions about how Rezko became involved in the purchase of the Obama family home as well as other ties to Rezko that go back more than 15 years.

Obama says he did five or six hours of work in the early 1990s for community groups that partnered with Rezko in apartment house development projects. Obama says he never represented Rezko in those deals, but his law firm at the time did represent Rezko's real estate development company, Rezmar.

Associated Press writer Don Babwin contributed to this report.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mountains Under Winter Storm Warning (Big Bear Grizzly Jan. 26, 2008).

Mountains under winter storm warning

A line of showers and thunderstorms is moving slowly east across the Inland Empire including the San Bernardino mountains. Moderate to heavy rain is possible in these showers with mixed rain and snow between 5,500 and 7,000 feet. Heavy snow is expected above 7,000 feet.

A winter storm warning remains in effect for the San Bernardino mountains through 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28. Snow levels will be near 6,000 feet on Sunday evening before falling to 4,500 feet by Monday, Jan. 28. Moist upslope flow will continue through Monday with heavy snow likely to accumulate above 5,500 feet.

An additional 12 to 16 inches of snow is expected above 6,000 feet and eight to 12 inches below 6,000 feet.

South to southwest winds from 30 to 40 mph will gust at times to 60 mph, severely restricting visibility and bringing near blizzard conditions to elevations above 5,500 feet at times Sunday night into Monday.

A flash flood watch is in effect for the area until 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27.


BS Ranch Perspective

It seems that this is better late then never!! The winter storms that come now are all great for the economy locally, and the water shortages that we feel right now, so Mother Nature, bring it on, and lets Flood out and have some Rain Rain and snow snow snow...I suppose that we need the snow. because according to all the Snow that has melted down has been caused by the so called Global Warming of the planet, I suppose, that they can figure that they can turn it around and start the cycle all over again!!

BS Ranch

Rialto Votes to End Attorney Contract (SB Sun Jan 24, 2008)

BS Ranch Perspective

It's About Time!! The Rialto City Council is finally starting to listen to something other then the Common Stretched lies, or the stretched Facts in the cases that he has worked for the City. Every time that he has given a slide show presentation at a Council Meeting he has spoken so flat and mundane that it was putting everybody to sleep in the Council Chambers!! This was of coarse the presentation on what he was going to do in the court Case that he had worked up to save the City and Get the Sheriff's Department under Contract for Law Enforcement. It was a good thing that I was in Chronic pain or I would have been asleep through the meeting and not have heard any of what he had said. The Lawyer that was hired by the Opposition, RPBA (Rialto Police Benefit Association) & the Citizens of Rialto, whom hired him to protect the City Police Department, happened to be at the meeting and also heard what Owen's was saying, because he interrupted the little lessen that Owen's was putting on by Defending his Law Firm Against what Owen's was saying about him, & his partner.

See, in this City Council Meeting, Owen's Portrayed these two lawyers as not knowing Civil Labor Law, at which time the RPBA Lawyer would speak up and say, "We have beat you the last four times that we have been in court, how do you answer to that?"

At that time the Mayor would bang that gavel and yell out order order I will not have these outbursts in the City Hall!! Please Contain yourself or I will have to ask you to leave!

Owens was in front of a Judge two or three more times after that, Each time Loosing to the Lawyers from Riverside that were not Lawyers with any City, they were just Lawyers and worked out of their office. There was one person that was considered to be part of the Cities Administration it was this guy, I believe that he was crooked, from the get go, Now I don't mean crooked as a criminal, but I mean crooked as in not doing his job unless it was a benefit to his pocket book. He was one of the highest paid if not the highest paid Attorneys representing a City, and that was probably because he represented the city for fifteen years. Each year gaining 2% or more when he was a younger Lawyer.

Owens should have been let go by the city when he blew the contract with the Sheriff Department. When he attempted to fight the RPBA and the Citizens of Rialto, and then he cheated by hiding the Signatures that were legally collected by the citizens of the State of California, all legally collected by a Contracted Signature Gathering Agent. The So called "Miss Understanding" of the law that was later blamed on the City Clerk, by them was wrong to do. Because Owen's Knew Being a Lawyer, "one That understood, Voter Registration and Voter Law's" as he professed in a City Council Meeting!!

Yet when it was time to look to making a law that would END The Conflict between the citizens of Rialto, The RPBA, and the Rialto City Council. It took Two months and Pleading from Citizens to take the Signatures to the Registrars of Voters for a second opinion about the Signatures, and see if they were gathered Legal like. Finally out of getting tired of hearing about it the Mayor said that they would take them to the Registrar of Voters to get a second Opinion. It all took less then an hour and the city council upon the first five minutes into the meeting had to Reverse their previous stance on the issue, and Vote to keep the Rialto Police Department AS IS! Also to Vote the Police Issue into LAW Instantaneous without taking it before the citizens on a Special Vote. There was just to many Signatures asking for the Law to just say that they would put a special election they voted it directly into law. Once the Signatures were lawful They had almost three times the amount of Signatures they needed for a special election. So it was all lost right when the signatures were deemed to be collected legal.

Owens tried to hide them in a Drawer & say that they were collected Illegally!! That is the crooked thing I am talking of. I don't know if it was him or somebody on the Council that tried to trash the signatures.

Down through the years there was many things that he did to assist the council on stuff that occurred all was above and beyond the call of duty it was this that made him dirty too, instead of steering the person away from him he would make it his business to assist them, but keep it secret, and hold that information on his lap. Crooked.

I am just happy that this time it was is poor workmanship that got him taken out, but he has charged the city in untold amount of bills for the amount of time that he has spent working on the Perchlorate contamination in the water. If the city owes $28 Million, then you have to know that there is a great deal of that $28 Million that goes into his pocket, but it is to the service to the community.

I am sad that the Rialto City Council took the time to listen to Owens when it came to the Perchlorate Contamination!! I believe that they should have went to the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA would have gone to the people that were responsible for the contamination and fined or discussed with them how much that they would pay. I am sure that a governmental Agency would get a better response from a business then a court room full of Lawyers, against a City with their Two Lawyers.

Then the Big Businesses all have to just stall stall stall, in court that is what they do. Stall stall stall. because they know that the Testing of water wells must go on all the time and that cost money, The closing of wells cost money. Each time that they go to court and hold their cases and then they get a method to prolong the case they get their stay, that costs money. I believe that Owens Knows this and wanted the more dosage of delays, because that meant more money in his pocket to run the case and well that is just the way that he wanted it. I can guess that his part of that last Quoted Amount that was passed in the papers as was spent by Rialto (The $28 Million) That Owen's Gets at least $5 Million of that for his home fix up's. I can say that he will not be hurting any time soon.

