A little Breceda history

A little Breceda history

Posted in the San Dimas Forum

Car Parker

Covina, CA

#1 Apr 10, 2013
Anglo-Latino Rivalry Splits Irwindale Police
May 11, 1986|MARK ARAX | Times Staff Writer

The police department in the tiny city of Irwindale is so fractured by a feud between Anglo and Latino officers that some are wiring themselves for sound and secretly recording conversations with fellow officers, the chief of police and the city manager.

Two years after a private consultant warned city officials that the feud between the two rival groups in the 27-man department threatened public safety in the eastern San Gabriel Valley city of 1,000, police personnel say conditions have gotten even worse.

A handful of officers in one camp say they received death threats after they reported assaults on Latino prisoners and incidents of police misconduct to the chief and city officials.

Several policemen said they so fear for their lives that they are compelled to wear bugging devices as a means of protection and gathering evidence against other officers.

"The threats that I received were on my life," said one Latino officer who, like many of those interviewed, asked that his name not be used. "The people who made them are very serious. It's pretty heavy."

Six weeks ago, a reserve officer who had received a death threat earlier was shot at while on patrol. The officer, who was not hit, had parked his squad car and was walking to check a building when four shots rang out in the distance. Four bullets were recovered from the car. No arrests have been made in the shooting--the first involving an on-duty Irwindale officer in 12 years.

The feuding factions split roughly along racial lines, with white officers in one group that in the past year has become commonly known as the "A Team" and Latino officers in another group called the "B Team." Several Anglo officers who have befriended Latino colleagues and belong to the "B Team" say they have been ostracized by rival white officers.

Officers in both camps interviewed by The Times during a month long investigation say the department's problems have been allowed to deteriorate because Irwindale is a city where the same entrenched families control the City Council and the Police Department, and they are reluctant to criticize each other.

These families have run local politics and the Police Department since this city's incorporation in 1957, overseeing its transformation from a dusty town of gravel quarries 26 miles east of Los Angeles to a wealthy city of industries including companies like Miller Brewing.

Their control, however, has not been without controversy. In 1972, City Councilman Richard Breceda was recalled in an election while he was on trial for allegedly taking part in a conspiracy to blackmail then-Mayor Richard Diaz into supporting poker parlors.

The case became known as the "spiked enchilada caper" because a hypnotic drug was used in a plate of enchiladas to drug Diaz and then pose him beside a nude woman. Breceda was acquitted, but three other defendants alleged to have conspired with him pleaded guilty or were convicted.

The feud within the Police Department began about 10 years ago as a personality dispute between two officers, one of whom is Breceda's brother, and has escalated to the point that the entire police force stands divided and distrustful.
Car Parker

Covina, CA

#2 Apr 11, 2013
Corruption As Usual

No sooner were the mug shots of Bell's city leaders dry that news came of Irwindale, Calif., another town of modest means (average income $30,000, poverty rate 16.4 percent) governed by high-rolling executives. Four current and former Irwindale officials, including a council member, have been charged with misuse of public funds.

The accused made a reported five trips to New York City, between 2001 and 2005, purportedly to secure a higher bond rating for Irwindale. But prosecutors allege that "mostly they partied."

The LA Times provides the details. The town had set aside $87 million for an "affordable housing" fund, but "little housing was built or rehabilitated" according to the paper. Officials did dip into the fund, however, for lavish trips to New York. They stayed at the Ritz Carlton for as many as six nights at a time. They dined at the extremely pricey Le Bernadin and River Cafe. They purchased tickets for themselves to Yankees and Mets games and to Broadway shows like "Phantom of the Opera" and "Mamma Mia," and they arranged for chauffeurs to take them from place to place. The final bill for the five trips is estimated at $205,678. Not in Bell's league perhaps, but galling nonetheless.

Breceda says "There are two ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, you really watch out what you're doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then, I can spend somebody else's money on myself. And if I spend somebody else's money on myself, then I'm sure going to have a good lunch
CAR BARKER

West Covina, CA

#3 Apr 12, 2013
Ex-Irwindale police cadet charges sexual harassment by lieutenant

Woman's lawsuit says Lt. Mario Camacho pressured her to accept his advances in exchange for favorable treatment at work and a reduced rate on a rental condo.

January 03, 2013|Los Angeles Times

A cadet who said she was sexually harassed and later forced to quit has sued the Irwindale Police Department, the second lawsuit in six months to question the behavior of a high-ranking police lieutenant

Both lawsuits filed against the agency name Lt. Mario Camacho. In July, Officer Rudy Campos filed a federal lawsuit alleging that he didn't get overtime and received negative performance evaluations after he voted against a contract provision Camacho favored. That case is pending.

