Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Councilman Sarega fined for Political Reform Act violations

File Photo

Updated 2/22/22 6:30 p.m.

La Mirada News has learned that La Mirada City Council member Andrew Sarega has entered into an agreement with the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) pending final approval acknowledging six violations of state campaign law during his bid for a second term in 2017.

Sarega will pay a fine of $1,636 as a result of those violations.

An FPPC investigation into Sarega and the candidate-controlled campaign committee 'Sarega for Council 2017' found four violations of the Political Reform Act that requires a notification to the commission within 24 hours anytime a contribution of $1,000 or more is received. 

The agreement states the most serious violation occurred on February 28, 2017, when Sarega failed to notify the commission that he or the committee he controlled paid for an advertisement/mass-mailing just over a week before the election.

Sarega was also fined for twice failing to file statements reporting contributions and expenditures in a timely manner in January and February 2017.

The fine is the third handed down by the FPPC from investigations that were spearheaded by La Mirada Lamplighter Publisher and Editor Brian Hews into the 2017 city elections that included allegations that Sarega, La Mirada Blog owner Tony Aiello a failed candidate in the same election had coordinated their campaigns with outside election committees as evidence by the use of the same Texas firm that specializes in printing and sending out election mailers according Hews reported in the Lamplighter.

No action was taken on the allegations made by Hews but the FPPC fined Aiello $750 last October  for failing to file three required contribution reports within 24 hours as required by law.

Sarega is nearing the end of his second term on council and it is unclear if he will run for a third term in the June elections. 

During an unsuccessful run for the Congressional 39th District seat in 2018 Sarega vowed he would not run again in campaign materials mailed to voters at the time stating he supported term limits adding that any politician that is unable to accomplish their goals in 8 years will not do so in additional terms in office.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

La Mirada Sheriff's Crime Blotter 02/09/2022

Tues  Feb 1

5:15 a.m.    A catalytic converter theft was reported in the 15000 block of Campillos Rd.

1:45 p.m.    A suspect was arrested at Imperial Hwy and Santa Gertrudes Av behind the Marshall's center for assaulting deputies while resisting detention or arrest.

Weds  Feb 2

10:10 p.m.   A non-injury hit-and-run collision was reported at Valley View Av and Adoree St

Sat Feb 5

3:15 a.m.     A vehicle theft was reported in the 15400 block of La Mirada Bl

Tues Feb 8

4:00 a.m.     A catalytic converter theft was reported in the 14700 block of Gandesa Rd

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

City Council to study Creek Park video surveillance system

The La Mirada City Council will revisit a proposal to use video surveillance at Creek Park at its monthly study session Tuesday to assist law enforcement efforts to deter unlawful activity and to help identify those that commit criminal acts in the mile-long park.

Security technology experts from Verkada Inc based in San Mateo, California visited the park to conduct an assessment and determined that ten cameras would be able to cover areas of concern identified by city public safety officials where vandalism and other crimes were most occurring.
Imperial Hwy tunnel that could soon 
see video security cameras

The study also proposes placing two cameras inside the pedestrian tunnel underneath Imperial Highway connecting the wilderness area of Creek Park to Oak Creek Park where acts of vandalism occur regularly.

Park patrons have voiced concern about recent acts of vandalism that include spray painting the restroom walls, drug use on the horse trail, and occasional reports of visitors being accosted by individuals that were suffering from mental health issues. 
The city council will view video from a surveillance camera already in place at the city yard on Phoebe Avenue to demonstrate the advantages and limits that video may serve in identifying suspects that commit crimes in the park.

The system under study allows instant access to recorded video for 30 days on any device and features facial recognition ability.

If approved, the cameras would be mounted on poles with solar panels and linked using internet connectivity.

The city council study session begins today at 5 p.m. in the conference room at La Mirada City Hall.

Friday, February 4, 2022

La Mirada crimes report shows small increase in 2021

La Mirada remained one of the safest cities in the region despite a small uptick in crime in 2021 from the previous year according to a sheriff's department report released this week.

The 813 serious crimes reported to deputies last year was an increase of 2.91% over the 791 reports of theft and violent crimes reported in the city in 2020. 

The surge of catalytic converter and auto thefts experienced across the region played a large part in a 4.86% increase in property crime that rose from 700 to 734. On a positive note, the number of burglaries of homes and businesses fell from 105 to 88 in 2021.

La Mirada remained one of the safest cities in the region posting a 12.1% drop in violent crime led by a reduction in aggravated assaults and robberies.

The report that outlines crimes reported in each area deputies patrol including contract cities shows indicates La Mirada fared well when compared to other jurisdictions in the county.

Cerritos, with a population, average income, and business count comparable to La Mirada, a 29.6% increase in crime was reported including large increases in robbery 43.6%, aggravated assault 40.4%, and a staggering 89.7% increase in auto theft.

Some of the other cities that experienced increases Pico Rivera 12.8%, Industry 31%, La Puente 28%, Lynwood 18.4%, Rancho Palos Verdes 30%, Malibu 16.75%, Santa Clarita 5.8%, Diamond Bar 13%, and West Hollywood 22%.

Crimes fell in some cities patrolled by LASD including in Norwalk where crime fell 16.3% including a 35% reduction in violent crime. 

Sheriff patrols were increased in Norwalk in 2021 including the addition of a second sheriff's special problems team and the city public safety unit added more personnel after voters passed a 1% sales tax to benefit public safety in 2020. 

The increases to the Norwalk Public Safety unit where non-sworn city officers are dispatched to minor calls allow deputies more time to conduct pro-active patrols. La Mirada also has a similar city public safety unit tasked with many of the same responsibilities.

Cities including Lakewood, Bellflower, Compton, and Lancaster all saw modest decreases in reported crime last year.

Crime in La Mirada 2021

Homicide                        0
Rape                               12
Robbery                         23
Aggravated Assault       44

Total Violent Crimes     79

Burglary                        88
Larceny Theft               471
Auto Theft                    173
Arson                            2

Total Property Crimes  734

Total Serious Crimes    813