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More on Monrovia PD Chief's Retirement, Food-Truck Lawsuit

~ A bit more on Police Chief Roger Johnson's retirement:

~ The food-truck association lawsuit against Monrovia (for excluding the trucks from the Old Town area) has made the big time, with the story on KTLA:

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia City Council Invocations

I just noticed this curious item in the City Council agenda ( ). It gives instructions for religious leaders giving the invocation:

"To comply with recent court decisions, the City of Monrovia has advised persons giving the invocation not to recite sectarian references or prayer."

How you give an invocation without referring to elements of your faith or without praying? I thought "invoking" - in the religious sense - was praying for assistance.

I know Monrovia has to obey the law, but does an invocation that doesn't invoke God - or anything else - make any sense?

I have no problem with invocations, but if they're just going to be play-acting, maybe the city should drop them and instead, perhaps churches, etc., should invite council-members to their meetings and have real invocations for them there.

Aah, what do I know ...

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Council Drops Gold Line Property-Sale from Agenda

The possible sale of property to the Gold Line for a maintenance yard - a topic that touched off a testy exchange between Monrovia City Councilman Tom Adams and Mayor Mary Ann Lutz, and a topic which prompted a special meeting of the Council, which was then continued until the council's April 5 meeting, and a topic about which Mayor Lutz and City Manager Scott Ochoa said was time-sensitive because of possible confiscatory actions by the state ... has been dropped.

The agenda for the City Council's April 5 meeting says:

"CANCELLED - Continued from April 5, 2011; Purchase and Sale Agreement between the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency and the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority for the Total Consideration of $39,627,818; Resolution Nos. 5-2011 and 2011-13

"Recommendation: This item has been withdrawn and requires no further action by the City Council and the Agency Board at this time."

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia High Day at the Races / Choir Wants Singers

~ Monrovia High Alumni Day at the Races, Sunday, April 3.
Gates Open at 10:30 am races begin at 12:30 p.m. Enter Gate 6 off Colorado Blvd. Proceeds to benefit the MHS Music Department & their trip to Carnegie Hall in 2012. Details:
~ Monrovia's First Presbyterian Church Concert Choir is looking for singers for its annual Good Friday Concert and Meditation.
- Brad Haugaard

Formative Years Project, Robbery Arrest, DUIs

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for March 24-30. - Brad Haugaard]
During the last seven day period, the Police Department handled 438 service events, resulting in 79 investigations.  Following are the last week's highlighted issues and events:
Formative Years Project
The Monrovia Police Department's classes for the Formative Years Project are scheduled to begin May 5, 2011.  The Formative Years Project is a program aimed at parents and their children, grades 1st through 3rd, which introduces important life values and skills to children at an early age.  Providing this training when children are young begins the process of building healthy and safe practices that can set the stage for a lifetime of success and healthy living.  Please see the flyer attached at the end of this report for more information on how to register for classes.
Robbery Suspect Arrested
On March 26, an officer went to a residence in the 700 block of Monterey Court in an attempt to locate a wanted robbery suspect, but no one answered the door.  Approximately one hour later, the suspect came into the police department lobby.  The officer contacted the female suspect, who admitted to committing two robberies in San Dimas.  The suspect was arrested and a detective contacted the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and arrangements were made for a deputy to take custody of the suspect. 
Driving Under the Influence / Failure to Obey a Lawful Order - Suspects Arrested
March 27 at 1:42 a.m., officers were at a business in the 300 block of South Myrtle at the request of security to provide assistance while a rowdy group of subjects were being cleared from the premises.  One of the officers was trying to stop a vehicle for speeding that was approaching him.  The vehicle momentarily stopped as it reached the intersection of Myrtle and Lime, the driver rolled down his window, but then sped away traveling wrong way on a one way street at a high rate of speed.  An area search was conducted and the vehicle was located and stopped at Fifth and Chestnut.  The driver was determined to be driving under the influence and was arrested.  The three passengers were arrested for being drunk in public. 
Driving Under the Influence - Suspect Arrested
March 27 at 1:56 a.m., an officer was following a vehicle westbound in the 300 block of East Huntington that was intermittently lane straddling all the way to Magnolia, where the vehicle was stopped.  The driver was determined to be driving under the influence.  The driver was arrested.  He was found to be on felony probation for burglary and had a felony, $250,000 warrant out for his arrest.
Driving Under the Influence - Suspect Arrested
March 27 at 3:10 a.m., an officer observed a vehicle heading north on Myrtle under the 210 Freeway.  The vehicle swerved, almost striking the curb, and then went through a red light at Central and Myrtle.  The officer stopped the driver and through investigation, determined the driver to be under the influence.  The driver was arrested.

Construction on E Huntington

Construction has started on E Huntington Drive in Monrovia. - Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's Trader Joe's Pulls Pizza - Mislabeled

Trader Joe's, based in Monrovia, removed 131,000 pounds of pizza from its shelves. because the labels forgot to say they contained wheat. Oops.

- Brad Haugaard

The Story of Monrovia's Green Dot Company

The story of Monrovia's Green Dot prepaid "credit" card company. Now banks want a piece of its action.
- Brad Haugaard

Save or Improve Your Marriage / Food Truck Lawsuit

~ Monrovia's First Presbyterian Church will sponsor an on-campus marriage retreat this Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2, with Dr. Sharon Hart May, Author of "How To Argue So Your Spouse Will Listen." Call the church office at (626) 358-3297 to sign up.

~ A food truck association is suing Monrovia because of the city's ban on the trucks in Old Town.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Disaster Preparation & Japan Radiation

Monrovia Fire Chief Chris Donovan writes that the city council will discuss disaster preparedness at the April 5 meeting. Also, he points to some LA County fact sheets on nuclear radiation from Japan.

I like the unambiguous clarity of the first word of the answers to these questions:

- Does damage to the Japanese nuclear power plants pose a health risk to LA County?


- Should you take Potassium Iodide (KI)?


- Will radiation from Japan affect LA County’s beaches?


- Brad Haugaard

New Monrovia Seafood / Monrovia Over TC in Baseball

~ New seafood restaurant, BigShrimps Fish Grill, at 123 E. Colorado, set to open April 17.

~ Baseball - Monrovia over Temple City in 11 innings.

- Brad Haugaard

Spy Plane from Monrovia Ends up on eBay

A man in Florida has been charged with attempting to sell a Raven robo-spy plane, made by Monrovia's AeroVironment, on eBay. Not too smart.

- Brad Haugaard

Watch Out for Fake Monrovia Employees

As reported earlier, a man claiming to be a Monrovia City Water Department employee stole cash and a checkbook from a resident.

The city is now recommending that if someone shows up at your door claiming to be a city employee, it is helpful to know that employees "wear either a light blue work shirt with their name and the Monrovia City logo sewn on the front, or an orange work shirt with their name and the Monrovia City logo sewn on the front. All Monrovia City employees will have City of Monrovia identification cards with them."

Also, if you are unsure, call the Monrovia Police Department at (626) 256-8000 and a uniformed Monrovia police officer will respond to verify the person's identity and reason for being at your home.


- Brad Haugaard

Iceland in Monrovia / Which Y? / Softball / Santa Fe

~ A pilot of the Fox network show, Iceland, filming on the Monrovia Library lawn.

~ Help the Santa Anita Family YMCA to decide what color logo to use on its vans.

~ Softball: Monrovia 7-4 over La Canada-Flintridge.

~ In its March issue, the Monrovia Schools Foundation features Santa Fe Middle School.

- Brad Haugaard

Price Slips on Monrovia's Upton Sinclair House / Candidate Forum / MHS over La Canada :-)

~ The Upton Sinclair House, which had been priced at $1.5 million, has slipped to $1.3 million.

~ Another Monrovia City Council candidate forum.