I am so happy that Rialto City Council made a good move and Gave Owen's his Walking Paper's!!

BS Ranch

Rialto votes to end attorney contract
By Jason Pesick, Staff Writer

RIALTO - The City Council has decided to terminate the contract of city attorney Bob Owen.

City Administrator Henry Garcia announced the decision following a 3-2 vote by the council in closed session.

Mayor Grace Vargas and council members Joe Baca Jr. and Ed Scott voted to fire Owen. Council members Winnie Hanson and Deborah Robertson voted against.

Owen was not present during the open session of the Tuesday council meeting.

Following weeks of rumblings that Owen's job could be in jeopardy, a review of his performance appeared on the closed-session agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Vargas said Monday that the city was spending too much money on legal fees.

"And I think now is the time for the change," she said.

Owen has taken public stances on two significant issues facing the city in recent years - drinking-water contamination and the council's failed attempt to replace the Rialto Police Department with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

At public meetings, Owen has vocally defended the strategy by the city to get perchlorate cleaned out of drinking water - even as the price tag for the city's efforts has approached $20 million.

In 2005, the City Council voted to eliminate the Police Department, but the officers union won a court battle.

The union claimed the city violated state law by not following procedures to eliminate the department. The court ruled on the

union's behalf.

Owen was the city attorney at the time the council took up the matter.

Owen and his San Bernardino-based firm have a contract with the city that expires in 2010.

The contract requires the city to pay $500,000 to end it early.

When it was signed, the contract called for Owen's firm to be paid $729,402 a year, in addition to 2 percent annual increases.

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Skier Killed in Wrightwood Avalanche (KNBC-TV Sat. Jan. 26, 2008)

BS Ranch Perspective

My friend and I were just in Wrightwood to have a bite to eat and enjoy some of the snow, when we saw the Ambulance heading for the lift to attempt to save a life after the avalanche had occurred. You know that it is terrible that somebody had lost their life that day, and to be in a close proximity to it is weird. But for them to be killed, everybody always says this tried and true saying. Mostly I guess it is to help the survivor to get through the grief of the loss, but the Saying goes like this here.

He was skiing when the Mountain of snow dropped down and robbed him of his life, but at least he was doing something that he loved to do!! He loved to ski!!

It was a Tragedy that he died, and My prayers are going out to his family, but whether he was doing something he loved or not, doesn't help the fact that he was killed, on a Ski Resort that should have effected a proper Avalanche protection for their Skiers. There may be a Wrongful death Law Suit to take effect for the possible wrongful death of the skier, since the ski area didn't blast the ski runs down to make sure that there was not an Avalanche danger.

BS Ranch

Skier Killed In Wrightwood Avalanche

updated 12:13 a.m. PT, Sat., Jan. 26, 2008

LOS ANGELES - Mountain avalanches in Wrightwood killed an off-duty ski patrol worker, left another person in critical condition and left two more people missing Friday as California strained under nearly a week of snow and rain. Video | Images | Map

The skier was pulled from the snow in Wrightwood, a town in the San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy C. Osterthaler said.

The 23-year-old was identified as an employee of the Mountain High ski area. He was taken to a hospital, where he died at about 4:30 p.m., said hospital spokeswoman Jana Retes.

San Bernardino County fire officials said the man was skiing with two friends. The friends have not been located, according to authorities.

Another unidentified man was recovered by police, who said the man was undergoing care from paramedics Friday night.

Teams from Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties are assisting in the search.

A spokesman for Mountain High Resort said at least four avalanches were reported in the last 10 hours. John McColly, director of communications for the resort, said two avalanches were reported on a mountain road and two more were reported in a canyon area.

McColly said the resort received about 4 feet of snow during the recent storms. The avalanches occurred after an overnight storm that dumped new snow.

"I'm sure that the avalanches are due to the amount of snow that has fallen over the past several days," said Tim Wessel, division chief for the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

The U.S. Forest Service said an avalanche warning is in effect for Mountain High and Mount Baldy.

Maintenance of San Bernardino Police Fleet Criticized (The Press Enterprise Jan. 25, 2008) Poor Maintenance could mark a sign of things to come....

BS Ranch Perspective

What is the problem with the San Bernardino City, that they cannot take care of their own Police Department's Patrol & Specialized Division needs when it comes to the Maintenance of Emergency Vehicles, Why can't the city just ask for Bid's from Local Businesses to have them work on their Vehicles, and fix them in a more timely Manner then their own Maintenance Division is when working on their vehicles.

If I can take a much smaller City and use them for an example, a Neighboring city of San Bernardino has done just what I have described, and asked for Bids from several Ford Dealerships to see which one can do the best and Quickest work on their Emergency Vehicles. It just so happens that a Ford Dealership in another Neighboring City won that contract and is now currently doing the work on their Emergency Equipment. When the City was in the Attempt to Close the Doors of their own Police Agency and Contract with the Sheriff Department, they did the same exact thing that the City of San Bernardino is doing to them!! Now I am wondering if San Bernardino is in the middle of a Contract negotiation with either the Mechanics or The Police Department, in an Attempt to make the Police Department look bad and then they could Contract with the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department for Law Enforcement Services!!

The Last Question I posed is for the San Bernardino Police Department to think about, & maybe prepare for I hope that they are saved as the Rialto Police Department was. anyone knows that the Law Enforcement is much Better when you have a Smaller Concern working to make it better then a Super Power such as the San Bernardino Sheriff Department, who Especially wants the San Bernardino Police Agency, they would get all kinds of GOVERNMENT GRANTS just by having a BIG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, which is what the Mayor of San Bernardino wants to make it. (The San Bernardino International Airport). The Government Grants to be given out for better law enforcement, will make his department budget much stronger and much wealthier.

This is something that Mayor Morris Should Think about!! Especially for the City of San Bernardino!!!

Get them cars fixed or get a guy that likes to work on cars from the Patrol Division in the Motor Pool and Fix the ones that are broken and also Maintain the ones that need Oil changes etc etc.... Make the Cities problem not a problem...Just a thought from a low life patrol man....oops ex-Patrolman.

