Monday, March 30, 2015

Top Stories of the Legal Lens

Here are the top stories I've written on in the year.

1. Here's the story that started it all and Google keeps reporting it as a top hit. This is how the Baldwin Park protested the corrupt City and the Director of Parks and Recreation, Manuel Carrillo Jr.

The boxers of my City became small town heroes and local celebrities by taking on the City.  We were able to get the Mayor on the record to promise a meeting with me, their representative.  Now, I feel so run down with all the councillors, mayors, and local political leaders who want a meeting with me.  But just yesterday, we were nobodies.  Here's how we made our presence known.  The Baldwin Park Grand Showdown

2. Read about how after the Mayor got annoyed with he filed a Temporary Restraining Order Against me.

Today, I received notice that Mayor Manuel Lozano will file a temporary restraining order against me.  The emergency hearing will be held tomorrow in downtown, Los Angeles.  His claim is that I threatened him, though at the moment, they're not telling me what I actually said. Mayor Files Temporary Restraining Order Against Me

3. I like to write letters to my boxers to encourage them.

Letter on why its important to work hard. Letter on working hard.

4. After speaking out against the Parks and Recreation Director, Manuel Carrillo Jr., the director and acting City Manager fired Julian Casas. Both of them make close to $200,000 a year.

Parks and Recreation Director Manny Carrillo Jr. suspended Juilan Casas, head boxing coach, with pay, pending an investigation.  Carrillo stated that he couldn't tell Casas what the investigation was about, only that somebody filed a complaint.  He stated he would no longer be allowed on the premises and to not speak to employees or the boxing participants. Evil Bosses Fire Boxing Coach Who Worked for City for 17 years

5. In an unrelated Baldwin Park case, read about my client, and how Eric Holder deported her babies. And those babies were American!

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. Anglo Mother Suffers Because of American Deportations (If the Washington State Senator, Patty Murray, advocated to the Department of Homeland Security, she could get her family back. But at the moment, we just keep getting stonewalled.)

Finally, if you have any information on these people, please email me:

-Manuel Carrillo Jr. - Corrupt Parks and Recreation Director
-Craig Graves - ex-Finance Director of Palm Springs and current Finance Director of Baldwin Park
-Michael Ray Taylor - Lives in Rialto - Crooked Chief of Police and Former Acting City Manager of Baldwin Park
-Shannon Yauchtzee - Former Public Works Director of West Covina and Current City Manager
-Robert Nacionales-Tafoya aka Robert Tafoya aka Robert Nacionales - Current Contracted City Attorney

I'm on Los Angeles Times Front Page!

Copyright LA Times - Me at the Los Angeles Law Library
Well, the Pulitzer Prizer winner who exposed the City of Bell has now moved onto the City of Baldwin Park. My story made the front page.

Great Read: A Baldwin Park gadfly the mayor would love to swat away 
Paul Cook stood just a few feet away from his adversary inside the small-claims courtroom in Alhambra.
Baldwin Park Mayor Manuel Lozano towered over Cook, an attorney and activist — and, in the politician's view, an unrelenting critic with no sense of boundaries. The mayor stood silently, twiddling his thumbs behind his back, as Cook laid out his case.

Read more on. . . .Me On Front Page of LA Times

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Baldwin Park's City Attorney is as Bad as They Get

Robert Nacionales-Tafoya - Baldwin Park's City Attorney
Baldwin Park's City Attorney, Robert Tafoya, failed once again in court. It's not only that he fails in court, he just is unprofessional when he commits slanders me there - which keeps happening, by the way.