~ Monrovia baseball over La Canada, 7-4.

- Brad Haugaard

Will Lawsuit in Monrovia Hinder Gold Line? / Water Challenge / Resurfacing / Curves Helps Unity Center

~ The Gold Line Construction Authority is concerned a lawsuit related to land intended for a rail-maintenance yard in Monrovia could hinder construction of the line.
~ Beginning April 1 (no joke) you can participate in the Mayors Challenge for Water Conservation, "a friendly online competition between cities to see which can be the most water-wise." If Monrovia wins, residents would be eligible to win tickets to an Angels game, to Disneyland and half-price admission to the Aquarium of the Pacific for the entire community. There is nothing you can do now, but on April 1 you can sign up here ( ) to support Monrovia.
~ A little change in the Huntington Drive resurfacing project: Instead of first doing Huntington from Magnolia to Fifth, the city will first do East Huntington Drive (Shamrock to the east City limit). Everything should still be done by June 30. Details:
~ During the first two weeks of April, local Curves will collect non-perishable food and cash to benefit Foothill Unity Center, in Monrovia, and other local food banks. Curves members who donate $30 or an equivalent amount of food will get a reusable grocery bag. From April 4-17, Curves will waive the membership fee for new members who make the same donation.
- Brad Haugaard

Fire Protection: Watch Your Windows!

The Monrovia Fire Department recommends making your house more fire-resistant by maintaining your window frames and sills. In a wildfire, embers can land on the frame or sill and catch your house on fire. So, remove debris and replace decayed wood, which catches fire at a lower temperature than sound wood.
More details here:
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia House Fire

On March 22 at approximately 2 a.m. Monrovia firefighters, with the assistance of Arcadia Fire Department responded to a reported structure fire in the 100 block of N. Magnolia. Initial arriving companies found heavy fire and smoke issuing from a rear house and garage. The first-in engine company initiated fire attack, while additional lines were pulled to protect the front house from fire spread. Several rooms of the house and garage were heavily damaged due to fire, heat and smoke. Fortunately the residents escaped unharmed and no firefighter injuries were reported. A preliminary estimate on structure and content loss is $105,000. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia City Manager: Redevelopment Compromise?

Sacramento is still trying to eliminate redevelopment agencies, Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa says, but he seems to think there may be a possibility of compromise.
He writes that "the conventional wisdom is that the Democrats will opt to eliminate the RDAs [redevelopment agencies] on a simple majority vote as part of the budget or in an extraordinary session."

He said a simple majority would need no Republican votes, but it would also mean that the change in the law could not take place until mid-July or January, which would give cities more time to "reinforce the positions." And there would still be lawsuits. Also, cities have been busily shielding their redevelopment money, he said, so there might not be much for the state to grab.
The longer it drags on, he said, the more chance of finding "a middle ground."
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia City Manager: Council Disagreements? Nothing New

I've written already about the dueling letters between Monrovia City Councilman Tom Adams and Mayor Mary Ann Lutz, but in his weekly report City Manager Scott Ochoa recommends not being concerned about it. He writes:

"I think it is important to keep things in perspective and not read too much into this episode. Obviously, there are disagreements and fissures between members of the Council; but this is nothing new. What has historically set Monrovia apart from other communities has been that our Councils have always found ways to do the people's business effectively and not let personalities block community progress. Like the Showtime Lakers, these folks are professionals who understand the advantages and the limitations of team chemistry."
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Neighborhood Survey / Mentalist on Myrtle / History

~ Phase Four of Monrovia's Thriving Neighborhood Survey is available, and online until April 15. Click the link to rate your neighborhood and let the City know its strengths and needs.

~ There was apparently a filming of the show, The Mentalist, on Myrtle a few days ago.

~ Chinese in Monrovia History.

- Brad Haugaard

Woman Turns Herself In

Woman suspected in failed Monrovia robbery turns herself in.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Candidate Statements: Becky Shevlin

[I have offered all active candidates for the Monrovia City Council a post of up to 300 words to explain and promote their candidacy. I am posting them in the order I receive them. This is the second, from Becky Shevlin. - Brad Haugaard]

I have lived in the immediate area for 56 years and in Monrovia for the past 23 years, raising a family here, and for 35 years, have worked as a legal assistant for attorney Mark M. O’Brien, with his office in Monrovia Old Town for the past 16 years. I have immersed myself in all aspects of our Community building valuable relationships with local businesses and fellow Monrovians. For 2 years now it has been my honor and privilege to serve the citizens of Monrovia as a Monrovia City Council Member. 

SERVING MONROVIA - Council Liaison and Representative to the Monrovia Old Town Advisory Board, Community Services Commission (past Commissioner 11 years, and past Chair), Foothill Workforce Investment Board, Foothill Transit Board; Southern California Association of Governments, Adopt-a-School Program (Clifton Middle School) and Alternate for the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership and Council of Governments.

Community Involvement – Monrovia Reads Board Member and past President (8 years); Acting Secretary and past Chair of Monrovia Chamber Business, Education, and Community Outreach Network Committee (8 years and also serving on Chamber Executive Board 2005-2008; President 2007); Calendar Coordinator and past President of Monrovia Community Coordinating Council (12 years); Monrovia Guild - Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (4 years); County Commission for Women Board Member (appointment 2010) as well as involvement with several other Community organizations and programs.

Our future is calling; we have many challenges and I believe I am prepared to confront and address them, both on your behalf and together. My desire is that we continue to cherish and preserve our rich heritage and sense of community while forging ahead to a prosperous future. I thank you for your support and ask for your Vote on April 12, 2011. To contact me, please email; call (626) 253-0072, or visit

South Pas Outruns Monrovia / Saving a Skunk

~ South Pasadena track team over Wildcats :-(
~ Firefighters save soggy skunk.
- Brad Haugaard

Pets for Monrovians

Mozart, at Inland Valley

Monrovia contracts with Inland Valley Humane Society in Pomona for some of its animal control needs.

If you are interested in adopting an animal, here are Inland Valley links:

Other Critters:

Also nearby is the San Gabriel Valley Humane Society. Here are the animals they have available:

And if you need to report a stray, call the Monrovia Police Department at (626) 256-8000 any time.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's World Vision Raises $25 million for Japan.

World Vision International, based in Monrovia, raises nearly $25 million for Japan.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Candidate Statements: Tom Adams

[I have offered all active candidates for the Monrovia City Council a post of up to 300 words to explain and promote their candidacy. The offer remains open until midnight of April 4. I am posting them in the order I receive them. This is the first I've received, from Tom Adams. - Brad Haugaard]
As a Monrovia native I enjoy being in a position to live and work right here in Monrovia. I spend most of my day talking to Monrovian’s about Monrovia. I hear about the things they like and at times what they don’t. I try to insure that we continue to do the good and not repeat the bad. I have had the pleasure of raising my children here and have worked with our great schools for their education. Monrovia is blessed in many ways and we need to continue these blessings.
Monrovia is very special to me and Monrovian’s have given me the opportunity to serve this great town in many ways including serving on this council in good times and bad. Monrovia has seen lows and highs and although we are in the middle of the worst economy in my lifetime, Monrovia will come out on top but it won’t be easy getting there. The State of California has and will continue to take from Monrovia in their attempt to keep the state treasury alive, we must do all we can to prevent them from dragging Monrovia down with them. The future of Monrovia depends on how these next few years are handled. We must insure that our economic decisions are strong yet we need to insure that we keep an eye on our rich past as we move forward respecting our history.
We also need to insure that all Monrovian’s share in the future as we move forward. Monrovia has a rich history not just in our buildings but our people, a history that as we move forward needs to be recognized and celebrated.
Thank you all again and I ask for your vote on April 12th. Thank you!

