State Sen. Ronald Calderon returned to the state capitol Monday for the first time since his Sacramento offices were raided by the FBI last week.
Join the discussion below, or Read more at NBC Los Angeles.
“Hilltop Park Above All”
Since: Sep 08
#24 Jun 15, 2013
Gee Whiz, to do something unusual here, like actually discuss the topic, I bring up a posting I did back in 2011. It's like deja vu all over again.
The topic at the time was Charles' support for weakening CEQA regulations that he trumpeted immediately after Tom was apparently driven from the Montebello Planning Commission, possibly by allegations of conflict of interest. I excised the CEQA comments and left the rest.
April 6, 2011
Is it a coincidence that Charles Calderon's brother, State Senator Ron Calderon just appeared in a picture (in the Montebello Chamber's bi-monthly publication, the Spotlight) with the vice-president and PR spokesman of Cook-Hill Properties, LLC, the very company that is trying to put condos in the Montebello Hills?
It sure is funny how members of the politically powerful Calderon Clan keep turning up in positions of power relating to this proposed condo development.
Charles and Ron's other brother, Tom Calderon is a well paid "consultant" for the Central Basin Water District, and the San Gabriel Valley Water Company, both of which stand to benefit economically by providing water to the proposed project.
As if this situation wasn't tangled enough, in the past former mayor Rosie Vasquez, who's husband Ed is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Central Basin Water District, appointed none other than TOM Calderon as Chairperson of the City of Montebello's Planning Commission. This is the commission that will rule on the proposed Montebello Hills project. Isn't there a conflict of interest somewhere in this morass? Do ya think?
Happily, when the voters elected to retire mayor Vasquez, Tom Calderon automatically lost his perch on the planning commission. Is it just another odd coincidence, that shortly after Tom Calderon loses his position of power over the proposed Montebello Hills development, his brother Assemblyman Charles seeks to undermine environmental protections affecting the Montebello Hills and other proposed projects? Also, coincidentally, brother Ron and Cook-Hill properties executives share a photo opportunity?
Does all this mean that the Calderon brothers have decided to undermine the will of Montebello voters who resoundingly elected 5 councilmembers who don't like this proposed project?
“Hilltop Park Above All”
Since: Sep 08
#25 Jun 15, 2013
Oops, my above posting was actually from 2010, not 2011.
#26 Aug 23, 2013
FBI continues probe into Central Basin water district's records
An FBI corruption investigation that began in June on the Central Basin water district is now seeking personnel records and documents on an agency legal battle.
By Hector Becerra
August 21, 2013, 8:29 p.m.
The FBI served new subpoenas on the Central Basin Municipal Water District this month, expanding a corruption investigation that began with a raid on state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon's office in June.
One subpoena sought documents related to a groundwater storage plan that was the subject of long-running legal battle in southeast L.A. County.
Investigators also are seeking personnel records for the water district's former general manager, Art Aguilar, and two elected directors, Art Chacon and Robert Apodaca.
Joseph Legaspi, a Central Basin spokesman, would not comment on the subpoenas beyond noting that the district would comply with any request from investigators for information.
The subpoenas, obtained by The Times, come two months after federal agents first requested records from Central Basin, including contracts connected to the senator's brother, Tom Calderon, a former state assemblyman and once-powerful advisor to the water district.
The subpoena seeking information on the groundwater storage effort for Southeast L.A. focuses on records connected to the project's environmental impact report, as well as to several engineering and consulting companies.
The companies named in the subpoena include HDR Engineering Inc., Willdan Financial Services, Pacifica Services Inc. and the Calderon Group, a consulting firm owned by Tom Calderon.
The subpoenas, dated Aug. 5, refocus attention on a costly and controversial endeavor for Central Basin. For several years, the district battled a rival agency, the Water Replenishment District, to gain control over local groundwater storage.
More than a decade ago, water officials discovered there was additional space for groundwater storage — a valuable commodity that would allow purveyors to store huge amounts of extra water in wet years and save it for dry ones, when imported water prices surge.
But the efforts to use the space resulted in a protracted and expensive legal fight that cost both Central Basin and WRD millions of dollars.
