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NIS woes cannot be disconnected from sugar minimisation

By on January 17, 2020

first_imgDear Editor,The October 10 edition of Guyana Times reported that the General Manager of the National Insurance Scheme, Ms Holly Greaves lamented the effects of the shrinking formal workforce in Guyana vis-à-vis the NIS. According to the newspaper article, the NIS’ GM said, at this time, the Scheme receives contributions from “…173,758 active employed persons and 10,734 active self-employed persons”. She went on to point out that “[t]he decline in the active employed population does not augur well for the future of the scheme…”.The utterances by the NIS GM mirrored what was said in the Scheme’s 2016 Annual Report. That document, at page 100, said “In 2017, there was a reorganisation of GuySuCo leading to the closure of several estates. It is likely that this may have a material impact on the contributions receivable by the Scheme”. It appears, that the Scheme has already begun to feel the material impact it anticipated as evidenced by Ms Greaves’ remarks.While not wanting to blow our own trumpet, as this certainly is not the time for it, the reality that the NIS faces today was anticipated by the GAWU and drawn to the Government’s attention prior to the closure of sugar estates. The GAWU, in its presentation to the Government of Guyana on February 17, 2017, in expressing its views on the then planned closure of sugar estates pointed out that “[t]he reduction in formal employment and its implications for the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the National Insurance Scheme (NIS); the effects can be debilitating, especially for the latter”.Of course, the magnitude of the impact would have been better quantified had the sincere suggestion to pursue a socio-economic impact assessment been pursued. On that score, we had told the Government in February 2017, that “…decisions cannot be made in a slipshod manner, as the consequences and repercussions can be serious, if not disastrous, for our people and nation.” That suggestion was bluntly refused by the representatives of the Government who engaged the Trade Unions in the industry and the political Opposition regarding the future of the sugar industry. In fact, Minister Khemraj Ramjattan, astoundingly, told the Unions and the Opposition to conduct the study since we were making the suggestion.The situation which the NIS now faces is one for a great degree of concern and worry. Undoubtedly, it has been made more acute by the ill-conceived and patently wrong decision to shutter estates and put thousands on the breadline. It should be pointed out too, that many of the affected workers are, probably, qualified for NIS pensions which they will seek when they obtain pensionable age. In the meantime, the Scheme has lost the benefit of their contributions for many years though it is indebted to them come retirement. This may well make a bad situation worse.The reality of the NIS is one of the many consequences of the minimisation of the sugar industry. It is an ignominious legacy that is now bequeathed to the current and future generations of Guyanese. Of course the most profound impact has to be the pain, suffering and difficulty experienced by thousands of ordinary Guyanese men, women and children.Yours faithfully,Seepaul NarineGeneral SecretaryGAWUlast_img read more

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Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right: The Legislature Cannot Investigate Itself

By on January 14, 2020

first_imgHouse of Representatives Speaker Alex Tyler, who was himself last Wednesday indicted, along with Senator Varney Sherman and others, for their alleged involvement in the bribery scandal revealed by Global Witness, was absolutely right in calling earlier this week for an impartial, non-government team to investigate the allegations.That has always been the position of the Daily Observer and many other Liberians. We have contended that the GOL should not be seen to be investigating itself.And considering the sacred principle of the separation of powers, we believe that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was patently wrong in appointing one of her Ministers to investigate another branch of government.The proper thing to have done, and still is, to create an impartial panel comprising reputable people not connected with the government, to investigate those named in these allegations. In as much as the Global Witness report accuses officials of both chambers of the Legislature—the House and the Senate—as well as officials in the Executive branch of government, neither one of them should be in the driver’s seat in these investigations. Can’t we see the glaring conflict of interest inherent in either branch—the Legislature or the Executive—undertaking such an investigation?That is why we have suggested that the Fonati Koffa Task Force should be dissolved and an independent panel of investigators comprising reputable personalities not connected with government be created to undertake this important and serious investigation.This proposition—to appoint an independent, non-governmental panel—to investigate those mentioned in the Global Witness allegations becomes all the more tenable, because of the glaring, well substantiated rift between the President and Unity Party (UP) standard bearer and its chairman, Senator Varney Sherman.Amid this open, embarrassing and even tragic rift that has irreparably split the ruling party, we insist that it is wrong for the President to have named one of her own Ministers, or any other Executive branch official, to head this investigation.Liberia is gifted with enough highly responsible, intelligent and level-headed personalities to undertake this task. They would give the process far more credibility than what the President has done.Is the President impartial in this? No! That is why without thinking, she rushed to appoint one of her own Ministers to head the Task Force investigating the Global Witness allegations. We say she was not thinking because she failed to realize that another branch of government was involved—the Legislature.It is by this same token that we also reject the attempt by the Senate President Pro-Tempore, Armah Jallah, to set up a Legislative body to investigate these Global Witness allegations. Two wrongs do not make a right.The Legislature should not be doing this for the simple fact that at least two of its high profile members, from both chambers are deeply implicated in the alleged scandal. Under these circumstances, it would be difficult to avoid the specter of partiality. We, therefore, submit that it would be more prudent (judicious, discreet) of the President to appoint an impartial panel comprising independent persons not connected with government to investigate those implicated in the Global Witness allegations.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Pres. Weah Inspects Fleet of Motor Vehicles for Traffic Management