Monrovia Police Chief Retiring / ZuniDigital Wins Awards

~ Monrovia Police Chief Roger Johnson is retiring May 5.

~ ZuniDigital, of Monrovia, has won two separate Awards within the wireless marketplace.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Baseball / Gospel Expo / Lost Dog / Cronkite

~ Monrovia baseball loads up on tough opponents.

~ Gospel Expo and First Presbyterian Good Friday concert choir.

~ Lost dog found in Monrovia.

~ Charlotte Shamadan misses Walter Cronkite.

- Brad Haugaard

Duarte Debate Spills into Monrovia / Language Learning / Lawsuit

~ A group opposed to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Duarte ( ) asked "pro-lifers to come out and defend life" at a meeting in Monrovia of the Foothill Community Democrats ( ), featuring a Planned Parenthood speaker.

~ The Monrovia Library has a number of language learning tools you may not know about.

~ A property owner who might be affected by the construction of a Gold Line maintenance facility is suing Monrovia. and

- Brad Haugaard

Dick Heimbold's Paintings at Monrovia's Selig Fine Art

Buster's, by Dick Heimbold, 24x18 oil

Selig Fine Arts is holding a Meet the Artist reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres to kick off a solo show of paintings by Dick Heimbold, whose "work utilizes the narcotic effect of brilliant color to connect the viewer with the character of the subject or place in his work." The event will be held Saturday, April 2, from 5-7 p.m. at Segil Fine Art, 110 W. Lime Ave., in Old Town Monrovia.
- Brad Haugaard

New Old-Town Monrovia One-Mile Walking Route

A set of mileage posts marking a new old town walking route has been installed along Myrtle Avenue.

This latest walking route is an idea that was brought to the City by resident Chris Shevlin. Mr. Shevlin, a Monrovia Kiwanis Club member, asked the group to fully sponsor this project—which they agreed to do. This route aims to help Monrovians become more active; while encouraging an increase of foot traffic throughout Monrovia’s historic old town district.

The old town walking route is one mile in length, starting at Foothill Boulevard, traveling south on Myrtle Avenue for approximately a half-mile to the Old Town Arch at Walnut Avenue, then returning to the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Foothill Boulevard. The walk takes participants past the Community Center, Library Park and through the heart of Old Town’s shopping, dining and entertainment district.

This route is the second of its kind within the old town district. The first, the “Fountain to the Falls” route, was installed late last year by Eagle Scout candidate Jeffrey Ramos. The “Fountain to the Falls” route starts at Old Town’s Library Park fountain and travels north to the waterfall in Canyon Park. A 7-Mile Run/Walk event, which will follow this route, is planned for Saturday, May 14 as part of the City’s 125th birthday celebration.

For more information on this route call (626) 303-6600.


- Brad Haugaard (from Dan Bell, City of Monrovia)

Fake City Worker Steals Cash, Burglary, Assault, Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for March. 17-23. - Brad Haugaard]
During the last seven day period, the Police Department handled 510 service events, resulting in 91 investigations.  Following are the last week's highlighted issues and events:
Crime Notification - Imposter - City Water Department Worker
On March 14 at approximately 10:30 a.m., an elderly female resident in the 600 block of West Maple answered a knock at her door.  A 35 to 45 year old Hispanic male wearing white pants and a white shirt identified himself as a "water department employee."  This suspect was wearing an identification badge on a lanyard around his neck.  He told the resident he needed to check her water because the water in the area was contaminated.  The resident allowed the suspect inside her home.  He checked the water in her kitchen faucet and then told the resident to check her bathroom faucet.  When the resident left to check the bathroom faucet, the suspect removed cash and a checkbook from the resident's purse.  The suspect left and the resident discovered the crime.  Investigation continuing. 
Formative Years Project
The Monrovia Police Department's classes for the Formative Years Project are scheduled to begin May 5, 2011.  The Formative Years Project is a program aimed at parents and their children, grades 1st through 3rd, which introduces important life values and skills to children at an early age.  Providing this training when children are young begins the process of building healthy and safe practices that can set the stage for a lifetime of success and healthy living.  Please see the flyer attached at the end of this report for more information on how to register for classes. 
March 17 at 7:40 a.m., officers responded to the report of a break-in at a camp building in the 1100 block of North Canyon.  The officer determined the suspect used a cylindrical piece of concrete to break the southwest window to gain entry and took a portable DVD player, 10 portable radios, and a backpack with a medical kit.  The building was unoccupied at the time.  Investigation continuing.
Brandishing a Knife - Suspect Arrested
March 17 at 4:36 p.m., officers responded to a park in the 300 block of South Myrtle regarding a disturbance between two boys.  On arrival, the officer detained the two subjects, one is 18 years old.  Apparently, an argument began between the two boys and the 18 year old produced a knife and brandished it.  He was arrested and later released on a citation.
Vandalism - Suspect Arrested
March 17 at 11:45 p.m., officers responded to Evergreen and Myrtle regarding a male subject that had been seen writing graffiti on the wall of the freeway.  Officers responded and detained the subject.  The graffiti was not gang related.  The suspect was arrested for vandalism.  The Monrovia Police Department's $100 Graffiti Bounty was given to the reporting party of this incident.
Possession of a Controlled Substance / Possession of Drug Paraphernalia - Suspect Arrested
March 18 at 12:38 a.m., officers responded to a hotel in the 900 block of South Fifth Avenue regarding a disturbance between a male subject and female subject that were yelling at each other.  When the officers arrived, the male subject was gone and the female was in her hotel room.  A small plastic bag of methamphetamine was found on the ground next to the female, along with a used glass smoking pipe, which was found under her duffle bag next to her.  The female was arrested.
Grand Theft Auto Recovery - Suspect Arrested
March 20 at 3:46 p.m., an officer was patrolling the area of Myrtle and Huntington when he observed a suspicious vehicle.  The vehicle was confirmed stolen and officers conducted a high-risk traffic stop on the vehicle and arrested the driver.  The driver claimed he just bought the vehicle, but Los Angeles Sheriff's TRAP detectives reported the vehicle had been stolen from a dealership.  Investigation continuing.
Dog Incident
March 21 at 3:30 p.m., an officer was dispatched to a residence in the 500 block of Hurstview regarding a woman being attacked by a dog.  The officer was able to scare the dog away and the female was able to leave the property without injury.  The dog's owner was cited.
Residential Burglary
March 21 at 7:44 p.m., officers responded to a residence in the 200 block of El Nido regarding a burglary alarm.  When officers arrived, they discovered that someone had forced entry into the residence by removing a bathroom window screen and breaking the window.  The resident was notified by the alarm company, and he reported that he had left the residence moments before the alarm activation.  A witness was located who stated a newer, white Toyota Camry was seen leaving the location after the alarm activated.  Investigation continuing.
Commercial Robbery
March 22 at 9:30 p.m., an officer was dispatched to a business in the 300 block of West Huntington regarding a robbery.  A white female suspect walked into the business and approached the counter brandishing a large kitchen knife.  She stated that this was a robbery and demanded money from the clerk.  The clerk behind the counter stepped back and told a customer to call police because they were being robbed.  The suspect calmly turned and walked out of the business, down the street and out of sight.  An area search was conducted, but the suspect was not located.  It was later learned that two similar robberies occurred in the City of San Dimas.  Video surveillance was captured of the incident in Monrovia.  The investigation is continuing.

Monrovia Weinerschnitzel

Actually, pretty good hot dogs here. I got a Chicago Dog and a Kraut Dog, both Angus beef. On Huntington across from Albertsons. - Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Spring Classes and Events

The Monrovia Department of Community Services has a whole catalog of Spring events and classes planned - including, uh, Zumba?

Click here for catalog:

Click here for registration form:

- Brad Haugaard

Gold Line Lawsuit / Women Who Rock / Monrovia High Students Honored

~ Property owner sues Monrovia over planned sale of land for Gold Line yard.

