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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Alarcon Diverts Public $$ to Friends Via 501(c)3 ... Again


A couple of points of information:

1. Ms. De la Torre and Ms. Chavez have contacted Mayor Sam and stated that Ms. Chavez no longer works for Padres Contra El Cancer. Ms. De la Torre insists she no longer has any communication with the former program director. Ms. Chavez also stated that though she worked with Ms. De la Torre in the past, she has no contact or relationship with her.

2. Here are links to specific document(s) referenced and not already linked in this article...

http://dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990_pdf_archive/270/270126980/270126980_200712_990.pdf (Youth Speak Collective 990 from FY 2007, see page 5)

Note that charities, especially 501(c)3s, are public entities and their tax records are public documents... a matter of public record.

http://mayorsam2.blogspot.com/2009/02/health-research-and-education.html (undated document showing at bottom of page Ms. Chavez's business affiliation and contact information as Program Director at Padres Contra El Cancer, another 501(c)3. Since we first posted this, the original page was taken down by the source so we have an HTML version on MS2. We do have a .PDF of the original on hand at Mayor Sam HQ.)

Deja vu. Councilman Richard AlarCON has been caught diverting public funds to his political friends and lovers yet again. Slipping a motion quietly through Council without any substantial public or neighborhood council input, $100,000 of the Lopez Canyon Community Amenities Fund has been diverted yet again by the slick councilman from CD 7 and seconded by his political lovechild, Tony Cardenas.

Who is the receipient of the Godfather's generosity with public funds this time? Why, it's a 501(c)3 run by a protege of Maribel de la Torre. De la Torre is the sister of Cindy Montanez, a former Mayor and current San Fernando City Councilmember.

The project ostensibly slated to receive the landfill mitigation funds is a community garden at Roger Jessup Park, an unstaffed community pocket park near Whiteman airport. According to Federal tax documents (Form 990) for 2007, Youth Speak Collective, the charity responsible for the project in question, was formed just four years ago and lists Michelle Chavez as the President/Chairman of the Board as well as just $200,000 in assets.

Chavez is/was also the Program Director at another 501(c)3, Padres Contra El Cancer, where, coincidentally, Maribel de la Torre is or has been the Director of Development for the same organization. The address listed for Chavez in Youth Speak Collective's tax documents (again, Form 990 for 2007) is the exact same address given by Padres Contra El Cancer as their business address.

It's common knowledge that Alarcon, a political "life-er", jumped on the opportunity to cut a deal with Cindy Montanez to withdraw from the race for the CD 7 seat vacated by Alex Padilla when Padilla went up to Sacramento.

There are three or four funds associated with the closed landfill in the northeast San Fernando Valley, all of which receive incoming monies from sales of methane which is a byproduct of the decades of decomposing City garbage underground. The Lopez Canyon Landfill Community Amenities Fund is supposed to benefit the people who have been highly impacted by the landfill. This area includes the parts of Lake View Terrace and Pacoima nearest Lopez Canyon, and most of unincorporated Kagel Canyon. Kagel has borne the majority of the landfill's impacts while receiving effectively none of the millions that have passed through the funds since Ernani Bernardi introduced the original motion with the best of intentions in the early 1990s.

Sadly, the history of abuse and outright theft of Lopez Canyon community funds seems to be endemic to District Seven Council Office. Previous CD 7 representative Alex Padilla at one point transferred all of the money from the main active account into his personal discretionary account for undisclosed uses.

When questioned last year as to why Alarcon was taking $100,000 from another of the landfill community funds (the Hansen Dam Environmental Awareness Center Fund) and using it to build a truck driving academy on the landfill property now slated to be a City park, Alarcon simply dissolved the Environmental Awareness Center fund and moved the money into the Community Amenities Fund where the motion states that the funds are to be spent at the discretion of the councilman.

So at this point in time, the Community Amenities Fund has for all intents and purposes gone from a community mitigation fund to a second discretionary fund for Alarcon, leaving the people impacted most by the landfill once again without a true democratic voice in how the funds are spent. Meanwhile, Alarcon's friends profit from the community's loss.

