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....