Montebello Police Need Help Locating Missing Woman

June 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Montebello police sought the public’s help Wednesday in finding a 37-year-old woman in a wheelchair who may be nine months pregnant and suffers from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression for which she should be taking medication.

Deysi Ruano was released from Beverly Hospital in Montebello and taken by taxi to 442 S. San Pedro St. in Los Angeles’ Skid Row on May 9.

About six days later, she disappeared from that area and has not been seen since, police said. Deysi is about 5 feet 2 inches and 160 pounds.

Anyone more with information as to her whereabouts was urged to call the Montebello police at (323) 887-1248.

Snooping Makes an Easy Road to Riches

June 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Only 23 percent of Americans, a new Reuters poll says, consider former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden a “traitor” for blowing the whistle on the federal government’s massive surveillance habit.

Many Americans clearly do find the idea of government agents snooping through their phone calls and emails a good bit unnerving.

But Americans have more to worry about on the surveillance front than overzealous government agents. Government personnel aren’t actually doing the snooping Snowden revealed. NSA officials have contracted this work out — to private companies.

www.otherwords.org

Surveillance contracts, in turn, are making a handful of corporate executives exceedingly rich. And none have profited personally more than the suits who run Booz Allen Hamilton and the private equity Carlyle Group.

Snowden did his snooping as a Booz Allen employee. Booz Allen, overall, has had tens of thousands of employees doing federal intelligence work.

Booz Allen alumni also populate the highest echelons of America’s intelligence apparatus — and vice versa. The Obama administration’s top intelligence official, James Clapper, just happens to be a former Booz Allen exec. George W. Bush’s intelligence chief, Mike McConnell, now serves as Booz Allen’s vice chairman.

All these revolving doors connect enormously lucrative worlds. Three years ago, the top five Booz Allen execs together pocketed just under $20 million. They averaged 23 times what members of Congress take home.

But the real windfalls are flowing to the Carlyle Group, Booz Allen’s parent company. In 2011, Carlyle’s top three power suits shared a combined payday of over $400 million.

More windfalls are coming. Carlyle paid $2.5 billion to take over Booz Allen. Analysts now expect that Carlyle’s ultimate return on the acquisition will triple the private equity giant’s initial cash outlay.

What do these billions have to do with our surveillance mess? Washington power players, from President Barack Obama on down, are insisting that the government’s expansive surveillance program has but one purpose: to keep Americans safe from terrorism.

But who can put much faith in these assurances when other motives — the financial kind — are so obviously at play? Corporate execs at firms like Booz Allen have a vested self-interest in pumping up demand for their snooping services.

In April, The Washington Post reports, Booz Allen established a new division “aimed at creating new products” their government agency clients “don’t know they need yet.” This new division is developing “social media analytics” that can anticipate the latest “cyber threat.”

In other words, this new unit will be figuring out how to get the federal government to pay up even more for investigating who we “like” on Facebook.

Corporate executives have, of course, been enriching themselves off government contracts for years. But post-9/11 political dynamics have turbocharged that process. America now sports, as analyst David Rohde has observed, a “secrecy industrial complex.”

Could Snowden’s revelations upset Corporate America’s long-running government contracting gravy train? Maybe, but only if anger over the revelations translates into real changes that keep private corporate contractors from getting rich off tax dollars.

What might these changes entail? We could take our cue from Hugo Black, the former U.S. Supreme Court justice. As a U.S. senator from Alabama in the early years of the Great Depression, Black proposed denying government contracts to corporations that overcompensated their top execs.

How might this approach work today? President Obama makes about 25 times the compensation of the lowest-paid federal employee. We could apply that ratio to all federal contracting and deny our tax dollars to companies that pay their top execs over 25 times what their workers make.

Protecting privacy in a dangerous world will never be easy. But we’ll never have even a shot at protecting privacy until we take the profit out of violating it. Ending windfalls for contractors would be the logical place to start.

OtherWords.org columnist Sam Pizzigati is an Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow. His latest book is The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class.

Brown Backs Law to Make Public Record Access Optional

June 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign SB71 into law this week. What is SB71? It’s a proposal to allow local government agencies to no longer obey key provisions of California’s Public Records Act, better known to most as the Freedom of Information Act.

Currently, when citizens request information and public records from local government, local agencies must comply with their request within 10 days or explain why they can’t.

