Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sidewalk insolvency

At first glance this work in progress outside the Shojikiya building brightens up a dull facade. But as I often do, I've had second (or more!) thoughts. Color paint purposely spilling all over the sidewalk, into the storm drains, into the watershed. But then again, I'm sure the artists were considerate and used non-toxic, zero-impact materials that will easily scrub off the sidewalk and pose no harm to the waterways...right?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cudahy City Council, minus two

Yesterday Cudahy City Councilmember Osvaldo Conde mailed in his resignation. Goodbye, crook. Since Mayor David Silva, who had been a voting member of the City Council, already stepped down, the normal five-person Council is now down to three heads.

Even the photos look lonely. Strange how the city staff removed Silva's portrait from the frame but took down the frame and all for Conde's mug.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cudahy City Council, minus one

The City of Cudahy is down to four City Councilmembers after the resignation of Mayor David Silva on Tuesday night in the wake of a bribery scandal.

Sure enough...the city staff took down Silva's photo. I wonder if they mailed it to Silva, stuck in the deep archives, or dumped it. Sorry about the window reflection in the photo I took yesterday...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fireworks in Cudahy

I worked late tonight and drove past Cudahy on the 710 Freeway. They really are a patriotic city, as we know by the sculpture of George Washington looking stately upon Clara Street as dedicated by Osvaldo M. Conde.

Not only that, undeterred by the arrest of Mayor David Silva, Councilmember Osvaldo Conde, and head of Code Enforcement Angel Perales, the city pulled together an awe-inspiring fireworks show. You should've seen the cars swerving across freeway lanes for a better view of the colorful explosions.

What a jammed packed night in Cudahy, as there was also a City Council meeting earlier in the evening. I wonder if the news outlets covering the Cudahy City Council meeting tonight took a look at the agenda. Funny...they finally had the minutes of the Council meetings from February, March, April, May, and June ready for approval tonight. It seems like the expected public scrutiny of city business following the high-profile arrests led the city officials to clean up their act and provide the long overdue meeting minutes. Just speculating...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Osvaldo Conde of Cudahy

You've heard the complaints about journalism these days...reporters and publishers are out for the quick headlines and don't have the patience or resources to dig a little deeper. The heyday of investigative journalism is in the past.

I found the local reporting about the arrests of Osvaldo Conde, David Silva, and Angel Perales, all of whom are Cudahy city officials who accepted a total of $17,000 of bribe money from a confidential informant, to be weak. We learned on Friday, June 22nd that the FBI swooped in and arrested the three, and we gleaned some more information from a criminal complaint filed by a Special Agent of the FBI.

That was the easy information. So where's the in-depth research into the backgrounds of these three screw-ups? It's too simplistic to say that unchecked political power corrupts. What was their personal motivation? I want to know more about their families, their assets, their cronies, their political daddies, their political beneficiaries.

I read that Conde was arrested after a stand off at his jewelry store in Cudahy. For a city as small as Cuday, it took a quick Internet search to track down the property. I drove by last week...take a look at the George Washington bust that's at the bottom of a pole sign advertising the businesses on the lot. You can't make this stuff up...the plaque from 2002 notes that the sculpture, honoring "the liberator, soldier & exemplary citizen" was donated by "Osvaldo M. Conde & Family."

Another search reveals that the site, located at 4949 Clara Street (or officially 7619 Wilcox Avenue -- take your pick), was marketed as an REO (Real estate owned) property in 2010. That tells me that Conde has long been in financial trouble, and if you're looking for motivation for corruption, that's a starting point. Somebody needs to take this information and run with it!