|A real 4th of July|
If you go to the Sierra Madre 4th of July Parade Committee's Facebook page (click here) you will get to read the following announcement:
The volunteers of the Sierra Madre 4th of July Committee are pleased and excited to announce that the 2013 Fourth of July Parade Grand Marshal will be Sierra Madre’s Veteran’s of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 3208. “The Grand Marshal is a person or personswhose efforts over a long period of time has been beneficial to the community of Sierra Madre. The title of Grand Marshal is intended to honor a person or persons’ volume of work, dedication and overall enhancements to our community.” No one embodies this more than the members of the VFW.
Sierra Madre’s VFW Post No. 3208 was granted its status on February 13, 1935 officially the "Harry L Embree Post No. 3208, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, an organization existing under authority of an Act of Congress, approved May 28, 1936. This year marks 113 years of community service, tradition and veterans’ service. The membership of the Post consists of World War II, Korean, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. These are true American Heroes living in our community and what better way to acknowledge them, their service and their families than saying thank you during this year’s 4th of July Celebration.
The community service endeavors of the Veterans of Foreign Wars go well beyond the realm of "veterans helping veterans." Sierra Madre’s VFW has provided a Scholarship to the Veterans of Pasadena City College; supported the Pasadena High School ROTC program, supported local Boy & Girls Scouts; sponsorships for Sierra Madre Little League teams and adult co-ed Softball. The Veterans have donated flags to the City that are used to line the City streets, donated $10,000 to for bleachers at Heasley Field, donated $5,000 to Pony league for field repairs and just recently purchased a pole and flag for Dapper Field.
Want to learn more about the VFW, the Post meets at the Hart Park House on the second Sunday of the month at 2:00 p.m. or look for a Veteran during the 4th of July Parade as they hand out flags to kids along the route.
I personally would like to thank the 4th of July Committee, along with all of the Sierra Madre residents who sent in their e-mails and letters to the hard working volunteers who make our greatest parade possible, for honoring our veterans in this important way.
This will truly be a 4th of July Parade that we will all take a huge amount of pride in.
A couple of years back then Congressman David Dreier offered his assistance in helping us get a full military honor band if we made our VFW members the 4th of July Parade Grand Marshal. For reasons that I've always thought had to do with some unfortunate politics, those in charge of the parade back then turned their backs on what would have been a remarkable event for our town.
I think we now need to make some calls and see if that offer still stands. We owe it to some pretty remarkable Sierra Madre residents.
What's up with Nick Conway?
The Pasadena Star News has been following the strange story of the SGVCOG's fallen Executive Director for quite awhile now, and the latest legal chicanery of Nick Conway is no exception. Nick, who could soon be giving up a life of unearned privilege for 7 long years in the pokey, is now trying to wriggle off the hook before his case has even gone to trial. Here is how the Star News tells it (link):
The trial of Nick Conway, the former executive director of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, is scheduled to begin May 30 in front of Judge Norm Shapiro in Los Angeles County Criminal Court.
Before the trial can proceed, however, the judge first will consider a motion filed by Conway's attorney on Wednesday to dismiss the charges pending against his client.
In the motion, Conway's attorney argues that Judge M.L. Villar de Longoria was mistaken when she held his client to answer to four criminal charges of conflict of interest at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing. The charges are related to four contracts Conway managed for the regional planning body while he was heading up his own for-profit company, Arroyo Associates, which managed the public agency.
At issue is whether Conway personally benefitted from the contracts, for which the COG approved amendments and extra costs amounting to at least $148,000, according to evidence presented at the preliminary hearing this winter.
"He sought out contracts that benefited him," said Judge Villar de Longoria after she ruled there was enough evidence to proceed with a trial.
Conway's attorney, Kenneth White, wrote in the motion that Conway had acted entirely according to the COG's Strategic Plan laid out by the COG board of directors and approved by the COG's attorneys. In an email to this newspaper, White wrote: "I've consistently said that all contracts, and the negotiations thereof, were part of a strategy explicitly directed by the Board, were approved at every stage by the Board, and were approved by the COG's general counsel."
Assistant District Attorney Dana Aratani said he just received the motion to dismiss charges and will be preparing a response within the next five or so days.
"Essentially, the evidence supports the charges that he was held to answer for," Aratani said Wednesday. "There were others that knew of the conflict of interest or might have suspected the conflict."
Government Code section 1090 prohibits public officials from having any financial interest in any contract made by them in their official capacity, according to the D.A.'s Office.
A couple of things that I found out. Despite Conway's attempts to get the taxpayers to foot the bill for his high-priced attorney, poor Nick has been forced to pay out of his own pocket. Something that must have come as a shock to a man who had come to think of the taxpayer's money as his own.
It is also a good measure of the arrogance of the man. Apparently Nick, who had been offered the opportunity to cop a plea in exchange for a suspended sentence along with being barred from ever holding a government job again, thinks he can beat these corruption charges. Despite the overwhelming evidence that he is guilty.
But that said, there is also this scary consideration. Nick's "other people at the COG knew about what I was doing, so how can I be held accountable?" appeal to the Judge just might be a trial run for what will become his defense strategy once the real show begins.
And given the well-known fact that many juries are as dumb as rocks, this could be an emotional appeal that works. It is a serious gamble on Nick's part, though. And if he loses it could easily cost him his freedom for much of what remains of his time here on this mortal coil.
Were they kidding with this headline?
The Pasadena Sun, which somehow manages to be considered a newspaper without printing much in the way of actual news, has now run the following story about a tractor trailer truck that, filled with several tons of grapes, crashed onto a concrete 210 Freeway barrier early yesterday morning (link):
Big rig carrying fruit crashes on 210 Freeway, creates jam
Monday’s morning commute started off horribly for drivers in the San Gabriel Valley when a big rig carrying fruit overturned on the 210, blocking lanes in both directions in Monrovia for most of the morning.
The big rig crashed through the center divider just before 5 a.m. near Myrtle Avenue, the L.A. Times reported. Three westbound lanes and two eastbound lanes will be blocked until about 9:15 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
Westbound traffic appeared to be backed up to the 605 freeway. The trailer is estimated to weigh about 35,000 pounds, according to the CHP.
I hope they were kidding. Then again, maybe I don't.