Under the guise of saving the state money, the governor and legislature with a sneaky last minute amendment to the budget have voted to suspend the “Public’s Right to Know” what its government is doing.

Saying it’s too costly to reimburse local governments for following through on the state mandate, Brown and company decided to make the mandate an option that local municipalities can take or leave, depending on what best suits their interests.

Does this band of so-called people’s advocates really think local municipalities will comply with public information requests in a timely and thorough manner if there is no real mandate or incentive to do so?

We have to wonder how far the Bell corruption scandal investigators and reporters would have gotten if they couldn’t access public records.

Just last week, the FBI raided the offices of a Montebello legislator and a water district board. Presumably those investigations involve the awarding of contracts paid for with taxpayer money. However, individuals and news organizations using documentation obtained through public record requests first brought many if not most of the cases involving public corruption and wrongdoing to light.

Why is it that the Public’s Right to Know constantly comes under attack under the guise of saving money, and other questionable but sacred expenditure favorites of elected officials — like pay raises and contracts for friends and allies —rarely get attention?

We don’t believe that all local governments will refuse to provide requested information, but some will, and it’s likely to be those that have something to hide, and that should concern all of us.

The governor’s convenient naiveté in thinking suspending California’s Public Records Act will not have any significant consequences, shows how little the people really matter to him in the grand scheme of things—and it is a scheme— that go on in Sacramento, especially when it comes to representing the interests of the people who elected him and his pack of co-conspirators who voted to suspend the state’s public information law.

Then again, maybe they are all just looking ahead to when term limits will send them back to local government posts.

Our Star-Spangled Banner Waves for All of Us

June 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Before game three of the recent NBA Finals in San Antonio, Sebastien de la Cruz stepped up to the microphone and belted out the National Anthem. Decked out in his mariachi suit, the 11-year-old “America’s Got Talent” alum wowed the crowd with his singing.

On social media, racism reared its head. “This lil Mexican snuck into the country like 4 hours ago now he is singing the anthem,” read a tweet that formed part of an online river of hate. “This kid is Mexican why is he singing the national anthem,” tweeted another commenter, adding the hashtag #gohome.

It’s sad that a child should become the target of such ugly, anti-immigrant sentiment. However, these views didn’t arise in a vacuum. The fact is that Republican lawmakers have become accustomed to demonizing immigrants, to the detriment of our civil discourse and to their own party. Meanwhile, our nation continues to grow more diverse, putting the GOP out of step with a changing America.

After the 2012 presidential election, in which Latino voters overwhelmingly backed Barack Obama, the smart approach for the GOP would have been to adopt a more inclusive tone towards Latinos in particular and immigrants in general. That’s not what happened.

In May, Representative Don Young (R-AK) used the term “wetbacks” in a radio interview. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) routinely refers to undocumented people by the pejorative term “illegals.” Recently, Representative Steve King (R-IA) complained about the “illegal aliens” who “invaded” his office, in reference to the young, undocumented immigrants who organized a protest there.

The young people were protesting in King’s office because he sponsored a bill to defund the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to adjust their status. King and his Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives passed the anti-DACA measure knowing full well it has zero chance of becoming law.

Why? Because they have no qualms about being seen as openly hostile to immigrants. Moreover, House Republicans remain opposed to comprehensive immigration reform.

These narrow views put them outside of the political mainstream. A recent New York Times poll found that 83 percent of Americans support comprehensive reform, including a path to citizenship for the undocumented. The anti-immigrant crowd is also bringing down their party. The research firm Latino Decisions has found that when Republican politicians speak negatively about immigrants, it doesn’t only reflect poorly on them, it gives Hispanic voters a negative view of the Republican Party as well.

As Republican lawmakers continue with this rhetoric, our country is undergoing a demographic shift. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that for the first time, the number of racial and ethnic minority babies being born has passed that of white babies. The District of Columbia, Hawaii, California, New Mexico, and Texas are already “minority-majority” states, and eight other states will join this list by 2020.

If the GOP does not soon adopt a “big tent” approach, it risks marginalizing itself as a national party.

Yes, the changing face of the U.S. may seem frightening to some people. But the GOP shouldn’t play upon these fears — it should help dispel them. Consider that the Pew Hispanic Center has found that Latino immigrants assimilate and learn English just like every other group before them. Or even that the pint-sized mariachi crooner de la Cruz was born in Texas — the son of a U.S. Navy veteran.