BS Ranch

Maintenance of San Bernardino police fleet criticized

Download story podcast

10:00 PM PST on Friday, January 25, 2008
The Press-Enterprise

Maintenance of San Bernardino's police vehicles is lagging while new patrol cars sit unused for months, the president of the city police union says.

In a recent letter to Police Chief Mike Billdt, Rich Lawhead, of the San Bernardino Police Officers Association, calls the general condition of the fleet "very poor."

Assistant Police Chief Frank Mankin responded by saying that despite occasional backlogs, the department practices timely vehicle maintenance and is working expeditiously to bring new patrol cars into service.

Lawhead's letter cites a series of delays:

Police sent members of an extra patrol team for a high-crime area home because they couldn't provide them vehicles.

On a recent visit to the city yard, Lawhead saw between 20 and 25 patrol vehicles undergoing or awaiting service. That's a quarter of the patrol fleet.

New patrol cars sat unused for roughly a year.

"It is my understanding that to this day, those vehicles are collecting dust in the yard and are still awaiting preparation for service," the letter states. "Simply put, it should not take a year to purchase and ready for service these vehicles we are desperately lacking."

Mankin said there was no such delay.

In July, the department took delivery on 10 new patrol vehicles, without complete police markings and equipment, he said. The upgrades took several months to arrive, Mankin said, but seven of the 10 vehicles are already in service, and the other three will be on the street "within the next couple weeks."

Mankin said the department is well within its schedule for putting all 10 vehicles to use by the end of the current fiscal year. Additionally, authorities have replaced another 15 vehicles out of another consignment, the assistant chief said.

Billdt and Mankin were responding to a document containing excerpts of Lawhead's letter and questioned its authenticity, pointing out that it was not written on San Bernardino Police Officers Association letterhead and was unsigned. On Friday, Lawhead said the document accurately conveys his concerns.

"That's not the same letter, but those are parts of the letter that I sent to the chief, I think on Jan. 10," he said.

Mankin declined to release the original letter.

Further, watch commanders and field supervisors are responsible for monitoring the condition of the cars, Mankin said.

Lawhead, a patrol division sergeant, said it's not fair to blame systemic shortfalls on mid-level supervisors. He said the department regularly keeps cars on the street until they are as much as 9,000 miles overdue on scheduled maintenance.

Officers keep cans of brake fluid on hand to top off reservoirs when warning lights go on. But that could distract them from their duty, Lawhead said.

"We should be driving the safest vehicles on the road," he said. "When you want a car to respond in a critical incident, you want it to respond."

Mankin said the rate at which the department services vehicles "fluctuates."

"While there are periods when there may be many vehicles awaiting service at city yards, as perhaps after a weekend, our fleet expeditor as well as our watch commanders work with the staff at city yards to get the cars back on line as soon as possible," he said.

As for Lawhead's claim that on Jan. 5, nine officers in a special patrol team had to be sent home for lack of cars, "the issue was resolved appropriately," Mankin said.

City Councilman Neil Derry said police officers first alerted him to vehicle maintenance issues three months ago. The problem should already be resolved, he said.

"As far as maintaining our police vehicles, I don't think that should fall through the cracks," he said. "If we don't have the resources our officers need, somebody's falling down on the job."

Reach Chris Richard at 909-806-3076 or

A Long-Dry California River Gets, and Gives, New Life (New York Times Jan 12, 2008)

BS Ranch Perspective

I was pretty skeptical about this when I saw it this last Christmas when I was on my way home and I drove by the Owens Dry Lake on US-395. I saw mostly some very large mud puddles and that was about it, so there was not much to look at from the highway. I thought that Los Angeles Department of Water and Power would do what ever they could to short the amount of water that they had to distribute to the Owens Lake, as they have been taking the water from the Owens Valley since the turn of the 1900's After all it was about 1903 when they secured their first Ranch in the Town of Bishop Creek, which was later shorted to Bishop, and later changed to The City of Bishop, when Bishop was Incorporated in 1903.

The Now Famous Mullholland who was a Los Angeles City Engineer, had an Idea for Water for the San Gabriel Valley. The City of Los Angeles looked into it and felt that they could get the land and the water rights from the "hicks" in the Owens Valley and just run with it. They purchased land from starting from the Owens Valley all the way down the Valley (South) to Valencia) were they cascaded the water that they purchased and later stole from the deepest valley in the Continental United States Where they use that water to drink, and the people in Bishop and the surrounding area, all make a point to pee in the river, or Aqueduct to make sure that Los Angeles Gets all the water that they should!!

Growing up we used to say Pee in the River, LA Needs the water!!

However now seeing that the court ordered opening of the lower 23 miles of Dry Riverbed that long ago was the Tributary for the Owens Lake, is now back in use again. The Water that has been restored to the Dry Riverbed, and now the Dry Lake has brought back many of the Wild Birds that were once in the Owens Valley and had fled, Flew away when Mullholland took the water and dried the Valley up, leaving the Birds Searching for another place to live. Now that the Water is back the Wild Life has been Restored!!


This leaves one question open and unanswered, How many Wild Critters are EXTINCT because of the work of the City of Los Angele's Department of Water and Power??

BS Ranchft

Independence Journal

A Long-Dry California River Gets, and Gives, New Life

J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

A restoration project has remade the Owens River, says Francis Pedneau, a local resident. "I never thought I would live long enough to see this," he said.

Published: January 12, 2008

INDEPENDENCE, Calif. — What Los Angeles took a century ago — a 62-mile stretch of river here in the parched Owens Valley — it is now giving back.

Skip to next paragraph
J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

Workers steer a plant shredder dubbed the Terminator through the Owens River to clear vegetation and keep water flowing.

The New York Times

The Owens River now draws plants, animals, even humans.

One of the largest river-restoration projects in the country has sent a gentle current of water meandering through what just a year ago was largely a sandy, rocky bed best used as a horse trail and barely distinguishable from the surrounding high desert scrub.

Mud hens dive for food. A blue heron sweeps overhead. Bass, carp and catfish patrol deep below. Some local residents swear they have even seen river otters.

So much reedy tule has sprouted along the banks, like bushy tufts of hair, that officials have called in a huge floating weed whacker, nicknamed the Terminator, to cut through it and help keep the water flowing — a problem inconceivable in years past.

The river, 2 to 3 feet deep and 15 to 20 feet across, will not be mistaken for the mighty Mississippi. And an economic boon promised to accompany the restoration has yet to materialize.

Yet the mere fact that water is present and flowing in the Lower Owens River enthralls residents nearly 100 years after Los Angeles diverted the river into an aqueduct and sent it 200 miles south to slake its growing thirst.