Today, we had a conference as to when trial would be set in the second Public Records Act case. For those of you who don't know, Manuel Carrillo Jr., Director of Parks and Recreation, and Craig Graves, Financial Director, have been running a sham non-profit. We're accusing them of laundering money through this non-profit. You can read all about it here. Manny Carrillo Launders Money

But instead of the City suspending or investigating Manny Carrillo, my inside sources say that Lozano, Carrillo, Raquel Garcia, and others fired a boxing coach who was making minimum wage. (I've actually heard this from multiple sources as this point.) City Suspends Boxing Coach

Then, illegally, the City is paying for Robert Tafoya to illegally defend Manny Carrillo and Craig Graves. Now; hey wait?! How does that make sense? Carrillo and Graves are being sued as the directors of non-profit, not as the City Directors. If we can only have all our attorney's fees paid for by a city.

Today's lawsuit is about the fact that Carrillo and Graves don't want to release documents regarding how the non-profit has accounted for money. In short, the two, laundered it and gave it to someone - who knows who, but I would suspect that part of it went back to themselves.

So, the boxers sued for records. It was in this case that Robert Tafoya forged a document - misrepresenting my signature to the court. You can read about it here. Tafoya Misrepresents Signature

The judge asked why I didn't serve him. Once again, Tafoya was playing his bad faith litigation games. He's extended this case for almost a year by complaining to the court that he didn't understand what his clients were being accused of. And I knew Tafoya was just trying to not have this case go to trial. Well - too bad for all of them - it's going to trial. Finally.

Now, the last judge granted Tafoya's request because he was substituting for our main judge, but this judge saw Tafoya's games. (In general, it appears that the judges are getting sick and tired of this character.)

But, being the nasty attorney he is, he wouldn't accept service of the documents. I asked him three times by email. So, can he really complain that I served him on the last minute? To that, Tafoya told the judge, same judge he forged a document to, that I was an "odious liar." The judge was furious that Tafoya couldn't keep his temper and language under control, the judge rebuked the nasty attorney.

Now is this the type of behavior we expect of city attorney's? Jeez. And, I didn't lie. I have witnesses and emails, that he wouldn't accept service. Tafoya was also mad because I filed a memorandum of costs for losing the First Public Records Act case.

The court costs were small. It was roughly $2,000, but because he refused to pay for it, I had to charge the City 7 hours of my time. That raised the bill to $4,500. After he puts in his time to object to the matter, let's add an estimated 10 hours, the bill comes out to $7,000. Now is this the kind of attorney you want wasting the tax payer's money? See, how he took a bill of $2,000 and sucked 2.5 times that amount from the taxpayer. It's greed and stupidity, I tell you. I don't understand why the City Manager, Shannon, doesn't put an end to all this, after all he's where the buck stops. (But the rumors are suggesting that being too afraid of his job security - he's paralyzed to make a decision.)

In any event, going back to the court case, the judge was so disgusted with Tafoya, that he set a trial date and told Tafoya he could do whatever he wanted to do. I was so happy. Finally, we get to go to trial on this, and we can hold that desert rat of a finance director and that piggy parks and rec directors accountable. And I'm going to do everything in my power, to make them pay all my attorney's fees. Remember, in my last case, I got $38,500. This is going to be a bigger chunk of money - I predict.

PS: Up next - how Tafoya was so dumb, he cost the City more money by not paying me timely. I had to charge the City interest. The question is how much did Tafoya charge the city to fight me on the interest.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Baldwin Park's Mayor Has in Common With Slime Eels

Manuel Lozano, Mayor and Shame of Baldwin Park
I bet you never thought that mayors could have so much in common with slime eels (also known as hagfishes). Before, we get into what Mayor Lozano, aka The Shame of Baldwin Park, has in common with slime eels, we have to take a Paul-Cook biology lesson into slime eels. (For those of you who don't know, I was trained as a scientist and biologist in another life.)

Hagfish, also known as a slime eel
Hagfish (see picture below) are literally the bottom feeders of the ocean. They are the only animals in the world that have a skull but no backbone. Hence, scientist like to debate as to their origin and their classification. Is it that they degenerated from a higher order or that they evolved from creatures - like our leeches? Nobody, really knows.

