Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Police Chief's Daughter Caught With Narcotics At Motel 6 - Breaking News!

Picture of Chief Lili Hadsell

Megan Elizabeth Hadsell, 19, daughter of Baldwin Park Chief of Police, and Chase Gross, a 23 year old Upland resident were caught with the possession of narcotics inside a car parked outside of Motel 6.  The Chino Police arrested the two on October 15, 2013.  Charges were filed at San Bernadino Court House on October 22, 2013.

The Chino Police Department stated that Megan's charges are still being investigated.  Megan's been charged with Health and Safety Code Section 11350(a), which is the usual violation for having cocaine, crack, heroin, or hallucinogens.  

The particular Motel 6, located on 12266 Central Avenue, Chino, has a reputation for illegal activity and drug trafficking.  One guest stated that, the motel clerk "had to call in our driver license to see if we were outlaws. [The clerk] was behind a bullet proof glass . . ."
Another guest of this Motel 6 criticized that the "place was always full of people. . .  Trucks and cars were coming and going from the parking lot all night long.  People were hanging out just outside their rooms using cell phones."

The incident only stresses and perpetuates the rampant nepotism, under-performance, corruption, and hypocrisy of Baldwin Park's public officials and administrators, which the local city boxing club has been protesting since June 19, 2013.  Megan's involvement with alleged drug trafficking and hardcore drug addictions points to the failure of Chief Hadsell's leadership.

Baldwin Park has an epidemic problem with substance abuse.  Drug related arrests are the most common arrests in Los Angeles County, where Baldwin Park is located.  These type of arrests have soared since 2007.

Hadsell's appointment as Chief of Police exposes the cronyism and corruption of the City's hiring practices.  Hadsell came from San Marino Police Department.  She served as lieutenant for a number of years but was never made Captain, which is the next position before Chief.  Hadsell, agreeing to the unspoken rules written by Council Member Marlen Garcia, Mayor Lozano, and City Manager Vijay Singhal, leapfrogged Captain Taylor for the position of Chief.

It is a well known fact that Captain Taylor suspected that Council Member Marlen Garcia would promote Chief Hadsell.  He asked Hadsell, out of respect, to notify him if this would take place.  Instead, Marlen Garcia, Singhal, and Hadsell waited for the ideal moment.  The Captain gave notice of his holidays to Japan.  When he was away, Garcia and Singhal appointed Hadsell to Chief.

According to ex-members of the management team, the implicit rules foster corruption.  The number one rule is that one must never question Marlen Garcia or Vijay Singhal, even if their decisions promote illegality or waste.  The second rule is that one must carry out all orders of Marlen Garcia and Vijay Singhal.  The third rule is that one must be an under-performer because merit exposes the unfitness of the public administrators already in place.  The fourth rule is that family and friends come first.

In the last two weeks, Hadsell followed these unwritten rules by sponsoring an unqualified officer, who is also a close friend, ahead of those who perform.  Fearing that her time in office may be short because of the uncertain political climate, Hadsell expedited the promotion of Sergeant Mark Harvey to lieutenant by creating a new lieutenant position.  Although the administrators claim there's no money in the budget, the promotion over ten years will cost the City at least $100,000.

Sgt. Harvey has been a sergeant for two years, even though the average time one must spend as a sergeant before becoming a lieutenant is six years.  Harvey is close friends with Hadsell.  Both knew each other from San Marino Police Department.  Both transferred from there to Baldwin Park.  She signed off on the papers to send Harvey to lieutenant training, even though the next in line is Lt. Parnell.  Regarding competence, Officer Kuberry and Officer Marks Adams have scored higher on objective testing than Harvey.  According to the Police Association, the two have not been promoted because Marlen Garcia has retaliated against them and their First Amendment Rights for picketing her years earlier.

Because Chief Hadsell cannot question Garcia and Singhal's decisions, but represents the BPPD, she's become a controversial figure in Baldwin Park.  Mayor Manuel Lozano, Mayor Pro Tem Raquel Garcia, and Council Member Garcia and City Manager Vijay Singhal have attempted to fire all the local police officers and replace them with the Sheriffs.  Hadsell would allegedly receive a severance pay.

