Board of Supervisors certifies City of Bell election results
Winners to take office next week
BELL, Calif.—The March 8 election of five new city council members in the corruption-rocked city of Bell was certified today by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, but additional steps—expected to take nine days—are necessary before the new lawmakers can take office.
Yesterday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB93, giving the board authority to declare the results of the March 8 election official, in the absence of a functioning city council. The law, the first Brown has signed since taking office, took effect immediately.
The board today certified the raw election data, collected by the county's registrar-recorder. That data was then sent to Bell's city clerk, who needs to make her own certification and return her result to the board for its final resolution, according to a spokeswoman for Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, who authored the state bill.
The resolution is expected to be on the agenda for the board's weekly meeting next Tuesday. Its vote would finally clear the way for the new council members to be installed within the following 48 hours.
Bell law requires the council to declare the election after its results are certified by the city clerk.
However, a judge's order Feb. 17 requiring Mayor Oscar Hernandez and council members Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal to stay at least 100 yards away from City Hall made it impossible for the council to have a quorum meet to declare the results. Though the state bill solved that problem, it could not completely cut through the bureaucracy of the relationship between Bell and the county.
Bell voters recalled Jacobo and elected replacements for her, Hernandez and Mirabal, who did not seek re-election, and former Councilman Luis Artiga, who resigned.
The fifth council member, Lorenzo Velez, the only incumbent who was not indicted, was defeated.
Once installed, the election winners—Violeta Alvarez, Danny Harber, Ana Maria Quintana, Ali Saleh, Nestor Valencia—will confront a number of significant challenges, including a $3.5 to $4.5 million budget deficit, the city's default on an outstanding $35 million bond issue, and whether or not to maintain a city police force or let the Sheriff's Department take over local law enforcement.
Bell, Calif.—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today formally certified the results of the March 8 election that gave scandal-plagued Bell five new city council members.
Those new members—Violeta Alvarez, Danny Harber, Ana Maria Quintana, Ali Saleh and Nestor Valencia—are now cleared to be sworn into office in the next 48 hours.
Bell law requires the council to declare the election official after its results are certified by the city clerk.
BELL, Calif.—An all-new Bell City Council was sworn into office last night, pledging to turn around the scandal-plagued and financially troubled city.
"This is a new beginning for Bell,'' Councilwoman Violeta Alvarez told the crowd at the Bell Community Center after taking the oath of office from Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens.
Councilman Ali Saleh told KCAL9 that he hopes the new council members will be able to "rebuild what has been damaged.''
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Five former Bell city officials were convicted today of misappropriating public funds by accepting exorbitant salaries while representing the small municipality, but jurors acquitted them of some charges and exonerated one former councilman altogether.
BELL - Eight Bell city officials, including former City Manager Robert Rizzo, were arrested today as part of an investigation by the District Attorney's Office into lofty salaries earned by administrators and elected leaders.
"This was calculated greed and theft,'' District Attorney Steve Cooley said at a late-morning news conference.
BELL, Calif.—Funeral arrangements are pending for a City Council reform candidate in scandal-plagued Bell, who died just days before the upcoming election.
A march and candlelight vigil was held Saturday night for Miguel Alejandro Sanchez, 34, who died Friday afternoon at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.