~ On March 29th at 6:30 p.m., the Monrovia Public Library will present Women who Rock, featuring five women artists. For information, call the Youth Services Reference Desk at (626) 256-8256.

~ Rotary Club honors Monrovia High students for ethics essays. 

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Church Raises Money for Japan

After another offering on Sunday, Monrovia's First Presbyterian Church has raised $2,475 for for disaster relief in Japan. The money will go through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Fund to provide food, blankets, radios, batteries, sanitation kits, clean water and fuel.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Birthday Schedule

Here is a schedule of Monrovia Day activities for Monrovia's big 125th birthday.

- Brad Haugaard

Mayor Lutz: There's Only One Mayor in Monrovia

At tonight's special City Council meeting (March 22), Mayor Mary Ann Lutz responded to Councilman Tom Adam's criticisms of her and of the proposed $39.6 million land sale - which he had stated earlier in a letter ( ) because he could not attend the meeting - by reading this prepared statement:

"I'm sorry that Mr. Adams is not present with us this evening. And I am equally sorry and disappointed that he chose to write a letter that was cc'd to the press - but to none of his Council colleagues - to protest our special meeting tonight.

"As the Mayor, I feel I need to respond to portions of his letter.

"Mr. Adams' letter refers to this special meeting as 'rushed' and even comments that the proceedings, in his opinion, are less than transparent. He seems to divorce himself from the fact that he has been a party to all of the Council discussions leading to this point. He believes that the value for the land, which we are considering tonight, is too low. He also has some choice words for me, as Mayor. 

"Truly, I am the Mayor. And as Mayor, I have to try to lead this Council the best way I know how. We don't always agree on this dias, obviously. But we have always prided ourselves on knowing how to disagree; that is, what has historically set Monrovia apart - in my opinion - is that over the years diverse groups of people have been able to overcome personal differences and work toward the common good."

[Lutz diverged from her prepared statement at this point to say that Adam's comment about asking neighboring cities to help bear the financial burden "was never said and is not realistic." She said Monrovia is negotiating with the Gold Line about the land sale, not other cities.]

"Mr. Adams disagrees with the direction of the Council on this matter, and he is surely entitled to do so -  as long as we all understand that there is a difference between his opinion and our reality. He's upset with me personally, and that's ok too. But Monrovia doesn't need petty squabbles, it needs leadership. Even more, it needs teamwork - healthy disagreement and honest debate, for sure - but teamwork, most definitely.

"That's all I'll say about Mr. Adams and his letter tonight.

"These are nearly unprecedented days we are living in California and Monrovia, and I don't believe that we have time for two sets of facts, or two policies for every issue, or two Mayors for this Council. I think Monrovia deserves better.

"Now, let's move on..."

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Council Delays $39.6 Million Property Sale

The Monrovia City Council put off until its regularly-scheduled April 5 meeting a decision about whether to sell a plot of land to the Gold Line Construction Authority for $39.6 million after City Manager Scott Ochoa said that staff found it "difficult to recommend wholeheartedly the contract before you."

Also, an attorney for one of the property owners whose land would be affected by the project objected that:

- agenda materials for tonight's meeting (March 22) were not available as early as required by law. 

- if the issue will be discussed at the April 5 meeting, then the proposed contract and other relevant materials for that meeting should be available tonight, two weeks prior to the meeting.

- the city has 2004 agreement with the property owner not to use - or cause to be used - eminent domain to acquire his land.

Ochoa agreed that the city has an agreement with the landowner, but didn't think it applied in the current situation. 

Also, Ochoa agreed with Mayor Mary Ann Lutz that there is a danger in delay; that the state may act in a way that would endanger the city's ownership of the property.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia High Color Guard is Tops

The Monrovia High School Color Guard is the number one color guard from among 97 other schools in its division. The color guard will compete in its final preliminary tournament of the season this Friday evening, March 25th at Arcadia High School.


- Brad Haugaard

Harlem Wizards Basketball at Monrovia High

The Harlem Wizards basketball team will take on Monrovia School District staff this Saturday (March 26) for an evening of "funny, theatrical and exciting tricks, hoops and alley oops! Come out to see the Harlem Wizards show off their great skill, teamwork and crazy slams."
All are welcome!
The fundraising event will be held at 7 p.m. on March 26 at the Monrovia High School Gymnasium. Advance Tickets:  $10 for Students and Seniors, and $12 for General Admission. Tickets at the Door: $12 for Students and Seniors, and $15 for General Admission.
Advance tickets can be purchased at  Monrovia High Student Affairs Office, or at the following link:
For questions, call Mr. Paul Dols at (626) 471-2800, or
- Brad Haugaard

Angry Adams | Monrovia's Bull's Eye Bar

~ I suggested in the previous post that Monrovia City Councilman Tom Adams was unhappy with Mayor Mary Ann Lutz. Maybe I should revise that to "hopping mad" since this morning I find he has linked one of his own Twitter posts to an article that says he "Lashes Out" at the Mayor. (See above.)

~ Story of the revamping of the bar at Monrovia Black Angus into the Bull's Eye Bar.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Councilman Adams Objects to Gold Line Property Sale

[This item refers to the previous post, about the Monrovia City Council considering a sale of property to the Gold Line for $39.6 million. Councilman Tom Adams objects to the idea (and appears a bit unhappy with Mayor Mary Ann Lutz) but as he can't attend the meeting, he asked for the following letter to be read into the minutes of the Tuesday night meeting. - Brad Haugaard]

First, I want to apologize for not being here for this special meeting. I do my best to coordinate my personal life around city business but at times when meetings are called outside of the normal calendar I find that I must be absent. I noticed the City Manager that I could not attend this meeting but more importantly neither will most of Monrovia because they don’t know about it. I know we are told there is danger, danger that the State could take this land and block the Gold Line from coming. I would rather risk what the state could do than rush this through in an off cycle meeting at an inconvenient time that seems to be less than transparent.

Second, I’d like to say that I am 100% in favor of the Gold Line moving forward. Looking into our history cities lived or died based on their location close to transportation and the Gold Line is the right thing at the right time.

My objection is not about the placement of the yard but at what cost? Monrovia did not start out wanting a maintenance yard, we decided to offer it when no one else would take it, or so we are told. One question is what if no one would take the yard? Would the Gold Line never come? Are the rest of the cities along the line so uncaring about the Gold Line that they would see it go?

Being a good neighbor, Monrovia offered the property to the Gold Line Authority for $80 million dollars. That was based on the current value of the land and the future loss of revenue due to several factors including the fact that once this is transferred to the Gold Line the property will never again generate tax revenue. NEVER AGAIN, for ever. Most of the decisions the council makes are temporary, buildings can be torn down and rebuilt, zoning can change, but this is one of the few that are for ever. All the more reason why this decision should not be made in a special meeting, this should be decided at a regularly scheduled meeting that people attend! As for the money, I have asked repeatedly in our closed session meetings for our representative to the Gold Line, the Mayor to ask our neighboring cities to help bear this burden. Every city along the Gold Line will benefit from the Yard yet we are the only ones taking a loss from the transfer of our land to the Gold Line, which is wrong. It is wrong because our Mayor never asked, or at least there is no evidence that the Mayor asked and it is wrong because the people of Monrovia will be taking the economic hit for this decision. Money that could have been used for a park on the south side of town is still in the hands of our neighboring cities that will not help because they were never asked. Money that could have been used in Monrovia to make a difference, money that Monrovia will never see because our representative never asked.

The Mayor told the press on January 20th and I quote, “Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said that the city has a deal in place with the construction authority and is waiting for Gold Line officials to secure additional land before the council officially executes the deal.” What this means is that it would be unlikely to make a better deal after this announcement, our position has been declared, or so it would seem.

