Letters to the Editor:
Council Member Elba Romo Emails Website
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006
Huntington Park, CA. – Elba Romo sent an email to WatchOurCity.com on Tuesday,
March 14, 2006. The unedited contents of the email follows:
"name = Elba Romo
comments = If you will be making statements and assumptions about
political officials, please verify the accuracy of what you state. I
recognize that your efforts to defame me (for reasons unbeknownst to me) are
unbased. Even your reporting of my voting record is incorrect. For
example, you bash me for "supporting" the repeal of the campaign limits
ordinance when in fact, I was the only dissenting votes. Check the
minutes. Check the tapes. Whatever you wish, just get it right. I know
that you will continue to defame me (as you so terribly did during the
campaign, and without justification) but I knew entering politics that
people play dirty. I simply choose to not stoop that low. I can only
hope others (like yourself) may someday share that philosophy."
PS: My regards to Linda :)
The editor responds:
Thank you for visiting WatchOurCity.com and for having the courage to email the editor.
Your comments, critiques and observations are most welcome.
Regarding your comments about the accuracy of some of my reports, I must apologize.
Even the L.A. Times gets it wrong once in a while.
I stand corrected. For the record, in fact, you were the only vote to oppose the
I am not "defaming" you. I am critiquing you, though.
I must inform you that any email I receive from an elected official like yourself is
considered official and thus can be published, unedited, of course.
I do believe you did email this website once before during the elections to correct me
about the election results (If it wasn't you that emailed, then someone was posing as
you). Or perhaps it was the other Elba that emailed. I knew that having two Elbas in
City Council would be confusing. It didn't matter, I did make the corrections.
Elba, you are a public official. And a green one at that, evidently. You have to learn to
grow some thicker skin. Noguez and Ofelia did.
They also have much more "callo" than you and for that matter, much more "colmillo"
as well. You're from Jalisco, Mexico, and for sure know what those words mean,
secondly, but more importantly, I'm sure you are keenly aware of the "callo" and
"colmillo" effect as proficiently, expediently and coldly deployed by your esteemed
colleagues Noguez and Ofelia. Learn from them the craft of being crafty in politics. You
don't have to be intelligent, just clever.
Its very simple: If you don't take kindly to critique, don't do anything that would
possibly, remotely, and minutely expose you to critique. You are a public official
entrusted with millions of dollars of public funds. You expect no critique? Dios mio.
You will be critiqued. You can try calling it "defamation". I am no attorney, but do
understand what defamation means. You are no attorney either, and shouldn't use the
word unless you mean to do something in a court of law.
If you act in the public benefit at all times, you are doing your job and would be above
reproach. But you haven't been acting in the public interest all the time and leave much
to be critiqued.
What I'm about to say will make you go back and reread every thing I've ever written
about you......... and you will see things in different light (go to the home page of
WatchOurCity.com and type in your name "Elba Romo" in the "Site Search" feature; all
the reports that mention you, even in passing, will show up).
You will see that I actually like you and have faith in awakening your sense of public
duty and hope you come to your senses on what the term "public trust" really means.
You don't believe me. I know. But bear with me for a moment.
You are well educated. Stanford. I am impressed. It took a lot of work and sacrifice. I
know. Your achievements are commendable. You attended Huntington Park High
School. You are catholic. Your grandparents were probably Cristeros. What an
Your parents are hard working immigrants and are proud of their successful daughter.
I, too, am proud of you, as any citizen would be. But my pride in your success doesn't
prevent me from critiquing you.
You are a teacher. I too teach, but not in a school setting like you. For a teacher, you
really don't seem to grasp the civics and citizenship lessons taught on this website. But
of course, you teach high school science, not civics. How ironic.
I am a student too. I am learning the mechanics of how corruption takes root. You may
learn from a course syllabus I'm creating called "Corruption 101 in Local Government".
You actually helped with some of the material, but not as much as your esteemed
council colleagues or your mentors did. I teach in a place called WatchOurCity.com.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.
A few questions:
Why did you start using up so much travel money so fast? Did you ever stop to think
that money could be used for a better public benefit? The fact that public funds are
there doesn't mean it is yours for the taking.
You should have a chat with the man responsible for appointing you to the Parks &
Recs Commission, then to the City Clerk's position. That would be the recently
convicted felon and ex-Mayor Edward Escareno. He knows a thing or two about misuse
of public funds. You can try to distance yourself as far as possible from Escareno, like
Rosario Marin and councilwoman Ofelia Hernandez publicly did.
