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Hawaiian Gardens City Council Eruption Forces Mayor to Adjourn Meeting

This map shows the incorporated areas in Los A...

This map shows the incorporated areas in Los Angeles County, California. Hawaiian Gardens is highlighted in red. I created it in Inkscape using data from the Los Angeles County Website (Los Angeles County Incorporated Area and District Map (PDF). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Jerry Bernstein

Once again the animosity between Hawaiian Gardens Councilmember’s Barry Bruce and Reynaldo Rodriguez with Mayor Mike Gomez, Mayor Pro Tem Victor Farfan and Michi Oyama-Canada roared to life at the meeting of the city council March 27.

The occasion arose at the end of the meeting and revolved around a resolution approved by the council in a 3-2 vote at its previous meeting on Mar. 13 when the council approved a resolution updating Consolidated Disposal’s income guidelines for its reduced trash rate collection program.

At that meeting Rodriguez moved the resolution be carried over to the Mar. 27 meeting in order for the council members to review it. He cited inconsistencies in the resolution and rate chart and said the staff report was misleading. Bruce agreed with him, but the council majority voted for approval.

Tuesday night Rodriguez brought the subject up in oral council reports and read a letter from Richard Fiero with Consolidated Disposal, which corrected the rate for single-family dwellings from $46.65 to what he described as the true rate of $15.55 per month. Fiero apologized for the mistake.

Rodriguez said the rate that was noted in the resolution was wrong. He said that was the reason he requested the council to postpone the vote so it could be reviewed further, but the council majority overruled him.

He cited the vote as an example of their not caring for the community.

This brought a response from Councilmember Michi Oyama-Canada who asked the people who qualify for a discount on their trash collection to apply for it.

Mayor Pro Tem Victor Farfan replied that all the council did was updating the HUD guidelines. “We did not approve any particular rates.” He accused Rodriquez of misconstruing information and to suggest the majority on the council does not care for the residents is wrong.

City Attorney Omar Sandoval said approval of the resolution did not increase the rates. There was nothing in the resolution increasing rates. The council was only approving a resolution updating the income guidelines for the program, adding all the resolution did was to identify those who qualify for the program.

Councilman Bruce said the bottom line was “common courtesy to other councilmember’s. He said regardless of the interpretation by three members of the council on the resolution, and the objection of two council members to an incorrect staff report, the majority voted to approve it. Insinuating they just ignored Bruce and Rodriguez. “The point that Mr. Rodriguez made I thought was reasonable, “he said. “ I not happy with the inconsist5cy of the staff report, let’s get it corrected and then vote on it at the next meeting. It’s not going to cause any problem according to the city attorney….”

The Mayor interrupted him and said he has been advised s this is not an agenda item. At this point a heated debate broke out between the Mayor and Bruce with the mayor adjourning the meeting.

–Jerry Bernstein, [email protected]

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  • Daniel says:

    How has Hawaiian Gardens become a microcosm of partisan politics? From dueling recalls to bitter elections, for a small city Hawaiian Gardens has had its share of scandal. However, there has been one constant in all that this city has endured and that is the obstructionism and demagoguery of Barry Bruce and Rey Rodriguez. I have seen nothing but bickering and doggish agitation from these two councilmembers and I am getting sick and tired of it. Councilmen Bruce and Rodriguez I have had enough with you and your phony issues and your mindless migraine inducing yakking. Further, I am sick and tired of being made to feel that if I do not belong your church or don’t believe in what you believe, I am somehow unreligious, unpatriotic or un-American. Because, I have news for you sirs, your critics are not crazy, any more than your supporters are sane, and the last time I checked God does not take sides in local politics. And just for your information, yes I do not support you, but I am also a Christian, and I get on my knees and pray every day. The one thing I pray for is that people with power will get good moral character and people with good moral character will get power and that the rest of us will be blessed with the patience and the strength to survive people like you in the meantime. You two have caused more trouble than good for this city and have created an atmosphere of contention and fear. Hawaiian Gardens the little city with a big heart has a tumor named Barry Bruce and Rey Rodriguez and hopefully in the 2013 we will be able get rid of you!