There's no doubt that the Legal Lens was the first to break the story that Baldwin Park's Chief of Police took drug money (and what appears to be bribe money) to fund his public office campaign of the West Valley Water Board. It also found his little scheme to defraud the Californian taxpayer and CalPers with an incredible retirement package, drafted by Robert Tafoya, resulting upward of more than a million dollars in retirement.
Is Mayor Manuel Lozano an Undocumented Criminal from Mexico?
According to a newspaper article in the Brownsville Herald, Manuel Lozano, in his delinquent youth was an undocumented criminal who attempted to smuggle over 500 kilograms of marijuana across the border. We need to ask more questions about his history and past and when he was naturalized, and if he's from Texas, why he has a California social security number belonging to a class of visas that allowed for migrant Mexican workers. Also, is it possible that he's using multiple social security numbers? Anyways, you can read about it here.
Baldwin Park Shows Irregularity in Voting
The title sums it up, but it looks like there's high irregularity in voting regarding the vote by mail (or absentee) votes. Read about it here.
How governments steal from us?
This piece was a popular social commentary that shows how governments tax us to enrich themselves.
Free Speech Victory in Federal Court - Court Strikes Down Baldwin Park's Sign Law to Protest them
In a victory for the people, the federal court struck down Baldwin Park's sign ordinance - saying it's ok for us to put up signs that mock and humiliate council people. Greg Tuttle put up a sign that depicted Council Member as an ass and labeled him corrupt. For it, Pacheco tried to fine and destroy Tuttle's credit. The court dissolved the law, and said you people have to write a better law that allows for Free Speech. Victory for the people. Read about it here: On Free Speech
Casas v. City of Baldwin Park (Casas I)
Although the Court of Appeals ruled against us, we fought really hard to try to get financial bank statements from the City of Baldwin Park. Sadly, the court stated that it was ok for the City to lie about not having these statements, when it actually did. It also ruled that the City doesn't have to release documented under the California Public Records Act or court order. It was a sad day for us all, but we fought hard and did our best and that has to be commended. Court of Appeals Rules Against Casas (Sadly, Julian, a boxing coach for 20 years, lost his job over this case, because Carrillo, et. al. fired him.) In any event, some times what counts is telling truth to power and fighting with your heart, soul, and strength.
The Supreme Court Filing: Casas v. City of Baldwin Park (Casas II)
In another disappointment with the case, we filed a petition that should have reversed the Court of Appeal and trial court for letting the City to withhold records with their scam nonprofit. You can read the story - here.
In this story, the boxers discovered that the Parks and Recreation director was running a scam nonprofit called the Baldwin Park Community Corporation, which it sued for records withheld. The Court of Appeal said that the trial court needed to order the City to release records, but the trial court dismissed the case. (How that happens, I don't know?) And the Court of Appeal didn't want to bother to force the trial court, and the Supreme Court didn't take the case. Another sad day for the citizens, but once again, we tried.
In any event, we were successful in getting Carrillo's nonprofit shut down. (Unfortunately, he started another one called the Baldwin Park Charitable Relief Fund.)
Local Business Owner: Greg Tuttle Sues the Mayor and Council Members for Malicious Prosecution.
Local business owner, Greg Tuttle sued the Mayor Manuel Lozano and the Council Members Ricardo Pacheco and Monica Garcia and Water Board Member Lenet Pacheo, for filing a frivolous restraining order to shut him up. (Incidentally, the Mayor tried this with me too.) We tried to sue them in small claims court, but the case again was tried and they didn't have to pay anything. Again, another disappointment, but it doesn't mean we stop and let these people run over our right to protest and speak out against their corruption. You can read about the story here.
My most popular travel piece was my time in Jamaica (though it wasn't my personal favorite).
I also brought you to Peru - where I spent five months. Readers enjoyed about reading about ancient wind swept ruins of ancient Incan people.
They also enjoyed reading about time in about learning to surf in Huanchaco. I also brought you with me to Cusco and Machu Picchu, where my trip ended.
Then I headed off to Colombia and am enjoying the food and sun and beach of the Caribbean Coast from Cartagena.
This year, I encouraged readers and myself to be radically generous and to think about what they're life will stand for when they're gone: What would you do, if you had a year to live?
Personal Reflections for 2017
I've been gone now for six months from home. So, half the year I was in Baldwin Park, and the other half I was traveling. I guess the best way I can look at this question is to ask myself: What contribution I made to your life by my writings this year? In one of my posts, I ask: "What's more truer than truth?"
It's a story. But what's more truer than a story?
It's living a beautiful life. Who can contest or argue against someone who does that? I've tried to do that this year, and I hope I've left some of you with that thought.
The biggest life change for me this year, without a doubt, was getting out of debt totally and completely. It lets you be free in your spirit and life. So, that's been my greatest joy this year.
So, Happy New Years for 2018, from Cartagena, Colombia.