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COMMERCE 2013 LA Press Club Award Winner for Best Investigative Newspaper in Los Angeles

Serving Commerce and Surrounding Communities • 3,200 Homes Every Saturday • December 20, 2013 • Volume 1, No. 23 • LosCerritosNews.net

Norwalk City Council Honor’s Norwalk High School Football Team’ By Randy Economy The Norwalk City Council paid tribute to the entire Norwalk High School Lancer Varsity Football Team, coaches, staff, and parents on Tuesday night at city hall, at a celebration that was fit for the new local ‘Kings of the Gridiron.’ A few weeks ago, the Lancer football team made school history when it reached the finals of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) football game, only to come up short against La Serna High School from nearby Whittier. Mayor Luigi Vernola and his fellow city councilmembers including Vice Mayor Marcel Rodarte, Councilman Leonard Shryock, Councilman Mike Mendez and Councilwoman Cheri Kelley hosted a party just outside the city council cham-

See LANCERS page 9

Rodriguez New Mayor of Hawaiian Gardens; Bruce Mayor Pro Tem By Randy Economy Hawaiian Gardens has a new mayor, mayor pro tem, and a new city council member after the holding its official changing of the guard ceremony before a large crowd Mayor Reynaldo at city hall. Councilmember Rodriguez Reynaldo “Rey” Rodriguez will be leading the five member elected body for the next 12 months as Mayor of the small municipality. Councilmember Barry Bruce, a local pastor, was selected as Mayor Pro-tem. Also during the night, Marianna Rios was formally administered the Oath of Office and took her place on the dais alongside of Rodriguez, Bruce and councilmem-

See HAWAIIAN GARDENS page 8

HMG-CN INVESTIGATION

New Leadership on Public Records Request Reveals Central Basin Water NLMUSD Board President Roybal Attends LAUSD Teacher Jail By Kristin Grafft

Records confirm Roybal is violating procedures and protocol of LAUSD Los Angeles Unified School District

OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL 333 S. Beaudry Avenue, 20th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90017 TELEPHONE: (213) 241-7600; FACSIMILE (213) 241-3316

JOHN E. DEASY, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools DAVID HOLMQUIST General Counsel

December 12, 2013 Brian Hews Los Cerritos News SENT VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL brianhews@cerritosnews.net Re:

Public Records Act Request

Dear Mr. Hews: We have reviewed your California Public Records Act request, wherein you requested information regarding James Roybal from Wilson High School. Pursuant to California Government Code sections 6254 (k), 6254(f), your request for these documents is being partially denied. This partial denial is based upon a determination that at this time these records are exempt from disclosure under California Government Code sections 6254 (k), 6254(f). Mr. Roybal was reassigned on February 20, 2013 to the Education Service Center East. Should you have any questions, please contact the Office of General Counsel at (213) 241-7600 and reference the following OGC Control number: # 0025574. Sincerely,

\áxÄt bÜàxzt Isela Ortega Paralegal

Letter from LAUSD confirming CBMWD President James Roybal was reassigned to ‘Teacher Jail’ February 20, 2013. Roybal attended meetings during regular hours violating the procedures and protocol of the teacher jail and could be dismissed. Hews Media GroupCommunity News has Doc# 323889 obtained documents through a public records request that definitively show that embattled Central Basin Municipal Water District President James Roybal has been CBMWD assigned to LAUSD President James Teacher Jail, formally Roybal known as the Education Service CenterEast, since February 20, 2013. The document, obtained Dec. 12 from the LAUSD Office of General Counsel by the newspaper, stated that, “pursuant to California Government code sections 6254 (f) and (k), your request for these documents is being partially denied. This partial denial is based upon a determination that at this time these records are exempt from disclosure.” The exempt records are presumably for the alleged violations committed by

Roybal. H o w ever the last line of the letter indicates that Roybal was “reassigned on February 20, 2013 to the Education Service Center-East.” HMG-CN obtained an inter-office correspondence letter from the LAUSD that outlines the procedures and protocol during “reassignment.” The document’s letterhead indicates it originated from the Educational Service Center-East confirming that Roybal is in Teacher Jail.

See ROYBAL page 8

Newly appointed board president, Margarita Rios, welcomed the newest board member, Sean Reagan, to the team at the December 9 Norwalk La Mirada Unified School District board meeting. Daryl Adams and Ana Valencia were also victorious in this most recent election, while Reagan replaced longtime incumbent Ed Hengler. The meeting began with the swearing in of the four board members, followed by short speeches from each of them thanking their supporters and expressing their vision for the time they will have on the board. The board then elected Rios as their new board president and Jesse Urquidi as the new vice president. Rios accepted the position saying, “my promise and commitment to the communities we serve is to continually strive to provide a quality education for each and every student.” Rios also laid out her goals for the next year. The list of ten included trust at every level, collaboration with students, parents and staff, and preparing more students for the global economy through Project Lead the Way programs. Rios also said one of her goals was to, “Support a bond that would bring new life into our district through the modernization of campus and athletic facilities necessary in order to offer all of our students a first rate education and first rate facilities, and 21st century readiness in science and arts, entrepreneurism, engineering and technology.” Later on in the meeting a presentation was made to the board on the results regarding public opinion on a potential new bond for the school district. The bond would be for $375 million, which would go towards classroom repairs, upgrades and new educational facilities. Board members were especially keen on using this money towards a new football stadium and other physical education facilities. Daryl Adams was concerned that the bond language did not adequately convey that though and worried that voters might feel deceived. Urquidi echoed Adams’ concerns saying that there needs to be something about the stadiums clearly written out in the ballot to truly be transparent with their constituents.

