Thursday, February 20, 2014

Boxing Lawyer's Story Goes On TV

The Boxing Lawyer's Case Makes TV (Link Here)

I was discussing with the boxing coach, late at night, at Denny's, the other day, and I told him, "I don't think I'm meant to be a lawyer."

Julian looked at me puzzled and said, "No, no.  You need to stay a lawyer."

I said, "I think I'm meant to be in media.  I never considered myself a salesman.  But you know what I'm good at selling: stories!  And I love selling stories!"

In any event, read about how my client and the Booze family made it on America's largest Spanish network, and made it as the cover story of all places!

Subtitles are in English!

The Boxing Lawyer's Case Makes TV (Link Here)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Parks and Recreation Director Makes $111 An Hour And His Boxing Coach Makes $8.80 An Hour

Assistant Boxing Coach
Full Boxing Instructor
City of Commerce
South El Monte
Baldwin Park

Salaries + Benefits
City of Commerce
South El Monte
Baldwin Park

Boxing Coach
Director’s Pay
City of Commerce
South El Monte
Baldwin Park

*What this means is that Julian Casas, head boxing coach with a college degree, makes $8.80 an hour and Manny Carillo Jr. makes $111 an hour, without a formal education or degree.

**What this also means, is that after 14 years of being with the City of Baldwin Park, Julian Casas, with a college degree, makes eighty cents more an hour than a McDonald’s entry worker.

If you find this disturbing, please email ALL the Council Members and the Mayor.  Their email addresses are provided below:,,,,  

Editor's correction: The hourly rate of the director is $100-$111 an hour, but the original post stated he made $255 an hour.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Open Letter To Baldwin Park Council Members and Mayor

Dear Council Members and Mayor:

It's come to my attention that my recent activities have re-branded me as a "radical."  Usually, I would ignore such characterizations.  If I had responded to all of the criticisms of the city's public officials and administrators, I'd never get any work done.

But since I believe, at least some of you, are trying to do what is right in the city, and that the cause I advocate for is not for myself, I want to address why I'm so "radical."  I hope my response will be in patient and reasonable terms.

I have petitioned all of you that the Director of Parks and Recreation wanted to give Julian Casas, your head boxing coach, a raise of a few dollars an hour.  I found the news disappointing and a cause for my radicalism.

* * *
The Mexican people have suffered conquest at the hands of the Spaniards for 302 years.  Although, Mexico declared it's independence from Spain in 1821, the legacy of that conquest, inequality, and poverty still plagues the country, even now.  In 2012, it's been reported that 33.7 million Hispanics of Mexican origin reside in America.

I believe it is fair to presume that a great majority of those who immigrated to the United States did so hoping and believing in a better future and the American Dream.  Therefore, I'm confused as to how you've endorsed the head boxing coach of your city program to receive only a forty cent raise after 14 years, in this country called the United States of America.

Perhaps, it is easy for you, those who have never been left to feel the pain of the decisions made by your administrators like Manuel Carillo Jr. to ignore the injustice or say: "Wait."  But when you have seen Julian Casas work nearly every day for fourteen years for your city children and receive a forty cent raise in fourteen years; when you see that the City gave Manny Carillo two city cars; when you see that he has a city credit card to fill up his personal vehicles; when you see that he fills his city vehicle at the city yard; when you see that he received a $15,000 raise in one year; when you know that he has never secured a grant in his fourteen years for the boxing program; when you see that he tells his gay employees not to bend over or "he'll come behind;" when you hear he hasn't addressed that one of his supervisors got a subordinate pregnant, who later aborted the baby; when you hear that he tells anyone who confronts him that they can leave or be replaced;when you see that the City paid for Carillo's supervisor's Masters tuition; when you see that the wage of the head boxing coach in the neighboring city i s $19 an hour; when you see that Baldwin Park pays our boxing coaches $8.80 an hour; when one of Manny Carrillo's supervisors is paid $85,000 a year, when the position is supposed to only make $65,000; when your administrators, like the Director of Finances (who has already been caught cooking the books twice), are bickering over having raises, when you know that the city has no money and that they're already overpaid; when you see that Manny Carrillo makes the most of any Parks and Recreation Director in the San Gabriel Valley; when you have to explain to the high school students of Baldwin Park who are asking: "Paul, why does Julian get paid so little?"; when you see Manny Carillo asks staff to bring him a shrimp lunch for him to eat in his office from California Pizza Kitchen; when you hear that he tells his staff that she is the most disgusting person he's ever seen; when you know that the man has no degree or formal education; when you witnessed the staff had enough of his demeaning behavior towards them that they had to organize and inform you of what was happening in your own meeting; when you see that he tried to cut the hours of the part-time staff so they wouldn't receive healthcare; when you hear that a council member (one that drives two luxury cars) doesn't want to hear the matter of the head coach's pay; when you hear that he falsely accused an employee of stealing to put her on unpaid leave; then you will understand why I'm a radical.  There comes a time when being silent about the matter is no longer a solution, and that men and women must demand the respect that is owed to them.  I hope, Mayor and Council Members, you can understand why I'm a "radical," and with such a blind eye turned towards all these injustices, some of which have not been mentioned. If this is what a radical is, I hope and pray that I become more radical for the sake of this City.

