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Associates of Central Basin Directors Vasquez and Rodriguez Threatened Other Directors and Staff at Board Meeting

April 26, 2023

By Brian Hews • [email protected]

Leticia Vasquez-Wilson (Vasquez) was elected to the Central Basin Board (CB) in 2012, taking her seat in January 2013. Since then, she has committed several questionable acts; some call them gross malfeasance, her latest act shooting a video calling the city of Downey’s water undrinkable, a move that triggered a lawsuit against the Commerce-based agency.

Since being elected in 2018, Martha Camacho-Rodriguez (Camacho), the former Cerritos College Board member, has glommed onto Vasquez and become her ally. The two are now in a minority position on the CB Board, and, as a result, have become increasingly more abusive to staff and fellow directors during board meetings.

In September 2021, Los Cerritos Community News chronicled a shocking pattern of harassment of CB staff when LCCN obtained, via a public records request, disturbing emails between Vasquez and Camacho, and CB Staff; the emails were so harsh that employees feared for their safety and endured constant threats and intimidation.

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But the threats and intimidation did not stop at the office when LCCN obtained pictures of Vasquez and Camacho’s bag men, Downey’s Juan Joey Martinez and Rodolfo Cortes Barragan, making unwanted visits to CB staff’s homes.

Harassed a pregnant woman

The documents showed that in 2020, during the pressures of a pandemic, the four harassed long-time Executive Board Secretary Cecilia Pulido at board meetings, attempting to influence her decisions in placing items Vasquez and Camacho wanted on the board meeting agenda.

The attacks got so bad that Pulido feared for her safety, punctuated by Barragan and Martinez menacingly hanging outside Pulido’s house.

Pulido was pregnant at the time.

Pictures allegedly showing Rodolfo Cortes Barragan and Downey’s Juan Joey Martinez harassing employees at CB staff residences.

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Email showing Camacho-Rodriguez calling then Board Secretary Cecelia Pulido a [sic] “heffer.”

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Directors Giving Martinez a Ride to Meetings

Fast forward to 2023 and Joey Martinez is continuing his dangerous obsession with other directors and staff of the Commerce-based water agency enabled by Vasquez and Rodriguez.

Martinez appears at all CB meetings, with sources telling LCCN that Martinez does not have a car with Camacho giving him a ride to the meetings, where he constantly becomes belligerent and threatening at public comment, hurling insults at everyone in the room not named Vasquez or Camacho; most of the time CB security is forced to warn Martinez that he will be removed if he does not cease the harassment.

But at a recent CB Board meeting, Martinez took his threats to another level, and inside a privately-owned property.

CB recently sold its long-time headquarters of the 5 freeway in Commerce, netting over $3 million. While waiting for its new headquarters in Commerce to be vacated and refurbished, CB is conducting board meetings at the Doubletree in Whittier.

At the March 2023 meeting, Martinez one again showed up for public comment and, according to witnesses, became very abusive to staff, GM Alex Rojas, and current CB President Art Chacon.

When Martinez’ comments got personally insulting, “outside the subject jurisdiction of the district,” he was asked to keep his comments pertinent.

True to form, Martinez refused and continued shouting at everyone; finally, security was forced to step in and remove him from the room.

Martinez getting removed from the Central Basin meeting. Sources tell LCCN that CB Director Martha Camacho-Rodriguez brings Martinez to meetings because he does not have a car.

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That is when the incident escalated into near-physical violence.

Outside the temporary board room, Martinez continued to attack staff and, according to sources, approached President Art Chacon in a threatening manner. The move looked so menacing that a member of the public had to step in to protect Chacon from an attack.

At that point the meeting was called and security escorted all staff and board members to their cars.

Emails for comment to Martinez and Directors Vasquez-Wilson and Camacho-Rodriguez went unreturned.

In an email, CB President Art Chacon told Los Cerritos Community News, “It is disappointing to see such unprofessional behavior at our meetings from people who waste our meeting time attacking the board, the staff and our customers. Despite the attacks from this group, who are only trying to embarrass or financially harm the District, the majority of the board will continue to move forward in a positive manner. We are working with our purveyors to keep the cost of imported water low, expand our recycled water services and collaborate with other water agencies in our area to provide high-quality water to the communities we serve.”

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