In any event, slime eels have a role in the world. They scavenge the ocean floor, searching for dead animals to eat. This is how they survive.

Nature is efficient. Everything that dies in the ocean ends up on the floor, even the smallest pieces of organic matter, called marine snow. Although marine snow appears to suspend in the water, it's actually sinking at a very slow rate. In some cases, it could take centuries for it to reach the ocean floor. It could take up to a thousand years if ocean snow sinks near the Mariana Trench - the deepest part of the ocean in the world. The Mariana Trench is about 7 miles (or 11 kms) deep. Can you imagine that? It's seven times deeper than the Grand Canyon of America. Just think of all the pressure that's at the bottom of the trench. If you dropped a car down there, the pressure of the water would crush the car into a tin can. But somehow life persists on the ocean floor.

And all animals die. When it reaches the floor, the slime eels scour the ocean floor - hungry and looking for something to eat. So, if a baby whale dies and sinks to the floor, the material of that whale has to be recycled back into the ocean into its constituent parts, such as nitrogen, phosphorous, carbon, sodium, etc. That's where the hagfish comes in and sucks the dead energy out of the carcass and defecates the elements back into the ocean. So, see such animals have a purpose.

The defense mechanism of the hagfish, when a predator captures it, is to produce copious amounts of slime. 5.25 gallons approximately. That's a small barrel of slime. It covers itself in it and slips away, escaping the jaws of life.

Well, Mayor Lozano is no different than a slime eel. There are numerous examples I'm going to publish about how he's a bottom feeder of Baldwin Park and how he's used his position to scavenge off the people and their money.

Interestingly enough, his sliminess has been shown in how he slickly escaped accountability on a number of occasions.

In 1998, Lozano wasn't prosecuted for election fraud. LA Times Writes on Lozano's Election Fraud Also, in 2007, Mayor Lozano used his position to get an all expense paid trip to China. Lozano Gusta Mas Chinitos de Hispanicos Porque Ellos Tienen Dinero Now, in 2015, Lozano wasn't held liable in civil court for slandering my reputation and abusing a judicial process when he got a temporary restraining order against me.

Well, hagfish are prehistoric creatures that have survived over the eons because of their successful adaption mechanisms. Although not the noblest of creatures, bravo to Lozano for choosing survival strategies that have enabled him to survive as a corrupt politician for so long.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

On Working Hard - Letter to My Boxers

Roger Bannister - First Man to Break the 4 Minute Mile
Dear Boxers,

This letter is about working hard. I realized this week that my last letter on not cheating wasn't all it could be. I even asked another adult boxer, "What would you tell your kids about why not to cheat, when the people in the City are making close to half a million dollars a year?" In not too many words, he found it hard to answer the question.

I have an answer for you. Remember, when your teacher said, "Cheating only cheats yourself?" Well, that's only partly true. Cheating harms more than yourself. It harms those who care about you and those you are cheating from.

But, first I'll tell you how it cheats yourself. When you cheat you're taking a shortcut. And when you take those shortcuts, you're not learning the skills you need to develop and improve. In other words, listen carefully, when you cheat, you will NEVER be the best at what you want to do. NEVER. EVER.

So, think about all that you dream of becoming. The best boxer, perhaps. The best student. For me: the best lawyer or the best writer or the best innovator. Now, realistically and statistically, we won't be the best because there is only one best. But, there's nothing wrong with wanting that, and better yet, there's nothing wrong with trying to get there. And you know, if you work hard enough, you might not be the best, but you can come close.

But when you make the decision to cheat, you're already telling the world that you stopped believing in yourself and that others should stop believing in you too.

True story. I told my legal mentor about one of my hearings that I lost and how hard I worked on it. And he said, "Well, Paul, that's what it means to be a professional."

I asked him, "What do you mean by that?"

He said, "Well - 80 percent of the time, the court's already made up its mind about what its going to do, regardless of your lawyering. But there's always that 20 percent of the time where it counts. And as a professional, you have to believe that every time you do your work, you're working in that 20 percent margin."