According to Alarcon aide (and coincidentally also his cousin) John de la Rosa, the Lopez Canyon fund is supposed to be used '...for the area north San Fernando Boulevard to Foothill Boulevard; east of Paxton Street to Osborne Street.' Completely contrary to Bernardi's original motion, De La Rosa's description of the impacted area tellingly leaves Kagel Canyon, the area most impacted by the landfill, out of the picture.

It seems nefarious behavior associated with this landfill runs in the family. De La Rosa was the manager of Lopez Canyon Landfill in the 1990s until he was allegedly forced to resign after being caught more than once significantly altering employee files without authorization.

...Oh the way Glenn Miller played.... songs that made the hit parade....

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Anonymous Anonymous said:

Could you find an older photo of Alarcon? That must be 25 years ago!

Although, having his profile taken can be used for a mug shot.

At least the people of his barrio can't claim they didn't suspect this crook of being a crook. Remember the property he tried rezone without telling people it belonged to his fiance?

February 18, 2009 8:59 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Nice pic of Alarcon during his "Flock of Seagulls" days.

Hair's changed, man hasn't. Same old shit.

February 18, 2009 9:02 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

It looks as if San Fernando Latino politics has finally graduated to the East L.A. political plateau. But then again what do you expect out of a political machine founded by a former Senator who had his mistress on the public payroll and one of East L.A. biggest political culprits, Richard Polanco. With all this money flowing around why did James Acevedo, Polanco's puppet consultant, file for bankruptcy?

It is funny how history repeats itself to those who don't learn - for a prediction on what will happen in the San Fernando Latino political spectrum just google TELACU (especially stories around the early 80's)to see the game plan.

February 18, 2009 9:10 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


Michelle Chavez- President/Chairman of the Board
3479 Cahuenga Blvd, West Los Angeles CA 90068



Stefanie Gluckman - Vice President of the Board
Santa Monica CA 90405


Robert Borstlemann - Treasurer
Northridge CA 91326


Margarita Velasquez - Secretary
Panorama City CA 91402


"Margarita Velasquez
Margarita, Maggie to her friends, has 10 years of experience in workforce development. She has worked as a Program Coordinator for the Pacoima Workforce Development Initiative, serving as a liason between employers and career coaches. She has also worked in Pacoima's parent centers of Broadous and Telfair Elementary schools, serving as a case manager and referral agent. Prior to her five years in workforce development, Maggie worked for the U.S. Bureau of the Census and the state's Employment Development Department. She is a proud graduate of San Fernando High School and Los Angeles Mission College."


Jackie Arriaga - Board Member at Large
*****, Pacoima CA 91331

Board Member of the Pacoima Neighborhood Council

February 18, 2009 9:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Maybe the feds will start tapping his phones too.

February 18, 2009 10:10 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Viva La Raza!

February 18, 2009 10:11 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

"Friends" Maribel can't stand Richard Alarcon... This is part of the deal struck for her to stay out of the Race for School Board against Alarcon Protégé Nury Martinez.

Smart of Maribel to take this deal, she didn't stand a chance against Nury Martinez.

This is what Latino Politics is all about. No better than white politicians. Actually worse, cause white leaders at least stick together... Latino's just like gangsters and mobsters take each other out everyday.

February 18, 2009 10:16 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Higby get your facts straight. Michelle Chavez has not worked for PADRES Contra El Cancer since September of 2008 and she is far from being a protege of De La Torre. The two actually run in two very different political groups. Chavez is part of the Padilla, Cardenas, Fuentes group. De La Torre stays far away from that mob. De La Torre has never supported Alarcon. I guess she will always appear guilty by association but she made it clear that she did not stand on the side of her sister with the mayor during the Mayoral control debate and she did not stand with Alarcon or any of the male pigs who cut the deal to get her sister out of the CD7 race.

February 18, 2009 10:29 AM  

Blogger Angel said:

What is it with all the conspiracy theories? and deals struck? And throwing crap at everyone and hoping just SOME of it will stick?