"This is infinitely better than before," said Keith Franson, a kayaker pumping up his boat on the banks this week and preparing to explore a stretch of the renewed river. "You got birds, herons, terns, all sorts of wildlife coming back in because life is coming back in the river."

Francis Pedneau, a lifelong Owens Valley resident who had sparred with Los Angeles city officials over access to fishing sites, said word was spreading among fishing enthusiasts about new spots along the river. Mr. Pedneau said he had actually caught fewer bass this past season, "probably because the schools are more spread out now."

But Mr. Pedneau, 69, has praise for the project, even though he, like many old-timers, is generally suspicious of Los Angeles, given the tension-filled history behind its acquiring water and land here (the inspiration for the 1974 movie "Chinatown").

"The river didn't look anything like it does now," he said. "I never thought I would live long enough to see this."

Los Angeles officials are in a celebratory mood. Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa plans to come here next month when engineers temporarily step up the flow as part of regular maintenance.

The flow is carefully controlled, kept at a minimum of 40 cubic feet per second, well above the 5 cubic feet per second in the parts that had still managed to have something of a stream after the river was diverted.

Los Angeles agreed to restore the river as part of a settlement of a lawsuit filed by the Owens Valley Committee, a local group, and the Sierra Club over what it called the excessive pumping of groundwater in the valley in the 1970s and 1980s to increase drinking water supplies beyond what the city was taking from the river.

Under the settlement, Los Angeles, working with Inyo County on the $24 million project, has also taken steps to restore the cottonwoods, willows and wetlands that flourished along the river decades ago and drew an array of wildlife.

Near the river's delta, the released water is recaptured, with most of it used to control dust on Owens Lake, which the diversion had dried up, and the rest sent back into the aqueduct and on to Los Angeles.

The city still gets about 50 percent of its water, including groundwater, from the valley, down about a third in the past several years because of environmental obligations like the river restoration.

Mr. Villaraigosa, who has promised to patch up relations with the Owens Valley, said ending litigation and reviving the river sent an important message.

"By releasing this water, we are demonstrating our commitment to environmental stewardship and a new era in terms of our relationship with Owens River residents," he said. "We can't claim the mantle of the cleanest, greenest big city in America if we continue to degradate the environment in places like the Owens Valley."

Not all disputes are settled.

The Owens Valley Committee and the Sierra Club, while largely pleased so far, said they would like to see Los Angeles more closely monitor the wildlife and habitat making a comeback. Better management of the burgeoning ecosystem, they say, will ensure its success.

"We will have concerns if certain species that should be here are not returning," said Mike Prather, a birder and a committee member.

Brian Tillemans, who manages the project for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, said it was working on a plan. But the department generally prefers a "build a habitat and they will come" approach, Mr. Tillemans said, which costs less and allows nature to take the lead.

"The best we can do is optimize the habitat, and nature will take its course," Mr. Tillemans said. Within three years, he said, trees will line the banks, drawing more wildlife and naturally controlling weeds and underbrush.

One species locals hope to see more of is humans.

Some businesses have noticed a slight increase in people coming to see or play on the river, and the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce, one of the larger business development groups here, plans to revise its tourist guide to play up the restoration.

"People are starting to come at odd times of the year, like now, to visit, but what we look forward to is it making a great deal of difference in the long term," said Kathleen New, the chamber president and a lifelong resident.

"Right now, it's a lot of local people going out and getting wet and acting foolish," Ms. New said. "It's marvelous."

Mr. Franson, the kayaker, prepared to launch his inflated boat. Some forays have been long, he said, and others cut short by the tule, but they were all a pleasure.

"I may just get around the corner and I'm stuck," he said. "But, look, this was completely dry not long ago and now it is not."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Fwd: FW: Miller Wary of Dealings with his Doners (SGV Tribune 020807)

Just a little memory lane:
Miller wary of dealings with his donors
By Fred Ortega and Gary Scott Staff Writers

Looking back on the land deals now under review by federal authorities, Rep. Gary Miller maintains he did nothing wrong, but admits he would do one thing differently.

The Diamond Bar resident said he never should have turned to campaign contributor Lewis Operating Corp. when looking for an investment to shelter the proceeds from a 2002 land sale in Monrovia.

"Was it unethical or inappropriate? No," Miller said. "Am I going to buy things from former campaign donors? No. It is not worth being questioned."

A successful real estate developer before being elected to Congress in 1998, Miller expressed outrage at allegations that he abused his power as a congressman or misused tax laws.

Miller, R-Brea, said he is the object of a media campaign to smear him for doing what he has every right to do: make a buck.

In the run-up to the Monrovia land deal, now being looked at by the FBI, Miller said he acted as an anxious businessman trying to protect his investment and his right to develop his property - not as a powerful politician seeking to use his position for monetary gain, as he says he has been portrayed.

"I've been bashed in the press as though I've done something wrong," said

Miller, 58. "I can go out and make money like any American, as long as it is above board, ethically and honorably."

But political figures are held to different standards, said Dan Schnur, a Republican consultant. In the court of public opinion, he said, there isn't always a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

"When a private citizen does something that some may find suspicious, there is a legal process that takes place before people come to a decision," Schnur said. "When you are a public figure, they come to that judgment before the process, not after."

Recounting the 2002 land sale, Miller said he sat on 165 acres of pristine hillside property for 12 long years, waiting as Monrovia officials and citizens tried to figure out whether to let him develop the land or buy it for a wilderness preserve. All the while, he said he watched his investment stagnate.

And after 12 long years, Miller said he had had enough. At a City Council meeting in February 2000, the congressman pushed back.

"I am sitting next to my attorney, with 300 to 400 people in the room, and he tells me: `Offer to sell them your property. They'll never buy it,"' Miller recalled.

Miller was "damn tired of the process" and was prepared to file suit against the city for inverse condemnation, saying long delays and government regulations had so diminished the value of his property that he was legally entitled to compensation.

To his dismay, Miller said Monrovia's mayor at the time, Lara Larramendi, "a registered Democrat," asked him the unthinkable: donate the land to the city.

"If you don't want me to develop in your city, then buy my property," Miller said. Two years later, in May 2002, the congressman and the city came to an agreement. The city, using a state grant and local funds, bought Miller's land for

$11.8 million, earning him about a $10 million profit.

Last August, the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service accusing Miller of violating tax laws in the sale, as well as in land deals in Fontana and Rancho Cucamonga.