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first_imgPresident Weah inspects one of the motorbikes LTM presented to the LNP. Photo Credit: Executive Mansion.President George Weah on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, inspected a fleet of vehicles among them, tow trucks, motorbikes and bicycles that were brought into the country by Liberia Traffic Management (LTM), a private group, an Executive Mansion said in a release.The traffic operational logistics inspected by the President, according to the release, included 24 jeeps, 24 motorbikes, 8 bicycles, and 18 tow trucks.In brief remarks at LTM offices in Sinkor, President Weah thanked the management for collaborating, and partnering with the government.He said the logistics provided would help Liberia in its road safety and traffic control and efforts to regulate.According to the release, President Weah indicated that government would work with the LTM to reduce road accidents by training, and keeping control on operators of vehicles, tricycles, motorcycles, as well as pedestrians and passengers.The donation is an outcome of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), which officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) entered into with the LTM, a private entity operating under the laws of Liberia.The donation was done in the wake of poor traffic regulation in the country, created by “limited training on road safety.”LTM is also expected to train 500 police officers for traffic safety as well as provide them at least some sets of new uniforms.The entity is also responsible to manage the traffic vehicles, while officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) will enforce the traffic regulations.At the presentation in Sinkor on Tuesday, President Weah expressed the hope that the vehicles will help the police address the country’s traffic management system.The head of the LTM, Mohammed Abou Darwich, said the vehicles are important for other security operations across the country.The LTM is a public-private partnership module working in over 50 countries around the world, Liberia is one of the newest countries to benefit from such Traffic Management Partnership.It can be recalled that in February, 2017, the Liberia Road Asset Management Project was designed to help reduce transport time and cost along the 246-kilometer Suakoko Highway linking Monrovia with Gbarnga, Bong County and the Guinea border with Liberia. There is an uninterrupted movement of goods and services between the two countries.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Ex-cop gets 4-year jail sentence for cocaine trafficking

By on January 12, 2020

first_img…accomplices freed of chargesA 23-year-old ex-Policeman, of Adam’s Road, Soesdyke, East Bank Demerara (EBD), was on Tuesday sentenced to four years in prison by Senior Magistrate Leron Daly on a trafficking of cocaine charge, which occurred back in 2017 at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).Louie Dublin, along with his two accomplices Delvor Bunbury and Gavin Harris, was charged back in 2017 for the crime and was remanded to prison.The ex-cop was busted during a sting operation carried out at the LotusJailed: Louie DublinRestaurant and Bar located at CJIA, Timehri, EBD, where he was found to have in his possession a bag containing the illegal drug ,which was said to be given to him by the other two accused.However, the charges against Bunbury and Harris were dismissed, since Magistrate Daly ruled that the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence to prove the men guilty of the offence.Meanwhile, Dublin faced the full brunt of the law after sufficient evidence was found for him to be convicted. At the time of the drug bust, Dublin was a serving member of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) while Bunbury was Manager of Ivor Bunbury Furniture and Harris was his assistant.last_img read more

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Sub Zero Running Club hosts event this Sunday

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first_imgThe Sub Zero Running Club will be hosting their 18th annual Fall Classic Fun Run/Walk on Sunday, Oct. 24.Registration will be at 10:30 am with running and walking starting at 11:00 am. The run/walk starts at 9219, 103 Avenue. This is an estimated time event where participants are asked to predict their time for the 8km course. The person who comes closest to their predicted time is the winner.- Advertisement -Run/walk officials will look after participants watches to time the event.Entry fee is to bring a snack to share with participants afterwards. Everyone is welcome to participate.last_img read more

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Marcos Rojo believes the British record signing is one of the best players in the world despite struggling in his debut Premier League campaign