* * *
If I have said anything dishonest, then I ask you forgive me.  I hope that this letter finds you well and that you will be more informed in your decision making about what is right to do for the city and the employee.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The City of Baldwin Park Pays Over $100,000 To Employees

The City of Baldwin Park may be bankrupt or is definitely headed that way.  While taking a break from legal research at the Los Angeles Law Library today, I had an idea to analyze how much City workers get paid.

Martha Gellhorn, a ground breaking journalist, who reported on German Concentration Camps, stated once that you could never trust the government.  She believed they always lie.

Well, Baldwin Park is a local government.  And guess, what?  It always lies.

The State Controller's website says that the average employee in Baldwin Park makes $34, 887 in 2012.  That's a lie.  Want to know the real figure?  It's $101,000!  That's three times it's real pay.

Can you believe a public servant, like a clerk, or a planning officer makes close to a $101,000 a year?  For working four days a week!  No wonder why the City won't let me look at the payroll?

The City of Baldwin Park lies about their average wage because they don't want to let you know the City's broke.  It covered up the average wages this way.  It has 391 employees.  But it only has 132 full time employees.  Thus, when you average the poor with the rich, you could get a nice low public servant salary.  Check out the raw data here: Spreadsheet to full time employees.

But when you look at just the full time employees, and you average their pay, it comes out to $101,000!  Even then, Baldwin Park had to work hard to cover up what it was paying itself.

What's even more alarming is that 108 out of 132 employees are making 90% of their maximum salary range.  For instance, if the job allows you to make $80,000-$100,000, 80% of all the employees have already maxed out.  In fact, 60 out of 132 employees, nearly 50% is makes 100% or more of its pay range.  But even with that, you don't get $101,000.

No, because they've maxed out, the administrators have found other ways to take from the City coffers.  70%, meaning 90 employees, make overtime.  Then they found perk pays, lump sum pays, and other benefits.  But even when you add all that in, you still only get $83,000 a year.

On average, you have to add the average health benefits, which is another $15,000 a per year.  That brings you to $98,000 a year per employee.

Then if you add in their pension of 2.5% a year, you get $101,000.

In total, the full time employees are costing the citizens of Baldwin Park over $10,000,000 a year.  That's just the full time ones.  As stated, the average employee of Baldwin Park makes $101,000 a year.

The average resident of Baldwin Park makes $14,000 a year.  Thus, the average employee makes seven times more than the average resident.

Let me put that in perspective for my readers.  What these employees make in six weeks is what an average person in Baldwin Park makes in the entire 52 weeks, and they usually work everyday - not four days a week.

How is it with property tax and sales tax alone is the City supposed to be keeping up with the skyrocketing labor costs?

And why is it that Julian, the head boxing coach, amidst all of this, got a 40 cent raise after 14 years? 

Something smells rotten in Baldwin Park.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Disappointment and Stress - A Leaf From My Life

Dear Readers,

This post is about what's going on in my life.  You've read my muckraking and articles and stories.

One reader told me to post on what's happening with me personally because he thought it'd be interesting for others to read.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm known in my city as "The Boxing Lawyer."  The name just stuck after I became a lawyer, and one of the kid boxers at my gym said, "So you're a boxing lawyer now?"

And I said, "I guess I am."

Since we all got rid of that evil Council Woman Marlen Garcia, my blogs changed a bit.  (The most recent chapter of the blog talks about this.)  The drama quieted down.  But it's revving up again.  Don't worry; I got a lot of stuff to write on.

But my reader is right, a lot of you know nothing really about my life, my cases, and everything in between.

Did you know that at home we have three chickens: one Chinese one and two American chickens?  My mother and I love them because we could give the eggs away, and people always seem grateful for fresh eggs - which taste way, way better than the store bought ones.  The yolks taste like butter.  One famous chef said that the pasta in America can't taste like the pasta in Italy because the eggs are different.

Well, getting back to this post, let's focus on the boxing part of my life.  Boxing isn't only about training, discipline, and boxing.  It's about the community you're in.

And some days, I can't stand working with the kids.  Yeah.  You read that right.  It's highly frustrating to work with the broken.  I remember when Joshua returned to his drug addiction and told us all "F(*&)) you!"  It broke my heart, and Julian and I had to let him go.  He was beyond us.

I guess I'm losing another kid.  We'll call him - Jason.  Jason wanted a better life; so, I worked with him in getting his SAT scores up.  And he did it.

But like Joshua, he got into alcoholism and who knows what else. 

We were supposed to talk about what colleges he wanted to apply for today.  His mother told me, "Jason didn't come home last night."

Go figure, I thought.  He's been doing this more and more.

We were supposed to go for a run today in the mountains, then find the Newsweek at the library to see what colleges were in his realm of possibilities.

Yesterday, the mother scolded me for not helping her son with college applications.

This time, I told her, "Well, don't blame me for him not wanting to go to college?  This has been happening since December."

She said, "Oh my God."

"Good bye."