Federal investigators began poking around Monrovia, asking questions about the 2002 sale. In recent weeks, FBI agents asked Monrovia officials to turn over a video recording of that Feb. 29, 2000, council meeting. The FBI has declined to comment.

In October, Miller decided to ask the House ethics committee to review his dealings in hopes of ending a spate of news reports looking at whether he used his position to take advantage of a special tax provision to shelter profits from the deals.

Miller said he purposefully stayed away from business dealings when he first entered politics, but that concerns about providing for his children and grandchildren led him to dive back into investments again.

"I didn't do any business deals for 12 years, and every year I was worth less money," he said.

Miller is ranked as the 12th-wealthiest member of the House by the Center for Responsive Politics, with a net worth of

$12 million to $51.7 million.

Miller does not believe he receives special treatment; on the contrary, he says his political position has made negotiations more difficult.

"It has always been to my detriment to be a congressman" in putting deals together, Miller said, because of the higher level of scrutiny.

After the 2002 sale to Monrovia, Miller exercised IRS Code Section 1033 to shelter the proceeds from capital gains taxes. The code requires that the money be reinvested in property within two years. Miller needed to find property fast.

He had to look no further than Fontana, where Lewis Operating Corp., a former business partner and campaign contributor, was readying to sell land to the city there.

"I was looking for deals to buy," Miller said, adding that Lewis "said we have units we are going to sell to the city" of Fontana.

Lewis sold the properties to Miller in 2004. Miller turned around and sold the properties to Fontana in 2005 and 2006 for a small profit.

The deal has raised questions about access and influence, since Lewis Operating Corp. had given Miller a combined $18,100 in campaign contributions between 2003 and 2006.

Miller maintains the transactions were above board, but said he learned a lesson from the media fallout.

"Do I have any other projects with Lewis? No," Miller said. "I'm not interested in any joint ventures."

The confluence of business and politics is often problematic, said Bruce Cain, director of the University of California Washington Center.

"The general problem is when you come from a business background and enter politics, and your business begins to suffer because you are not paying as much attention to it anymore," said Cain. "They are not making the six-figure salaries they were making before, and that leads them to do things that are on the edge of the law."

With the focus on ethics in Congress nowadays, that attitude quickly becomes problematic, Cain said.

"They think that they are one-eighth of an inch inside the line, but why be one-eighth of an inch when you can be a mile farther away?"

Miller also insisted that his status as a congressman did not cause any conflicts in the matter of the closing of the Rialto airport.

Miller acknowledges that he met with an official from the city of Rialto and members of Lewis Operating Corp. about how to close the Rialto Airport before promoting a transportation bill that eventually shut down the facility.

In 2004, Rialto officials had signed a contract with Lewis giving the developer the first shot at developing the airport land. City officials have said they hired Lewis in part because of its political connections, since previous efforts to close the airport through the Federal Aviation Administration had failed.

Miller insists that the fact he knew Lewis wanted to build on the airport land did not influence his work on the transportation bill.

"I knew others were talking with Rialto \, KB Homes was talking, others were talking," he said, adding his motivation was only to assist the city of Rialto, which had asked him to help in the airport's closure. He said area representatives Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino, and Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, were also in favor of the city's efforts to shut down the airport.

In the end, it was language inserted in the bill by Lewis that led to the shuttering of the facility.

Despite all the problems his connections with developers have caused him, Miller insists he will leave Congress either on his own terms, or through the will of the voters.

"I plan on running again," he said. "I am not going to be impugned by the press."

(626) 578-6300, Ext. 4458
BS Ranch Perspective:

Looks like Miller is taking the high road in all this I would if I were him too. What Even If I was guilty in a similar situation I would stay with the not so guilty road, hoping that they don't find anything, or any wrong doing. Maybe they will find wrong doing and they will vote to work on the spirit of the law and not the Letter of the law, but I imagine in the spot that this guy is in they would have to act on the letter of the law and not the Spirit of the law, being that he was elected by the people with the people's Trust, to do the right thing, Legally and above board, not act above the law, and do what you want to get what you want to fill your pockets!! Even if you have your own employee's to pay, it isn't that you don't have the money to take the loss that you would have had the land gone the full circle that it would have, if you didn't cook up the emergency sale!!

Never the less, Miller had to have someone that he worked with on the other side that he trusted to make the Emergency sale work or he would find himself in this type of situation acting all cool, calm and collected. Be sides it would almost be the proof of the prosecution that the paperwork that Miller will show them regarding the Emergency sale of the property, are faked or not. We can only wonder. if they are real the above scenario certainly fits, and there is an inside man!!

BS Ranch
There has not been a follow up to this story, so I wonder what the outcome of the Investigation was, or maybe there was no Follow up story, becuase the Investigation was not finished, and they are still working through Miller's tax refunds and his tax reports to find where he might have placed the payments for the favors that he has done for the Cities of Fontana and Rialto!

Jan. 14, 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rialto OK's Use of Eminent Domain (San Bernardino Sun Jan. 23, 2008)

BS Ranch Perspective

It looks like Rialto's City Council is Resorting to land Stealing to make some more of the Apartments that will house Gangs and Crime shootings in the next five to ten years! So, they are pre-planning the area that they want to house the gangs in the city, by building these places, in the first place, now they are Stealing the Property that People have worked hard to get, at a time when they will not get what they paid for the property, That is Land Theft if you ask me!! Eminent Domain is something that is called Legal Land Snatching!!

BS Ranch

Rialto OKs use of eminent domain
Jason Pesick, Staff Writer

RIALTO - The city plans to use eminent domain if needed to expand an affordable housing project.

The unanimous vote Tuesday night by the City Council, acting as the Rialto Housing Authority board, will allow a 10-building, $14million expansion of the Willow-Winchester Revitalization project north of Base Line and west of Riverside Avenue.

"I think it's a good project," said Councilman Joe Baca Jr., who pointed out the neighborhood - home to a great deal of criminal activity - is close to Eisenhower High School.

There was no opposition to the vote, which will allow Rialto to purchase the buildings if it can't reach other agreements with the owners.

The city then plans to turn the neighborhood over to the Rancho Cucamonga-based National Community Renaissance, a nonprofit developer. The developer will renovate the homes and manage the community under strict rules.

The area's current residents will be able to stay in the project if their incomes don't exceed a certain limit, or they will be relocated. Residents will only be evicted if they commit a crime or violate the community's rules.

