Category Archives: Politics


Since the City of La Habra Heights was incorporated nearly 37 years ago, it has never formally welcomed the head of the largest Sheriffs Department in the United States. That ends when the city welcomes newly elected Sheriff Jim Mcdonnell later this month for a

meet and greet with the residents and to thank him and the department for the great service to the city all these years. “I’m not sure why it hadn’t happened until now” said Mayor Pro Tempore Kyle Miller ” But I had spoken with him at a few events and finally just asked him if he would come to the city and spend some time with the residents and let the city show our gratitude to the department” Mayor Pro Tempore Miller added ” He happily

agreed and said he loves our small city and the golf course, which is well known, so we’re very pleased to welcome him.

In addition to the sheriff, Supervisor Don Knabe will also be attending as well as a special performance by the Rancho Starbuck drum line core. The meet and greet takes place on Monday, September 21 from 6pm to 8pm at City Hall in the Council Chambers.

The event is open to all La Habra Heights residents. There will be refreshments as well a photo opportunity with Sheriff Mcdonnell for the residents. Please see the included flyer for more info and to RSVP.

Meet and Greet – LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell (1) (1) (1)

La Habra Heights council broke open-meeting law, District Attorney’s Office says

By Mike Sprague, Whittier Daily News

LA HABRA HEIGHTS – The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office accused the City Council of breaking the state’s open-meeting law when on Jan. 2 it met in closed session to approve new language in the ballot title for the anti-oil initiative that was going to the voters in March.

The city had been sued over the wording and two days before a Los Angeles Superior Court judge found the ballot title was misleading.

The council then amended the title in closed session.

That was wrong, said Terrie Tengelsen, deputy district attorney in a letter to the City Council.

“In our opinion, once the City Council decided that the next course of action would be to amend the ballot language, the closed session should have ended with a report out on that action in public session,” Tengelsen wrote.

Amending the ballot language isn’t something that can be done in closed session, he said. The council should have adjourned the meeting and called for a subsequent meeting, he said.

“Instead the City Council circumvented this process by immediately holding its discussion and voting to amend the ballot language in closed session,” he wrote.

Tengelsen said there is no need to fix the situation because the council action was voided when the court struck down the language and approved alternative wording in the ballot title.

Voters defeated the measure in March.

William J. Priest, an attorney for the city, in a letter to the District Attorney’s Office, said the council did nothing wrong.

“Because the court’s ruling was open-ended, the litigation was not yet fully resolved and settlement discussions were ongoing,” Priest wrote.

“The council’s decision could have settled the litigation,” he wrote. “As a public lawyer, I know you understand how prejudicial it might have been to the city’s effort to settle this litigation if the council were required to confer with me in open session regarding the ballot label wording.”

Tengelsen said a month earlier the council dealt with a lawsuit over the same issue but a different part. That time it did everything in public session.

But City Attorney John Brown said the circumstances were different because the council was approving a settlement.

That wasn’t the case at the Jan. 2 meeting, Brown said.

“We had two parties to the litigation who were at great odds over this particular contentious matter,” said Brown referring to Heights Oil Watch, that put the initiative on the ballot and oil companies that were opposing it.

Mike Hughes, president of Heights Oil Watch, said it’s “late in the game” to get the letter but it shows there was a violation.

“It’s typical of the council’s reaction,” Hughes said. “They just ignore us. They have their own agenda.”

This isn’t the first time the District Attorney’s Office has sent a letter to the city, complaining about a violation of the open-meeting act, also known as the Ralph M. Brown Act.

In 2003, City Council members and Planning Commissioners were accused of illegally communicating by email about proposals to revise the general plan.

In 2009, a letter was sent to then-Councilman Howard Vipperman saying an e-mail he sent to then-City Attorney Sandra Levin asking to not take public comments on one agenda item, could have led to a violation of the state’s open-meeting law. Levin rejected his proposal.

In 2013, the Planning Commission was accused of not allowing a resident to speak at a meeting and the council was accused of approving spending by email. On the latter, City Manager Shauna Clark said there was no violation because she approved the spending for a surveillance system at City Hall on her own without council approval.

Source: Whittier Daily News

La Habra Heights to move city council elections to November of odd years

La Habra Heights, Ca City Council ElectionLA HABRA HEIGHTS – City Council elections will be moved eight months ahead beginning in 2017.

Instead of being held in March as they have been since 1995, they will be consolidated with local school and water board elections and run by Los Angeles County.

The City Council on Thursday on a 5-0 vote approved the second reading of the ordinance making the change.

“It just seemed like in the long term that it is less expensive for us,” said Mayor Michael Higgins. “It also takes some of the burden off of staff.”

City Manager Shauna Clark said the city could save between $20,000 and $40,000 depending on whether La Habra Heights Water District’s board has a contested election.

If it doesn’t, the city would be responsible for all of the cost. Otherwise, the expense will get shared.

La Habra Heights blogger Stephen Blagden criticized the move because it will extend council terms by nine months – from March to December.

“It’s self serving,” Blagden said. “They’re extending it without a vote of the people.

Blagden said he would be OK with the change if the council members promise not to run again.

Higgins said the eight-month extension isn’t that big a deal and has happened before. The council during the mid-1990s moved the election from April of even years to March of odd years, giving council members an 11-month extension.

In fact, Higgins said he’s not that happy about the extension.

“I’m not thrilled about it, being the one who has to sit in the mayor’s chair for an extra eight months,” he said.

This year’s municipal election cost the city nearly $184,000. Two-thirds was the result of having Measure A, the anti-oil initiative, on the ballot. That was another reason to make the change, Higgins said.