Anyone who KNOWS NE Valley politics would get that Nury and Maribel wouldn't deal for each other if they were the last two women in San Fernando.

Why don't you actually just call the folks and ask who works where or why they chose to run for one office or another, or is it just easier to make empty accusations than publish responsible journalism?

February 18, 2009 10:48 AM  

Blogger Petra Fried in the City said:

Appreciate the info, 10:29.

I think we were clear that the association of Chavez with Padres Contra El Cancer was her listing their address as her primary address in the Youth Speak Collective tax docs from 2007, so the facts presented are correct. Both Chavez and De la Torre worked for Padres Contra El Cancer at the same time.

As for who runs in whose circles, are you associated with De La Torre? I for one was beyond pissed when her sister backed out of the CD 7 race and let the old guard take over the district once again.

As we can see, it's business as usual there.

February 18, 2009 10:53 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Funny how the comments have degenerated into a fight about who is associated with whom politically when the major crime is that Alarcon has taken public funds, dissolved any real public process, and simply handed them to cronies.

February 18, 2009 12:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Don Quixote has the best comments, how does he do it?

Don Quixote comments about Walter Moore, Mike Higby and Robber Baron Gavachos are so original and of course never repeated ad nauseum.

"If one has the stomach to listen to Walter Moore for any length of time they will soon come to realize that Moore is a paranoid hater (Whenever I ride in my car the radio is speaking to me in Spanish!), who has no other political platform except his anti immigrant, anti Spanish language, anti Mexican, right wing xenophobic philosophy"

February 18, 2009 2:07 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

See! Say PAYDAY!

February 18, 2009 2:28 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

All this corruption shouldn't surprise anyone. Its typical of how city hall has gone down the toliet. Yet Villaraigosa kept blaming Mayor Hahn. All the Latino politicans are corrupt. A reporter should investigate the paper trail of the Mayor's non profits and where the gang money is REALLY going, CD14 and the CLARKS money, Ed Reyes with Lincoln Heights developers, Alarcon with the Sierre Madre fires and how poor people were left out of the cold and money while he paid off the rich people in a totally different area. These Latinos are an embarrassement. They were raised by mothers who had no class or morals, or ethics. They are a shameful example of greed and evilnesss.

February 18, 2009 2:48 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Is it me or is it sad to see a group doing good things getting dragged into the middle of LA wacko politics?

February 18, 2009 4:44 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

they made their own bed.

other papers are investigating.

February 18, 2009 5:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

cd 14 too!

February 18, 2009 5:40 PM  

Anonymous don quixote said:

Ai Caray! "Virgen Santísima de Guadalupe, muestra que eres nuestra Madre."

It's no joking matter JM, with as much lana that is spent on extravagant quinceaneras by the Mexican American community, this situation could bring down the whole economy in a giant crash.

February 18, 2009 5:42 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:


February 18, 2009 5:42 PM  

Anonymous Don Quixote said:

de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme

February 18, 2009 7:30 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I wonder what Don Quixote's opinion is on old cholos who glamorize the gang lifestyle to the young kids he is so concerned about.

February 18, 2009 7:56 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Is the "Angel" who posted above Angel Cervantes, the poster boy for how dumbed down our city government has become?

February 18, 2009 8:14 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Petra Fried in the City are you sure de la Torre has this much power? Come on all she's ever done is dabble in a tiny city's politics. All I've ever heard is that the political machines whether NE Valley or the mayor's machine consider her an enemy because she does not 'tow the line' and doesn't know how to keep her mouth shut on important issues like mayoral control of LAUSD. Actually she caused havoc when she pulled papers for the LAUSD board seat. I heard Gerry Guzman hit the roof and the Mayor was distraught. I'd like to know why this woman is feared by so many and despised by those we love to hate so much.

February 18, 2009 9:46 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Petra, good work. Interesting how these two women tried to deny ever knowing each other, when the IRS forms state otherwise.