Since Hadsell could not go against her superiors, she's left the police open to public criticism by Singhal, the Garcia Council Members, Mayor Lozano, and their supporters, who have commented on the officers' incompetence and costly salaries.  To counteract their undermining, citizens called for Chief Hadsell to sign a letter that stated she would support her men and women, at a Council Meeting.  She did so reluctantly.  David Gonzalez, Public Organizational and Leadership Consultant, stated that Garcia's open criticisms and the Chief's passive sponsorship of them has left Baldwin Park's officers vulnerable.

Megan's arrest has opened dialogue in Baldwin Park, one that asks whether it bears on the Chief's leadership.  Greg Tuttle, small business owner, stated, "It's disturbing that she can't handle things at home.  How can we expect her to handle things in our City?"
Julian Casas, head coach of the boxing club and resident of the city, agreed: "Order needs to be at home first.  She doesn't have it there.  She shouldn't bring her problems into our city."

Manuel, 15 year old boxer, when hearing the news, said, "My God!  What the hell!  She shouldn't be Chief."

Though Jessie, a 16 year old Baldwin Park high school student, stated, "Home and work are different.  They need to be kept separate."

To that, Tuttle replied, "She has a daughter on hardcore drugs.  She's a police officer.  She can't tell me she doesn't know what her daughter is doing.  A good police officer would know and keep that under control.  If she can't keep things under control at home, how she's supposed to do it with a City?"
As Chief, Hadsell has been known to deal with such family problems by interfering and tampering with the law enforcement and the justice system.  She did so in West Covina, when her in-laws were in trouble with the law.  For this, she was reprimanded by the Baldwin Park City Council.  One resident noted that he hoped that this would not happen with the San Bernadino Courts or the Chino Police Department, and that the justice system would be impartial to a police chief's daughter.

Hadsell has continued the legacy of having family members of public officials and administrators engaging in illegal activity.  Mayor Lozano's brother, Guadalupe was arrested for possessing controlled substances in Mayor Lozano's truck.  Marlen Garcia's daughter - Delilah was caught joyriding her mother's car without a license.  Unlike many of the undocumented who are caught doing so, the car was not impounded for the mandatory 30 days.  Natalie Ybarra, Lozano and Garcias' favored Council Member candidate, allegedly has a family with a gang history.  Former Mayor Fidel Vargas had to resign upon charges of punching his wife.  Having family members, whom engage in illegal activities, is perhaps the fifth unspoken rule to be in power in Baldwin Park.
The link between Megan's arrest and Hadsell's performance has one commonality.  She's having difficulty managing dysfunction - whether it's at work or at home.  Hadsell's been seen running out of City Hall in tears, as news of her daughter's arrest has surfaced on forums.  How is she focused on reducing crime when her mind and energy are spent on crime she can't control at home? 
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Note from the Author:

I have to disclose for the objectivity of this piece that I've had my conflicts with Chief Hadsell.
1) For interviewing a former employee, and not a current one, Chief Hadsell violated my First Amendment Rights, by threatening me with a phone call from her lieutenant.
2) When I was inspecting public records, Chief Hadsell, under the command of City Manager Vijay Singhal, had her cadet watch me viewing them in a police interrogation room.  It was an attempt to intimidate me.
3) When I started publicizing the corruption in Baldwin Park, Chief Hadsell began interrogating her officers as to which one was leaking information.

I don't believe any of these facts bear on the objectivity of this article.
Since Mayor Lozano and Council Member Marlen Garcia and administrators have called me a fabricator, one who twists facts, and a liar - all in defamation of my character - I have decided to publish the Chino PD press release and court history here.

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Word On Winning: Letter To My Boxers

Dear Boxers (especially Christian and Lyle),

We got our hours back.  Christian, you told me that the word at the local high school is that the boxing gym has a whole bunch of "cool" new equipment.  This is true.  It's also true we're now open Monday through Friday and on select Saturdays.  We've been fighting the good fight since June 19, 2013.  That's nearly four months, about a season.

Remember how we went up against the bitter and angry adversaries: Council Woman Marlen Garcia and her two amigos: Mayor Lozano and Mayor Pro Tem Raquel Garcia.  Then there was that whole management team - consisting of the City Manager, and the Chief of Police, the Director of Parks and Recreation.  Remember; when it all seemed so impossible?  The internal parks and recreation team laughed at us and bullied Coach Julian and Luis.  They did all this to us because we wanted more hours - hours we needed to have a sustainable program.