I thought, Wow, now that's advice worth its weight in gold. (Incidentally, to be a professional means that you "profess," meaning promise, to God that you will commit your life before him in carrying out your duties. That's why we swear an oath, it may be to the Constitution instead of God, but in theory, we have a calling to serve a purpose higher than ourselves. Woe to all the lawyers who have forgot the purpose of why they exist.)

I think it's also worth mentioning another lesson I've learned about hard work as a rookie lawyer. Going back to cheating, cheating seems OK to do because it brings results. And hard work is for losers, right? Because even when you work hard you don't get the results.

That's really short-sighted thinking, though. A lot of the work this year that didn't pan out, that took a lot of work, wasn't wasted - even to my surprise. In some shape or form, when I didn't get the results I wanted, I usually learned something very important from it, was able to use that work for another assignment, or have it later redeemed and validated. So, what I'm saying is that if you did your best and you put your heart into it, and you don't see immediate results, don't worry. Just wait. Things might happen later. (Actually, in almost every hearing I worked hard in, produced some worthwhile effect later.)

If working hard brings you self-peace and honor, well, lying, cheating, and stealing, carries with it guilt and shame. And it's not worth it because these dishonest means, make you a destructive person, who attacks others when they try to tell you the truth. (Just look at our city leaders.)

Finally, I wanted to say that it's alright to work hard and accept a lesser award than cheating would bring. My reward and your reward is that we can hold our heads up high and know that we fought the good fight with honor.

For instance, I can tell you this: the court may have lowered my bounty, but when we defeated the City of Baldwin Park and the court announced to the world that I was worth $350 an hour because of my quality work and it acknowledged all the hard work I put into the case, I felt a sense of victory, dignity, and strong self-worth. No one can take that away from me. The profit may have been sensible, but the moment of victory was priceless and enduring.

And, so I say, live a life where people can't take your character away from you - because after our lives pass, that's what people will know about you and me. That legacy is also what you leave behind for others to remember you by and to follow you in.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mayor Lozano Has Hired Criminals Before Too - Just Discovered

Baldwin Park's Mayor Lozano, Inept and Insidious
I've just discovered today that Mayor Lozano has hired criminals in the past to work for the City. Just after one year of being a City Council Member in 1997, Lozano hired William H. Kraus as City Manager (also known as CEO) from the City of Norwalk. Another one of Baldwin Park's dirty secrets is that Kraus was a convicted money launderer. That's right, another money launderer. But when LA Times' Richard Winton, Pulitzer Prize winner reported it, Lozano said he didn't know. Baldwin Park Hires Money Launderer as City Manager

According to Lozano, he defended the hiring of the money launderer Kraus and said he had no idea about it.

Money Launderer, Manuel Carrillo Jr.

Now the facts are coming together. Guess who else comes from Norwalk and launders money? If you guessed Manuel Carrillo Jr., the underperforming Parks and Recreation Director - who gets paid $200,000 a year, you'd hit the nail on the dot. Carrillo is a money launderer.

It's also not a coincidence that Carrillo was hired as Parks and Recreation Director at about the same time that Kraus became City Manager. Most likely - they were both hired for the same skill they possessed - laundering money. And it appears that they probably both learned it at the City of Norwalk. That's the real reason the City Council doesn't fire Carrillo - it's because he lines their pocket with our money.

Also, no wonder why Manuel Carrillo hires criminals to work with boxing coaches. The City's been practicing this since the days of Lozano. And such criminals, like Kraus, only get fired when someone brings up their record. When Rene Zepeda got fired, because I had to bring it to their attention, Carrillo said that it didn't come up on the background check; so, it's the new HR Directors fault. How did I get the information then?

It's the same lie as Lozano used to tell. The pattern of these City Officials and Administrators stay the same, even after 18 years. My predictions are, however, that the cycle of lying, cheating, and stealing are coming to an end for some of these politicians and administrators.