Any reasonable person would arrive at the conclusion, as I did, that you were part of
the Escareno team due to your close association with him.
Why did you allow yourself to be used by Ed Escareno who's now a convicted felon?
Why did you do nothing to stop him? You were quoted in La Opinion newspaper that
you were the one who asked Escareno to pay back misused public funds to the city, but
that was only after months and many months that WatchOurCity.com was on his trail.
Your quote in the La Opinion Spanish newspaper was misleading and deceiving (see
sidebar for direct link to La Opinion newspaper article).
It was the website who asked Escareno to pay back the misuse of public funds.
Yet you accuse me of being on a campaign of defaming your name.
Would you consider what I've been writing about Ed Escareno, starting from March 13,
2004 when the website was founded, as defamation?
You are worried about defamation against you, but what about the defamation to the
public benefit and the public trust that city council is constantly committing?
Remember, you are a publicly elected servant, acting in the public interest, not private
interests, despite what Escareno, Francisco Leal, Victor Caballero, George Cole, Rosario
Marin, Mario Gomez, Noguez or Ofelia may tell you. Dare I call some of them your
Remember also that your signature is on many questionable city contracts that share
space with Edward Escareno's signature. You could have said something then if your
conscience and philosophy was not yet fully operational.
WatchOurCity.com did critique Ed Escareno and his team. In fact I critiqued him the
harshest of all. The indirect results of those critiques are that Ed Escareno lost the
election and became a convicted felon.
Let me ask you this: Do you think Ed Escareno would have lost the election and become
a convicted felon without WatchOurCity.com exposing all his blatant misuse of public
funds? Do you still dare call my words "defamation"?
I did not shy away from being persistent and determined in biting critiques of
Escareno. No one else publicly came forward. Least of all you.
And if you did, no one knew about it. If you did know about Ed Escareno, you could
have written something to the website or to the D.A's office.
That was your ethical and moral duty. You do call yourself a good Catholic in your
political mailers, after all.
Why did you allow yourself to be endorsed by Rosario Marin, when she endorsed
Noguez, Escareno, Ofelia and Gomez? Why? Were you that naive?
You on you own are strong and capable without all that extra baggage that taints you
You also accepted the endorsement of Victor Caballero and George Cole. Your
signature as City Clerk is on their multi-million dollar transportation contract along with
Edward Escareno's. Don't you think that has the appearance of conflict of interest?
Lesson learned: avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. Your campaign
manager/councilman Mario Gomez and Ed Escareno pulled a fast one on the voters as
public record evidence indicates that they conspired to award the nearly $4 million
transportation contact to the least qualified, least prepared and least capitalized
bidders, and it cost the city $22,000 more. You and Escareno signed their contract.
There seems to be a direct correlation here. Any reasonable person can conclude that
you were rewarded to keep quiet: Rosario Marin, Victor Caballero and George Cole
were your top endorsers for the 2005 council race. If you accuse me of defaming you,
then you must also accuse the public record and yourself here. You have no one to
To this very moment, I do not once believe that such an intelligent mujer mexicana as
you, with Jalisco and Stanford pedigree, would allow yourself to be manipulated by
Marin, by Victor Caballero and by George Cole. Haven't you been reading
WatchOurCity.com and all the reports on these guys? Dios mio.
Elba, hanging around guys of questionable character can only harm you.
I know, I know, Rosario, Mario Gomez, Leal or somebody probably told you that these
guys were harmless and only wish for your very best.....as long as they got something
out of it, that is. I'm sure you've been woken up at 4 a.m. with a cold sweat thinking
that you've been had by all these characters.
I hope you realize that associating with these guys actually undermines all the success
and credibility you yourself have achieved on your own without them.
I know that you even put up $10,000 of your own cold hard cash to run your
campaign; that is remarkable. But, Dios mio, why do you hang with these guys? Why
are you voting for public funds to be used for their benefit?
I hope you see that Victor Caballero cares about you only as far as he can throw one of
his taxi cabs, and as only as long as you vote to cancel the Fiesta Taxi contract and give
it to his newly created taxi company. Despite what Francisco Leal may tell city council
members, it is not right, and you should know better.
If you do know better, then, for the public benefit's sake, do something about it.
Otra pregunta (another question):
First, read this week's story on Francisco Leal, then read the link in that story to the
L.A. Times article on Leal from 1999.
Now, tell me why you have not called for an audit of Leal's billings to the city? You
claim you have a certain philosophy about such things. Let's see it in action.
Why have you not lead the charge to question his conflict of interest and clear violation
of California code 1090 with regards to giving Leal the Lobby contract when he was
already the city attorney?