Lyle, you would've remembered the first Council Meetings.  And Christian, you would have remembered attending the fundraising event.  Michael and Erik and I think everyone remembers the lawsuit.  Let's not forget La Opinion, the largest Spanish paper in the United States, interviewing all of us.  I was amused that Roger came in the day after the paper was published, showing us that we were in it.  I smiled, thinking of course I knew.

But even now, the management grumbles we're going to cost the City $6,000 more than we should.  I find that grumbling incredible, given the fact that our primary adversary, Council Member Marlen Garcia, has cost our City $300,000 in legal fees because she violated the constitutional rights of two employees.

We will never get that money back.  It went to all the attorneys because she refuses to admit she's wrong.  And from her perspective, she doesn't have to because she's spending our money - not her own.  Can you imagine what $300,000 could do for us?  At the least, it could buy us 10 boxing programs or  20 coaches per year. 

Nonetheless, despite those in power, this letter is to remind you of what your courage achieved.  Many of the boxers were not the valedictorians of the school.  We weren't born of royal bloodlines.  Nor, were we were famous.  None of us are professional boxers.  No.  But, many of you: being only high school students, responded to the call of the fight.

Why? Because you knew it was right.  Because you knew it was evil that the public officials and management team were strangling our poor boxing club so they could get richer and us poorer.  Against all odds, without knowing if we'd win, we stood strong and fought back against those that would raze our boxing program to waste.

For many of you - this will be your first lesson in reaping a harvest sown with perseverance.  In short: you must endure.  You must deliver.  You must also learn to do so when victory is only a faraway glimpse: something you can barely see.  Many of you have been touched and flawed by the brokenness of an unspeakable and shameful past.  Have heart.  Your past is not what defines you.  For even the Holy Scriptures state, "God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong. . ."  What defines you will be your ability to endure and deliver, even when the deck is stacked against you.

Alright - time for my long distance run.  Keep up the good fight.


Paul "The Boxing Lawyer" Cook.

PS: Also remember, our new hours are a start.  But we need to keep fighting for fair pay for our coaches and even more hours.  We need them to make tournament fighters.

PSS: Next post will be on the worst decision the Lozano-Garcia team has made for Baldwin Park.  Will it be trying to get rid of the police?  Stealing the Boys and Girls Club?  Hiring the worst Chief of Police and City Manager: Chief Hadsell and City Manager Singhal?  Will it be building a useless parking structure for several million dollars?  Stay tuned to find out.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Boxing Lawyer Muzzles The Mayor

I was tired of the Mayor, his attitude, his speech, and his behavior.  In the last Council Meeting, the Mayor shut down public comments period because he thought that would prevent the City from being sued. Head Boxing Coach Sues the City Manager Then there was the time when he threatened to report me to the bar for telling him his behavior was illegal.  Mayor Lozano Chills Free Speech. Then there's the annoyance of friends and family telling me that the Mayor and his representatives are defaming me online.  Reports have alleged that Mayor Pro Tem Raquel Garcia has committed libel against me by saying I have bipolar mental disease.  Have these people no common sense or decency?

But I guess I was most irritated when I presented factual evidence against the City of Baldwin Park.  In response, the Mayor kept calling me a fabricator.  Essentially, he called me a liar over and over again.  Now - there are many things I am.  I am not perfect for certain.  I'm often called out for being impatient, rash, and insensitive.  And like I told one of my boxing kids, I'm addicted to cigarettes, even though I've never been a smoker.  (The talk was on how we all have brokenness in our background that we weren't responsible for but need to learn to control.)  I grew up around my father's second hand smoke, and every time people smoke around me, I like inhaling the second hand smoke.  And of course, we've all lied before, but in general I'd like to think I have a reputation for being honest.  Therefore, I felt violated that the Mayor had the audacity to call me a liar over and over again.

He did this during the Council Meeting because anything spoken on record at Council Meetings are immune from lawsuits.  So, although, he said that I was fabricating on record; it was indeed him who was defaming my character of honesty while escaping accountability for doing so.  And what it all climaxed into, last council meeting, was the mayor shutting down the whole public speaking forum in violation of the Federal Constitution, California's Brown Act, and the Baldwin Park Municipal Code.  I had enough.

As a boxing lawyer, I didn't bring a briefcase to the city council meeting.  No, instead, I brought a grey gym bag with papers and a stapler.  (I owe my inspiration partly to retired Judge Nancy Gertner, who wore red suits and brought her briefs in shopping bags, as a message against the hostile work environment  women in the profession faced during her time.)  Outside of the Council Chambers, with the head boxing coach, his former fighter, I took out the papers and stapled them together against the dusky light.  From the window slit, we waited to see when the public comments period started.

