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Maywood manager criticized for holiday weekend festival

MAYWOOD — Interim City Manager Rueben Martinez, hired in April, may be on the hot seat at the June 9 City Council meeting following letters of protest about the Memorial Day weekend street festival from Mayor Pro Tem Eduardo De La Riva and City Clerk Gerardo Mayagoitia.

In a letter written over the weekend, a copy of which was received by The Wave, De La Riva said he and Councilman Ricardo Villarreal were concerned about the apparent lack of planning and heavy traffic caused by the May 27-30 Fiesta de Maywood that was conducted by a private vendor at Slauson and Atlantic avenues.

De La Riva May 31 confirmed that he wrote the letter on behalf of himself and Villarreal and the concerns stated to Martinez, Mayor Ramon Medina and council members Thomas Martin and Sergio Calderon were accurate.

Mayagoitia and Martinez did not return calls for comment.

De La Riva said residents complained about the heavy traffic at the intersection and that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department did not have sufficient personnel to police the area.

Villarreal recently stepped down as mayor in protest of previous council actions. He and De La Riva dissented on the 3-2 vote last month, which approved a contract for Martinez.

“Further, we are concerned that you have allowed Fiesta de Carnaval to operate within the city of Maywood without any checks and balances,” the letter said.

In a separate letter to all council members and Martinez, Mayagoitia reportedly wrote:

“Residents have been complaining all day about the truck traffic on residential streets. If something happens, it is a liability to the city of Maywood as we have strict ordinances prohibiting access to trucks on residential streets especially next to elementary schools.

I am very concerned as are the residents. It is obvious there was very poor planning on putting this carnival together.”

In his letter, De La Riva wrote, “This entire event has been rushed with no real thought given to the safety of our community and the possible implications that may arise from this poorly executed event.

“I find the actions and attempts at managing this weekend’s activity lacking in any mindful concern for the safety of our residents and [was] deficient in all basic management skills.

He said the fiesta plan came to the council at the last minute and there was not sufficient time to study it.

“We received a copy of the contract minutes before the start of our last regularly scheduled City Council meeting. Council had no time to read through the contract and make recommendations and/or changes. Again, like everything associated with this event, it was rushed and approved with no considerations,” the letter stated.

In the letter, De La Riva and Villarreal demanded an answer to the question of  “who authorized Fiesta de Carnaval to collect funds from vendors using the organization ‘Fiesta de Maywood Group?’ What council action authorized this fund? Who manages the fund? What bank account is utilized and what steps have been implemented to ensure that all funds are clearly utilized for the purpose of the Memorial Day Weekend Carnival and the city of Maywood. Who audits this fund? Who exactly is Fiesta de Maywood Group?”

In his letter to the council, Mayagoitia criticized Martinez, saying “he refuses to return my phone calls and to meet with me regarding official city business.”

“I am truly concerned at his failure to meet with the city clerk’s office regarding important matters.

“In the over two months that he has been here he has not set a time meeting for me to see him.”