Tuesday, June 23, 2015

An Anniversary of Exposing Baldwin Park

The closer you get to the buried truth, the darker and lonelier it gets.
-Paul Cook
This month marks a number of anniversaries in my life: becoming a lawyer, my birthday, having a father, and the anniversary of taking a stance against the public officials and Manuel Carrillo Jr. of Baldwin Park. It's bittersweet because I'm also reminded about how Carrillo cruelly trumped up charges against the head boxing coach last year of an "inappropriate relationship" (without specifying any details) and fired him. He worked there for 17 years and in that time, he got a forty cent raise an hour. Carrillo, who was hired from Norwalk along with a former money laundering manager, got a $40,000 raise in one year. All we ever asked for was that the boxing program be extended to its normal hours and that the boxing coaches received the same wages as they do elsewhere - not $8.40 an hour. The City responded by firing the boxing coach, and then the Mayor and the police arrested and jailed and had a woman strip search me for telling the people the truth.

Since then, our boxing program, though some of the hours have been restored, has become more a training program from a dictatorial regime, such as the Nazis, Stasis, or the Soviet Union. The boxing coaches don't build a relationship with their boxers anymore because of the fear of getting fired. Because of the boxing coach's firing without cause, there's a deep mistrust that the employees have of the City Council, the administration, and Manny Carrillo. And anybody knows without a good relationship, there cannot be good mentoring.

It's almost like the program has turned into something from George Orwell's novel 1984. If you haven't read it, it's a novel that shows a world in the complete control of the government. As a result, you are not allowed to love or fall in love with anybody. Big Brother is always watching, and if you chose to love, bad results will happen, where the government will make sure that won't happen.

A year later, this is what Manny Carrillo has done. This is what happens when government has too much control of our basic rights, such as the right to have relationships with one another, to meet together, to eat together, and to stand up for people we care about. Is this really the function of a Parks and Recreation Director? He and the City Council have made the boxing club an unsafe place.

It hasn't been all gloomy. The boxers won a lawsuit against the city and got paid out. The newspapers and the media have also taken an interest in this little city and what's really happening here.

But, recently, I've done another public records act request. I've asked for all the loans the city has given out. I mean, shouldn't the citizens know who the city gave loans to, for how much, and under what conditions. Baldwin Park has now allegedly says it has no documents reflecting such loans because it gave it out to a private records retention corporation. One, this is of course illegal. Two, I don't believe them. How much money did these people really take from the city?

But what can you do? I guess we can always sue again.

I did a records inspection today on the vendor's list, which I have a copy of for one year. The City knows what I want. Instead, it asked me to look at a nonsense Excel Spreadsheet. Keep in my mind that Baldwin Park's been sued four times on the Public Records Act: two of which they've lost on and two of which are pending. You would think by now, they would to the right thing.

In any event, my assessment is that everything has changed in the game against the City of Baldwin Park. They've seemed to have resorted to new tactics. They've ratcheted up retaliation. And if anything, they still refuse to treat people with respect and dignity. In the end, the final ends of any government is not to combat terrorism or go to war or to stop drug trafficking, it's about upholding the rights and liberties of its citizens, so that we can live in harmony, peace, and freedom.

But the battle is tougher, and when it gets tougher, the more it calls on you to be strong. I read the most amazing note out of Wilbur Wright's notebook. (In case you don't know, him and his brother invented and crafted the first airplane in their garage). While obsessively studying birds and their flight, he said, "No bird soars in a calm." It means, without resistance, a bird cannot fly high. Now, think about that.

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