Hacienda Heights Group Gives Crime Run Down

LASD+Town+Sheriff+Deputy+Jose+Ruano+gives+his+report+to+the+HHIA+board+and+community+members.+Photo+Credit%3A+Joshua+Sanchez%2FSAC.Media.

LASD Town Sheriff Deputy Jose Ruano gives his report to the HHIA board and community members. Photo Credit: Joshua Sanchez/SAC.Media.

Members of the largest community without a city met in the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District’s office on Nov. 19.

Instead of a locally elected city council, the unincorporated suburban community of Hacienda Heights has a group of dedicated volunteers fill in. These volunteers make up the board of the Hacienda Heights Improvement Association.

The HHIA is comprised of 12 members: Mike Williams, Scott Martin, Jennifer Kelly, Joan Snyder, Ted Chang, Sandy Keat, Jim Kleinpell, Shou Jen Kuo, Joan Licari, Jeffrey Lin, Lucy Pedregon, and David Salcedo.

Williams is president and chair of fundraising and programs, and Martin serves as vice president and code enforcement chair.

Kelly is the acting secretary and Snyder is the treasurer, while the remaining eight all serve as chairs of their respective committees.

Chang is the water and utility services chair and co-fundraising chair, Keat the parks and recreation community relations chair, Kleinpell handles membership, Kuo handles zoning, Licari chairs the newsletter and environmental improvement, Lin handles the streets and highway, Pedregon is the chair of public relations, and Salcedo handles public safety and health.

Of these individuals, Pedregon and Chang will serve from 2019 until 2021, among four new appointees. Williams motioned to fill six empty positions with the six nominations, and Martin seconded it. The vote was unanimous aside from the absent members of Kou, Salcedo, and Licari.

The motion and roll call vote were the only things similar to a formal council meeting. HHIA meetings are a lot more personal.

When reports are given, the speaker or representative actively engages with those in attendance for questions. Residents are traditionally not allowed to ask questions during reports at city councils, but HHIA meetings serve more as unofficial town halls where community engagement is encouraged.

CHP Officer Jeremy Tolen and LASD Town Sheriff Deputy Jose Ruano both gave reports on crime in the area and fielded questions.

Ruano started off by addressing the recent incident at 2400 block of Punta Del Este Drive.

He described the situation as an argument between neighbors at a party where two older individuals were arguing until one of them brought out a gun.

As to Erica Licas’ reporting that it was over a dog, Ruano said that it sounds silly, but it could have been as simple as that.

He advised the community to be careful and walk away from situations after addressing a road rage incident that led to a shooting on Stimson Avenue and Gale Ave.

Further he said that crime is down 7.26 percent in the area, but that there has been a 9.83 percent increase in crimes against properties, like burglaries.

Ruano said there were two robberies this month, one around 4 a.m. near Shadybend Drive where an individual was beaten up for their money. The second was at 11:33 a.m. on Hacienda Boulevard where the robber took a carton of cigarettes.

His advice for the first one was to not walk around at four in the morning, resulting in a hearty chuckle from everyone in the room.

The laughter quickly faded to shock when he said that someone had broken into the St. John Vianney Youth Center to steal a laptop.

Tollen’s report was more of a statistical breakdown for the Santa Fe Springs jurisdiction, and he cautioned that they do not have the specific numbers for just in Hacienda Heights.

He estimated that less than a third are in Hacienda Heights, but gave the following numbers.

There have been 7,000 collisions, of which there was no injury in 5,400 of them. The top three causes for collisions are speeding, unsafe turning, and driving under the influence.

Tollen also listed out the 16 fatalities. Four were because a seatbelt was not worn, four more were caused by speeding, two were DUIs, and the remaining ones were related to inexperienced motorcyclists.

Community members brought up concerns to Tollen involving people making donuts or going 45 mph on the freeway.

Tollen responded to both instances and said that although they seem minor, they warrant immediate calls to 911.

In the other reports, several events were mentioned.

Hsi Lai Temple turns 30 on Nov. 26, but organizers are holding a celebration from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25.

Coffee with a ranger (and a hike to follow) starts at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8 at the trailhead on 7th Avenue past Orange Grove Middle School.

The annual dinner for the HHIA is on Jan. 16 with check in at 5:30 p.m. at the Hacienda Heights Community Center.

It is free for HHIA members, but costs $20 for everyone else. That $20 entry fee grants membership to the HHIA for the rest of the year, but one can get lifetime membership for $150.

For more information about the HHIA, their website has several resources.

The next regularly scheduled HHIA meeting is on Monday, Dec. 17.