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Bell City Council seats up for grabs in March election; new leaders being sought

November 16, 2010 |  6:33 pm

Residents of scandal-plagued Bell who intend to run for City Council may begin filing their papers to compete in city elections in which voters will be asked whether to recall council members and who should fill any council vacancies, the Los Angeles County registrar’s office announced Tuesday.

Most of the current council members, including the mayor, are facing felony public corruption charges; one of the council members remains jail.

The March 8 general municipal election will coincide with the city’s special election in which voters will decide whether to recall Mayor Oscar Hernandez and councilmembers Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal. Councilman Luis Artiga resigned in early October, but will still be on the recall ballot.

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.

Prospective candidates for the general municipal election must file by 4 p.m. on Dec. 10. The nomination period for the recall election closes at 4 p.m. on Dec. 23. Nomination papers are available at the Bell city clerk’s office.

An informational forum for candidates is scheduled for Dec. 1 at Bell City Hall.

-- Corina Knoll