This story has a happy ending. The San Antonio Spurs invited de la Cruz back a second time, to sing the National Anthem at game four of the NBA Finals. Everyone from President Barack Obama to “Desperate Housewives” star Eva Longoria wished him well, and he nailed his encore performance.

With determination and confidence, young Sebastien triumphed over bigotry. What could be more American than that?

You can watch Sebastien de la Cruz singing the national anthem on YouTube.

Raul A. Reyes is an attorney and columnist in New York City. Distributed via OtherWords.org.

Fugitive Couple Wanted for Death of Adopted Girl

June 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Law enforcement officers in Maywood and Bell Tuesday were looking for a couple wanted in the death of an adopted 2-year-old girl in northern Mississippi.

Ramon Barreto, 34, and Janet Killough Barreto, 41, traveled to Guatemala several times to “purchase” children from an adoption agency, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. They allegedly mistreated the children, and a 2-year-old girl died in 2008.

Ramon Barreto, left, and Janet Killough Barreto, right, are wanted in the death of an adopted 2-year-old girl. (U.S Marshal)

Janet Barreto, who is diabetic and sometimes wears wigs, was arrested in May 2008, then released in December of that year on bond, according to the Marshals Service.

In March 2009, she was arrested on suspicion of tampering with a witness in her child abuse and manslaughter case and again released on bond. But she never showed up for court in May 2009 and has been on the run ever since, according to the Marshals Service.

Her husband also is wanted in connection with the crimes. The couple also has ties to Mexico, Florida, Texas and Tennessee, according to the Marshals Service, which is offering a $25,000 reward for tips leading directly to Janet Baretto’s arrests.

Ramon is Hispanic, about 5 feet 5 inches and 130 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Janet is white, about 5 feet 6 inches and 300 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She may go by Janet Torres, Jeanie Seale, Dealie Harris, Victoria Lopez, Vicky Ulloa, Vicky Christian, Vicky Sara Ulloa or other aliases.

The couple has been featured on the America’s Most Wanted show and were added to the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted fugitives list June 3. Anyone seeing them was urged to call 911, or the Marshals Service at (800) 336-0102.

Man Facing Felony Vandalism Charges for Breaking Business Windows in Highland Park

June 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Two businesses on Figueroa Street in Highland Park on Monday had their storefront windows broken by a suspect accused of throwing rocks and cinderblocks.

Johnny Canas, who is in his early 30s, was arrested around 7am on Monday on suspicion of felony vandalism, according to Officer Matthew Eddy of the Northeast LAPD Station.

Auto Zone and Reinas Insurance both sustained damages, Eddy said. Police were responding to the scene when one of the businesses’ burglar alarm went off, he said.

Canas faces felony vandalism charges with the damages to the AutoZone window alone estimated at about $1,000, Eddy said. A felony vandalism specifies damages over $400, he explained.

A motive or whether the suspect was under the influence of drugs or alcohol was not mentioned in the police report, Eddy said.

Casa 0101 Theater Presents “Hungry Woman”

June 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Casa 0101 Theaters

Friday, June 21

8pm— Casa 0101 Theater Presents “Hungry Woman,” a new play by Josefina López based on her novel, “Hungry Woman in Paris.” Show runs concurrently with an art exhibition entitled, “La Gourmande” (Hungry Woman), curated by Margaret Garcia, through June 30. Tickets: $20 General Admission; $17 Seniors & $15 for Students/Boyle Heights residents. Show times are Fri. & Sat. at 8pm; Sun. 5pm. Casa 0101 Theater is located at 2102 E. First St., LA , 90033. For more information, go to www.casa0101.org.

Community Calendar: June 20,2013- June 26, 2013

June 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Today, Thurs. June 20

4-4:45pm— Summer Reading Storytime at the Anthony Quinn Library. Storytime is an excellent way for children to become interested in books, acquire reading skills and have fun doing so! Primarily for K-3rd grade, but everyone is welcome. Includes art activity. The library is located at 3965 Cesar E. Chavez Ave., LA 90063. For more information, call (323) 264-7715.

Friday, June 21

6:30-11pm—Hairspray Dance Along at Grand Park’s Performance Lawn in downtown Los Angeles -between Grand and Hill-200 North Grand Ave. LA 90012. Free admission. Bring your  beehives, poodle skirts and twist away! For more information, go to http://grandparkla.org/.