Last year, the Legislature passed a law that essentially gave WRD the primary authority to manage groundwater storage in the disputed Southeast Los Angeles area.
The FBI has been silent on its broader investigation into Sen. Calderon.
A law enforcement source told The Times it involved Calderon's "income stream," and several state legislators have received subpoenas to appear before a grand jury. FBI agents also have questioned officials from several cities served by Central Basin.
#27 Aug 23, 2013
#28 Aug 23, 2013
The Calderon family’s connections
Untangling the political web of a powerful Southern California family now under investigation by the FBI By Byron Lutz | Aug. 21, 2013
#29 Aug 27, 2013
#30 Aug 28, 2013
State Sen. Ronald Calderon's choice of a spokesman troubles some
Ex-Bell Gardens Councilman Mario Beltran's criminal record has critics questioning his role as a key aide to Calderon. Beltran says he has changed and is grateful for 'second chance
What does Beltran Know?
What does Beltran have on Caldron?
What is the Calderon Cedillo connection?
Central Basin connections?
#31 Aug 28, 2013
VIDEO LA Times
#33 Sep 2, 2013
Local lawmakers doing wrong by the L.A. River: Dennis R. Martinez
Ron Calderon, whose district adjoin the river, cast the deciding votes in May to sink the statewide ban and keep a steady flow of this discarded plastic scourge entering the waste stream and sullying the rebirth of the L.A. River.
DeLeon, Lara and Calderon are also among state lawmakers to receive generous campaign contributions from Hilex Poly,
the South Carolina company that is the largest source of single-use bags in the country.
Calderon has said little about his vote,
given his engulfment in an FBI investigation about corruption in his office.
DeLeon also received a subpoena to testify before the grand jury.
Each of these three also has close ties to a former Eastside lawmaker, Fabian Nunez (see below)
The vote by these lawmakers flies in the face of policies of the city and county they represent. These policies are anchored in science about the long-term hazards of single-use bags and evidence that bans work. In parts of L.A. County where the 2010 ban took effect, reliance on single use bags has fallen by more than 90 percent.
That alone could translate into 2 billion fewer discarded bags littering the local landscape each year, from Californians’ estimated yearly consumption of 14 billion.
That’s millions of fewer plastic bags, which do not biodegrade, cluttering the river and its wildlife and billions fewer plastic globs and particles will sweep into the ocean, where fish and other creatures ingest them, crippling life cycles and creeping into our own food chain.
As an Eastsider myself, I take the vote by this trio to kill the state ban as an insult.
It sets back our homegrown movement for cleanup of brownfields, enforcement of pollution standards and investment in good green jobs in the largely Latino and heavily immigrant neighborhoods that stretch from my home in East L.A. down to the estuary of the river near Long Beach.
Their votes are also a profile in cravenness, in a part of our county where the Bell corruption scandal echoes loudly.
At the time of the vote, both Lara and DeLeon,
who is angling to become Senate president, justified their vote as protecting jobs in several local plants that manufacture single-use grocery bags.
But a detailed investigation by researchers with the city of L.A. into claims of job losses at single-use bag makers belies the dire argument of the bags’ political defenders. Only 15 jobs, at one plant, are in jeopardy from local bans that opponents warned would idle hundreds or thousands. And the jeopardy posed to even these workers has more to do with factory owners’ failure to adapt to a changing market.
Each of these three also has close ties to a former Eastside lawmaker, Fabian Nuñez, who is a partner in a public affairs firm hired by plastic bag makers to squelch the state bill.
DeLeon is Nuñez’ childhood friend and benefited from Nuñez’ vigorous backing to become a lawmaker. Lara worked for Nuñez for two years before taking a job with DeLeon and winning a seat himself.
The L.A. River is a living, flowing counter-argument to any narrative of decline or despair. To squander our progress and investment in its ongoing revitalization by failing to curtail the flow of discarded plastic grocery bags into it is more than a willful failure.
To put it in terms my Latino father might use, it’s a disgrace to our family —
and it’s one that must be quickly made right and atoned for.
Dennis R. Martinez is a founding board member of the L.A. River Revitalization Corp..
The Court just ruled that the County and City's must clean up their storm drains
The costs of cleaning up will be born by the taxpayers.