This is beginning to look a little like the city logo, the Mayor knows what the council approves before the council has an opportunity to approve it. The Mayor needs to be reminded that each seat has but one vote and each vote is as important as the rest.

I know that by not being here I have no vote but I hope by submitting this letter I still have a voice.

Monrovia Council to Consider Sale of Property to Gold Line for $39.6 Million

At its Tuesday, March 22, meeting, the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency (the City Council wearing a different hat) will consider selling the property bounded by Evergreen Road, Shamrock Avenue, Duarte Road and California Avenue, to the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority for $39,627,818.

- Brad Haugaard

Bark Pix / No Climbing / Monrovian: Woman of Year / AeroVironment CEO /Carden

~ Cute pictures from the Bark for Life anti-cancer fundraiser.

~ "No climbing" sign installed at waterfall. (Good idea!)

~ Monrovian Beth Costanza named 44th Assembly District's Woman of the Year.

~ Nice profile in LA Times of Timothy Conver, CEO of AeroVironment.

~ Carden of the Foothills School is sponsoring a golf tournament to raise funds for the school.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia MAP Program a Finalist

Monrovia's "Monrovia Area Partnership" (MAP) program is a finalist - competing with cities across the nation - in two categories in an awards program sponsored by Neighborhoods USA: "Neighborhood of the Year Award," and "The Best Neighborhood Program Award." 
- Brad Haugaard

Endorsements for Monrovia City Council: Tom Adams & Becky Shevlin

On April 12 Monrovians will select two of five candidates to serve on the Monrovia City Council. (Actually, two of four, since candidate Joe Espinosa has withdrawn, though his name will remain on the ballot).

I think the best choices are the two incumbents, Tom Adams and Becky Shevlin.

My reasoning is that the overriding concern for Monrovia today is the city budget, and Shevlin and Adams have the focus and experience to deal with that.

At the candidates' forum I attended this seemed to be the main issue for both of them. Both talked about the city fixing its pension system and both spoke of attempts by the state to extract even more money from local government.

That was exactly the focus I wanted to hear.

Now I'm sure the challengers don't want to blow the budget either, but the incumbents are familiar with the problem and have been wrestling with it, and however competent the challengers may be, there is always a learning period before people become effective in a new position. But the situation is critical and I don't feel there is time for on-the-job training. We already have two competent people who understand the problem and are working on it - Tom Adams and Becky Shevlin - and I think we should stick with them.

I welcome other opinions.

[UPDATE: Please see responses by clicking the Comment link to the right, below.]

- Brad Haugaard

Association of Schools Visits Monrovia School

The Monrovia Adult School is welcoming a visiting team from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. (That's the group that accredits schools, so it's important.)
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's Farmers Market / Youth Vote / Thai Bistro Discount

~ A review of Monrovia's Farmers' Market - "just keeps getting better & better."

~ Promoting the youth vote in Monrovia.

~ Chang Thai Bistro at 614 S. Myrtle. Bring in proof of Monrovia residence and get 20% off on lunch.

- Brad Haugaard

Items the Monrovia School Board Will Consider

At its March 23 Meeting ( ), the Monrovia Board of Education will consider, among other things ...
- Changes to its Board Policies, including its Independent Study program and foster youth program. If either of those apply to you, you may want to read this document:
- Approving a Monrovia High School plan to add a year-long Mandarin 2 Chinese language course to its curriculum, following up on the Mandarin 1 course already in place.
- Leasing 2,500 square feet of spare space at Santa Fe Middle School to Verizon for a cell phone antenna. The district will get about $24,000 per year. . Also, the district will consider continuing a lease to MetroPCS for an antenna at Monrovia High. That one brings in $21,600 a year.
- Passing a resolution supporting Governor Jerry Brown's plan to put an extension of a temporary state tax on the June 2011 ballot.
- A report saying that since November, the district has implemented a new web filtering service, instituted new procedures to keep student data safe, implemented a parent telephone notification system, installed interactive classroom equipment at Monrovia High and installed WiFi at Monroe and Wild Rose elementary schools.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Schools: $390,000 for Elementary English Books?

The Monrovia Board of Education will consider spending $390,000 to purchase the "California Treasures" English textbooks for kindergarten through fifth grade.
Let's see, with 2,636 Monrovia elementary students as of 10/6/2010, and one book per student, that comes to $147.95 per student. Yowza! Well, come to think of it, kids are hard on books, plus there are probably some teachers' guides to go with it, so let's order half again as many books, 3,954. So, that comes to $98.63 per book.
Unless I'm missing something big, that still seems like an insane amount of money for a book.
Right now I am looking at a book I own called "World Art." It is large-format, 448 pages, printed on glossy, heavy paper, with beautifully-printed full-color images on 350 of its pages, and it is filled with intelligent prose. You can buy this book in its hardcover edition on Amazon for a (comparatively) piddly $26.47:
Not that I'm saying anything new, but there seems to be something seriously wrong in the world of textbooks.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Anti-Cancer Foundation in Wall Street Journal

St. Baldrick's Foundation ( ) of Monrovia just got a write-up in the Wall Street Journal ( ). St. Baldrick's funds childhood cancer research with shaved heads.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's AeroVironment Gets Hawaii Contract

Monrovia's AeroVironment has an $820,000 deal with Hawaii to provide electric charging stations throughout the state.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Quake Insurance / ZuniConnect

~ Insurance agent says earthquake insurance cost for Monrovia is pretty reasonable.

~ Monrovia company, ZuniDigital, has created "ZuniConnect Travel," a device that creates a secure wireless network from a wired or wireless internet connection and charges multiple portable electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, MP3 players and gaming systems.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police Formative Years Project

If you have young children, you may want to sign up for the Monrovia Police Department's Formative Years Project, scheduled to begin May 5.  The project is for parents and their children, grades 1-3, and introduces life values and skills to children, beginning the process of building healthy and safe practices.  See the flyer for information on how to register for classes. 
- Brad Haugaard

Assault by Glass Mural, Burglary, Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for March 10-16. - Brad Haugaard]