By on January 3, 2020

first_img1 Angel di Maria is one of the best players in the world and will prove his quality at Manchester United next season, according to club and Argentina team-mate Marcos Rojo.The £59.7million British record transfer signing endured a frustrating maiden Premier League campaign, leading to speculation he could move on this summer.Barcelona were thought to be leading the chase in the former Real Madrid forward, though Di Maria has recently insisted he wants to stay at United.And Rojo is confident his compatriot will rediscover his best form and silence the critics.“For me, the player with the most talent at Manchester United is Angel,” the Argentina international told the Copa America official website.“There are great players at the club but Angel, for me, is one of the best in the team and in the world.“It has been a difficult year for him. He had some problems adapting but that’s normal.“Any player coming to a new country and a new league has to adapt to the differences and that’s what happens but I’m sure he will do really well in the months ahead.” Manchester United stars Marcos Rojo and Angel di Maria last_img read more

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PLANNING ROW AT KILLYBEGS NATIONAL MONUMENT ERUPTS AGAIN

By on December 28, 2019

first_imgA view of St Catherine’s Well, Killybegs, showing its proximity to the new pier. Visible in the middle ground on left is the small car park through which Donegal County Council has granted permission for access to the proposed storage and office development.There is widespread dismay in Killybegs that a storage and office development has been approved by Donegal County Council for a site between St Catherine’s Well and the new pier.The local History & Heritage Committee has waged a long campaign to prevent any further development in the area which contains the holy well, the ruin of “Cat’s Castle”, and the 14th century St Catherine’s Church and graveyard.Volunteers raised hundreds of signatures objecting to the development. There have also been objections raised by the voluntary committee which maintains the well expressing opposition to any development in the vicinity.The site is a designated national monument and Donegal County Council states in its Local Area Plan that any development in such an area must “not be detrimental to the character of the structure, its setting or curtilage.”The principal anxiety expressed by both the Killybegs History and heritage Committee and the St Catherine’s Well Committee is that any development near the well could endanger the flow of water to the spring.They have also objected on the grounds that the serenity and prayerful atmosphere of the area could be disturbed both by light and noise pollution from the development and by traffic going to and from the storage facility. This aspect has also been acknowledged by Donegal County Council in it’s Plans, which state: “These historic sites have been places of pilgrimage for many centuries, and also a place to relax and reflect, bringing comfort and pride to the local community.”A spokesman for Killybegs History and Heritage Committee said: “It is of particular concern that the permission which has now been granted for the construction of the offices and storage facility specifically permits 24-hour access to the premises by way of the car park provided for pilgrims to access the holy well.”Killybegs History and Heritage Committee is considering appealing the County Council’s grant of permission to An Bord Pleanála on a number of grounds, including the failure of the local authority to act in accordance with its own policies and procedures.Said Mr Derek Vial, chairman of Killybegs History and Heritage Committee: “In particular, the Council has failed to attach a condition of archaeological mitigation to the planning permission and appears to be in breach of legislation pertaining to national monuments.“Poor and inappropriate planning such as this should not be allowed to proceed. This plan in its current form fails on some of the basics of good planning especially from an archaeological, heritage and amenity perspective”, Mr Vial said. PLANNING ROW AT KILLYBEGS NATIONAL MONUMENT ERUPTS AGAIN was last modified: April 25th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalKillybegsSt Catherine’s Welllast_img read more

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FAMILY MEMBERS WALK OUT OF INQUEST AFTER CORONER RETURNS OPEN VERDICT

