Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The City Attacked Me!

The e-management team of Baldwin Park attacked me yesterday and today.  All of you, who personally know me, you know that this is real.  I am asking, that you please email the following people and tell them: "Stop your bullying!",,,,,,,

Part of the purpose of this post is to educate other concerned members of their community.  We don't need to tolerate such behavior.  We don't need to be afraid.  We do need to stand up for ourselves, though.

Start of letter.

Re: City Attack Against Paul Cook – First Amendment Retaliation
Dear Human Resources Manager, Leticia Lara; City Manager, Vijay Singhal; and Chief of Police Lili Hadsell:

This letter is to inform you of a serious concern.  The City of Baldwin Park retaliated against me twice illegally on July 9, 2013 and today on July 10, 2013.

The underlying facts are that I contacted an ex-employee of the City who had potential knowledge of allegations of corruption about Baldwin Park.  As a result, I was told by several informants (whose identity must remain anonymous for their protection) that she stated she was uncomfortable to the HR Manager.  The HR Manager told the City Manager, who contacted the Chief of Police – who had her acting lieutenant contact me.

I made a phone call.  I found the ex-employee’s number in the White Pages.  I asked questions.  For this, I was made to feel intimidated from the Baldwin Park Chief of Police.  As a free citizen of this country of the United States of America, do I not have the right to ask questions and to call people?

Because I felt so violated, I went today to City Hall.  I wished to file a complaint against the City Manager, the HR Manager, and the Chief of Police.  When the HR Manager arrived, I informed her in an assertive manner that she had retaliated against me and my First Amendment Rights.  She told me no grievance process existed for employee complaints, except for property damage that city employees have committed.  I explained to her that she needed to be educated.  She stated that she needed no education from me.  I said that she did because she obviously didn’t understand what First Amendment retaliation meant.  She said that my assertive manner was threatening, so she was called the police against me.  Once again, I felt bullied and intimidated.

I waited.  Two police officers arrived.  They witnessed as I told the HR Manager that I have the right to make a phone call and to ask questions.  That the Chief of Police shouldn’t call me for activity that is not illegal.  She explained that she was threatened by me.  I asked her, in front of all the witnesses what I did that was threatening.  She said it was my tone of voice and how I approached the counter.  That was all.  

I explained to her that she needed to learn better about the Constitution.  That we did not live in a third world country.  That this was the United States of America and that the First Amendment protects the Exercise of Free Speech.  That what she did was retaliatory in measure.  The irony being that her second call to the police was also retaliatory of my First Amendment Right to address the grievance of her first violation and the violation of the City Manager and Chief of Police.  I finally stated that if this happens again, I will make a report to the Attorney General’s Office.

Leticia then denied that she had done any wrong.

The police escorted me down.  Asked what my point was.  I explained it simply, “To let them know I have rights and to not trample on them again.”  The male officer took my driver’s license, and justified it by saying there was a suspect that looked like me at Parks and Recreation.  I find this hard to believe, since I’m Korean-American and I live in 90% dominated Hispanic community. In any event, he recorded my driver’s license information.   I asked the officer if I was under arrest.  When he said no, I asked him if I could leave.  He said I could.

I was told by informants later that the HR Manager actually pushed a “panic button” because I told her I had rights.  What this panic button does, I’m not sure.  But I was thankful that it was broken that day and a service order was requested to fix it.

I have several concerns with this situation.  The first one is I ask that the City no longer bully me or any of its citizens for asking questions or contacting people.  We live in a free country and the Constitution, under the First Amendment prohibits such behavior clearly.

The second one is that I have concerns regarding the fitness and competence of this HR Manager Leticia Lara.  She obviously didn’t know federal law.  She didn’t want to learn it.  Furthermore, core functions of human resources are to listen to grievances, deescalate conflicts, and to respect the rights of employees, and in my case, citizens.  Here, Leticia called the police for a disagreement.  Also, she no longer has a duty that runs to an ex-employee.  The employee no longer works for the City.  Furthermore, how could there be no grievance process for City employees?  Such actions and decisions reflect poorly on the judgment of a HR Manager, especially one that is compensated at least $100,000 per annum.

 In fact, the behavior of these three in e-management team is unfitting for how they have treated me in my homecoming to Baldwin Park.  Why does a Chief of Police and City Manager have to use their time sorting out legal and warranted activity?  All I wanted to know is why the City has no money for its treasured and beloved boxing program.

The third concern I have is that there are allegations and rumors that this type of behavior has happened over and over again to citizens of my city by these three in the e-management team, who do not live in Baldwin Park.  Such behavior definitely produces a chilling effect on asking questions about the City.

I demand an apology from all three of these members of the e-management team, and especially from Leticia Lara.  I also ask that I, nor any resident of my city, ever be retaliated, bullied, or intimidated again.

This is a notice of warning.  Next time, I will have to escalate matters to the Attorney General and take further action.

This letter has been posted on several forums and emailed to the LA Times and the San Gabriel Tribune, and the National Lawyers Guild.

Yours truly,
Paul Cook
Victim of First Amendment Retaliation, Former Valedictorian of Baldwin Park, Baldwin Park Boxer, Attorney at Law, Concerned Citizen of Baldwin Park

Join the fight.  Share the story.  Send the message to stop the bullying!

Updated on 8/11/2013

As of now, nobody has apologized to me.  I criticized Vijay Singhal, City Manager, and Chief Lili Hadsell, at City Hall for violating my First Amendment Rights.  In fact, the City Attorney denied my allegations.  Two other citizens expressed concern that City Administrators violate First Amendment Rights too.  If you're outraged by this story, please continue to email the people above. 


  1. Dear Paul

    I live in Italy and came across your blog.

    I wanted to let you know that the story of what you're doing in Baldwin Park has reached our country and we're following the happenings about this little boxing club in your city.

    It is always like that... people often get promoted beyond their level of competence and when in a position of power they tend to mismanage...

    Clearly this Leticia Lara seems to think authority = Power vs Authority = responsibility.

    Equally, I believe the Police should have exercise better judgment in wasting their time and yours with the seemingly absurd call from Leticia.

    Best of luck from Italy

  2. Hello there Paul,

    I am the lead designer and co-founder
    of Wonderful Misery Clothing,

    I just finished reading your blog.
    I am really impressed at how you handled this situation.
    Bullying never stops and is constantly overlooked,
    our clothing line is rooted from a single thought and goal.
    No matter how big or small.
    Corrupted police officers, unfit for office employees, etc.
    We will share your story to our fan base and public.
    Advantage of authority exists in everyone's back yard and needs to be stopped.

    We wish you luck from all of us at Wonderful Misery.

  3. I appreciate the support and feedback.

    Anyways, their First Amendment Retaliation has really helped the community rally around me. And the kids learned about their First Amendment Rights!