Wearing boxing shorts, black boxing shoes, and a red Nintendo hooded sweatshirt, I walked down the isle and began passing out my stacks of paper to each of the audience members.  I ran out of my literature.  So, I sat back down with Julian, the head boxing coach, and Rene, his former fighter.

I could see the Council Members, Mayor, and management team wondering what it was I passed out.  Was it the lawsuit?  Was it smear literature?  What was it?  Nonetheless, the members of the audience that received the literature had their eyes glued to the paper.  

Yes, I thought.  I felt satisfaction.

Rene went up and spoke about how he thought it was wrong that the mayor shut down the public forum at the last meeting.  He brought his family there, and they were able to see what a bad example the mayor was to the City of Baldwin Park.

Julian gave a brilliant speech.  He discussed how he sued the City of Baldwin Park for not releasing  records.  This was the third lawsuit pending against the City Manager Vijay Singhal.  He thanked them for the new gym equipment and the hours.  But the fact is that the boxers did an investigation, and that they were not happy with what was found.  Wherever the truth leads, the boxers are going to go to seek justice.

From the back of the isle, I walked.  You could feel the silent tension clashing against each other when I stopped at the podium.  What was I going to say?

"Good evening Mayor and Council Members.  It's Paul 'The Boxing Lawyer' Cook again.  You all know who I am.  

"I'm greatly disappointed that the Mayor shut down the public forum last week.  The boxers did file a lawsuit against the City and the City Manager for a public records violation.

"Mayor Lozano, you chilled my First Amendment rights.  You violated the Federal Constitution, the Brown Act, and the Baldwin Park Municipal Code.  

"You are the shame.  You are the Shame of the San Gabriel Valley.  People in Alhambra ask me how we have a security guard for a Mayor.  You're not educated.  And you stuttered in your speech, representing Baldwin Park at Washington, DC.  I don't want you representing our city.

"Now, you wondered what I passed out.  You say I fabricate.  In the dictionary, that means to invent or to do by art.  I suspect you're calling me a liar.  

"Guess what?  I passed out your bankruptcy filling and your security guard license to the audience to prove I'm not fabricating.  If you ever call me a fabricator again, I will pass out more stuff.  I have videos and photos of you that are too shameful to mention on record.  But I will pass it out for everyone to see, if you ever call me a fabricator again.

"I think I made history in Baldwin Park.  No one's filed a lawsuit against you and made it in La Opinion all in a week now.  Have they?  There's more to come."

With that, I could see the tense shuffling amongst the Councillors and management team.  I continued:

"You are the shame.  You are the Shame of the San Gabriel Valley.  

"You're only in power because you cheated the votes.  You are the shame.  The Shame of the San Gabriel Valley.

"When you're getting sued, you should have the courage to be like a man and take it. Not shut down public comments period.

"But you are - you are the shame.  The Shame of the San Gabriel Valley.

"Thank you."

With that, I asked my boxer and his fighter to leave.  I didn't want to hear whatever rubbish they had to say.  Apparently, no one said anything about me that Council Meeting.  I muzzled the Mayor and got my knock out.

Julian mentioned something interesting.  He said, "They're bringing about their own ruin for four hours.  The four hours they wouldn't give the boxing club."

Since, you've been part of the audience, I'm showing you what the audience saw that night: the Mayor's bankruptcy.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Letter To My Boxers - On Leadership

Dear Baldwin Park Boxers (especially to Christian and Lyle),

It was in my heart to write this letter to you because I think about you everyday.  Many people will begin to tell you at your age that you are the future.  This is true.  Only - it will be in your power to decide what kind of future you will create for the world and for yourselves.

I don't know if you know this, but I was raised in Baldwin Park since age two.  At your age, I was desperate to leave this ghetto city.  At age fifteen, I told myself everyday until I was eighteen that I would.  When I turned eighteen, my hard work and perseverance paid off.  I was awarded a full scholarship to UCLA.  I was out.  I vowed to myself I would never return.

Twelve years later, three more languages acquired, and many lives lived, I suppose I broke my vow to myself and returned to the place from where I came.  The Chinese wouldn't be surprised because they say after all, "Falling leaves return to its roots."  In plain English - it means, those who leave come back home.