February 18, 2009 10:03 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

First of all none of this should surprise anyone. Why? because no one is going to do anything. Remember de la torre's sister Cindy Montanez got a p/t position at dwp working as GM - Nahai's special assistant at a salary well over 150K and she also earns a hefty salary from the State for her DOT commission position that she attends once a month. This information was in the newspaper. Can you smell the filth yet? This play to play is the worst corruption in California and the slimeballs are stinking cityhall by the second. City hall will soon crumble. Yes Mr. delarosa was forced to resign or be fired from the City. He was also manager at Lopez doing a lot of smelly things there too. But watcha gonna do about it? Not a damn thing so get used to it. It's stinks big time and there isn't anything you or I can do so shut the %$#* up!

February 18, 2009 10:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Public Corruption
• Public Officials
• School Officials
• Election & Campaign Violations
• Brown Act

The citizens of Los Angeles County have the right to expect that their elected and appointed officials will carry out their duties in a lawful, ethical and professional manner. They also have the right to expect that administrators, supervisors and the immediate subordinates of elected and appointed officials, who play an integral role in achieving the mission of the officeholder, will discharge their duties and obligations in the same lawful, ethical and professional manner.

The District Attorney's Public Integrity Division ensures that public and appointed officials - and their subordinates - fulfill their legally mandated duties. To this end, the District Attorney’s Office will use all resources at its disposal to detect, investigate and prosecute criminal misconduct at all levels of public service.

The Public Integrity Division’s ultimate goal is to increase the public’s level of confidence in its elected and appointed officials.


• Public Officials
Public officials are elected or appointed to positions of public trust. In the event of any breach of this trust, the Public Integrity Division will investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute criminal misconduct by any elected or appointed public official.

The term "public official" is defined in the broadest possible manner and includes state, county and city officials. Subordinates and employees of public officials, whose duties directly impact the public’s business, are also subject to investigation and prosecution by the Public Integrity Division.

• Election & Campaign Violations
Because the integrity of the election process is crucial to a free and democratic society, the District Attorney’s Office must be vigilant in enforcing all laws that regulate the election process. In this regard, the Public Integrity Division is charged with investigating and prosecuting allegations of voter fraud, illegal voter registration practices, illegal campaign practices, illegal campaign contributions and falsification of candidacy papers.

• Brown Act Violations
The Brown Act governs meetings conducted by local legislative bodies such as boards of supervisors, city councils and school boards. As these legislative bodies are charged with conducting the people’s business, the Brown Act ensures that the business be conducted in open meetings, allowing public access and a free exchange of opinions. The law recognizes that a balance must be struck between the public’s right to open meetings and the legislative body’s need for confidentiality in certain circumstances. Although the Brown Act allows for closed sessions in specific, narrowly drawn exceptions, there is a presumption in favor of public access.

The District Attorney’s Office has the authority to prosecute individual members of the legislative body criminally and to initiate civil actions to prevent or nullify actions taken in violation of the Brown Act. The Public Integrity Division has the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting allegations of Brown Act violations.

Public Integrity Division
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office
320 West Temple St., Rm. 766
Los Angeles, CA. 90012
Phone: (213) 974-6501

February 19, 2009 12:06 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Another excellent investigative piece by Petra Fried. I see de la Torre and Chavez claim they no longer speak to each other, though Chavez did use that charity address fluently in 2007. Hmm, what a difference a year and an MS article makes.

February 19, 2009 12:11 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I have never seen a better impersonation of a Mexican than Alarcon in this photo. And he was born in El Paso, while the others were born somewhere in MeheeKo, especially Huizee, Cardenas and Reyes. Zacatecas or something, no? But it's always like he has to try harder to be a Mexican to prove himself, instead of an American.

February 19, 2009 4:01 AM  

Blogger Petra Fried in the City said:

I appreciate all the thoughtful comments, positive and negative.

I would like to stress that the real crime here is that community funds intended for people living next to a landfill have basically been hijacked by the district rep.
Said rep is then doling out the
funds to whoever they want as if the funds were at their discretion alone.