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first_imgDean Lafferty.INQUEST: Family members of the late Dean Lafferty walked out of a heated inquest this afternoon, after the coroner returned an Open Verdict into his untimely death on the February 17th, 2014. Dean Lafferty, who was 18, died at his home at Admiran Park, Stranorlar. His death was caused by a blow he had received to his head. At today’s emotionally charged inquest, the coroner’s court heard how Dean had been socialising with friends the night before his death, and heard how he had been the victim of a alleged head-butting incident at the popular Barcelona Bar in the town of Ballybofey.The deposition of Seamus Brown was read out at the inquest and he revealed that Mr Lafferty had been drinking the night before he tragically died.“Dean had only just moved into a new apartment, I think he was only in it for five days,” he said.“None of us had been out on the Saturday night, but we decided to have a few drinks and Dean and Mark Patton went to McGuigan’s Bar to get a carry out.“They returned about half an hour later and they had a bottle of Sambuca and had a bottle of Apple Jacks, they began drinking both, and were mixing both drinks.“They then headed off to Barcelona Bar in Ballybofey, Dean was half full at that stage, and was joking about the women he was going to bring back to the house that night.“Later I got a call saying Dean had been involved in a fight from a girl that had witnessed it, she said Dean had got into a row with a bouncer, she was asking was he OK?“He hadn’t returned to the flat, so I got a friend to take me into the town to see if we could find him, but we couldn’t see him or find him anywhere.”The court then heard a deposition from Chloe McGee who said that she saw Mr Lafferty in the Barcelona Bar, and that he appeared to be quite drunk.Her statement read: “I saw Dean and he looked quite drunk, he waved over at me, but I didn’t know the people he was with, there was then a commotion at the door, and I didn’t see what happened, but Dean was put out.“We went outside to get a bus to The Grill, and Dean seemed very drunk..and he was leaning against the wall, he could barely stand.“The bus then arrived and he sat on the seat beside the driver, he then asked me to sit beside him, and I kept having to hold onto him, as he swaying all over the seat.“When we arrived in Letterkenny, he fell as he get off the bus and then started getting sick.”The coroner’s court then heard from Damien Foy, who was the partner of Dean Lafferty’s mum, he said he received a phone call at 1.15am from Dean asking him to collect him from The Grill.Mr Foy said he jumped in the car and headed to Letterkenny along with Dean’s brother Travis and sister Samantha.“I got a call around 1.15am, I was up anyway because the baby needed a feed, but I answered the phone and at first it was a girl, and then Dean came on the phone to me and asked me would I come get in,” said Mr Foy.“He said he was standing beside the chip van outside The Grill, so I jumped in the car and I took Travis and Samantha with me and we headed for Letterkenny.“I drove into the car park at The Grill and I saw Dean standing beside the chipper, there was a few about, and I noticed one fella down the alleyway and he was crouched over.“He seemed like he was out of breath, I then had the owner of The Grill tell me to get the f**king car out of here, and that it’s not supposed to be parked here.“I asked him why the f**k he cared more about the car, than he did about people who were in his place lying about the street drunk and others fighting.“I told Dean to get in the car, as I pulled out I spotted the owner again, and I got out and again asked him why he cared more about the car than his own patrons, at the moment I heard a bang, and as I turned around I could see Dean with his arms outstretched, he had just hit somebody I think, but I didn’t see it.“Again I told him get into the car and then we left, he then got sick on the way home, he had been drinking shots, he apologised to me for getting sick.“When we got home he offered to help me clean up the vomit, but I said it was OK and I told him to go inside.“I went upstairs to Tina, and asked Travis to check on him, he was lying on one of the beds and he had wet himself, he was getting up and he went to go down stairs I could hear this bang, I looked around and he was at the bottom of the staircase.“He seemed to be getting worse and worse, he then sat on the armchair and fell asleep, I was heading to Castlederg the next morning, and he woke up from the armchair, he went to the toilet and got sick, I told him to get something to eat and I gave him a cup of water.“I was away all day, and when I was on my way back that evening Tina rang me saying Dean wasn’t breathing, I was home within a few minutes of that call.“I went upstairs, I could see he was dead, I attempted chest compressions and CPR on Dean for about fifteen minutes, but he was gone.”Sergeant Maurice McCole said that Dean Lafferty had not died from falling down the stairs.Sgt McCole said that during his examination of the crime scene could see no evidence whatsoever that anybody had fallen down the stairs, he said if he had fallen down the stairs and fractured his skull there would have been some evidence, but there wasn’t any.State Pathologist Marie Cassidy carried out a post mortem examination and she determined that Dean Lafferty had suffered a fracture to the left side of his skull.She said it was likely the head injury sustained was the result of a punch, kick, a fall or perhaps even a head butt.She also said that if he had fallen down the stairs and fractured his skull he would have had other injuries, but he didn’t.In summarising his verdict, Coroner Denis McCauley said any number of incidents given in evidence could’ve caused the head injury, but also admitted he could’ve been the victim of an assault in Letterkenny.Dr McCauley said: “We know that Dean died from a blow to his head, which blow it was can’t be established, no amount of forensic digging will make that any clearer.“There are a number of incidents recorded in statements that could point to his death, but we can’t establish which one. There’s a mystery that we can’t resolve.“The cause of death was due to head trauma, but because we can’t determine when he received the blow and what blow caused it, I’ve got to record an Open Verdict into his death.”The decision sparked some anger in the room, with a number of family members making remarks before leaving the room visibly upset.Dr McCauley was asked by a relative to explain the head injury and the Coroner responded by saying that a small brain trauma could occur many days before someone could die from it.The Coroner said the injury which eventually killed Dean led to behaviour which would mimic that of someone being drunk and that it was almost impossible to detect such an injury without carrying out a brain scan. He said it would not be visible to someone else.Another relative asked why two witnesses summonsed to the hearing had not turned up.Dr McCauley said one of the witnesses had since suffered a brain injury himself and could not be called to give evidence.However he said the other witness had failed to answer the summons and he was now passing that to the Superintendent.Dr McCauley concluded the case by saying, “This was a tragic incident, it’s tragic that such a young life has been taken from us, and it’s difficult for everybody involved.“I want to offer my sincere condolences to the family of Dean Lafferty, this really was a tragic event, and it’s just a tragedy, but we can’t determine the exact circumstances of his death and that’s why I’ll record an Open Verdict.”Sup David Kelly offered his sympathies to the relatives of Mr Lafferty, saying they had suffered deep distress in their lives.FAMILY MEMBERS WALK OUT OF INQUEST AFTER CORONER RETURNS OPEN VERDICT was last modified: June 9th, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Dean LaffertyHome-page Newsinquestopen verdicttragiclast_img read more

