The Los Angeles County registrar’s office has announced that anyone who resides in the city of Bell who wants to fill one of the vacant council seats can begin filling out the necessary paperwork. In a March election voters will have the chance to approve the recall of council members and during the same election they will decide on who should fill the seats. Whoever signs up for the role will have to be up for a challenging position amidst the flurry of ongoing investigations that have currently stalled city business. Mayor Oscar Hernandez and councilmembers Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal are up for the recall vote, as is Councilman Luis Artiga, but he already resigned last month. The LA Times reports the following on the election:
“The lone council member not caught up in the city's salary scandal, Lorenzo Velez, is up for re-election and is not a target of the recall. It is unclear whether he intends to seek re-election. In the general municipal election, voters will choose replacements for Hernandez and Mirabal, whose terms expire at the same time as the recall election. The winners will earn full four-year terms. The candidate who receives the most votes in the recall election will fill the vacancy left by Artiga. And if Jacobo is recalled, voters will select someone to complete her term, which expires in April 2013.The two elections will appear on one ballot and will be conducted by the county registrar of voters' office. Candidates may not file to run for both elections. The four-year City Council terms begin in April 2011.”
December 10th is the deadline for prospective candidates to turn in their paperwork and the Times notes that “The nomination period for the recall election closes at 4 p.m. on Dec. 23.” For more, see here. In other Bell-related news, we recently relayed that the state attorney general and the Los Angeles County district attorney's office have agreed to delay a civil lawsuit against former officials because the city of Bell has recently agreed to the appointment of a monitor to oversee day-to-day functions and finances. According to the defendants' lawyers, that delay stems from a lack of evidence in the first place. The Times notes:
“The motion to stay, filed in conjunction with the district attorney's office, said that a delay would prevent defendants from seeking civil documents that could benefit their criminal cases. Waiting for the conclusion of the criminal case would also help narrow the issues in the civil case, thereby conserving judicial resources, the motion said.”
For more on the delay, see here. Finally, in an update to the court-appointed monitor debate, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge did not officially appoint someone to the task yet, even though the city of Bell has agreed to accept such an appointment. The LA Times notes that the judge stated “I don't want to lead anyone to believe we will appoint a monitor but I want to be prepared if we're going to do it." In order to be prepared, the city and state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown will suggest the names of three individuals who they feel would be best to take on the task. There will be another hearing on Tuesday. For more, see here.