During the last seven day period, the Police Department handled 508 service events, resulting in 100 investigations.  Following are the last week's highlighted issues and events:
Grand Theft
March 10 at 11:10 a.m., an officer was dispatched to a residence in the 100 block of North Primrose regarding a theft.  The victim reported that her daughter-in-law lost the house key approximately three weeks ago, and they now have discovered the victim's jewelry box with cash missing.  There were no signs of forced entry.  The investigation is continuing.
March 10 at 4:10 p.m., an officer responded to a business in the 100 block of West Foothill regarding a subject that loss prevention had in custody for trying to steal a cart full of Red Bull.  The officer arrived and, through investigation, determined the subject had the intent to steal prior to entering the store and arrested him for burglary.  The subject is a known heroin addict and admitted he was going to sell the merchandise.
March 11 at 12:13 p.m., police received a call from a business in the 700 block of East Huntington, reporting two male suspects had stolen merchandise and left in a truck that was being followed by a loss prevention officer.  Officers were able to detain the truck, as the loss prevention officer relayed their location by phone.  The property was recovered, the two subjects were positively identified by the loss prevention officer, and both were arrested for burglary.  One suspect was found to be on parole for petty theft with a prior. 
Domestic Violence / Assault with Great Bodily Injury
March 11 at 1:51 p.m., a male subject came into the police lobby to report that his live-in girlfriend had thrown a glass mural at him, which cut his right arm.  Monrovia Fire Department paramedics tended to the victim's injury.  An officer responded to the incident location in the 200 block of East Lemon and contacted the female suspect.  She admitted to throwing the glass mural which caused the injury.  She was arrested and taken into custody.
Medical Assist
March 13 at 9:58 a.m., an adult male subject fell from the waterfall at Canyon Park and sustained a head injury.  He was airlifted from Canyon Park with non-life-threatening injuries.
Assault with a Deadly Weapon
March 13 at 6:59 p.m., police responded to a residence in the 900 block of Genoa regarding an assault.  The victim was involved in an argument with his adult stepson.  The argument escalated and the stepson verbally threatened to kill his stepfather.  The victim confronted his stepson and challenged him.  The argument became physical and led to the stepson stabbing the victim once in the left side, and the victim bit the stepson on the hand.  Officers arrived and both parties were transported to the hospital for their non-life-threatening injuries.  The victim was treated and released from the hospital.  The stepson was treated, released from the hospital, and arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.
March 13 at 7:54 p.m., a male Hispanic suspect entered a business in the 100 block of West Huntington and produced a handgun.  The suspect demanded money from an employee.  He took approximately $150.00 from the employee and fled on a bicycle.  The suspect is described as a male, Hispanic with facial hair.  He was wearing a black sweatshirt and a Los Angeles Dodger's baseball cap.  Investigation continuing.
Residential Burglary
March 15 at 7:37 p.m., police responded to a residential burglary in the 1300 block of South Primrose.  The resident left home for work during the early morning hours and returned home at 7:30 p.m. to discover someone had broken a rear window and gained entry to the residence.  A laptop computer and several other items had been taken.  No witnesses were located and the investigation is continuing.
Theft from Vehicle
March 16 at 12:25 a.m., a resident in the 300 block of North Primrose observed a suspicious subject looking into vehicles on the street and called police.  When officers arrived, they saw the suspect fleeing on foot.  A perimeter was established, but officers were unable to locate the suspect.  It was discovered that the suspect entered a vehicle and removed coins, but dropped the coins next to the vehicle.  Officers continued to search the area and saw the suspect in the passenger seat of a moving vehicle.  They conducted a traffic stop and arrested the 16 year old male suspect.  He was later cited and released to a parent.

Monrovia Blockbuster Store a Survivor

The Monrovia Blockbuster video store at 123 W. Foothill Blvd. will apparently survive an April 10 round of closures that will affect Blockbuster stores in other local cities.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's STAAR Plans Five Commercials

STAAR Surgical, of Monrovia, plans five new commercials focused on the benefits of its contact lenses and glasses.

- Brad Haugaard

The Monrovia Rule

The Monrovia Rule, no wearing jewelry during track and field events.

- Brad Haugaard

Win $50k / Bark for Life / Firefighters Fight Cancer

~ Enter the Home Energy Makeover Contest before March 31. Win up to $50,000.

~ Bark for Life of Monrovia to raise money for American Cancer Society, Sunday, March 20.

~ Monrovia firefighters help raise more than $30,000 to fight Cancer.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Mayor: Contact State Representatives / Gold Line Benefits

~ Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz is asking residents to contact Senator Bob Huff (916) 651-4029, Assembly Member Anthony Portantino (916) 319-2044 and Assembly Member Tim Donnelly (916) 319-2059 before noon today to ask them to vote against Assembly Bill 101 and Senate Bill 77, which would end redevelopment agencies.

~ Thoughts on how the Gold Line will benefit Monrovia and the San Gabriel Valley by Cynthia Kurtz, president and CEO of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership.

- Brad Haugaard

Donnelly Votes Against Higher Benefits

Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who represents Monrovia, says that he has voted to stop an increase of government spending for illegal immigrant benefits.

Monrovia Deer

These deer were all munching in someone's front yard on Scenic Drive. They saw me but couldn't care less. Can you spot all seven of them?

- Brad Haugaard

Contribute to Japan Relief Through YMCA

According to the Monrovia Family YMCA, you can donate to the Japan YMCA Relief Fund by visiting (click on this link to go right to the giving page: ) or by calling (800) 872-9622. The Y says that "100 percent of the contributions donated to this fund will go directly to the Japan YMCA."

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Mayor Asks Residents to Sign Petition

Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz is urging Monrovia residents to sign an online petition protesting the State of California's intention to eliminate redevelopment agencies. If you would like to sign the petition, you can find it here:

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia City Council Candidate Statements

Here are the Monrovia City Council candidate statements (click on the image to enlarge) from the official sample ballot for the April 12 city election.

Interestingly, although his name is on the ballot, there is no statement for candidate Jason Cosylion. Also, according to this report ( ), candidate Joe Espinosa has dropped out of the race because of a death in his family, although his name will remain on the ballot.

I did not include the statement for Mayor Mary Ann Lutz because she is running unopposed.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Softball :-(

Softball: South Hills High 11, Monrovia 1 (Ouch)

Monrovia City Manager Criticizes Assembly Speaker

In his weekly update, Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa mocks state Assembly Speaker Perez' description of his support for the elimination of redevelopment. Ochoa said Perez said, "You have to end it before you can mend it."

Ochoa isn't buying it:

"Right. Decades of law and legal precedent, investment, improvement, and public interest proposed to be erased in as many days, and we are to believe that this is about creating a better mousetrap? Not likely. This is about money. If this were about public policy, the State would - or at least should - involve many stakeholders and perspectives. Instead, Speaker Perez and the other members of the so-called Big 5 are holed up trying to figure out an $86 billion structurally imbalanced budget."

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Giving Its Part of Mountain Road to County

City Manager Scott Ochoa reports that Monrovia - along with Arcadia and Sierra Madre - will turn over ownership and maintenance of Chantry Flats Road to Los Angeles County after damage from a 2004-05 rainstorm is repaired. The repairs, he said, are being made with federal funds, not city money. 

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Church Raises Money for Japan

First Presbyterian Church of Monrovia raised $786 for Japan earthquake and tsunami relief with an impromptu special offering Sunday. The money will be sent through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to work with mission partners in country. Source: 
- Brad Haugaard

Multi-Sign Shevlin

I don't believe I've ever seen a local candidate with so many DIFFERENT designs of yard-signs. (This is not an endorsement. If I want to endorse I won't be coy about it. UPDATE: Nor - I should add - am I implying any criticism.)

UPDATE: Becky Shevlin responds:

"There is even yet another version as well which has a sentence down at the bottom about help me make Monrovia a great place to live work and play.  Actually, when I ran two years ago, I did not want to use the same traditional signs and I experimented a bit with color and size – as well did the local sign maker Signs by Steve ‘n Sons. I have recycled the old signs and added a few new yellow ones.

"Regardless, I obviously got you to take notice and now you have posted same providing even more exposure so I guess you would have to say they have done their job. This time around I would also like to bring attention to the fact that we are holding an election and encourage people to be engaged in the process and to get out and vote.  On the other hand, I guess it all boils down to the eyes and minds of the beholders as to whether they see the different signs as a positive or a negative. I guess I will see what happens on April 12th! Please remember to vote!"

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Has Top Website / Fall from the Falls

~ Monrovia's city website scores an A grade in the Star-News' survey of transparency on local city websites. (I agree. It is good! )

~ 61-year-old injured from a fall at the falls in Monrovia Canyon Park.

- Brad Haugaard

Gospel Expo to Monrovia

Gospel Expo coming to Monrovia on March 27. City Council member Clarence Shaw hopes it will become an annual event. Proceeds to fight diabetes. Details:
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Candidate Forum / Library Fundraiser

~ There will be another Monrovia City Council candidates forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m., March 28 at Open Door Church of God In Christ, 522 E. Cypress Ave.

~ If you would like to support the Literacy Services program at the Monrovia Library, there will be a fundraiser called "Alice's Afternoon Tea," with tea, pasteries, sandwiches and desserts for $25 a head on Saturday, March 19, from 1-3 p.m. in the Library Community Room. For information, call (626) 256-8272.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's World Vision Active in Japan Relief / Youth State-of-City Speech

~ Monrovia's World Vision joins disaster-relief work in Japan.