My homecoming has brought me both great joy and a sense of deep violation.  I can't tell you how excited I was to discover the great boxing program that I stumbled upon.  It ultimately retrained my mind, re-disciplined me, and helped lift my spirits, which prepared me to sit the bar and become an attorney at law.

The deep violation, which was an assault at the core of my soul, came from seeing the current health of the city and those responsible for making such decisions.  Ultimately, those in power, the administrators and the public officials, have selfishly chose to make decisions to favor themselves, then their family, then their friends, over the common citizens: which is us.  This is what corruption is.  That is why our boxing program has suffered so much.

When I saw this happening, I had convinced our boxing program to take a stand and say enough is enough.  I never knew we would get so far in our fight against those in power and the evil they commit.  I never knew that the story of the run down boxing club of Baldwin Park would be heard all over the world: from the United States all the way to Europe to Russia to Asia and then to Australiasia.  Can you believe we made it on the front page of the largest Spanish paper in the United States: La Opinion?

But we cannot stop here.  Our hearts and minds must be renewed.  Our lives must be transformed.  We need to be different and become people of virtue and character - so that our lives can shine brighter than the stars of Heaven.  Stars shine brightly and hotly too.  Did you know that a star's life, from galaxies away, will be seen from earth for years after it dies?  In the same way, I want you to be remembered for who you are, even after you live your life.

As fighters, which we all are, we must remember that none of us can achieve victory without perseverance and trials.  In other words, there is no winning without paying the price of suffering, shown in our blood, sweat, and tears.  And although, some of you may be suffering much, it is the endurance of this suffering that builds character and that character builds hope - so that you may be a proof that it is possible to overcome agony and hopelessness to live a worthy life.

Thus, I hope to see a transformation in all of us, including myself.  In fighting the good fight, I know I can see us pursue greater courage, generosity, and perseverance.  It is our duty to endure and seek justice and victory.

I hope this letter means something to you now and even more in the future.

Yours truly,

Paul Cook

Friday, October 11, 2013

Potential Violation of Brown Act Again: Mayor Lozano, Council Member Marlen Garcia, and Raquel Garcia - Corruption Corner

A private investigator caught Mayor Lozano, Council Member Marlen Garcia, and Council Member Raquel Garcia potentially having a secret meeting together.  Under the California Brown Act, public officials cannot meet in secret and discuss official business.

The private investigator took this picture on September 24, 2013 at a restaurant called The Lazy Dog.  This evening session took place after the special council meeting, which discussed the city budget, which was released in September.

To the left is Mayor Manuel Lozano and Mayor Pro Tem Raquel Monica Garcia.  On the right is Council Member Marlen Garcia.  The three of them currently make up the majority voting block on the council.  Those who are not present are Council Members Susan Rubio and Ricardo Pacheco, whom make up the minority faction of the Council.  The prior are trying to get rid of the Baldwin Park Police Department, and the latter are trying to prevent the police from being ousted out of the City.  In the picture, Mayor Lozano and Raquel Garcia look tense after the budget meeting, while Council Member Marlen Garcia appears relaxed.  Council Member Marlen Garcia will no longer be holding a Councillor position, as she is running for the Mount San Antonio College Board of Trustees, which serves the San Gabriel Valley.

Typically, municipal budgets are released in July.  But, Baldwin Park is special.  Craig Graves, Interim Financial Director, prepared the budget and released it in September.

It is alleged that Craig Graves advertises on craigslist as Graves, Craig.  Furthermore, unlike other municipal finance directors, he lacks a CPA license.

Several members of the community aired their complaints that the City should make more prudent decisions, rather than hiring a Finance Director, who earns $130,000 a year and doesn't have a CPA license.  The previous finance director resigned ten days later, after a small business owner threatened to out her for fraud and financial misappropriation.

The City Attorney, Joseph Pannone, attempted to intimidate the small business owner to release the documents to prove such allegations, which was a near or perhaps actual violation of a citizen's Fourth Amendment right to have protection against unwarranted government search and seizure.  The small business owner threw Pannone's letter away in the trash and said, "The Hell with him."

This wouldn't be the first potential violation of the Brown Act that Council Member Marlen Garcia has engaged in.  (See blogpost: The Boxer's Adversary.)  In that instance, Marlen Garcia walked into the room, trying to disrupt public conversation regarding the status of the police department in the City, which is a city matter.

The private investigator wouldn't give out much personal information, but s/he did mention that she served all of the factions that currently are opposing the current majority voting bloc.  No information could be gathered about what else the private investigator knew.