Well, I still went for my run.  It was around a seven mile one.

After it, I had lunch with Julian, the head boxing coach.  We ate Cuban food.  I ordered paella, which reminded me of the paella I ate in Barcelona in the fall of 2012.  The yellow rice was fragrant with squid, chicken, and mussels. 

I told him the story of what was happening with Jason.

I said, "He's going to Hell.  And I don't mean in the next lifetime, I mean in this one."  Milton, in Paradise Lost gives the first account of Hell being a psychological condition in your soul rather than an afterlife destination in literature.

Julian - being a typical guy - tried to give solutions.

I said, "Julian, it's not time to talk about solutions.  We'll talk about it on Monday.  Right now, I'm just telling you, so you know."


"I don't want to spend any time today thinking about this.  I gotta lot of other things to do."

"I get it."

I just didn't want to think about it.  I have so many problems on my mind - like how to get the corrupt Parks and Recs Director Manny Carrillo fired and all my legal cases.  The last thing I wanted to do was invest more time in a sinking pit.

I tried some of Julian's Cuban pulled pork with rice and beans.  It tasted salty and good and fatty and hearty.

I called one of my mentors and told him about Jason.  He didn't sound too excited.  He knew it was bad news that was coming his way.

He said, "Paul Cook - you're going to have to learn to get over being upset with the kids."

"Some days, I don't really want to work with these kids."

 "I've heard you say that before."

"Well - I don't."

"Do you have much of a choice?"

"It's like playing the game show where they let you pick a door.  But when you open it - it's a dud prize.  I keep getting the duds."

To that, he didn't have much to say.

You know what I observe.  People saying they want to change.  But when confronted with what that really means - I see people don't change.  It's really sad too when it's our own youth.

Monday, February 3, 2014

White American Mother Suffers Because Of American Deportations Against Latinos

Well, my client's case (and the Boxing Lawyer) made it on the front page of La Opinion yesterday.  The article became the cover story.

Here's the story translated for you.  I ask if you find it sympathetic, please share it with as many people as possible.

Elizabeth Valdez, wife of a Mexican, had her husband and two daughters taken away because of the United States Immigration Laws Regarding Latinos.

By: IsaĆ­as Alvarado
Translated by: Paul Cook 
Published: February 2, 2014

On January 7, Elizabeth Valdez left half of her heart in Zacatecas, Mexico. She spent Christmas and New Years with her deported husband and two daughters, but returned to solitude in Seattle.

"I cried all the way back," Valdez said in a cracked voice (her maiden name is Booze). "It's hard to be at home now that it's empty," added the Anglo American, who married the Mexican National Rafael Valdez in 2006, who has lived in Washington State since 1996.

The married couple had started the process to legalize Rafael, but in 2009 a traffic stop sent his case to immigration court. But last year, although the couple attempted to prevent his explusion, Rafael was deported to Mexico.

"For me, it’s as if I’m an incomplete person. I feel empty,” says Elizabeth, 39, through a telephone interview.

Her life took an unexpected turn in September when Rafael took their daughters Maya, age 5, and Catalina to the Mexican state of Zacatecas. This happened because her salary as a waitress couldn’t cover childcare. Both agreed that the kids would be better off with Rafael, until they decided what to do.

From his mother’s house, Rafael, 36, states, “I brought my little girl with me when she was still 11 months and still breastfeeding with my wife. My other daughter cries every night. It’s hard to be without my wife. It’s very stressful. It’s brought me to tears because of our helplessness.”

Born in Bellevue, Washington, Elizabeth is part of a newly emerging class of victims affected by the broken immigration system: Anglos impacted by the deportation of their partners. Her story rejects the stereotype that only Hispanics mourn their partners being deported across the border.

"I don’t believe the broken immigration system hurts just Latinos, but all people from all cultures,” says Elizabeth, who says her family is also suffering from this situation. “My brother misses his nieces. My father misses his grandchildren. They both miss Rafael. They feel bad for me,” she says.

Thousands of families have been divided by these deportations. In the first half of 2011, under President Barack Obama’s administration, more than 46,000 parents of American children were deported from the United States.

Paul Cook, attorney for Rafael Valdez, explained that Rafael has few legal options to return to the United States because he re-entered the United States twice without papers. Congress passed legislation in 1996 that makes him an "illegal immigrant for life. "

Cook stated, “Many families are being impacted by this horrible situation because of this 1996 law.”

On her free afternoon, Elizabeth only thinks about returning back to Zacatecas, which is difficult and hard for her to do. (The plane ticket costs about $900 USD). She’s considered living with Rafael’s family, but the climate of the Mexican State is not right: Rafael’s brother was kidnapped last year.

Rafael states, “I do not leave the house out of fear because [the kidnappers] are already keeping tabs on me.” The Zacatecano points out that, “I know my wife wants to come here, but I am afraid that something might happen to her.”

Before the Valdez family was separated, Elizabeth’s mother and sister passed away.

She requests that the Obama administration change its policy to lessen her pain.

“It is not fair not to have options; I can only wait for a miracle,” she said

[The original article can be read in Spanish here:  ]