You must remember the public benefit at all times.
Perhaps you are afraid that if you take action against city attorney Leal, the good friend
of your top endorser Rosario Marin, that Leal will start a recall against you. That's
understandable. Or that you will incur the wrath of your political mentor Rosario Marin.
Or perhaps Francisco Leal promised to connect you to his Sacramento politicians who
will allow you to join the "club" and maybe even help get you elected to higher office;
your Stanford degree is too good for a rinky-dink city council seat. And you fall for it.
Perhaps. If you cannot act, then how independent are your really? Who's pulling your
I want to see you do the right thing, the just thing, the public benefit right thing.
I will be your biggest booster and champion.
I actually said positive things about you:
"City Clerk Elba Romo is a Stanford University graduate and is a teacher at a local high
school. She is also a Real Estate agent. Clearly talented, her educational background
and multi-professional credentials positions her as a natural leader in this community
with much potential."
"Elba Romo's lessons from her ethics classes at Stanford went to waste here. Or
maybe she took no ethics courses at all. And such good ethics courses Stanford does
offer. What a waste. In all fairness, she did put up $10,000 of her own money for the
March 2005 election. She finished 2nd to win a council seat. But she was endorsed by
George Cole of Oldtimers Foundation and Fiesta Taxi's Victor Caballero. Her campaign
manager was council member Mario Gomez with help from his in-law, a registered sex
offender. Her top endorser and mentor? Ex-council member and former U.S.
Treasurer Rosario Marin."
Then there was this headline, which I'm sure you are aware of:
"Can Elba Romo Be Trusted with Use of Public Funds?
Is She The Next Escareno?"
Then, this is my favorite line of you:
"Elba Romo is the overachiever of the group. The Stanford grad is single with 3 jobs:
she teaches high school science in the nearby city of Paramount, sells houses on the
side, and is a part-time pain in the butt during city council meetings. She is reportedly
an even bigger pain in the derrier to the Los Angeles Unified School District, but that's
a story for another time. Elba Romo is definitely learning well from her mentor Rosario
So you see, Elba, I actually like you.
One more quote to close the books, written the day after your appearance on television
during the "El Grito" celebration:
"And by the way, if she was looking for attention, she got plenty of it during the
televised "El Grito" event last week: she looked mighty attractive on the small screen.
This Elba's got that look of studied defiance, Jalisco style".
And you did look very attractive, very poised and very smart. I admire my cousins and
tias. They, too, have the look of studied defiance, like you do. That's good.
You should've gotten the not-so-subtle hint that your official actions as a city clerk, as
a candidate, and currently as a council member, were and are open to criticism that you
yourself invite. But you prefer to call it attempts at defaming your name.
You were using public funds frivolously and you deserved to be questioned and
compared to Edward Escareno.
That was then. This is now. What are you doing about it? I've never met you, but I do
expect great things from you. Yes, I am fallible. For that matter, you are too.
But there is always the chance for correction and redemption and turnarounds and
seeing the beacon of light.
Speaking of beacons, the 2004 Beacon Award issued to WatchOurCity.com was
unanimously voted on by the California First Amendment Coalition's Board of Directors,
all editors of major California newspapers. Do you think they saw any defamation in the
reports they read as they considered the award?
OK, now that we are on the same page, what now?
Oh, say hello to Linda Guevara as she picks up public records from the city clerk's office
for this website. I understand you were an ex-employee of hers. Linda has nothing but
good things to say about you.
Yours in service,
|Home * Ethics Principles * Travel & Cell Phone Expense Watch * Council Salary Watch * Contracts Watch * City Watch Archives
Campaign Promise Watch * Campaign Contribution Watch
Copyright © 2006, WatchOurCity.com,
All rights reserved
|La Opinion Newspaper
March 6, 2005.
sudeste de Los
Reportera de La
"Los blancos de los
ataques son el titular
Escareño, al que se le
acusa de gastar en
los fondos públicos de
la ciudad. Documentos
publicados en la
detallan que el edil
gastó alrededor de 6
mil dólares en viajes,
más de 3 mil dólares
en dos meses por uso
del servicio celular y
que realizó más de
mil llamadas a un sólo
teléfono de Rosarito,
"La Opinión trató de
comunicarse con el
concejal, pero no
"En ese mismo sitio se
acusa a Romo, actual
secretaria de la
ciudad, de no haber
denunciado los abusos
de Escareño y de
gastar 400 dólares en
Meet Elba Romo.
to see a video of
her when she was
Click box to see video.
Windows Media Player