The boxing club has stated on record several times that something is seriously wrong in Baldwin Park.

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Join the fight.  Share the story.  Save our boxing club.

Post Script: After the boxer's La Opinion article was published, Rudolph Guilando, program supervisor of the boxing program, instead of helping make the program better, has began retaliating against it. Cook also witnessed how upset he was the day La Opinion article was published.  He began raising his voice against Cook.

Cook was surprised at this behavior.  Cook is just a participant in the program.  He is not an employee.  And Guilando had no right to do this to him.

Guilando insinuated to Casas there might be more budget cuts, implying that the boxing program might be cut again.  Julian Casas stated, "What do we need more cuts for?  We have enough money in our boxing budget for the hours we're asking for.  Does he even understand his own boxing budget?

"They act like we should be grateful.  They forget it was them that stole the program from the Boys and Girls Club in the first place because they felt they could run it better.  Look at them now.  You have to twist their arm just to get any attention from them."

Although the City of Baldwin Park hasn't given Julian Casas a raise for 14 years, and he's been making $8.40 an hour, the City of Baldwin Park has paid for Guilando's MBA tuition.  With perks, as of 2011, Guilando makes close to $80,000 a year.

Cook observed Director Manuel Carrillo Jr. several times since La Opinion published its piece.  (The piece could be read here: La Opinion Article).  He commented, "The man looks like a wreck.  I just can't understand why he didn't fix our boxing program.  He's brought himself to the brink of ruin.  We only asked for $1,000 to $1,500 a month.  But in actuality, we didn't even need that.  Director Carrillo, because of poor accounting practices and poor performance, didn't even understand that boxing was self-sufficient on the budget it had.

"Now he has to go through a public performance review, which shows how he's ruined a prize winning city program, in which Oscar de la Hoya and Shane Mosley participated in.  It was the best thing Baldwin Park had." 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Children and youth, like Alejandra Pacheco, find the boxing gym a safe haven to be at after school.

La Opinión, the largest Spanish newspaper in the United States, and the second largest paper in Los Angeles, wrote an article on the boxers of Baldwin Park.  I'm translating it here.

The original, Spanish version can be read here.  La Opinion Article.

The Boxers In Baldwin Park Refuse To Throw In The Towel:
The boxing program survives, despite budget cuts and claims of mismanagement.
By: Virginia Gaglianone
Photo: Emilio Flores
Translation: Paul Cook

Christian Flores found a passion in boxing.  Since childhood, the young resident of Baldwin Park began training, thanks to the program offered by the City. But in recent years, the program, which has been visited by personalities such as Oscar de la Hoya and Sugar Shane Mosley, has had its hours and its coaches reduced.

"They [the management] always said that the reduction in hours was for budgetary reasons, but when we started investigating, we noticed that it was not," said Paul Cook, one of the volunteers of the boxing program.

Cook said both the budget for the boxing program and the city fleet vehicles are under the same category.  "It makes no sense, because the boxing program should be under the budget for recreation," he said.

Cook was born in Baldwin Park and lived there until attending university. He returned to the boxing gym, while preparing to take the bar, which is the licensing exam for lawyers. The boxing training helped him in training for sitting the bar. "I wanted to do something to give back to the community that helped me so much," he recalled. Cook decided to raise money for the boxing program with the intention of returning it back to the state it was in the past. He thought it would be simple, but, instead, he encountered obstacles and unanswered questions.

According to Cook, each program participant pays $15.  That amount multiplied by the number of participants yield a sufficient amount to reopen the gym Monday through Friday. Currently, the boxing program operates Monday through Wednesday and three hours on Thursday.

"The kids need more teachers. The truth is that the gym needs more trainers," agreed Mike Salas, founder of the program.

"Until 2005, we made national boxing champions for the Blue and Gold Tournament," said Julian Casas. "This program really changes lives," he said, saying that it helps young people to keep them busy and off the streets.

Casas and Cook believe that the lack of money for the program is due to alleged mismanagement of funds by the City administrators. They also claim that the aquatic program receives more funding, despite being open only three months a year.

Last Wednesday, during the Council meeting, Casas filed a claim under the Public Records Act against the City Manager, Vijay Singhal, for allegedly refusing to disclose certain municipal records having to do with the budget.

"I really did not want to sue them," said Cook. "We're just asking for them to have a performance evaluation. Is that asking too much?"

