It's a scandal a day in the SGV. Back to our regularly scheduled story.
Gil Aguirre has shown up on this blog before, and has been a source of information for us on matters related to the SGVCOG and it's Executive Director, Nick Conway. We have run several accounts of shenanigans at the COG, with the suspicion always being that Nick, by funneling official and government related COG business through Arroyo Associates, a company that he fully owns, he has been engaging in a clear conflict of interest, and one that profits him personally.
And apparently Deputy District Attorney David Demerjian shares in those suspicions as yesterday he executed search warrants at both Nick's home and the Alhambra offices of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments. A search warrant being something that requires the signature of a judge, so obviously there was judicial sanction for these searches as well.
The Pasadena Star News has an article up this morning (click here) entitled "DA probes COG head Nick Conway," and Gil is featured prominently there. Here is what they had to say:
COG is a joint powers authority, and 31 cities, three county supervisors and three water agencies are members from Pasadena to Claremont to Diamond Bar to Montebello. Its mission is to address issues that affect the entire San Gabriel Valley and give the region a greater voice in federal, state and county government.
Conway, and the COG, were recently under fire following a Caltrans audit that called into question the group's management of a $250,000 grant for the Gold Line. In a final audit, Caltrans reduced the scope and requested that $89,262 of the 2006 Gold Line grant be returned rather than the entire $245,130.
As COG head, Conway has been the target of open-government advocate Gil Aguirre, a resident of San Dimas. Aguirre filed a complaint to the DA's Office in January accusing Conway of using his position as the COG's head to award public contracts to Arroyo Associates.
"I don't know how it will all shake out because it's always hard to know what law enforcement is going to do," Aguirre said. "I know what evidence I sent them. It's ultimately going to be (District Attorney Steve Cooley's) call. I'm glad there's attention being drawn to the way things are being operated."
Aguirre also has filed a lawsuit against COG accusing the agency of violating the state's open-meeting laws and of keeping secrets that should be made public.
A copy of Gil's complaint filed with David Demerjian of the Public Integrity Division of the District Attorney's Office is linked to the PSN article. You can also access it on this site by clicking here.
Was there a conflict of interest involved in Measure A?
Yesterday we posted our concerns that certain members of the PUSD Redistricting Task Force were more concerned about feathering their own political nests than anything to do with social equity when they drew the borders for our now voter enacted sub-districts. Something that robs Sierra Madre of representation on the Board of Education until 2015. This during a time when important decisions regarding the dispensation of hundreds of millions of dollars in Measure TT bond money are to be made.
It looks like we are not the only place where such concerns are being raised. In another Pasadena Star News article today ("Measure A fallout fractures PUSD" click here), these observations are made:
The political fallout from the passage of Measure A came quick Wednesday, with board members accusing the redistricting task force of drawing subdistrict lines for their own benefit.
Measure A will convert the Pasadena Unified School District from its current at-large system to a subdistrict format for the future election of board members. The process has fueled a contentious argument over the adoption of subdistricts and more specifically the subdistrict boundaries. School board members accused the redistricting task force appointees Wednesday of drawing those lines to improve their own political fortunes.
"Those maps are for the benefit of Ken Chawkins and others on the task force like Chris Chahinian," PUSD board member Ramon Miramontes said. "If Ken Chawkins, Chris Chahinian or someone in the Armenian Coalition runs for school board, we'll know the maps are self-serving."
Wouldn't it be something if it does turn out that the reason Sierra Madre's chance to elect its own Board of Education representative was kicked back to 2015 was to make certain that certain persons on the redistricting task force will be able to run in 2013?
Tonight's Planning Commission Meeting and Measure V
The Assistant City Attorney and others sympathetic to the cause of killing meaningful voter participation in the approval of oversized downtown development projects will be dragging along their usual barrel or two of deceptive snake oil for the ears of the Planning Commission tonight. And what should have been a very simple process, and one being down with the full support of the developer himself, has become bogged down in endless, well, crap.
The canard du jour will be that this City's General Plan must be changed in order to accommodate all that is required to bring the Kensington vote along. In actuality it needs to be the project that is made to conform with the General Plan as it already is. By changing the General Plan in this way the door is then opened to all sorts of "downtown specific plan" SCAG housing and other bad development downtown. All for the benefit of certain overrepresented property owners, realtors and other special interests.
Evil never sleeps, as they say. And since these characters all live off the public dime, they have plenty of time to hatch such things. We will have a full report ready on how it goes tomorrow morning.