Sadly, in the end, we the citizens are hurt. When we have the two Mannys trying to fill their own pockets by stealing from the city bank account, it means they're not doing their jobs. And as a result, especially for our youth, we're not getting good quality services that we're paying dearly for.

Let's face the truth: my city is run by a nest of vipers.
A Nest of Vipers: the true spirit of Baldwin Park Management

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Director of Parks and Recreation Retaliates Against Me (Again)

Today, Manuel Carrillo Jr. retaliated against me again.

This happened right after I reminded my boxers to not be a cheater like him. Letter to My Boxers on Cheating Carrillo has been upset with me ever since I've outed him for laundering money.

Carrillo kicked me out of the gym again. This happened after a young, poor Hispanic college graduate came into the gym, 10 minutes before closing time. The college graduate, who I never met before (but was a friend of another boxer) was asking me how to get into law school. So, I started telling him the best strategies for admission.

Although he was in the gym for awhile, only after an employee named Kevin stopped him talking to me did Kevin tell us that Carrillo said that there were no guests allowed in the gym. Hey - wait - there's no policy that says that. And how come I always say the Zepeda bringing in guests, who are not paying members. How come other boxers can't do so? So, Carrillo evicted the college graduate and myself.

I asked to see a supervisor. All the staff said there was no supervisor on site. Since we know the City's reputation for being honest, was that even true?

The graduate asked aptly, "Hey, wait isn't this a community center? Doesn't feel that communal to me."

I had that taste of being rejected again. There's really only two policies Carrillo has 1) Carrillo must be obeyed, even if the orders are illegal, and 2) if you have any type of relationship with me - then Carrillo will attack you, regardless if its illegal or not. Let's remember, he's supposed to be the Director of Community Services.

Carrillo has a sordid past. He's most upset with me because I outed him as a Money Launderer. Carrillo is a Money Launderer. That's why we had to sue him for not releasing records for his sham non-profit. Boxers Sue Manny Carrillo.

He's history of retaliation is well known. Carrillo retaliated against the head boxing coach, Julian Casas, for complaining that he was making minimum wage. We complained that Carrillo shouldn't make $200,000 a year. So, he fired Julian and accused him of an inappropriate relationship with a minor. Carrillo Suspends Head Boxing Coach. Let's not forget he called five officers and had me arrested at the park (the traditional place to conduct free speech) for booing him.

His hiring practices have been suspect. Carrillo replaced the fired coach with a criminal. Carrillo hires criminal

Furthermore, he has a history of racial and sexual discrimination. He fired a qualified African American woman, Myra Smith, because he doesn't like blacks. (There is not a single black person in his staff.) He's also not happy that we've sued him because he won't release records from his sham non-profit. Boxers Sue Carrillo For Not Releasing Records He also fired Julian because we took the high school students to a Jewish Passover on our free time (not city time). Is it that Carrillo is also anti-Semitic too? There also used to be a LGBT employee that Carrillo would target and demand back massages from. That's not right to discriminate against someone for their sexual orientation. 

But, as of recently, Carrillo has been engaging in First Amendment retaliation. He evicted the journalists and boxing college kids and myself (who is a paying member) from the gym. (Perhaps he doesn't care for the youth obtaining a higher education.) Baldwin Park Middle Management Have a Ferocious Sense of Entitlement 

No wonder why former President Truman said, “Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."

I don't get why we're paying this man $200,000 for turning our boxing club into mean and spiteful place. The guest is right: this is a community center. Are we paying him for his fashion sense?

Anyways, I just wanted to tell my readers that this is just so old. I'm a citizen of the city, a resident, and a paying member of the boxing gym. Does Carrillo (who doesn't live here), really have the right to do this? Doesn't someone who get paid $200,000 a year have something else better to do than focus all his time on annoying one individual in this city? Is it really worth putting up with all of this just to try to help a college graduate from a poor minority background get into a good law school

His email address is:
Why not also carbon copy his CEO:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Letter to My Boxers - On Cheating

Dear Boxers,

I've been wanting to write this letter to you for a long time. I hope that you will read it now, think about it, and maybe read it again in the future.