See NLMUSD page 8

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ROYBAL

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On Wednesday Nov. 13, HMG-CN took a video camera inside the embroiled water district offices in Commerce and confronted Roybal about the situation while he was attending an Administrative Committee Meeting that started at noon. Roybal was asked if he is enrolled in Teachers Jail and he quickly acknowledged that he goes “to the building” where Teacher’s Jail is held. When pressed further on the subject he quickly ended the interview by saying “this conversation is over.” HMG-CN confirmed with sources that Roybal has attended at least 50 meetings since February, earning over $25,000 in committee attendance fees.

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HMG-CN asked CBMWD Director Leticia Vazquez, who is a teacher and close friend of Roybal to comment but she refused to do so until she confirmed Roybal was at the teacher jail. Beginning in the mid 90’s, teachers accused of misconduct have been removed from their teaching assignments and held in district offices while administrators and law enforcement agencies investigate allegations. In a January 15, 2013 televised statement made by LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, only teachers accused of “egregious acts” are reassigned. They are returned to their classrooms only after being cleared by law enforcement. The process typically drags on for months, with teachers collecting their full pay – an average of $6,000 a month, plus benefits – until they’re returned to work or fired. Under written rules, teachers in jail are to check in at a designated location every day for 2 hours and then go back to their home. They are not to seek a second job, take a day trip, or enjoy outside entertainment, such as, going to the movies, sporting events, shopping, etc. Failure to follow these rules will lead to disciplinary action such as Notice of Unsatisfactory Act, suspension without pay, and/or dismissal from District services. HMG-CN has made an inquiry to the LAUSD Office of the Inspector General as to whether any action will be taken given the new evidence of Roybal earning the committee attendance fees. The OIG asked for the documents but would not comment further. HMG-CN also attempted to contact Roybal, with no response.

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Continued from page 1 Consultants from the Lew Edwards Group assured the board members that the language was still very preliminary and that they would work hard to make sure all aspects of the bond are clearly conveyed in the official language. Catherine Lew, one of the consultants, added, “This is just the first step in wrapping our arms around what your voters want.” The survey indicated that the community would be highly supportive of the measure at a 71% majority. The Lew Edwards Group concluded their presentation saying the bond measure is viable and the board should proceed. Hawaiian Gardens from page 1 bers Victor Farfan and Mike Gomez. This is the first time that Rodriguez and Bruce have been selected to serve as the top two elected officials in Hawaiian Gardens. The two have been on the short end of a voting bloc majority that consisted of Farfan, Gomez and former councilwoman Michi Oyama Canada who was defeated by Rios in the November 5th city council election. Both Rodriguez and Bruce were overwhelming reelected by voters in the November election, and both appear stated in public at the meeting that they are “looking forward” to the next 12 months as the top two elected officials in Hawaiian Gardens. Canada was presented with a number of awards and presentation honoring her past service as an elected office. For Rios, a former Planning Commissioner, this is her first time ever elected to public office.


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LANCERS

Continued from page 1

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will go down in history.” Vernola also presented each player of the team with a ticket to Knott’s Berry Farm in nearby Buena Park.

DECEMBER 20, 2013

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Standout Norwalk City School football player Rashaad Penny celebrates with Councilman Shryock [l] and Councilman Mike Mendez at city hall this past week. Randy Economy

Choosing health insurance is critical, because you never know what may happen. For direct access to the best care, choose a plan that connects you with PIH Health, the area’s premier healthcare network. Our physicians are highly qualified at treating anything from serious disease to everyday illnesses and injuries. Members of the Norwalk High School Football team gather at city hall this week at a special celebration held in their honor. Players include Jorge Perez, Diego Pineda, Victor Valle, Jose Ramos, Jonathan Sanchez, Councilman Leonard Shryock and Nickolas Dantzlim. Randy Economy Photo Randy Economy Photo bers with pizza, sodas, homemade cookies shaped like their playing helmets, and The city council praised head football with nearly two hundred family members, coach Jesse Ceniceros for being such a friends, and community leaders includ- “positive driving force in the lives” of his ing elected members of the Norwalk-La players during the presentation. Mirada Unified School District Board of In turn, the team presented Vernola Education. with an autographed football jersey that Vernola told Hews Media Group-Com- was framed and encased in glass. munity Newspapers that he has “never Shryock also told HMG-CN just how been more proud of the accomplishments proud he was of the time. “Heck, as far from a group of amazing young men dur- as I am concerned this really is a Dream ing one season of competition. This team Team, on and off the field.”

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