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Icardi signals his intention amid Chelsea and Man United transfer links

By on December 26, 2019

first_img Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? ADVICE REVEALED no dice Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ REPLY Despite his club form, Icardi didn’t make the Argentina squad and will not also not face his compatriot Lionel Messi in the Champions League game.The Barca ace fractured his arm and has been ruled out for three weeks. Both clubs are currently level on points in Group B having won both games so far. Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move MONEY Inter captain Mauro Icardi has no intention of leaving the club as the former Barcelona academy player prepares to return to the Camp Nou.Icardi’s displays over the last few seasons has seen him linked with Real Madrid as well as Premier League clubs Chelsea and Man United. Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card REVEALED shining Most popular football news 2 RANKED huge blow The 25-year-old scored 29 Serie A goals last season and his displays this term have also caught the eye where his predatory instincts has seen him score important goals against Milan and Tottenham.He is out of contract in 2021, but speaking ahead of the Champions League game against Barcelona, the Argentina international said he is settled in Italy.“As I have said so many times, I am very well in Milano, I feel very good at Inter, my family is very good in Milano and right now I don’t have any intention to leave,” he said.“I had [a] few offers last summer but right now I don’t feel the need or the desire to leave Milano.” Icardi celebrates his late winner against Milan Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade 2 BEST OF Icardi spent three years at Barca before joining Sampdoria in 2011 and then Inter in 2013 where he has won the league’s Golden Boot award twice.“Playing for Barcelona’s academy was a very important time for me and my career, as I learned a great deal here. I started my career here and facing them as a player in the Champions League is undoubtedly special and exciting.“However, when I had the chance to come to Italy with Sampdoria, I didn’t need to think twice. It was the right decision for me and my representatives.” Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won The Inter captain scored a screamer to draw his side level against Spurs in the Champions League Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester starslast_img read more

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3 incumbents padding lead in money race

By on December 25, 2019

first_imgThree City Council incumbents have raised more than triple the amount in campaign funds than challenger Michael Madrigal, with much of the money coming from businesses that have dealings with the city. So far, Councilman Luis Gonzalez has raised $27,535, Councilman Gus Velasco has brought in $25,203 and Councilwoman Betty Putnam has gathered $20,569. Madrigal has raised $6,094. The four are vying for three open council seats in the Nov. 8 election. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 While he’s trailing in the money race, Madrigal said having less is not a total disadvantage. “It helps when you have extra money, because you can do a lot more. But as long as I’ve got my signs and (campaign literature), that’s all I need,’ he said. According to campaign finance statements, Velasco received $2,000 from Consolidated Disposal Service, which has a franchise with the city for garbage disposal. Under the agreement, the city sets the rates Consolidated can charge residents for trash pick-up. Velasco said he accepted Consolidated’s contribution and donations from other companies that do business with the city on the condition that there were no strings attached. “I have to be on my guard. I make sure that I don’t allow the fact that I’ve been given money by anyone – even a resident in the community to influence my work,’ he said. Gonzalez, who was not available for comment, received a $500 campaign donation from the city’s tow company, Vernola’s Tow Service, and $2,000 from Consolidated Disposal Service. Putnam, Gonzalez and Velasco all received $5,000 from Ecology Auto Parts, a company that is awaiting approval of a conditional-use permit from the city. “We’ve always done this,’ she said. “Donations to the council are given because the council has done a good job.’ Madrigal said while he would accept donations from businesses and special interests, he has not actively sought financial support from local businesses. “I’m trying to stay away from asking any of the big companies (for money),’ he said. “Mine are basically $50 or $100 contributions. “I want to be able to go in their and do my job as a councilman. I would take special interest money as long as the understanding is that I accept it without (conditions),’ he added. Sandy Mazza may be reached by calling (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026, or by e-mail at sandy.mazza@sgvn.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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