Being back in Baldwin Park, I've noticed how cheating is everywhere. It's unbelievable.

Julian and I used to make a joke to the boxing kids. In Baldwin Park, if you want to get rich, don't get an education. Just learn to lie, cheat, and steal, and you'll be rich.

And even though that's a joke, the sad part is that probably is the truth to get ahead in this city. When I look in the sports world, colossal figures like Lance Armstrong have been caught cheating. Tiger Woods cheated in another sense. Professional boxers are taking steroids.

As you know, the City Attorney defrauded the court to try to get ahead. We know that Manuel Carrillo Jr. got ahead by laundering money for the City - while ruining our boxing program. He makes $200,000 for doing it.

Like I said, it's like almost everywhere I look people are lying, cheating, and stealing to get ahead. It's almost become a global epidemic.

It made me wonder, is cheating such a big problem now because of the pressures we face or is it because people have become morally weaker? In other words, are people cheating because people feel like if they don't, they'll get taken advantage of?

I mean - to get into college these days, I hear high school students are representing that they founded a non-profit to cure HIV in Africa or save endangered seals in Antarctica. That makes other students want to misrepresent such facts. I can totally see how this happens. The kid has a father that knows how to start up a non-profit corporation. The father starts one up for his kid. He makes the kid the president. Their stated purpose is to eradicate poverty in the world. Then, the kid without a father such as this, has to resort to lying because he or she believes in not doing so, she won't get into the university she wants. And if she doesn't get into the university she wants, she won't get the job she wants. And if she doesn't get the job she doesn't want, then her life was meaningless.

I don't really know how to convince you that cheating is a bad idea. No doubt teachers will tell you it's not worth it. But then they just tell you vaguely that there are consequences for you. In the real world, you'll see that it appears that the consequences gets the cheater ahead.

Really, the only solution I can propose to restrain yourself from falling into this trap is to realize that the gains are short term. I've never seen anyone who has made money easily use it wisely because they don't value it as the person who has worked for it. I want you to also remember that resorting to such means will change you.

You will become a person whose selfish ambitions will harm others. One only has to look at Lance Armstrong and how he extorted and threatened all those around him that were about to expose him.

Also, remember, most of you have younger brothers and sisters or someone that looks up to you. If you engage in such behavior, you set the example for them.

I suppose the reward for keeping on the straight, narrow, and honest track is that people will trust you, and you too, will know that no matter the result, you did the right thing. In the end, even when we are gone from this earth, people will remember who you are and what you did. So, remember that, even in the small choices you make.

I guess that's it for now.

Paul Cook

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Op-Ed: How to Stop Bullying

David v. Goliath
This opinion-editorial addresses how to stop bullying. At some points in our lives, we will encounter bullying in some shape or form. We will be bullied, know someone that's bullied, watch as someone is bullied, or be the bully him or herself. This is the first of three articles addressing the subject and how to stop it.

I think my worst experience of being bullied was my dealings with the City of Baldwin Park - namely the City Attorney Robert Nactionales-Tafoya and the Chief of Police Michael Taylor, and Mayor Manuel Lozano. Anyone following this blog will know that the City used its power to arrest me, jail me, file a TRO against me, defame me, kick me out of the park (twice), and exact abusive litigation tactics against me. Despite it all, I still prevailed.

This all happened when I was in my early thirties, and I point that out because I want my boxing high school students to know: just because you get older doesn't mean people won't stop trying to bully you.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines bullying clearly: "A person coercing others by fear - persecute or oppress by force or threats." Now isn't that what Tafoya, Taylor, and Lozano attempted to do to me as a free citizen of America.