Manuel Carrillo, Director of Recreation of the City, responded to the allegations saying that the complexity of the budget makes it confusing and that this is what is resulting in the accusations of embezzlement.  He said the budget is public and is reviewed annually by an accountant firm.

Carrillo said the boxing program was reduced by 25% a year ago, along with the summer concerts, the swim team and summer camp, among other programs. He also said that to have kept the boxing at its hours would have cancelled the other programs.

"The City of Baldwin Park is proud to improve the quality of life of its residents," said Carrillo. "Although the program has a reduced schedule, there are still four days in the week and three coaches that are dedicated to boxing program."

The original and Spanish version of the article can be found here: La Opinion Article.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Head Boxing Coach Sues the City Manager Vijay Singhal of the City of Baldwin Park

On October 2, 2013, Erik, an 18 year old boxer and college student, served City Manager Vijay Singhal and the City of Baldwin Park with a lawsuit.  Julian Casas, the city's head boxing coach, is the plaintiff who is suing Vijay Singhal and the City of Baldwin Park.  His attorney on record is Paul "The Boxing Lawyer" Cook.

The boxers arrived at the City Council Meeting.  Yet, when Mayor Manuel Lozano saw the boxers arrive, he closed down the public comments period.  A member of the audience in a green shirt was about 6 feet from the podium, ready to speak.

In protest, Cook stood up and said, "You're violating our First Amendment Rights.  Public Comments is not closed yet."

The Mayor responded, "It's closed.  And if you don't sit back down, I'll have you thrown out."

In response, Cook directed Erik to the City Clerk, who handed her the complaint, which is the notice of lawsuit against the City.  The City Clerk asked him what it was.

To this, he responded: "A lawsuit against City Manager Vijay Singhal."

She attempted to give it back, but he refused to accept it.  Instead, she walked over and gave the lawsuit to the City Manager, Vijay Singhal.

With that, the boxers walked out of the City Council Chambers.  Before Cook walked to the door, he shouted behind him, "You've been sued."

Cook was upset that the Mayor chilled free speech once again.  See blog post:  Mayor Lozano Chills Free Speech  Cook's blog also notes that the administrators have retaliated against those who speak out against politicians.  See: City Attacks Boxing Activist.

Cook stated, "We live in a dictatorship.  The mayor has great difficulty understanding that people have the right to free speech.  His ploy didn't work.  They've been served.  The politicians and adminstrators knew we were coming with a lawsuit because the local paper that day wrote a story about how we were serving them."  The Boxers Make the News Again  This is the second time the boxers made the local paper.

Cook; Casas; the founder of the boxing program, Mike Salas;and the boxers were also interviewed by another major paper.  Cook's blog has made it to 80 countries, and everyday journalists contact him about the affairs of Baldwin Park.

Local city residents have said, "You don't know how dirty these politicians are.  They used to call us racist for speaking out against them.  [The residents were whites.]  Mayor Lozano closes public comments when he doesn't want to hear something."

Casas filed the lawsuit because City Manager Vijay Singhal refused all 22 items on Casas' records request at the time of filing the suit. Casas attempted to view these records after discovering the misappropriation of the boxing budget, the kickbacks, and the rampant nepotism and cronyism within management of the city

Asked about the lawsuit, Cook stated, "We didn't really want to sue them.  But, Mayor Lozano, the Council Members: the Garcias, and the Management team think they're a law onto themselves.  They don't take you seriously unless you have their actions reviewed judicially.  I mean, we're just asking them to have a performance review.  Is that too much to ask for?  Apparently, the judges haven't been too impressed though with the performance of any of these administrators or public officials."  See City Manager's 12 Violations of Law

This is the second public records lawsuit against the City.  In the first one, City Attorney Joseph Pannone and the City Manager, Vijay Singhal has cost the City $90,000.  Cook believes they do this because they're not spending their own personal money.  So, they exercise poor judgment because it doesn't come out of their pockets.  It comes out of the residents' of Baldwin Park.

The Police Association, currently, has two lawsuits against the City for First Amendment Retaliation.  Robert Norse, radio host, commented on how unusual it was for the Police to be suing over Constitutional Violations.  To that, Cook commented, "They [the politicians] do what they want without regard to our rights."  There are talks of a non-profit filing a third public records violation lawsuit against the City of Baldwin Park and City Manager Vijay Singhal. 