Saturday, June 22

8:30am-2:30pm—Free Senior & Caregiver Resource Fair at White Memorial Medical Center in Boyle Heights in partnership with MAOF and Rose Hills. The event will include a variety of free health screenings, information & materials on health issues, continental style breakfast & lunch (while supplies last), entertainment and presentations on Medicare & Medi-Cal, Fall Prevention & Safety, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and more. White Memorial is located at 1720 Cesar Chavez Ave., LA 90033.

9am-Noon—Free Fruit Tree Giveaway in Highland Park presented by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez in partnership with Million Trees Los Angeles. Trees are for private home adoption to people who own or live in City of L.A. Verification will be required (ID/Driver’s License or copy of DWP utility bill). 1 tree per property, while supplies last. Location: Superior Warehouse Grocers Parking Lot, 113 W. Ave 45. (cross street Figueroa). For more information, call (213) 483-5151.

10am-3pm—Free Men’s Health Awareness Day & Health Fair hosted by the USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging. Event will include free health screenings of: blood sugar, body fat, cholesterol, diabetes foot care, bone density, glaucoma, oral health, posture, stroke & vision. Fair will also includes a classic lowrider car show exhibit by the Imperials Car Club, live music & activities for children. Location: USC Campus, USC University Park Campus, 3551 Trousdale Parkway LA 90089. For more information, visit: http://roybal.usc.edu/imperials.html.

1-3pm—Free Workshop: How to Get Results from the Immigration System Benjamin Franklin Library. Get information on to apply for residency or hire an immigration attorney, & update on the current immigration bill. Hosted by Benjamin Franklin LAPL and Dream Team L.A. Library is located at 2200 E. 1st St. LA 90033. For more information, call (323) 263-6901.

9am-5pm—“The Neighborhoods of Baseball Symposium” at Plaza de La Raza in Lincoln Heights, presented by The Baseball Reliquary, in conjunction with the Latino Baseball History Project and Plaza de la Raza. Event is Free & Open to the public and will include panel discussions on the role of amateur, semi-professional & professional baseball in the Mexican American, Japanese American,& African American communities of Southern California. Box lunch available for purchase. Plaza de la Raza, is located at 3540 N. Mission Rd. LA 90031. For more information, call (626) 791-7647 or email  terymar@earthlink.net

Sunday, June 23

9am-4pm—CicLAvia – Iconic Wilshire Boulevard. No cars, open streets and the opportunity to view one of the most legendary boulevards in Los Angeles by foot, bike, skates or other non-motorized transport. Runs between One Wilshire in downtown LA and Fairfax Avenue along Museum Row. Additional hubs include MacArthur Park, Koreatown and Mid-Wilshire

2:30-5:30pm—Comedy Rock Relief Show Benefit for the Mark Daniel Flores Music Foundation. Special Host Comedian Rudy Lopez. Performances by Martin Rizo, Stevie Mack, Thraysher & tributes to ACDC, Bon Jovi, Van Halen. Location: A Mi Hacienda, 9613 Whittier Blvd., Pico Rivera. $20 addmission; www.ticketweb.com. For more information, call (562) 699-2500.

Tuesday, June 25

5:30-7:00pm —Financial Literacy Workshop Presented by the ELACC. This interactive, in-depth workshop will teach participants how to create & stick to a budget, set financial goals, and save for the future! Location:  Chase Homeownership Center (CHOC), 1241 S. Soto St. LA 90023. Space is limited!  For more information or to register, call Cindy Adame (323) 604-1973 or email CommunityWealth@elacc.org to register.

Wednesday, June 26

4-5pm—Teen Summer Reading Kick Off at Bell Gardens Library. In preparation for the delicious summer reading program, teens are invited to unleash their inner artist/chef and create their very own recipe book with index cards. Decorate the cards using whatever materials you desire. The Library is located at 7110 S. Garfield Ave. Bell Gardens, 90201. For more information, call (562) 927-1309.

5-6pm—Fun Science! At the Chet Holifield Library in Montebello. Our performer will show us a lot of different science tricks…some you can even eat! Children under age 5 must be accompanied by an adult for this program. Food ingredients may include dairy products or nuts. The library is located at 1060 S. Greenwood Ave., Montebello, 90640. For more information, call  (323) 728-042.