The most recent complaint, filed Dec. 11 in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that Camacho sexually harassed Alma Chavez, a non-sworn police cadet who started working with the department in 2008. She alleged that Camacho held her hand, kissed her and groped her while they were on duty, sometimes in his office or city-owned car.

Initially, she rebuffed his advances, but gave in when he created "a hostile work environment," according to the lawsuit. When Chavez accepted Camacho's advances, he promised her a full-time permanent position with the city.

Camacho "would be really mean to her and make it difficult for her at work, but when she accepted the advances he was really nice to her," said Brandi Harper, a lawyer representing Chavez and Campos. "When she started, she was 19 years old, her dream was to be a police officer and he knew it."

Irwindale Police Chief Dennis Smith referred questions to attorney Jeffrey Thompson, who is representing the department in both lawsuits. He declined to comment on any specifics.

"The city takes these type of matters very seriously and believes it has done nothing wrong in this case," Thompson said. "We will be defending it aggressively."

During Chavez's more than four years of employment at the Irwindale Police Department, Camacho gave her gift cards worth hundreds of dollars at Victoria's Secret and Forever 21, as well as a Tiffany's bracelet and Louis Vuitton purse, according to court records..

In an October deposition, Camacho didn't deny that he gave her gifts and admitted kissing and holding Chavez's hand while they were on duty because they "were close friends."

He said he also lent her money and rented Chavez a condo he owned at below-market value to help her out, but later asked her to move out when he discovered someone else was staying there and not paying rent.

In the lawsuit, Chavez said that she felt forced to quit and that Camacho was upset because she was living at the condo with her boyfriend. He allegedly called her into a meeting and told her, "I can't stand working with you anymore, this meeting will be your two weeks' notice."

She submitted a resignation letter after that meeting, according to the complaint.

Thompson declined to say whether Camacho had been disciplined or placed on administrative leave.

adolfo.flores@latimes.com
Car Parker

Covina, CA

#4 Apr 13, 2013
Anglo-Latino Rivalry Splits Irwindale Police
May 11, 1986|MARK ARAX | Times Staff Writer

The police department in the tiny city of Irwindale is so fractured by a feud between Anglo and Latino officers that some are wiring themselves for sound and secretly recording conversations with fellow officers, the chief of police and the city manager.

Two years after a private consultant warned city officials that the feud between the two rival groups in the 27-man department threatened public safety in the eastern San Gabriel Valley city of 1,000, police personnel say conditions have gotten even worse.

A handful of officers in one camp say they received death threats after they reported assaults on Latino prisoners and incidents of police misconduct to the chief and city officials.

Several policemen said they so fear for their lives that they are compelled to wear bugging devices as a means of protection and gathering evidence against other officers.

"The threats that I received were on my life," said one Latino officer who, like many of those interviewed, asked that his name not be used. "The people who made them are very serious. It's pretty heavy."

Six weeks ago, a reserve officer who had received a death threat earlier was shot at while on patrol. The officer, who was not hit, had parked his squad car and was walking to check a building when four shots rang out in the distance. Four bullets were recovered from the car. No arrests have been made in the shooting--the first involving an on-duty Irwindale officer in 12 years.

The feuding factions split roughly along racial lines, with white officers in one group that in the past year has become commonly known as the "A Team" and Latino officers in another group called the "B Team." Several Anglo officers who have befriended Latino colleagues and belong to the "B Team" say they have been ostracized by rival white officers.

Officers in both camps interviewed by The Times during a month long investigation say the department's problems have been allowed to deteriorate because Irwindale is a city where the same entrenched families control the City Council and the Police Department, and they are reluctant to criticize each other.

These families have run local politics and the Police Department since this city's incorporation in 1957, overseeing its transformation from a dusty town of gravel quarries 26 miles east of Los Angeles to a wealthy city of industries including companies like Miller Brewing.

Their control, however, has not been without controversy. In 1972, City Councilman Richard Breceda was recalled in an election while he was on trial for allegedly taking part in a conspiracy to blackmail then-Mayor Richard Diaz into supporting poker parlors.

The case became known as the "spiked enchilada caper" because a hypnotic drug was used in a plate of enchiladas to drug Diaz and then pose him beside a nude woman. Breceda was acquitted, but three other defendants alleged to have conspired with him pleaded guilty or were convicted.