"So no one will be going homeless," said Rialto Housing Manager John Dutrey.

Activist Calls for County Split (Signal Jan. 21, 2008) Former SCV Mayor Carl Boyer Says L.A. County is too big to serve the people!! Right!

BS Ranch Perspective

This again, when are the people going to learn that the one on one personal, but the education that they will get when the County is spit will be that they will have no funds to get that one on one Funding, so that they will be wondering where the Sheriff is to service their area. It will be the same service that they have now!!
BS Ranch

Activist Calls for County Split
Former SCV mayor Carl Boyer says L.A. County is too big to serve the people.

By Parimal M. Rohit
Signal Staff Writer

Monday January 21, 2008

It's time for Los Angeles County to get back to its roots — serving the local people — and Santa Clarita Valley residents are the ones to lead the charge, a longtime community activist told listeners Thursday night.

"The members of the (county) Board of Supervisors decided we should not be allowed to go to the ballot again," Carl Boyer told about 15 listeners in Valencia. "They do not realize that the Santa Clarita Valley has a history and a real quest for democracy."

Boyer, who helped establish the city of Santa Clarita in 1987, was referring to an earlier effort by SCV residents to secede from Los Angeles County in 1976.

"We were the first area to try to form its own county since 1907," said Boyer, who served a young Santa Clarita as its mayor.

When the proposal to split up Los Angeles County was put to a vote of all county residents, it was handily defeated. There has not been a large-scale attempt to split up the county since.

The proposal won overwhelmingly in the Santa Clarita Valley.

A county split has not been presented on the ballot since 1976 because the Board of Supervisors successfully lobbied state government to pass legislation making it more difficult for a county split to occur, Boyer said.

Speaking at Valencia Summit's main clubhouse at the invitation of Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment, Boyer elaborated on the role of county government and the services it is expected to provide.

"The county was not meant to be a local government," he said. "They were to have very limited functions. The idea was to make it convenient to the people."

Los Angeles County, for example, once extended from the Pacific Ocean to the Colorado River and included portions of modern-day Kern, Inyo, San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside counties. However, as the Southern California population grew, Boyer pointed out, Los Angeles County was split. The last split of L.A. county occurred in the 1880s, when Orange County was formed.

The population of L.A. County is estimated to be more than 10 million, which would make it the 78th largest sovereignty in the world if it were an independent nation.

Boyer questioned whether county government provides sufficient services for the Santa Clarita Valley. He noted that county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich is running unopposed for re-election this year.

"We need to do something about the fossilization of Los Angeles County," Boyer said. "It was all about having government accessible to the people. We need the leadership to break this logjam."

Rialto to Evaluate Its City Attorney (San Bernardino Sun Jan. 21, 2008) Owen Should Be Fired or Let Go, either way 15 years is just to long for his many costly mistakes.

BS Ranch Perspective

The City of Rialto is taking a path that I have been asking for since the Water Contamination Issue has started!! However I believe that this is just a Smoke and Mirror, The City Council is doing this to say that they have evaluated the issue and there was not a better suited Lawyer to take over the Water Issue or any of the other Awaiting Legal Issues that the City of Rialto Faces right at the moment. 

Either that or Owen Himself is looking to Retire and he feels that he needs an out from his contract and has privately looked to Ed Scott his friend and asked for him to look into closing his contract to make a great Retirement Bonus of $500.000 ($1/2 Million & No/100). Wow, when I was killed by that Mazda MPV Mini Van I didn't Get a Half Million in Cash to separate from the City. I didn't got 1/4 of what I was making to retire. Everyone said it was half of what you made Tax free. but let me tell you when you get your medical taken out and it is going up every year. your COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) is taken right away. Gone, never get a raise. 

Now Owen, has had his job for 15 years and he has never done his job above par, he knows basic City Laws, about the Brown Act. and that is about it. Other then that, when it came to the Dealings with the City vs. The RPBA (Rialto Police Benefit Association) with  additional assistance from the Citizens of Rialto. When It came to support from the City, the RPBA and the Citizens only needed a very low amount, but they gathered approximately 4900 signatures, and I believe that there was only 1200 signatures needed to save the police department and reverse the City Council of Rialto's Vote. But their Decision to close the Police Department and Contract with the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department for Law Enforcement, was in serious question if they were doing the right thing that the City of which they represented Supported them anymore. 

The Citizens & the Rialto Police Benefit Association (RPBA) Took the City of Rialto to Court to place a Stay order against the City Council and the City of Rialto since they didn't meet with the RPBA to have what is known as a Meet and Confer, on a decision regarding a change in the original Employment Contract that they were working under that was not expired for another eight months. Owens Obviously was not aware of these laws or Rules, but the Lawyer that he kept putting down in the City Council Meetings as not knowing what they were doing, constantly and pointing out how they didn't know what they were doing, yet when Owen was confronted in Court by the Judge and the Attorney that Earlier he was basically calling dumb, was made a fool of. The Judge all but called Owen Stupid for not knowing the basic laws of an employment Contract. As time went on Owen was in court and faced the Lawyers that was hired by the Citizens and RPBA, Four to six times and each time, Owens Lost his case. Each Argument was shut down and the Judge basically told Owen to better prepare himself before showing to court next time. 

Now even though OWEN LOST EVERY TIME he faced the LAWYERS FROM RIVERSIDE, He would call the Riverside Lawyers Names and he would act as if he won in Court, but it was pointed out by the RPBA LAWYER or CITIZENS that OWENS LOST BY SOMEONE SHOUTING THAT THE LAWYER SHOWED HIM, even with that Owen would continue as if he was showing that he won the court battle even when he lost. 

Now the Perchlorate Contamination Issue comes up and this is awful. Owen should have said to the city Let's Contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and see what they say about what we should do with the Plum of Perchlorate below contaminating underground water supply. Owen right away saw money for his pockets and saw green filling his pockets and his house, garage, bedroom, bank....  So he figured once Owen heard that Good Year Tire, and Black and Decker was two of the main Companies that might be part of the companies responsible for the Perchlorate Contamination, he again saw the Dollar Signs, & Recommended that they take these companies to Court. 

Ed Scott, Winnie Hanson, and Debra Robertson, along with the Mayor should know that money doesn't come that easy, but on the Same Token the Lawyers of the County, and the other Involved Cities Were all using the EPA to clean up their main problems with the Perchlorate. Rialto Drug West Valley Water District into their Law Suit until the West Valley Water District Ran out of money and had to drop out, Once West Valley Water District dropped out they were able to Asked for help from the EPA and they were helped with the Filtration system that they needed, through Grants and assistance. 