~ Monrovia youth invited to a the State of the City - Youth Edition speech. See here for details:

- Brad Haugaard

Lunch at T-Burger

I got a fish taco. Cod with tartar sauce. Good, but next time I'll get two.

- Brad Haugaard

State of City Speech / Schamadan: Monrovia, Dog Town

~ If you'd like to read the full text of Mayor Mary Ann Lutz's State of the City speech, or watch it, you can read here ( ) and watch here ( ).

~ Charlotte Schamadan's column - Monrovia, a dog-lover's town.

- Brad Haugaard

Old Town Trolleys May Go Away :-(

Monrovia's two Old Town Trolley buses are at the end of their useful life and are in constant need of repair. What to do?
Well, refurbishing them costs $100,000 per trolley. New ones run $250,000 each. The city can retire them or retain the trolley service and perhaps serve a larger portion of the city. City staff is recommending retiring the trolleys and using the left-over Prop A money (which is funding them) to do some tie-in with the Gold Line when it arrives.
The City Council will decide the question at its March 15 meeting. Agenda:
- Brad Haugaard

Ford Commercial in Monrovia

A film crew was shooting a commercial for Ford this morning at Monrovia Canyon Park. Ironically the only Fords were the one being featured and an old Parks Department truck. The crew was driving Chevys, Chryslers, Lexus, Honda and everything but Fords. This Ford looks nice, though.

- Brad Haugaard

Ex-Monrovia Police Chief on Glendora Council / STAAR Surgical

~ Former Monrovia Police Chief Joe Santoro wins a spot on Glendora City Council.

~ STAAR Surgical, of Monrovia, has given Ellex Australia exclusive distribution rights for its intraocular lenses in Australia.

- Brad Haugaard

Be In the Monrovia Day Parade

If you'd like to be in the Monrovia Day Parade on May 12, (celebrating Monrovia's 125th Anniversary and featuring a return of Samson the Hot Tub Bear), then click this link ( ) for a parade entry application. If you are interested in driving a dignitary in the parade? Please call 626.256.8246.


- Brad Haugaard

Gold Line Videos Released

The Gold Line Construction Authority has released a couple videos of the Metro Gold Line extension:

Let me try to be nice at first. These are very professionally done videos.

But having said that, the videos bother me a lot because I think the taxpayers probably want the government to spend the rail-line money on building a rail line! not on making what appear to be expensive videos whose main purpose seems to be to give local politicians a chance to pat themselves on the back for a job that is not even close to done.

Yes, there is some information in the videos, and yes, it is important to communicate with the public, but these videos seem an extremely unnecessary expense since the information in the videos is already available right here:

If this is supposed to be PR, it utterly failed with me. In a day when governments - local, state and national - are in deep financial straits, to see this kind of waste just infuriates me. 

- Brad Haugaard

Xencor's Successful Studies / Monrovia Baseball :-(

Monrovia's Xencor, Inc. announced positive results in studies of XmAb5871, a product which may be useful for treating autoimmune diseases.

~ Monrovia High Baseball. San Dimas 3, Monrovia 2 :-(.

- Brad Haugaard

AeroVironment Jumps / Census / Unity Center / New Sermons

~ The stock of Monrovia's AeroVironment jumped 13 percent in after-hours trading after it reported that it had a better  quarter than Wall Street expected.
~ Census data released today show the black population in Monrovia has slipped while the Asian population has increased.
~ If you know a local person whose efforts have made an exceptional difference in the lives of others, Foothill Unity Center wants to know about it. Nomination forms may be downloaded at or picked up at the distribution site at 415 West Chestnut. Submission deadline is 5 p.m., April 15. Executive Director Joan Whitenack said the nominee's activities do not need to be associated with Foothill Unity Center, and they may have been done on a volunteer basis or in connection with regular work.
~ Monrovia Presbyterian Church begins a new series this Sunday: The Gospel In Life, Grace Changes Everything.
- Brad Haugaard

Talk to Staff of Monrovia's State Senator

If you'd like to talk with a staff member of Monrovia's state senator, Bob Huff, you can do that at a "Mobile District Office" on March 24, 10-11 a.m. at the Westfield Santa Anita Shopping Mall in Arcadia.

- Brad Haugaard

Business Gift Cards that Support Monrovia Schools

I mentioned that you can support the School District by buying gift cards from the district offices. Well, I just got a list of all the businesses involved. They are all national chains, but there are lots of them in our area: Starbucks, Best Buy, Home Depot, Chili's, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, CVS, Olive Garden, Pinkberry, and scads more. See the attachment to this post for the whole list. (Thanks to School Board President Ed Gililland for that.)

- Brad Haugaard

Invading Bug Threatens Monrovia Oaks

The Monrovia Fire Department is asking residents to be careful about bringing oak firewood into town as it may be infested with the Gold Spotted Oak Borer, which very much likes to munch on coastal live oak,
oak and
The department recommends that you do not use oak for firewood at all unless you know that it is not infested. Firewood from San Diego County, Arizona, and Mexico is particularly at risk for spreading this pest.
Here's a San Diego notice about the bug:
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's Sales Tax Revenue Looking Up

City Manager Scott Ochoa writes:
"This week, we received our 3rd quarter sales tax report (July-September 2010). I am pleased to report that the positive trajectory in our sales tax trend line is continuing. We are doing better than we were a year ago in the same quarter, and we are marching confidently toward our sales tax revenue goals for FY 2010-11. Auto dealers and new soft goods retailers (Kohl's and Living Spaces) are bolstering our numbers. All in all, we are gaining momentum - here's hoping we can pull ourselves out of the doldrums and to up toward a better economy."
- Brad Haugaard

Ochoa Predicts State Will Vote to Kill Redevelopment This Week

City Manager Scott Ochoa said it appears that the leadership of the California State Legislature is preparing an up-or-down vote on the budget - which includes killing redevelopment - for this Wednesday or Thursday. He writes: "At this point, my guess is that the budget package will pass along party lines." With the results of November's election, only a simple majority is required to pass the budget. After that, he writes, "the League of Cities and the California Redevelopment Association will file suit and the entire matter will be litigated - probably on the grounds of constitutionality."

Ochoa said that under Governor Brown's proposal, redevelopment agencies would disappear on July 1 of this year, to be replaced by successor agencies that would be controlled not by the city council, but by an oversight committee most likely controlled by outsiders who don't live in the city and are not answerable to its residents.

- Brad Haugaard

Budget Woes for City and Unity Center

~ Tomorrow, March 8, the Monrovia City Council will have a special meeting to figure out what to do in the face of the potential state abolition of redevelopment agencies, which City Manager Scott Ochoa has said is an attempt by the state to grab local money. City Council member Becky Shevlin said what the state intends to do - as outlined by Ochoa - "is insane, to say the least." I will post the meeting time as soon as I get it.

UPDATE: Meeting time is 4 p.m. Here is the agenda:
~ The effects of President Obama's budget proposals may reach right down to Monrovia. Joan Whitenack, of Foothill Unity Center (which, by-the-by, distributed more than 200 tons of food - 4,230,000 pounds - to 4,606 families last year), reports that Community Services Block Grant funds may be cut by 50 percent, and since Unity receives 40 percent of its funding from government allocations, that will hurt. She writes that, "In the end, Foothill Unity Center will probably survive in some form thanks to strong community support" and to its lean operations (95 percent of funding supports programs), but she asked people to write their federal representatives pointing out the problem.

- Brad Haugaard

Gift Cards for Monrovia Schools / Produce in the Park / Lenten Fish

~ You can support Monrovia schools for free by purchasing gift cards to local businesses at the school district office (325 East Huntington Drive). School Board Member Ed Gililland said you can get cards for lots of businesses, including Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and others. He said if the cards are not on hand when you walk in, they can be ordered.