Here are a few more instances that bullying doesn't end just because you become an adult. When I lived in New Zealand, a NZ Art Festival Business Manager, Denise Brennock, would attempt to scream and belittle me whenever she made a mistake. I would have to tell her: "Hey, that's not right. If you want to tell me I made a mistake, you need to be more constructive about it." She would shut down the conversation and say, "I don't want to hear anymore about this." That happened about 7 years ago.

As an IT analyst, I saw it happen to a new coworker who just started. Being all too familiar with how it felt like, I told my supervisor, "I'm asking you to make sure that this stops happening to Ethan (not his real name)." I'd like to think things got better because I repeatedly brought it to my boss' attention. Ethan looked rather unhappy, coming into work every day. He later told me that he thought of quitting every day, but we became good friends after that horrible period passed for him.

To begin breaking the cycle of bullying, you have to understand that bullying is a triangular relationship with three players: the bully, the target, and the bystander. This article focuses on the bystander element of the relationship. Bullies have to be held accountable; so the bystander becomes an intervenor.

See; bullying is more than a relationship between the victim and abuser. This type of relationship only exists when the environment fosters it. In other words, bullying only happens when people know what's happening and do nothing about it. One way to break the cycle is to have a third player hold the bully accountable.

I first learned this lesson when I was bullied for a short period of time in junior high. My parents were going through a bad divorce, and somehow some bullies in junior high picked up on this. Studies have shown that when children are enduring the bitter domestic battles between mother and father, children feel like their responsible somehow, even though they don't realize it at the time. It really brought down my self-image and worth, and bullies smell this and attempt to exploit it.

Fortunately, for me, the high school principal saw this, intervened, talked to each of the perpetrators, imposed sanctions on them, and it never happened again. 

The City Attorney exacted abusive litigation tactics against me. At the climax of the abuse, Robert Tafoya filed a forged document with the court misrepresenting my signature. Not only is this illegal, it's a felony! Cook Files Emergency Hearing Against City Attorney.

I realized the City Council Members, the City Manager, and the Mayor all condoned Mr. Tafoya's behavior. They were like the other parent, who watches their children get beat up. Although they're not doing the abusing, they're certainly not oblivious to it because I kept telling them what was happening. Did they ever reign in their attorney? Nope.

So, I had to file an emergency hearing and let the judge know what was happening. The anger and contempt he had for the attorney seethed. So, did mine. The court was very clear that he should never, ever do anything like that again.

Mr. Tafoya, being stubborn and hard headed, still engaged in abusive litigation tactics. For instance, he alleges he missed another meeting with me, claiming his son had an emergency. I don't believe this because he's done it before. How many emergencies can this guy have? He claims to go to Arizona, when people tell me he's around. He does these no shows to show people he's in charge. (How petty.)

Nonetheless, his behavior never escalated beyond the shameful deed he did when he forged a document to the court. The lesson of the day is that if one authority won't listen, keep reporting the misconduct, until someone does. Someone will listen (even though it may be awhile).

If you're going through an awful time at work, school, or home, I just wanted to say: Remember; you have value. I come from a Christian view, and the Scriptures say that because God created all of us, we're all equal citizens in the City of God. If you're an atheist, then natural law states we're all equal. And because you have that worth, hang in there, and know that it's alright to tell someone about the harm you faced and are facing.

I went up against a city, that used hundreds of thousands of dollars of resources, the police, and a city attorney against me because I was in the minority, the few who aren't afraid of telling the truth to the corrupt and to others about their corruption. With the help of my community, I prevailed. Believe me: tomorrow can be better than today.

Comment from Reader - Why does Baldwin Park not change?

A reader made a comment about Baldwin Park. We'll call her KS from Australasia. She wrote in Response to this Article: Baldwin Park's Middle Management Have a Ferocious Sense of Entitlement


Oh Paul – what corruptness…. . .  over and over incompetent people get and hold good jobs and are well paid for being idiots while talented people and good workers lose out??? I have no idea why this continues to happen..