But it was a fight that Owen's could not let go, and he continued to struggle to fight and asked the city to continue to fight Good Year, and Black and Decker, and suddenly the court date was pushed back and they had all this money into testing and they are testing constantly to keep the case active and make sure that the water that they have is Terrible to drink. This all cost a great deal of money with no money coming in other then that of the regular Taxes and The Utility Tax that was voted in so nicely by the Citizens of Rialto. 

Now they are up and over $30+Million Owen's is now being Evaluated and there is no hope of even coming close to winning this case. I know that Bob Sees, a case like that in the movie that made that woman a millionaire and she was just an Attorney's assistant, working on the case, as an investigator. Owen thought that he had a case like that, but little did he know that the Perchlorate was not put there as something to hurt people, it was not known that it was going to hurt people. It was the World War I After all The Great War, the Big one as they called it one day.  Back when Miro Air Field was an Air Base for the U.S. Air Force, and they had an Air Field in most cities of the US. that was how spread out the Air bases were back then. Perchlorate was just dumped on to the ground into a pit when it was destroyed. all the way back passed the WWI and into WWII when there was more dumped there and that was that but when it was a hazardous waist it was stopped. 

Now there was no laws broken at the time, But Owen is trying to make it sound like Good Year and Black & Decker did something wrong, when nothing wrong was done. 

With the poor handling of the POLICE DEPARTMENT CASE & NOW THE PERCHLORATE CASE OWEN MUST GO FOR POOR HANDLING OF THESE CASES. There should be some lawyer hired to fight to not pay for the $500.000 separation cashiers check because of the poor handling of these cases and now the clean up the lawyers coming in must do to get everything right again. 

Owen is a terrible lawyer, and should be retired or let go at least!! just by his track record he has now. I cannot believe that the City Council kept him after LOST against the RIALTO POLICE BENEFIT ASSOCIATION, when the POLICE DEPT. was being FIRED by the CITY COUNCIL! The City Council Looked to OWEN to CLEAN UP the RPBA Mess and get the SHERIFF DEPARTMENT INSTALLED as the LAW ENFORCEMENT!! But when taken to court, Not once, twice, but up to six times, and each time OWEN, LOST THE CASES!! OWEN SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIRED!! 

BS Ranch

Rialto to evaluate its city attorney
Jason Pesick, Staff Writer

RIALTO - The City Council will evaluate behind closed doors the performance of its city attorney, who is handling legal efforts to clean up contamination of the city's drinking water.

It is not clear if the council will take any action involving Bob Owen, who also had a hand in the city's court battle to eliminate its Police Department.

Mayor Grace Vargas said Monday that the city has spent too much on legal costs.

"And I think now is the time for the change," she said.

Rialto has a contract through 2010 with Owen and his small law firm to serve as city attorney.

The contract paid the firm $729,402 when it was signed in 2003. That amount increases by 2 percent a year.

The cost of breaking the contract now is $500,000.

Owen did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

"Obviously, the mayor is a little bit ahead of me, but I think there's going to be some - probably some frank discussions," said Councilman Ed Scott. "All options are open."

Owen, who has been city attorney for more than 15 years, has overseen the city's legal efforts to get contamination of the local drinking water cleaned up. The city has spent about $20 million on that effort. Only about $3 million of that money has been spent on treatment for the primary contaminant, perchlorate. The council has authorized an audit of all the perchlorate expenses, but it has not yet been released.

In 2005, the City Council voted to replace

the Police Department with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department - a decision it later reversed after a tough legal battle in which the city had to hire a Bay Area law firm. The city lost the court fight against its police officers union on a legal technicality because city officials did not meet with the union before voting to eliminate the department.

"I think there's just a number of issues that I intend to address with litigation, legal fees and those kinds of things," Scott said.

On Friday, Councilwoman Winnie Hanson said she would not support an effort to remove Owen.

"I'm very satisfied with our city attorney," she said.

"There's always times when people are going to second guess everything."

She characterized what she thought the discussions would be about: "We're looking at not so much performance but values and do we or do we not need a bigger or better or different-type representation."

She also said there are "developments" within Owen's professional life that she said are "exciting" but did not elaborate.

Vargas said it was Owen's responsibility to keep the city from spending so much on perchlorate.

"And I guess most of us are in agreement on that."

To get the latest

What: The City Council meets in closed session before its council meetings. When the meeting starts, it reports any actions that took place in closed session.

When: 6 p.m. tonight

Where: City Hall, 150 S. Palm Ave.

Tornado Warning Issued for Southwest L.A. (LA Times Jan. 24, 2008) Must Be Global Warming!!

BS Ranch Perspective
WOW A Tornado Warning in South West Los Angeles, that is weird, Snow. all this COLD WEATHER!! It has to be Global Warming!! The cold weather, and everthing like this is just aweful, the need for alternative fuel vehicles is needed right away. I know I am just so stupid in this area, but gosh, I guess the Carbon Monoxside is so high, I guess what we have to blaim is the people on the planet, becuase after all that is the main biproduct of what we exhaile everytime we breath out!!!
BS Ranch

Tornado warning issued for southwest L.A.

Big rigs
Al Seib / Los Angeles Times
Trucks braved the snow Thursday morning along Interstate 5, where inclement weather continued to snarl the major north-south artery. By afternoon the snow-clogged south- and northbound lanes in the Grapevine area remained closed indefinitely; another storm was expected by evening.
From the Associated Press
9:31 PM PST, January 24, 2008

CASTAIC, Calif. -- A blustery winter storm peppered Southern California with heavy rain and hail Thursday, while layering a blanket of snow in local mountains and forcing hundreds of drivers to be stranded in a high pass north of Los Angeles.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning late Thursday for southwest Los Angeles County, including Malibu, Pacific Palisades and the Topanga area. The weather service said a strong rotating thunderstorm was spotted over the eastern half of Malibu, moving north-northeast at 20 miles per hour. No damage was immediately reported.

Many areas reported at least an inch of rain by nightfall. In Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, some areas reported between two and three inches of rain.

Heavy rain was reported Thursday evening over the Los Angeles area.

The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for the Santa Barbara County mountains through 10 p.m. Friday. The snow level was expected to drop to between 2,000 and 3,000 feet Thursday night, and down to 1,500 feet during heavier showers or thunderstorms.