~ If you have too many oranges or other produce, bring it to "Produce in the Park" and swap for some carrots or something. Produce in the Park is held on the first Saturday of each month, from 9-11 a.m. at Library Park, at the corner of Myrtle and Palm. For info, write to
~ Monrovia Knights of Columbus will serve fish dinners for Lent every Friday - March 11 to Good Friday, April 22 - from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at 130 W. Pomona Ave. Adult fish dinners are $8, children's are $5. for information, call 626 359-6489.
- Brad Haugaard

Old Home Tour / Half-off For Kids

~ If you'd like to attend the Monrovia Mother's Day Home Tour, here's ticket information and pictures of some of the houses.
~ Half-off coupon for kids meal if you buy an adult meal at Chang Thai Bistro on Myrtle.
- Brad Haugaard

Will Family Festival Expand to Azusa?

The Azusa City Council will consider having Monrovia-based Family Festival Productions Inc. produce a farmer's market 
on Saturdays between April and September:
- Brad Haugaard

The Bear That Made Monrovia Famous

More on Monrovia' Fiberglas bears - based on Samson the Hot Tub Bear - which will soon be decorating the downtown:
- Brad Haugaard

School Board Agenda / St. Patrick's Dinner

~ If the stuff below isn't enough, here is the full agenda of the next school board meeting, Wednesday, March 9, 7:30 p.m. at the district offices at 325 E. Huntington.
~ Monrovia VFW is sponsoring a St. Patrick's Day Dinner on March 17. Details:
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Schools Could Lose Up to $5.5 Million

Monrovia Schools Superintendent Linda Wagner reports that even if  Governor Jerry Brown's proposed tax extension passes, the district will be out around $230,000. If it does not pass, she writes, the district will be out $5.5 million in the next three years.
It is all phrased very politely, but the Board of Education is going to vote at its next meeting (March 9, 7:30 p.m.) on an "advocacy" statement (here: that basically tells the state to keep its paws off education.
Also, the board will vote on whether to adopt a resolution favoring the tax extension ( And because the district gets money from the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency, it will consider a resolution opposing the state's plan to abolish redevelopment agencies:

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia School Attendance Rate Slipped, But is Recovering

Until last year, Monrovia schools were successful at increasing the percentage of students who show up for school - ever since that became a district priority in 2006-07. Since the district's income from the state is based on attendance, that translates directly into more money.
But in 2009-10 attendance slipped, perhaps because of a flu outbreak. Fortunately, as you can see from the chart, it appears 2010-11 attendance will be up again. This report ( will be presented at the next school board meeting, Wednesday, March 9, 7:30 p.m. at the district offices.

- Brad Haugaard

Lunch at Pho Lemon

I'm not a big pho fan (it's a soup), but Pho Lemon has other things, such as a mighty nice chicken curry dish, shown here with a coconut milk. Also, very nice staff! It's on Lemon just east of Myrtle.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia City Council Candidate Forum

On Tuesday, April 12, Monrovians will go to the polls to select two City Council members from a slate of five candidates, including the two incumbents and three challengers. 
The incumbents are Tom Adams and Becky Shevlin. The challengers are Chris Ziegler, Joe Espinosa, and Jason Cosylion.
All the candidates except Cosylion - who was ill - were at the forum Thursday night.
Incumbents Adams and Shevlin are both involved in real estate in Monrovia. Ziegler served in the U.S. Navy, is also in real estate and has a strong interest in health issues. Espinosa, who graduated from Monrovia High in 1997 and served in the US Marine Corps, is now working for the Department of Corrections.
Some thoughts from the candidates (reverse alphabetical for a change):
Chris Ziegler
- There needs to be better communication between the city council and community through community discussions and maybe community barbeques; the city needs to "broker a truce" with the state regarding redevelopment and needs to take full advantage of the coming Gold Line.
- If the state ends redevelopment, perhaps private investment could to some extent compensate for the loss. 
- There is too much infighting and litigation in town, particularly regarding the wilderness areas.
- The schools need to open their campuses after hours so children have places to play.
- Regarding bicyclists not stopping at stop signs (an audience question), he said cities are not following state guidelines on stop signs and said this is a very complex problem and using law enforcement to stop it may be a "bad use" of police.
- Would he approve of a law that forbids smoking in outdoor seating at restaurants? "Absolutely!" he said, unless his constituents think otherwise.
- He is not in favor of term limits. "You vote them out; that's term limits."
- In responding to a question about affordable housing, he said that some cities provide affordable housing by allowing very high density housing in limited areas.
- He was disappointed that a proposal to keep parks open later was "shot down" by the city.

Becky Shevlin
- Monrovia faces "horrific" financial challenges, including employee pension benefits, which the city has begun working on, but which need to be further addressed as contracts come up for renewal.
- On smoking at outside restaurant seating, she said she would rather approach it by education rather than having the city pass a law. A declining number of smokers shows education works, she said. She added that signs, such as "Thank you for not smoking" might help.
- Shevlin said cyclists should stop at stop signs but wondered how expensive it would be to have a police office hanging around to issue tickets.
- Although she was not in favor of term limits for local elected offices, she said it is something to consider for people appointed to boards and commissions.
- She is not in favor of a rotating mayor. She said the job of mayor is far more time-intensive than that of a city council member, so people should specifically choose to run for the office.
- She is most proud of after-school youth programs, library cultural events, and the Fourth of July fireworks show, which, she said, is a "stunning" event.
- Shevlin said she wants a south-side park, but it'll cost. A two-acre park, she said, could cost $6-8 million.
Joe Espinosa
- Would like to "put Monrovia on the map" with something big, not just bears.
- If the state takes away redevelopment, Monrovians should "put our heads together" - along with the school district - to figure out what to do.
- Regarding bikes stopping at stop signs, he thinks that safety should come first, and perhaps volunteers could enforce the stopping rules.
- Would like to see a park on the south side of Monrovia.
- Likes the small-town feeling of Monrovia but the city needs big business as well.
- On term limits, he said you can always vote in new people.
- Regarding smoking at outdoor seating at restaurants, he said it is necessary to take smokers into consideration, perhaps designating special smoking areas.
Tom Adams
- The state will try to take money from Monrovia and will attempt to "drag Monrovia down." He said until redistricting is accomplished, extremists from both parties will continue to be elected to the legislature and the state will "continue to sink into a quagmire."
- The city needs to work on pension reform. He said Monrovia has some great employee groups, but pensions "definitely need to be changed."
- Monrovia needs a park for the kids south of Huntington Drive.
- Monrovia Schools have begun opening their grounds after school hours so kids have a place to play. He'd like the city to work with the schools on that.
- Rather than make a law against outdoor smoking at restaurants, he suggested people talk to the restaurant management and ask for a smoke-free outdoor area.
- He said bicyclists are not above the law and should obey stop signs.
- He is most proud of reopening City Hall on Fridays. He said it is "the most service-friendly government building in the state of California."
- He is not in favor of a rotating mayor. He said Monrovia's elected-mayor system works, so there is no reason to change.
 - Brad Haugaard

Worldwide Hummingbird / Five Bucks Off / Support Library

~ The story about the robot hummingbird created by Monrovia-based AeroVironment has made quite a splash around the world, with stories appearing in the New York Daily News (, Great Britain's Guardian newspaper (, Indonesia's Kompas ( and Germany's Der Spiegel magazine (, and many others.
~ Stop by the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce for a $5-off coupon to the Monrovia Black Angus Steakhouse. The restaurant has remodeled its bar (it is now the BullsEye Bar, with 12 hi-def TVs to watch sports). The Grand Opening is from March 10th to the 14th.
~ If you buy books from Amazon, you can benefit the Monrovia Library by buying at the Monrovia Public Library Friends Amazon shop. 
- Brad Haugaard