Upcoming

Senior and Caregiver Resource Fair at White Memorial Medical Center on June 27. The resource fair is presented by Rose Hills & Mexican American Opportunity Foundation in partnership with WMMC. The event will provide information on Medicare and Medi-Cal and changes, the Affordable Care Act, Fall Prevention and Safety, and more. There will also be health screenings, admission is free. The event will be from 8:30 am – 2:30 pm at WMMC located at 1720 Cesar Chavez Ave., Los Angeles CA 90033. For more information visit http://www.maof.org/senior-caregiver-resource-fair/ or call Elizabeth Jimenez (323) 278-3896.

Bell Gardens Faces $1.1 Mil Budget Deficit

June 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Bell Gardens city officials are looking for ways to close a more than one million dollar shortfall in the city’s 2013-2014 Fiscal Year (FY) budget. Under consideration are possible tax and fee increases, as well as water and waste management rate hikes to a level that would cover the cost of providing those services.

Bell Gardens Director of Finance and Administrative Services Will Kaholokula told council members during their June 10 meeting that the city will need $24,630,000 in FY 2013-2014 to cover expenses but only has $23,530,000 in projected revenue, leaving an estimated $1.1 million deficit.

Almost half of Bell Garden’s General Fund revenue comes from the Bicycle Club Casino. (City of Bell Gardens)

City Manager Philip Wagner said this is the largest deficit he has seen since joining the city.

“As the city council is well aware, it’s been financially difficult the last several years due to the challenges of the sluggish economy,” Wagner said at the meeting. “The difficulty we face this coming fiscal year is that we’ve already made significant cuts to the budget.”

Last year, the city’s 2012-2013 budget was adopted with a $747,000 deficit, which was later “totally eliminated” by renegotiating vendor contracts, freezing positions and making cuts, Wagner said.

While revenue from sales and property taxes, parking lot and ground leases, motor vehicle license fees and the Bicycle Club Casino, the city’s largest revenue generator, are up slightly, the increase is not enough to cover a $692,000 increase in city expenses and losses in other sources of revenue, according to Bell Gardens officials.

Higher costs — increases of $312,420 in retiree health insurance benefits and $162,000 in liability and worker’s compensation insurance, more than $200,000 in mandated costs, including a $120,000 state required Storm Water Discharge Study, and $90,000 for the upcoming election — together with the $145,000 deficit left by the city’s now defunct redevelopment agency and a $92,000 decrease in Community Development Block Grant funds, make up the bulk of the deficit.

“There are things that we have very little control over,” said Wagner. “We have done everything to maintain our expenses,” including increasing employee contributions to PERS retirement costs, insurance payment caps, not filling vacant positions, and reducing operating expenses in several city departments, he explained.

The city annually contributes $200,000 to a reserve fund, which now stands at $1.9 million, but Wagner told EGP the funds would not be used to cover the deficit because it’s “our savings for emergencies.”

With the economy improving, the city is expected to experience an increase of $25,000 (1.5%) in revenue, Kaholokula said. More than 47% of Bell Gardens’ revenue, over $10 million in FY 2013-14, will come from the Bicycle Casino, consistent with the close to 50% in past budgets.

“We’re a one company town, our biggest producers of tax for us is the Bicycle Casino,” Wagner said. “That is our biggest source of revenue and our biggest source of jobs.”

That fact concerns Carlos Cruz, executive director of the Bell Gardens Chamber of Commerce. He told EGP that while he looks forward to a new hotel at the casino, which is expected to generate traffic and shoppers in the southeast city, he worries that the city depends too heavily on revenue from one big business.

Other sources of city revenue include property taxes (4%), sales and use tax (10.5 %), vehicle license fees (15.9%), parking lot and ground leases (14.9%) and from other business taxes, permits and city fees (12%).

Wagner says he would like to see more money from property taxes, “but to do that we need more businesses, more sales, more manufacturers.”

The number of businesses in Bell Gardens increased slightly last year from 959 to 993, according to Abel Avalos, the city’s director of community development.

Cruz told EGP that the Chamber is “optimistic about this year,” and is working on ways to retain and attract new businesses to the city.

Kaholokula told EGP that the recently opened Walmart Neighborhood Market contributes around $30,000 to $35,000 in sales tax revenue.

But not all businesses generate that level of tax revenue, said Avalos, noting, however, that new businesses create jobs and income for the city.

The $145,000 deficit from Bell Gardens’ redevelopment agency, which helped renovate the city’s downtown area, is the result of previously authorized administrative salary expenses. Up to $3 million more could be lost if the state orders the city to sell land acquired by the RDA, according to Wagner.