The feud within the Police Department began about 10 years ago as a personality dispute between two officers, one of whom is Breceda's brother, and has escalated to the point that the entire police force stands divided and distrustful.
Joe

Pico Rivera, CA

#6 Apr 24, 2013
where is Car Parker
Car Parker

Azusa, CA

#8 Apr 25, 2013
I am still here
Outside Observer

Norco, CA

#9 Apr 25, 2013
Car Parker wrote:
I am still here
lol you go Parker! This feud between you and the Beceda's is out of control. I an going to assume you are a resident that is concerned about corruption. You are entitled to voice your concerns and if there is no wrong doing on their part then there is mood for them to get defensive. I'm not taking sides it's just an outside observation.
Outside Observer

Norco, CA

#10 Apr 25, 2013
Outside Observer wrote:
<quoted text> lol you go Parker! This feud between you and the Beceda's is out of control. I am going to assume you are a resident that is concerned about corruption. You are entitled to voice your concerns and if there is no wrong doing on their part then there is no need for them to get defensive. I'm not taking sides it's just an outside observation.
*correction made to last post
Car Parker

Azusa, CA

#11 May 3, 2013
A peek into Irwindale’s past

Irwindale is a perfect example.
I was talking to a reporter recently about the departure of longtime editor Phil Drake a few months ago. She asked me what the impact on the paper was.
Institutional memory was my first thought. Drake was a sounding board when it came to the history of the San Gabriel Valley and the events we had covered.
I was reminded of that after several recent Irwindale stories. I went through our archives to learn about the city’s past and found its history filled with recurring themes and names.
Mining pits, recall efforts and investigations. Breceda, Miranda, Diaz, Silva and Tapia.
Irwindale is a perfect example.
I was talking to a reporter recently about the departure of longtime editor Phil Drake a few months ago. She asked me what the impact on the paper was.
Institutional memory was my first thought. Drake was a sounding board when it came to the history of the San Gabriel Valley and the events we had covered.
I was reminded of that after several recent Irwindale stories. I went through our archives to learn about the city’s past and found its history filled with recurring themes and names.
Mining pits, recall efforts and investigations. Breceda, Miranda, Diaz, Silva and Tapia.
Those were just a few of the historical connections in the nearly 10-square-mile city that popped up in almost all of the decades of stories I read. Most of the connections are still relevant. Reporter Fred Ortega was working on a story about a pit along the 605 Freeway that was slated for commercial development. Now, apparently, any construction could take a few more years because of questions on how the pit was filled. The city has had a long love-hate relation with mining companies. They battled in court for decades over mining operations, but Irwindale earned millions in
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revenue. But the city tired of being thought of as a pit town, and residents wondered about health effects.
The city is also entangled in a recall effort that seems to have lost steam. Rosemary Gutierrez, a former Irwindale councilwoman, filed a recall petition against councilmen Manual Ortiz and David “Chico” Fuentes. It was supposedly prompted because Fuentes and Ortiz voted to approve a contract for City Manager Robert Griego.
Earlier, after a story about Irwindale’s lavish junkets from reporters Jennifer McLain and Tania Chatila, the District Attorney’s Office opened up an investigation into thousand-dollar meals, Broadway and Yankees tickets, and chauffeurs used by city officials.
All interesting and important revelations but nothing compared to the old days, according to the past stories I read.
In the early ’70s, Richard Diaz, who was a longtime mayor, was the target of a blackmail plot that involved spiked enchiladas, lewd pictures, drugged drinks and chloroform. All were an attempt to blackmail him into backing legalized gambling in the city. The effort failed, and people went to jail in connection with that mess.
A ’60s investigation into corruption prompted me to hunt down the picture on the photo above.
I read a July 10, 1961, story written by several reporters, including recently retired editor Bill Bell, who used Lewis Bell as a byline and who Frank Girardot, our city editor, believes is the young man with glasses typing away at his computer in the photo.
In the article, the prose rattled with condemnation and characterizations of crooked elections, investigations, recalls, hamstrung law enforcement and dictatorial leaders.
“Irwindale is a city scared out of its wits. Appearance of a stranger is enough to send women scurrying into their yards to fetch their children indoors.”
The headline on the story was:“Irwindale Exclusive: City Scared, Honest Cops Wait It Out.”
The photo was taken while reporters were working on the scandal. A West Covina police officer was there for protection, and reporters were armed when they went to Irwindale meetings. Yes. It was a simpler time.
truck parker

Los Angeles, CA

#12 Mar 10, 2014
I don't believe that Car Parker lives in the city of Irwindale. I hear he lives in Duarte and that he just likes to harass Irwindale. I believe he did the same to the city of Azusa. Just being nosey...
truck parker

Los Angeles, CA

#13 Mar 10, 2014
Come on! everyone knows Mr. Breceda is the most generous person in Irwindale! He doesn't care how much he spends HIS own money on all those people that take and take and take from him! He has his own money, he doesn't need anyone else's. Your just mad he doesn't spend it on you. Mind your own business!

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