The storm forced the California Highway Patrol to shut down Interstate 5 late Wednesday on each side of the notorious Grapevine section of Tejon Pass, which rises to an elevation of more than 4,000 feet between the Los Angeles Basin and the San Joaquin Valley.

An estimated 300 to 500 trucks and cars were stuck overnight in a 40-mile stretch of the major north-south artery but most had been guided out by morning, said CHP Officer Mark Ehly.

"We were taking cars out pretty much one at a time" through the night, he said.

A roughly 40-mile stretch of the icy interstate remained closed Thursday evening. There was no estimate as to when it would reopen, said CHP Officer Patrick Kimball.

About 70,000 vehicles normally use the Grapevine section of I-5 each day, but its high elevation in the Tehachapi Mountains makes it susceptible to winter storms.

In Orange County, crews placed K-rails against several homes in fire-scarred Modjeska Canyon Thursday. Up to 1 1/2 inches of rain fell Wednesday night in the area burned by October's Santiago fire, said Capt. Mike Blawn of the Orange County Fire Authority.

"The rain resulted in a few minor debris flows behind a few houses but as far as I know there was no structural damage," Blawn said.

Authorities are more concerned about a bigger storm forecast to hit the area over the weekend. Forecasters are predicting 4-6 inches to hit south and southwest facing mountain slopes between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Blawn said the county's emergency operations team is keeping a close look on the situation.

Heavy rain and overnight hail prompted the Santa Anita horse track in Arcadia to cancel races Thursday, the fourth time this month. Its synthetic track has had drainage problems.

The storm was not expected to improve local water supplies. One of the driest rain seasons on record left reservoirs so low last year that several cities called for voluntary water conservation.

"It's a drop in the bucket compared to the levels that are really needed," said Ann Erdman, a spokeswoman for the city of Pasadena, which last month officially projected a water shortage.

Still, the storm and another on the way could prove beneficial, said Arthur Hinojosa, chief of the hydrology branch of the state Department of Water Resources.

"Every drop helps, especially when you've had a year like we did last year when we were shy and drew down a lot of reservoirs ... and groundwater," he said.

He noted that the West has been in a mild La Nina condition, referring to a change in ocean temperature that usually brings drier weather.

"You get a couple more systems like this ... and things might look a lot better," he said.

The storm dumped several feet of snow in local mountains, to the delight of ski resorts.

However, its impact was less clear on the crucial Sierra Nevada snowpack that, when it melts, is a major water supplier for Southern California.

The first large-scale survey of the snowpack in the region is planned for next week, Hinojosa said.

By late Thursday, downtown Los Angeles had recorded 1.39 inches from the storm, raising its seasonal total above 7 inches, more than usually has accumulated to date. But city has a long way to go in order to meet the average total of 15.14 inches for the whole season, which began on July 1 and runs through June 30

Work to Close Rialto Bridge (San Bernardino Sun Jan. 20, 2008) Road Widening Will Jam Traffic!!

BS Ranch Perspective

Later this year, anyone that drives, or tries to drive, across the I-10 Riverside Bridge after they start the expansion Construction, Should have their head Examined!! Seriously, the crazy days are coming that the bridge across the Interstate 10 Freeway, @ Riverside Ave, one of the Busiest Freeway Bridges that Crosses the I-10. I mean since Riverside Ave is a Short cut to the I-60 from there and Now it is a Shortcut from there to the I-210, so then it will be terribly congested and just an awful way to go when the construction starts. If it is like the Rest of the bridges then it will take at least 11 to 15 months for the Concrete to dry and it will just be terrible, and just awfully congested and miserable. 

But having said that, the Congestion around Sierra Ave had gone down and was a whole lot better when the bridge was finished!! Now, I hope that the Engineers that put the whole plan together for the expansion have a better Idea for Riverside then they did for the Traffic that is W/B on the I-10 intending to turn Right N/B on Riverside. You know the ones that have the idea to make an Immediate Right on Riverside and then an Immediate Left on Valley so that they can go down to Willow, Lilac, or Cactus, or even all the way into Bloomington and make a N/B turn onto Maple since it would be better if they used Cedar Ave. Yet they have the time to sit in the middle of traffic and wait until all of Riverside Ave to clear so that they can make it over to the Center of N/B Riverside and turn Left on Valley Ave. 

People have got to learn how to get to their house other then the one way that they learned when they purchased their home!! 

BS Ranch

Work to close Rialto bridge
Road widening will jam traffic
Jason Pesick, Staff Writer

RIALTO - More vehicles are about to squeeze onto already packed north-south roads crossing the 10 Freeway.

Later this year, workers will close Riverside Avenue over the 10 to widen the road and the on- and off-ramps. Drivers will still be able to get on the freeway from Riverside Avenue from each direction.

Once the road reopens, it might not stay open long. In the next five years, officials expect to widen the Riverside Avenue bridge over the Union Pacific rail lines just south of the freeway bridge.

"It's really a bad situation," said Councilman Ed Scott, who said the city couldn't get the money to widen both bridges at once.

Although the freeway bridge will be widened from four to six lanes, it will merge back into four lanes to cross the railroad tracks until that bridge is widened as well, said Rialto's public-works director, Ahmad Ansari.

Ansari came to the city after plans for Riverside Avenue had been set.

"To say that it is not going to be a bottleneck, I would be lying to you," he said.

Nevertheless, congestion on Riverside Avenue should be eased after the initial $37 million bridge project because the on- and off- ramps, which generate much of the traffic, will be wider, Ansari said.

He said he hopes work can start on the second bridge within five years. It's not clear whether that work will require a full closure of Riverside Avenue.

Larry Mitchell, general manager of Hometown Buffet 

just north of the 10, wasn't happy when he heard another bridge needs work on Riverside.

But he said his business will survive if the work is spread out enough.

"I think our patrons, our guests, will find a way if they want to come to Hometown Buffet," he said.

Greg Lantz, Rialto's economic development manager, said the bridge over the railroad could be widened as part of a project to widen Riverside Avenue to three lanes in each direction. A planned north-south route between Riverside and San Bernardino counties could dump out around Riverside Avenue, making the longer widening necessary.

The good news is that Riverside Avenue on- and off-ramps will get traffic signals as part of this year's project, Ansari said.

Councilwoman Winnie Hanson said that as a rule, work to improve the city's infrastructure won't be easy.

"I think our infrastructure is just way, way, way beyond quick solutions," she said.