“It cost a lot of money and hours in staff time,” he said.

The city was sued a couple of times and had to go through a recount.

“When we go to the county, that will be the county’s problem,” Higgins said.

La Habra Heights Council approves budget with deficit for first time in seven years

La Habra Heights, Ca City Council Meeting

LA HABRA HEIGHTS >> For the first time in seven years, the city’s $3.2 million budget will be in the red — even if you don’t count the nearly $700,000 still to be spent on the City Hall renovation project.

However, City Council members, who on Thursday voted 5-0 to approved the fiscal 2014-15 budget, which projects a deficit of $32,864, said they’re not concerned.

“We passed essentially a balanced budget,” Mayor Brian Bergman said. “We’re really close. Why pick it apart? It’s a small concern, and that’s why we’re going to monitor things really close.” Read more

La Habra Heights to reduce water usage

By Daniel Hernandez

La Habra Journal

La Habra Heights residents must cutback its water usage after the LHH  Water District Board voted June 11 to comply with the mandatory 25 percent water use reduction handed down by the state two months ago.
La Habra Heights County Water DistrictDirector and Vice President of the La Habra Heights County Water District Pam McVicar briefly detailed to the  city council at its June meeting, the specific cutbacks residents must face, including limiting the watering of ornamental landscapes or turf to only two days a week or face a possible $500 fine.
County Water district Ordinance 15-01, passed with a unanimous vote, keeping the city in compliance with the state’s mandate.
Under the emergency rules, residents in LH Heights must limit watering areas like the lawn to two days a week before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Homes with addresses ending in odd numbers are allowed to water on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while residents in even numbered addresses are allowed to irrigate their property on Sundays and Thursdays.
Commercial and institutional properties must also face the same cutbacks.

Read more

La Habra Heights city manager proposes city budget

La Habra Heights, CaLA HABRA HEIGHTS >> For the second straight year, City Manager Shauna Clark has proposed a budget that will slightly be in the red.

Last year, Clark proposed a more than $3.1 million budget with a deficit of about $32,000 — discounting the nearly $1 million spent on the City Hall renovation — in fiscal 2014-15.

This year’s budget — again about $3.1 million — would be perfectly balanced, except Clark is proposing to set aside $50,000 to continue saving for a new fire truck. The city’s general fund reserve is now estimated at about $5.3 million.

The City Council is scheduled to consider the budget at its 6 p.m. Thursday meeting.

“It’s pretty much the same,” Clark said of the budget. “Last year’s budget was a little more healthy in terms of revenue, and we had to cut a position to fund some of these extra (state) mandates.” Read more

Coffee with the Mayor June 13th 9am-10:30am

Coffee with La Habra Heights MayorSave the date – SATURDAY JUNE 13th 9am – 1030am
Coffee with the Mayor – CITY HALL – MPR Room

Michael Higgins La Habra Heights Mayor

Michael Higgins – LHH Mayor

Come and talk with the Mayor and rotating council members in a relaxed conversational atmosphere. This is your opportunity to introduce new ideas, show support, or voice concerns regarding city policy and direction.

If you prefer a conversational engaging style of meeting over the constraints of the City Council meeting format – Coffee with the Mayor is for you.

If you have shied away from attending City Council meetings because of the perceived unpleasant atmosphere that sometimes occurs – Coffee with the Mayor is for you.

The goal is a friendly get together with lots of information exchanged, concerns addressed, and to do our best to answer questions raised.

Community building starts with events like this so please consider attending.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Robert “Bob” Apodaca – Central Basin Water & La Habra Heights Rep. Pleads Guilty

By Brian Hews

Bob Apodaca La Habra Heights

Central Basin President Bob Apodaca & La Habra Heights Rep.

Hews Media Group-Community News has learned that Central Basin Municipal Water District President who represents La Habra Heights – Robert “Bob” Apodaca has plead guilty to lesser charges and negotiated a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in exchange for testifying against former California State Senator Ron Calderon and his brother Tom in the massive public corruption case that has roiled the once powerful political family.

Sources are telling HMG-CN that a senior member of Ron Calderon’s staff negotiated his own plea bargain and in the process implicated Apodaca.

Apodaca subsequently “copped a plea” for future testimony against the Calderons and will not face substantial jail time. Read more

Final court order slams Whittier hills oil project, leaving city with few options

WHITTIER >> Faced with a court-ordered ban on its hillside oil-drilling project, the City Council on Tuesday will discuss appealing to the California Supreme Court, or tearing up the lease with its oil and gas partners.

A final order from the 2nd District Court of Appeal released Tuesday codifies previous lower court rulings against the city, saying the 7-year-old lease between Whittier and Matrix Oil Corp. was illegal because the city did not obtain permission from the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District. The ruling goes further, wiping out the statute of limitations set to expire June 30, saying the ban on the lease would continue forever.

“The questions would be: Do we appeal it? Or do we do a new lease agreement?” Read more

Election 2015: Recount requested for La Habra Heights City Council election

By Mike Sprague, Whittier Daily News

LA HABRA HEIGHTS – A resident Thursday asked for a recount of the March 3 City Council election.

Sayre Weaver made the request on behalf of challenger Alex Villanueva, who is 19 votes behind appointed incumbent Jane Williams in the race for the second seat on the council.

The recount will be held no later than Wednesday, said City Manager Shauna Clark.

Williams, who placed second behind Roy Francis, received 955 votes to Villanueva’s 935. Francis had 1,030 votes.

“I filed the request because I think 19 is a small number of votes,” Weaver said. “There also were some odd things that happened.” Read more

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