Plastic bags and other pollution in the storm
drains is not free disposal.
Caldron took the bag money and passed the costs on to YOU!
#34 Sep 3, 2013
Sen. Ronald Calderon continued big spending in months before FBI raid
State Sen. Ronald Calderon (D-Montebello) reported raising $62,650 for a 2014 campaign committee for state controller and $30,147 for a 2014 campaign committee for the Assembly.
Calderon has been in the spotlight for lavish spending from his campaign accounts ever since the FBI raided his Capitol office June 4 as part of a corruption investigation.
In reports filed Wednesday, Calderon said he used $6,700 in campaign funds to pay for a “cultural exchange trip” to Cuba in the spring,
including $2,650 in airfare paid to Virgin America.
Other campaign expenses included $9,600 in golf fees for a fundraiser at the Edgewood Tahoe resort,$1,560 for tickets to the Grammy Awards, and a meeting at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Phillip Ung of the watchdog group California Common Cause said candidates should be restricted to one campaign committee per election and that the spending on lavish trips should spur lawmakers and the state's Fair Political Practices Commission to act.
“This activity shows the Legislature and the FPPC need to adopt stronger restrictions on how campaign funds can be spent,” Ung said.
“Donors are rightfully angry when they see a candidate spent their donations on lavish trips to exotic places.”
Ronald Calderon's brother Tom reported raising $8,500 for a campaign for Ronald Calderon’s Senate seat next year,
including a $2,000 loan from his own consulting firm, Calderon Group Inc.
Former Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D-Whittier), another brother, reported his secretary of State campaign committee raised $8,000 and was paid $861 by wife Lisa Calderon as “reimbursement for charges done erroneously on the American Express card.”
#35 Sep 3, 2013
Metropolitan Water District says yes to stronger ethics program
Members include the city of Los Angeles.
And also the Central Basin Municipal Water District, which made the news this year in connection with an FBI raid on the office of state Sen. Ron Calderon.
One of his brothers, former Assemblyman Tom Calderon, has been a consultant for the Central Basin District.
The Met's ethics program is led by Deena Ghaly, the former enforcement director of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission.
She was appointed the district's ethics officer late last year, and since that time undertook a review of the existing programs for dealing with conflicts of interest, training and ethics advice, and crafted the new program.
A state law adopted in 1999 required the MWD to establish an ethics office.
Ghaly found that some of the required functions were in place but that work needed to be done to ensure that complaints were handled adequately, impartially and confidentially.
"These are public agencies spending ratepayer money for California's most precious resource, and their top officials must be prepared to account for their actions to someone other than themselves,"
The Times wrote in the editorial. "A more robust ethics program could catch problems when they are small, and would send a public message that water agencies can and do operate based on some principles other than self-dealing and cronyism."
Over the years, many of the agencies have been caught up in scandals over bribes, fraud and staff perks.
#36 Sep 4, 2013
Montebello could use an ethics code, right Frank, try and get one passed before you go.
Is there a Calderon, Board of Relators, Hadjanian, Cook Hill nexus?
Relators have been big Calderon supporters.
#37 Sep 4, 2013
#38 Oct 24, 2013
Legislature veteran Tom Calderon turns to business consulting
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/09/5482532/tom-...
October 23, 2013
Tom Calderon drops bid for California Senate
Former Assemblyman Tom Calderon has dropped out of the race to replace his brother Ron Calderon in the state Senate next year.
"I'm not running," Tom Calderon said today in a phone call with The Bee.
"I just need to take time for myself and my family. I've been through a lot this year."
In June, the FBI raided the Capitol offices of Sen. Ron Calderon, D-Montebello, and attempted to contact Tom Calderon,
who works as a consultant.
Federal authorities appear to be looking into businesses that have ties to Tom Calderon.
This year they subpoenaed the Central Basin Municipal Water District and raided the Pacific Hospital of Long Beach -- both businesses that have been clients of Tom Calderon's consulting practice.
Ron Calderon, meanwhile, has opened a legal defense fundraising committee to cover expenses related to his "public corruption investigation."
Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/20...
#39 Oct 24, 2013
After the Obamacare fiasco, I was way more correct than I ever dreamed possible.
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