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Will Bell City Council show up for Monday night's meeting?


Now that Bell's City Council members are all out of jail, will enough of them appear at City Hall on Monday night to conduct a meeting?

Last month's council session was abruptly scuttled when two members freshly out of jail, Mayor Oscar Hernandez and Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo, called in sick. Councilman George Mirabal was still in jail, and Councilman Luis Artigas had resigned earlier in the day.

That left Councilman Lorenzo Velez, the only council member not charged with a crime, at the dais. By law, at least three council members must be present to conduct city business.

Last week, Mirabal posted bail, but the question once again is whether enough council members will show up Monday night to form a quorum. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Bell City Hall, 6330 Pine Avenue.

Topping the agenda is a call to certify a recall petition for four of the five council members and to set March 8 as the date for a recall election. Voters in that proposed election would also choose replacement council members.

The council is also being asked to pay bills, approve work contracts and give the green light to minor renovations at a city park.

Routine decisions ground to a halt after four of the five council members and the city's chief administrative officer and deputy administrative officer were arrested in September on corruption charges related to city salaries and benefits.

-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: Bell councilman Lorenzo Velez is the only member who showed up to the last City Council meeting on Oct. 4. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (11)

Lovely, they are paid four times as us but don't even have to show up for work. This is happening everywhere in government & will continue to until we rise up against what is so inherently wrong. Do you like paying for corrupt politician's retirements at the expense of your own daily living?!?

I'd certainly like to see them show up for work and respect the wishes of the citizens that they serve by certifying the recall petition.

That'd be just about the only decent thing done in this whole mess, short of an outright resignation for almost everybody.

Los Angeles Dept. of Water & Power (DWP)? What do you expect?
The beneficiaries of those luxurious office furnitures are for the DWP executives? Then these executives must be the mastermind or why do these two employees got the courage to rob right in front of the executives if these transactions were not sanctioned by executives. Too obvious!!! Robbers right in front of the executives mean top level approval, don't you think so? These robbers were merely trying to please the big bosses.
With DWP's audit director as part of the cover-up, contract frauds are way out of control!! And further, City Attorneys willingly spend taxpayers dollars to further the cover-up by defending the audit director's fraudulent cover-up. He did the cover-up on waste and hazardous material recycling contracts. So what other anomalies can this auditor not cover up? Nothing impossible because he is trying to please the top guys too.
What you got is a Complete all-in-one-stop-shop fraudulent cartel going on in DWP
Who cares? Just pass the losses from fraud to the consumers by hiking water and power rates. For credit cards fraud not to be uncovered for many years, you must be kidding!! It's easy but not if the audit director is participatory.

. . . . . From the naked eye who saw things that he was not supposed to see.

Why does State auditor not look into Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power (LADWP) management skimming money through contracts overpricing, illegal contract change orders, unnecessary purchases, and other modus operandi. It is too rampant and widespread and so openly business as usual, like running their own private business. Please check out with their audit director James Tan and assistant audit director Winetta Leslie. Both have direct information by directly handling manipulative ways and means in their audit reports --- tampering and suppressing audit findings by the millions dollar. You’re with the shady group if you do not provide controversial audit findings. Never would you see this pocketing of taxpayers dollars obtained via vendors’ contract, all done with the blessing of their auditors. Even their audit senior officers skims their audit hours by sleeping and doing exercise while on the job averaging 2 hours or more a day like Danilo Cuejilo; another, Abe Shafran, reporting for work just for one day every two weeks. The audit director has full knowledge on all of these. That’s how taxpayer dollars been bilked and skimmed for many many years, just shocking to the imagination. Cuejilo idle wastage is about $45,000, excluding pension, medical, vacation benefits. Shafran's wastage is at least $100,000 a year. All taking place in DWP' Internal Audit, blessed by its Audit Director James Tan.

Conflict of interest? It's a big joke at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). When will the grand jury look into the audit director, James Tan. He is part of the cover up on contract frauds, loss, and wastage.
The Light and Power Department of Vernon is a microdot, when compared to the LADWP. Conflict of interest is the name of the game and the daily chores. If you see something that they don't want you to see, you're marked to be weeded out.
Go for broke LA Times, you're getting closer to the mother goose of all corruptions, which is passed on as increasingly higher water and electricity prices billed to the City consumers.

Look at the going ons in Maywood. A civilian employee Carlos Fernandez is earning a +10k salary. He has ties to Bell thru his family (Lt. Henshaw). He was given his ridiculous salary prior to Bell taking over services for Maywood. While all the Maywood employees were laid off, Fernandez somehow managed to stay employed. Coincidence? Back door deals?

Good for the people of the City of Bell to rid themselves of the criminals at city hall.

If the people of Pocomoke City, Maryland could be so lucky to get rid of the Boss Hogg form of government.

Will the councilmen still be paid if they miss the meetings?

The pay should be like a ball player, no post in uniform, no payola...

I can't see enough of them showing up to form a quorum. But what happens when a city government becoms so dysfunctional that the city cannot conduct its regular business? What can the state or the courts do to step in? I don't know who the state constitution authorizes to act in that circumstance.

It's Only Castles Burning

Why didn't the State Controller and the State Treasurer do something about all this before the LA Times had to dig out the information? They both sit on CalPERS Board via their elected office. They each are there to protect the taxpayers. They both raised NO questions when CalPERS waived their own rules to all a $1 million a year pension for this city manager.

Why were our elected Democrats in Constitutional Office asleep on the job? Why didn't our Attorney General move before the crimes were complete. The good ole boys heading the Democratic Party did nothing while this rape of public finance occurred.

"Good for the people of the City of Bell to rid themselves of the criminals at city hall."

BillyBurke: The Bell city Gov. were able to do what they wanted because the residents allowed it! The residents thought that because the crooks "looked and spoke" like them, that they had their best interest at heart. HA!

Shame on the voting residents of Bell! Next election ask questions and demand answers from those running for office. AND, if you as a voter can't make a decision as who to vote for, DON'T VOTE!

And stop pumping-up Lorenzo Velez as some kind of savior. He just wasn't in the club long enough to get paid.


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