Dear KS,
I'm not sure why Baldwin Park doesn't change, even though the world can see they hire the underperforming and then overcompensate them. People tell me this is happening in governments all over the world.



Monday, March 9, 2015

Opinion Editorial - Mayors Can Get Off the Hook, But We Can't

The Illusion of Wizard of Oz  - Getting Past the Gov. Veil

Two week ago, in the San Gabriel Valley, two mayors appeared in the Los Angeles Superior Courts as defendants, one on Wednesday, the other on Thursday. They’re also from neighboring cities: Irwindale and Baldwin Park. In both instances, the court dismissed all or most of the causes of action. The message is clear: even when public officials are held to answer personally, their position in office protects them.

In the first case, the Los Angeles County District Attorney (DA) charged Mark Breceda, Mayor of Irwindale, with public corruption charges. According to the Tribune, part of the People’s allegation was that Breceda “ate at expensive restaurants, stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Central Park, [and] used limousine services and attended New York Yankees games and Broadway shows[,]” all on city money. To give you some perspective, one night at the Ritz costs $650-$1,250. So one night there, is about a month's rent.

Mark Breceda at LA Superior Court
Disregarding the blatant abuse of public funds, the court found that the statute of limitations, however, had run against Breceda. The premise of statute of limitations is that the prosecutors have the right to file charges, and if they don’t enforce that right – they lose them. (Also, the citizens should have a peace of mind at some point in their lives for the wrongs that may have been done in the past.) 

In Breceda’s case, the court stated that the prosecutors lost the right to file charges because the City Manager of Irwindale knew about the crime – not the prosecutor. That doesn’t seem right though, does it? Breceda was the City Manager’s boss. Consider this: is a City Manager that’s making over $100,000 a year going to risk getting fired by outing his boss? I don’t think so.

The second case, involved me filing a civil lawsuit against the Mayor of Baldwin Park, Manuel Lozano in small claims court. The Mayor had filed a temporary restraining order (TRO) against me for alleging that I was stalking and terrorizing him. The small claims court indicated that it found the Mayor’s allegations questionable, and I dispute them as mostly perjured allegations. Regardless, the (TRO) judge ruled that my conduct and speech were protected by Free Speech because it took place at the city park and the city hall. 

Mayor Manuel Lozano of Baldwin Park Outside Small Claims
In response, I filed a claim of abuse of process and malicious prosecution (which are two torts that involves abusing the court process to achieve an invidious end) against the Mayor. Because organizations can’t get a restraining order against an individual, the Mayor filed the TRO against me as an individual, which opened him up to liability on a personal level. The Mayor tried to make the argument that even if he did wrong, because he was a Mayor of the City - he shouldn't be held personally accountable. I was a bit surprised to see that the court even considered entertaining this argument, although briefly.

In ruling against me, the court ruled that malicious prosecution could not apply because the Mayor consulted with his attorney in “good faith”; therefore, the Mayor’s actions could not have been malicious. (The rationale is that people shouldn't be prosecuted if their lawyer tells them they have a claim in good faith. Remember, this wasn't a regular family law case.) Hence, is the court trying to say that as long as a person in power consults with an attorney first, (which laypeople generally don’t have access to) the victim is barred from bringing a claim against the perpetrator?

In both cases, although the individuals were held to account personally, their role in their office protected them. Breceda’s role as the City Manager’s boss protected him from being reported, hence, triggering a potential statute of limitation defense. In Lozano’s case, he consulted with the City Attorney (not his own private one), on public money, and that barred the victim from bringing charges against him, personally.

Both cases were extremely expensive to prosecute because of the sophistication involved. Nonetheless, the court held in both cases that delegation is a legal shield to both criminal and civil prosecution. The solution to this societal problem is best presented by Marge Simpson of the Simpsons: “You know, the courts may not be working any more, but as long as everyone is videotaping everyone else, justice will be done.”