El Monte Cracks Down on Illegal Fireworks
Efforts result in 50 tons of dangerous fireworks off neighborhood streets
Responding to community concerns, the City of El Monte made it a top priority to curb the use of dangerous illegal fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday.
Working with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the El Monte Police Department seized more than 50 tons of illegal fireworks during 30 sting operations in several area cities, resulting in 49 felony arrests.
Those caught using illegal fireworks faced a $1,000 fine, thanks to an ordinance passed by the City Council in 2013. This year, the El Monte Police Department cited 70 individuals with illegal firework citations. Last year, the Department issued 79 citations and has so far collected $32,800 in fines.
Over the past few years, there has been overwhelming resident concern over the use of illegal fireworks, which has led to serious injuries, property fires and an overburdened El Monte Police Department.
Enforcement on July 4 included 33 extra police officers and supervisors on patrol who were dedicated solely to issuing citations and making arrests on July 4 from 2 p.m. to midnight. The El Monte Police Department responded to 160 calls complaining about illegal fireworks.
The task force has made it a priority to set up a unique “El Monte Fireworks Model” that rids the community of dangerous illegal fireworks while maintaining family fun through the sale of “Safe and Sane” fireworks to celebrate Independence Day. This also allows the local nonprofits to continue fundraising opportunities.
Only fireworks marked "Safe and Sane" were legal and could only be used on July 3 and July 4 between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m.
All illegal fireworks can be reported to the El Monte Police Department at (626) 580-2100. Anybody currently in possession of fireworks can turn them in, no questions asked, at any local fire station.
El Monte Continues to Make Gains to Restore Fiscal Stability
City prioritizes economic development and financial stability in recently adopted FY 14-15 Budget
After weeks of working collaboratively with City staff, community members and residents, the El Monte City Council unanimously voted on June 24 to adopt a balanced budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The adopted budget is consistent with the City Council’s directive to control cost while pursuing new revenues.
The City Council directives are in response to the City’s structural deficit and its efforts to recover from the Great Recession. The adopted General Fund operating budget totals $57.1 million -- in addition to $6.4 million toward the Enterprise Fund budget, which includes water and sewer operating and maintenance expenses -- for a total City budget of $63.5 million.
Faced with a $2.9 million budget deficit, City staff identified ways to balance the budget through a combination of prior year carry-over, personnel cost-savings, and draw-down from fund balance. However, this budget would not be possible without the Measure GG revenues. For this, the City thanks its residents for their continued support, allowing the City time to more proactively plan for a fiscally sustainable future.
Measure GG ½ cent sales tax measure re-authorized by the voters in November 2013, will generate approximately $4.2 million in sales tax. In addition, revenue grew through increased sales tax and property taxes, showing that the local economy is starting to recover. However, this increase is barely keeping up with inflation.
Therefore, the budget includes a modest increase in the Economic Development Department for additional personnel to assist and facilitate the streamlining of major development projects. This investment will help the city increase future revenues and/or generate new sustainable revenues.
The City has also made a commitment to perform a comprehensive assessment of the City’s financial condition. The City Council recently approved a consultant contract to perform this assessment through the preparation of a Fiscal Sustainability Plan (FSP). The FSP will be developed and completed within the first six months of FY 14-15. Until the recommendations of the FSP are available, the FY 14-15 budget continues to maintain service levels at the current FY 13-14 levels for now. It is anticipated that the City will begin implementing these recommendations with the FY 14-15 mid-year budget review.
El Monte has made significant gains from a serious financial crisis and, though the City may not be where it wants to be just yet, it is in a better place than where it was before. Through a disciplined, collaborative approach with City Councilmembers, employees, community based organizations, businesses and residents, the City will progressively move toward fiscal stability and sustainability.
City of El Monte and Partners Hosts Back to School Resource Fair
Community comes together on Aug. 23 to provide thousands of school supplies to local families so children start the year prepared
The El Monte community rallied once again to support children preparing for their first day of school by providing free backpacks, haircuts and supplies at the Third Annual Back to School Resource Fair on Saturday, Aug. 23 at the Valley Mall.
The event, opened to school-aged children who attend El Monte schools, provided students with 300 haircuts, 1,500 pairs of socks, 1,500 backpacks and numerous school supplies to start off the school year right.
This year, the Los Angeles County Fire Department brought Rescue 5, one of five surviving fire trucks from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Rescue 5 is a moving museum that travels the county as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the attacks.
The “Shakey Quakey” earthquake simulator was also on hand to teach kids how to respond during an earthquake.
The fair will also provided free fingerprinting of children by the El Monte Police Department.
The City of El Monte partnered with the Downtown El Monte Business Association, El Monte/South El Monte Chamber of Commerce, Professional Institute of Beauty, and El Monte Union High School, El Monte City and Mountain View school districts, as well as valued community organizations/businesses to host the Fair.
El Monte Job Fair Helps Find Employment for Thousands of Job Seekers
The City of El Monte held one of the largest job fairs in the San Gabriel Valley on Friday, June 20, attracting thousands of job seekers and more than 50 employers ready to hire.
The El Monte Job Fair, held at the El Monte Community Center, served as a one-stop venue for participants to meet dozens of employers, including Fortune 200 companies, who had thousands of jobs ready to be filled. Some employers conducted interviews and filled positions on the spot.
The job fair is hosted by the City of El Monte in participation with the State of California Employment Development Department, Los Angeles County Department of Social Services and the Los Angeles County Office of Education.
Human resource representatives were in attendance to offer resume critique and the event offered access to computers for attendees to access online applications.
The City would like to thank event sponsors Valley Vista, Wal-Mart, Managed Career Solutions, Olivarez Madruga and the El Monte Police Officers Association.
El Monte Honors Andrew Aguilar for his Success at Stanford University
The El Monte City Council honored resident Andrew Aguilar at a recent Council meeting for his outstanding completion of two university degrees in four years – a bachelor’s in history and a master’s in history with a Middle East area focus (with honors) – from Stanford University. Aguilar recently was awarded the Robert M. Golden Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and Creative Arts –a prestigious award given to only nine to 10 standout Stanford students each year.
Aguilar was also selected for Phi Beta Kappa, given to the top 10 percent of the Stanford graduating class.
As a student at Stanford, Aguilar was a research assistant for the Center for International Security and Cooperation studying the evolution of nuclear weapon policy. He also completed two internships with Google Inc., working in the Compensation and Engineering University programs.
The South El Monte High School graduate was also active in community organizations while in Palo Alto, serving as the founding member and director of Internal Development for the Phoenix Scholars, an organization that oversees 135 mentors to provide low-income, minority students with free college counseling services.
Aguilar will be heading to Washington, D.C., in the fall to start a job with the Advisory Board Company to work in the health technology and finance industry.
“I want to thank my family for being so supportive of my academic pursuits,” Aguilar said. “I also couldn’t have done it without the amazing teachers I had throughout the years who encouraged me to stay curious and follow my dreams.”