Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mayor Manuel Lozano Chills Free Speech

On September 19, 2013, Paul Cook was interviewed on the radio at a local am station at Santa Cruz, California.  Robert Norse invited him to speak for twenty three minutes because of Baldwin Park's Mayor's First Amendment Violation of his right to free speech.

At the City Council Meeting on September 18, 2013, Mayor Manuel Lozano threatened to report Mr. Cook to the California State Bar for unethical behavior.  Apparently, he said his behavior was "coercive" because Cook, an attorney at law, kept pointing out the Council and Management Team's illegal behavior - such as illegally extending contracts - avoiding bidding - and the paying off of dirty bribes.  Cook said if this behavior did not stop, he would have to report them to the Attorney General.

The City Attorney apparently advised the Councillors and Mayor that it is unethical to notify public officials that their behavior is illegal, and to not stop, would result in reporting.  Cook was confused as to where these new laws of ethics come from.  It is unethical to ask someone to settle for a monetary sum or be reported.  But to ask someone to comply with the law or be reported to a higher authority is within standard practice.

The City Attorney, Joseph Pannone, who has billed close to $300,000 in attorneys fees this year for Council Member Marlen Garcia's First Amendment retaliation lawsuit allegedly advised the Mayor to report Cook to the bar.  An informant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, stated that, "Pannone's just really pissed off at Cook.  And he's been lying to the City Council.  When Cook tells them [the Council Members] they're breaking the law, they've been asking Pannone if this was true.  He's been caught telling these lies."

The City Attorney, Joseph Pannone cost the City of Baldwin Park $90,000 in attorney fees because he provided unsound and illegal advice to the City Manager, Vijay Singhal in 2009 about complying with the Public Records Act.  On record, Pannone denied costing the City such money.  Pannone lied on record.   The court records indeed shows he did lose against a non-profit organization called CARA.

In response to Pannone's angry outbursts, Cook replied, "Either this guy is falling way below the standard of practicing law or he's intentionally giving out bad advice so he can make more money for his firm by billing the City.  The latter is actually unethical behavior.  And if it's the prior, he needs to go.  His negligence is costing the City of Baldwin Park a fortune."

At the City Council Meeting, Mayor Lozano made an implicit threat against Cook by telling members of the public where to find his home address and phone number.  To this, Cook replied, "I'm not surprised.  He comes from a thuggish family.  It's alleged in town that his brother helps him defraud the votes.  Moreover, this same brother, Guadalupe Lozano was picked up for having controlled substances in Irwindale.  Mayor Lozano was bankrupt once.  At his current day job, he's a security guard.  This is who Baldwin Park has for a Mayor.  Really - Baldwin Park is the shame of the San Gabriel Valley.  I can keep going on and on, but why?  I don't want to seem like TMZ or a tabloid.  It's just sad that the local politicians here do make our City look like the Jerry Springer Show."

This wasn't the first time the City attacked Mr. Cook regarding his First Amendment Rights.  After attempting to interview an ex-employee, the Chief of Police, Lili Hadsell, called him.  She told him to stop.  He told her, doesn't she have anything else better to do than make phone calls?  There are, after all several shootings in Baldwin Park.

In response to this violation, Cook attempted to file a complaint against the City Manager, Vijay Singhal; the HR Manager, Leticia Lara; and Chief Lili Hadsell. When Cook saw Leticia Lara, he told her she violated his First Amendment right and wanted complaint forms.  Leticia Lara then went to the back office.  Pushed the "panic button."  But it was broken that day.  Apparently, when it's pushed, the SWAT Team comes and surrounds the building.  Instead, the police came and arrested Cook.  As they escorted him out, Leticia Lara lied to Cook and said there were no forms to fill out for filing a complaint against staff.

Robert Norse, the radio host, was so fascinated with Cook's story, he interviewed him for twenty three minutes.  The Mayor of Santa Cruz kicked Mr. Norse out of the city council meeting for saluting the mayor with a Nazi Salute.  The case made it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Therefore, Cook and Norse shared a common experience in facing First Amendment violations by public officials of local government.

Cook told his audience that Mayor Lozano will not allow people use words he disagrees with in contravention of the case: Cohen v. California, which permitted that the word "F*** " was permissible in the court setting.  Lozano often kicks people out of City Hall for any gestures he finds offensive.  He also commits viewpoint discrimination against any speech he finds offensive, which is any speech that goes against him or Council Member Marlen Garcia.  Nonetheless, as one of the Council Members pointed out, the Mayor permits Marlen Garcia to engage in rude and offensive behavior.  Cook stated, "This is in clear violation of First Amendment Rights, as Lozano engages in classical viewpoint discrimination.  Anything that's anti-council or anti-mayor is the opposing viewpoint.  And if you say anything he doesn't like, he tries to chill your speech."

The rest of Cook's air time focused on the boxers and their protest against the Director of Parks and Recreation.  The host appeared interested in how teenagers were being engaged in local city politics.  He also drew out details of the accounting of Parks and Recreation.  Cook explained how the City Fleet funds and the boxing funds were co-mingled to pay off bribes given to politicians.

Mr. Norse re-invited Cook to speak again.  Cook agreed to do so on October 3, 2013.  Two other radio stations in Los Angeles expressed interviewing Mr. Cook.

When asked about all this new media attention, Mr. Cook stated, "I live in the shame of the San Gabriel Valley.  I intend to expose all of it."

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