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Bell residents take first steps to recall council members

August 25, 2010 |  2:15 pm

Petitions to recall four Bell council members who were earning six-figure salaries were submitted Tuesday to the city clerk by a local residents group.

After initially calling for the resignation of Luis Artiga, Oscar Hernandez, Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal -- council members who pulled in an annual salary of about $100,000, which included thousands for sitting on boards that never met or met only briefly -- the Bell Assn. to Stop the Abuse has since been focused on recall efforts.

Councilman Lorenzo Velez, who was earning only $8,000 a year and has been critical of his colleague’s paychecks, is not a target of the recall.

Working with an attorney versed in recall efforts and whose services come pro bono, the group is prepared to begin gathering signatures once their petition is approved by the city attorney.

"We’re confident that we dotted all our I’s and crossed all our Ts," BASTA representative Denise Rodarte said in a statement Wednesday.

According to state law, 25% of Bell’s registered voters must sign the petitions and an elections official must verify the signatures to qualify for a recall. Bell has just under 10,000 registered voters. The group would need to collect roughly 2,500 signatures of registered Bell voters.

The recall group would have 90 days to collect the signatures.

If the signatures are verified, the council would have 14 days to call an election in which voters would decide the fate of the council members.

A BASTA meeting is scheduled for Wednesday evening and would include a presentation on the recall process, said Cristina Garcia, one of the group’s leaders. "People are anxious to hurry up and get this part done and get involved."

-- Corina Knoll

Photo: Residents outside a Bell City Council meeting last month. Credit: Robyn Beck / AFP /Getty Images.