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EXCLUSIVE: Three Commerce City Councilmembers Observed Dining Together at Local Steak House

[l-r] Tina Baca del Rio, Ivan Altamirano, Randy Economy and Lelia Leon at Stevens Steakhouse. The three may have  violated strict California Open Meeting Law. Photo by Brian Hews

[l-r] Tina Baca del Rio, Ivan Altamirano, Randy Economy and Lelia Leon at Stevens Steakhouse. The three may have violated strict California Open Meeting Law. Photo by Brian Hews

Tina Baca del Rio, Ivan Altamirano and Leila Leon May Have Violated Strict California Open Meeting Law

By Brian Hews

Last week while dining at Steven’s Steakhouse in Commerce, Hews Media Group Publisher Brian Hews and Investigative Reporter Randy Economy witnessed three current members of the Commerce City Council dining together at the next booth from them a possible violation of the State’s Brown Act.
The three Commerce City Council members that were dining together were Tina Baca del Rio, Ivan Altamirano, and Leila Leon. After more than two hours, Hews and Economy were approached by the three elected officials who introduced themselves and started brief cordial conversation.
The three elected officials then posed for a photo in the booth that Economy and Hews were dining at to document the encounter.
In the photo, taken by Hews, is a beaming Baca del Rio, Alamirano, (Economy) and Leon.
The three elected officials may have broken the California Open Meeting Law, also known as the Ralph M. Brown Act for dining together as a group, at the same time, without a scheduled city meeting being officially noticed or posted at the upscale popular steak house. It is not known if taxpayers from Commerce are going to be billed for the charges of the dinner, or if the meal was paid for with a city issued credit card.
HMG-CN will ask the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to review the photo and documentation to see if the three city officials violated any laws. Baca del Rio, Altamirano and Leon are all facing a current petition drive that would force the trio and current Mayor Joe Aguliar out of office.
Brian Hews Photo (Copyright. Property of Hews Media Group, Community Newspaper. Feb. 14, 2014)

  • Wayne Carter Sr. says:

    Very disturbing. The very thought that these three felt the need to so blatantly flaunt the Brown Act in such a public fashion is quite frankly shocking. If this dinner was not scheduled either prior or following a scheduled public meeting then these three simply took their chances by meeting in public. From past practices, the District Attorney has long frowned on gatherings that followed City Council meetings that at least gave members some cover for being at the same place together to grab a meal of convenience. These three had no excuse other than to show the public that they are not concerned about the recall and that they possess no apparent common sense.

  • Denise Robles says:

    Mr. Carter- well stated response, I agree fully . As councilmembers we have been told by the city attorney, city administrator , and city clerk in addition to the ethic training we are all required to take , about the Brown Act – the definition , examples, and perceptions . Therefore we are without excuse. We should be the first to uphold the law and set an example .

  • David Lauderdale says:

    And they knew who you two are ?? They know what you two do for a living ?? And they allowed you to photograph the three of them ?? They are obviously too stupid to represent anyone, including themselves. And they apparently don’t care who knows.. There should be a law against stupid, and they should be arrested for it.

  • gilman says:

    Council Member Robles, maybe you could shed some light on the use of taxpayer funds to pay for items such as this dinner? Are council members reimbursed? do they have a credit card? also can you elaborate on other perks received…a car? car allowance? travel expenses?

    thanks in advance for any insight you can provide.