Note that I don't discuss the charities specifically. Quite honestly, they're victims of this cronyism, too. This is definitely not how worthy charities should be chosen to be funded.

If they can't play the game, well-deserving legitimate causes in this town get cut out of a lot of funding streams this way.

February 19, 2009 8:39 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Hey 9:46. Both Alarcon and Padilla have had a love affair with the city of SanFernando for a loooooooong time.

Something to do with laundering things they can't safely in LA?

February 19, 2009 9:13 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

10:40 ----- Care to expand on your delaRosa rant? Inquiring minds wanna know!

February 19, 2009 9:15 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Enquiring minds want to know if Youth Speak collective ever recieved the $100,000 from this fund and if not, did those funds ever get dispersed? Wasn't this motion made like almost two years ago?

Higby, you and Michelle Chavez had a personal relationship. You and her dated a few years ago. What's the real deal here? Did she piss you off? Petra Fied in the City - am I sensing some jealousy here?

Petra Fied you've left me with a lot of doubt about your intent and you still have a lot of "real" investigative work to complete. I'm left with more questions than answers.

February 19, 2009 12:12 PM  

Blogger Michael Higby said:

12:12 -

You HAVE got to be kidding! I never dated Michelle Chavez. I knew her very briefly through some mutual acquaintances.

Before you criticize Petra - who knows more about this stuff than anyone - you need to get your own facts straight.

February 19, 2009 12:18 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Higby, my dear man,

Funny how the comment has degenerated into distancing yourself from Chavez romantically.

Spin away, dude.

February 19, 2009 4:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I hope Higby didn't date Chavez. Yuck.

February 19, 2009 5:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

not a surprise to me that alarcon is doing this.he does many dirty things that would upset most people especially in these hard economic times.like most of his office employees riding around in city cars 24/7.thanks to all of us the tax payers.but these guys get away with this stuff because of their districts.the majority of the latino people there dont understand or dont care of the city funds that are suppose to go back to the community.shame on all these so called latino politicians screwing over their own RAZA

February 19, 2009 5:54 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mayor Sam this is the story that will shoot you to Number 1 this week.

February 19, 2009 7:52 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Off topic - de la torre is beautiful.

On topic - she is intelligent and she has not played the politics that her sister did. She is not liked by any of the N/E valley pols BECAUSE she has not played their stupid little game. In my opinion, she has always only been guilty by association.

For someone who has done most of her political work inside of san fernando I have to give her kudos is she has single handedly made this your story of the week.

Beauty and power!

February 20, 2009 7:57 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Maribel and Cindy are both hotties. Too bad they've allowed themselves to be tainted.

February 21, 2009 5:26 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

DWP post is just a second job for Cindy Montanez

The former assemblywoman may keep her six-figure state appeals board position in addition to a new utilities gig.

By David Zahniser
June 07, 2008

Former Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez made a splash earlier this week when the head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power announced that he was hiring her as his special advisor at a cost of $12,500 per month.

But even as she began a job that could pay her up to $150,000 per year, the DWP general manager H. David Nahai said today that he also wants Montanez to keep her other post – as a member of the state’s Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, which pays $130,000 annually.

Montanez was named to the state board last year by then-Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-L.A.), a few months after she dropped out of a Los Angeles City Council race against then-Assemblyman Richard Alarcon. In addition to the state appointment, MayorAntonio Villaraigosa – who had endorsed Alarcon – put Montanez on the city’s Planning Commission, a volunteer post.

The city utility’s hiring of Montanez, reported earlier this week by the Los Angeles Daily News, was spelled out in a news release Thursday by the DWP. The release said that Montanez “also has served as commissioner for the City of Los Angeles’ Planning Department and state commissioner for the State of California, Unemployment Insurance Appeals.”
The release did not mention that Montanez could possibly keep the latter post.

Officials said that City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo is trying to determine whether there are rules barring Montanez from staying on the state board. Still, Nahai said that state officials have already concluded that Montanez will have no conflict of interest if she holds both jobs.


February 24, 2009 11:16 AM  

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