Funds in the city’s Retiree Health Insurance fund have been depleted, leaving the city to cover the $552,420 in costs, an increase of $312,420 from last year. City officials have saved $141,000 in health care costs by selecting less expensive plans and setting caps on city contributions.

“Every employee of the city of Bell Gardens is doing more with less,” said Wagner.

Also aggravating the city’s financial outlook is a $512,000 deficit in the 2014 Waste Management Fund, the result of the city charging its 9,400 residential and business accounts about $10,000 a month less than what it costs to provide the service.

Bell Gardens’ Water Utility is also working with a $282,000 deficit and city officials are anticipating a negative fund balance of $547,000.

Water rates have not been raised since 1994, according to Kaholokula. A 2010 Rate Study recommended two 30% rate increases in consecutive years.

“We have to pass those costs onto customers,” says Wagner. “This is something that we are going to be addressing with the city council.”

The city’s golf course is also working with a $66,500 deficit but a general fund transfer has been budgeted to eliminate the shortfall. Wagner told EGP there is no current plan to turn management of the golf course over to a private entity, but it’s an option the city has explored in the past. He said they concluded there was no benefit to be gained from paying “someone to run it.”

Wagner told EGP that the city is looking at potentially selling off its water rights or increasing water and waste fees or taxes.

“What I have is $1.1 million deficit,” said Wagner. “…So every option will be looked at.”

Bell Gardens Chamber of Commerce board members also plan to discuss the budget and look at the deficit’s direct impact on businesses, including potential tax and fee increases, Cruz told EGP.

In the meantime, the city will delay improvement projects, repairs and maintenance to help minimize costs, with the exception of street resurfacing projects that will be paid for using $897,603 in state approved funds, Kaholokula said.

Belt tightening efforts have also caused the elimination of the city’s Winter Wonderland and Halloween Celebration, a reduction in pool operations and a reorganization in jail operations.

Wagner said the last thing the city wants to do is lay off workers and increase fees, but adds it is “an option.”

Saying they need more time to review the proposed budget, the council continued the budget discussion to its June 24th meeting.

Judge Allows Vernon Battery Recycler to Resume Operations

June 20, 2013 by · 3 Comments 

Exide Technologies, a battery manufacturer and recycler in Vernon that was previously ordered to halt work after arsenic emissions were found around their plant, has been allowed to resume operations after a Superior Court judge issued a restraining order Monday against the state’s toxics management agency.

The order issued by Superior Court Judge Luis A. Lavin lifts the suspension of operations at Exide Technologies, 2700 S. Indiana St., issued in April by the Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC), pending an upcoming hearing.

Exide Technologies, 2700 S. Indiana St., was ordered to suspend operations in April.(EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

The department alleged that “metal bearing” waste is leaking from underground pipes at Exide Technologies and the continued operation of the plant would be unsafe.

“We are disappointed that the Superior Court granted Exide’s application for a temporary restraining order,” said DTSC’s Tamma Adamek.

The agency will return to court on July 2 to try to gain a preliminary injunction to resume its suspension of Exide, Adamek said.

Exide representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar criticized the decision.

“The criteria for Exide reopening should be based solely on whether it is safe to do so and whether the public is at risk or not,” Huizar said.

A month before the state agency ordered Exide to cease operations, the South Coast Air Quality Management District cited the company for discharging arsenic, affecting nearby businesses, as well as neighboring communities in Commerce, Maywood and Huntington Park.

Boyle Heights is part of Huizar’s council district and within an area of about 110,000 residents that could also have been affected by arsenic pollution.

“While I still have serious questions about why Exide was allowed to operate by the DTSC under an interim permit for more than three decades, we have to first and foremost protect the people who are living in the surrounding communities right now,” Huizar said.

“Stringent requirements need to be part of ensuring that safety. I’m disappointed with the Superior Court’s ruling because it gives more credence to Exide’s relation with the DTSC, rather than Exide’s record and history with the communities it surrounds.”

The Los Angeles City Council in May approved a resolution backing an investigation into Exide and called on DTSC to ensure the company upgrades its wastewater pipes that the state agency alleged were leaking arsenic.

The Vernon plant recycles 22 million automotive batteries a year and has been operating in Vernon since the 1920s. Exide, a publicly traded company with operations in 80 countries, took over operations about 10 years ago.

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