Cook also stated, "October 2, 2013 is a historical day for Baldwin Park.  Julian Casas is a resident of the City and has been the boxing coach here for fourteen years.  I don't know of any lawsuits by residents here against the City of Baldwin Park.  In general, they're too poor.  They make on average $11,000 per year.  But here, we have a resident, suing the City, enforcing democratic rights, at a democratic meeting.  It marks the beginning of the people taking back its City by the people for the people."

(Excerpts of the complaint are attached below.)

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PAUL COOK, State Bar No. 290583

Attorney for Petitioner,



Case No.:
[California Constitution Article I §3; Govt. Code §6258; Cal. Code of Civil Proc. §1085]

Date Action filed:
Date set for trial:

1.                   The City of Baldwin Park, (La Ciudad[1]), was sued under the Public Records Act (the Act) once before.  On September 28, 2009, the Los Angeles Superior Court ordered a writ of mandamus against La Ciudad.  It also ordered La Ciudad to pay the Silverstein Law Firm approximately $50,000.
2.                   In the last lawsuit, petitioners “requested at least five times [for their records.]  The [City of Baldwin Park ] again [and again] failed to respond to [petitioner’s] requests.”  (Exhibit 5.) 
3.                   Once again, La Ciudad has resorted to these former and habitual illegal business practices.
4.                   Before the Los Angeles Superior Court, a public records lawsuit against the City of Baldwin Park is presented: again.
5.                   As in the previous public records lawsuit, the same City Attorney, Joseph Pannone, is present on record: again.
6.                   As in the previous public records lawsuit, the same City Manager, Vijay Singhal (Singhal), is still overseeing public records request: again.
7.                   As in the previous public records lawsuit, the same Mayor Manuel Lozano, Council Member Marlen Garcia, Council Member Ricardo Pacheco, Council Member Susan Rubio, and Mayor Pro Tem Raquel Monica Garcia[2] are the public officials governing the City: once again.
8.                   These records were requested because the City’s Boxing Club requested $1,500 more a month from the City Council Members and Mayor because La Ciudad cut its own boxing program to the point of it being inoperable.  As a result, the boxers did investigative work and discovered rampant nepotism, unethical accounting, and various forms of illegality regarding transactions La Ciudad entered into with local businesses.  As a result, on August 19, 2013, JULIAN CASAS (CASAS) requested records concerning the rampant nepotism, unethical accounting, and illegal transactions.  And like the City of South Gate, before the prosecutors stepped in: La Ciudad, in effect, rejected all of his record requests.
9.                   JULIAN CASAS, plaintiff and head boxing coach of La Ciudad’s boxing club, petitions this Court, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 1085, Government Code § 6258 (the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”)), and Article I § 3 of the California Constitution, for a Writ of Mandate directed to Respondents City of Baldwin Park (La Ciudad) and City Manager Vijay Singal, commanding them to comply with the CPRA.
10.               The elections for the Mayor’s seat and two Council Member positions are held on November 5, 2013.
11.               These records are required before these elections, to best inform the public of the candidate’s history and reputation.
12.               The City Manager, Vijay Singhal, City Attorney Joseph Pannone, Council Member Marlen Garcia, Mayor Pro Tem Raquel Monica Garcia, and Mayor Lozano appear to be withholding these records until after the elections are over.

[1] In 2005, the Council Members and Mayor endorsed a monument that inscribed the following message for the City of Baldwin Park: “It was better before they [the whites] came.”  In August, 2013, Council Member Marlen Garcia and Mayor Manuel Lozano are still in power.  This monument also stated: “This land was Mexican once / was Indian always / and is / And will be again.”  Out of respect for calling an entity by the name it wishes to go by, This Complaint will be in compliance with the wishes of the public officials of Council Member Marlen Garcia, Council Member Mayor Pro Tem Monica Garcia, and Mayor Manuel Lozano and call The City of Baldwin Park, La Ciudad.  

Furthermore, on September 18, 2013, Council Member Marlen Garcia stated that at the City Council meeting that a member of the public was “racist” to ask public officials, who spoke with a Spanish accent to speak proper English.  Therefore, this complaint chooses to respect their wishes to honor the alleged Mexican heritage of Baldwin Park that the public officials of this city so adamantly demand.
[2] Although she is known as Council Member Monica Garcia, her christened name is Raquel Monica Garcia.

The full complaint can be downloaded here.  Law Suit Against Singhal For Public Records Act Violation