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Bell council meeting ends when 2 members walk out

A Bell City Council meeting was cut short Monday night after two members who appeared offended by a resident's insult refused to return to the chambers and ordered police to clear the room.

Dozens of spectators had filed into the small room for the monthly meeting, with only a handful having to listen on the loudspeaker outside. At first, the public comment session was relatively calm, with residents even wishing the council a happy holiday.

But many residents questioned an agenda item that proposed hiring an assistant chief administrative officer, saying the timing was wrong. "Please try to make a difference with what little bit of time you have left," urged one man, referring to the recall the majority of the council is facing.

Mayor Oscar Hernandez appeared agitated several times, pounding his gavel whenever the crowd erupted in cheers or protest. It was when Jesus Casas, 36, called the council "shameless thugs" in Spanish that Hernandez asked the police officers present to escort Casas out. When the officers did not move, Hernandez and Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo stood up and marched out.

Council members George Mirabal and Lorenzo Velez stayed seated. The meeting had lasted less than an hour.

"Their arrogance doesn't permit them to face the community," Velez said of Hernandez and Jacobo. "He was just looking for a reason to walk out."

Mirabal got the angry crowd's attention by saying he is trying to make the best of his remaining time in office. "I personally am trying to listen," he said. "Whatever it takes to make things better in the city of Bell, I'll try."

After Jacobo and Hernandez failed to return after about 20 minutes, police began to clear the room. The crowd refused to leave.

"He has a right to say whatever he wants to say," Nora Saenz shouted, defending Casas. "You don't think they heard worse at the county jail?"

Interim City Atty. Jamie Casso informed everyone that the two council members would not return if the room was not cleared, which would mean there was no quorum for a meeting. The crowd again refused to leave and many said they preferred postponing the meeting if it meant delaying the hiring of an assistant chief administrative officer.

Casso later said the meeting would be rescheduled as early as this week. Residents continued to linger outside long after the doors to the council chambers were locked. Casas was among them and said he did not regret his remarks.

"Truth hurts," he said. "I would say it 100 times more."


Is a city manager worth $800,000?

High salaries stir outrage in Bell

-- Corina Knoll in Bell

Comments () | Archives (7)

Jacobo and Hernandez, just keep on walking.

Corrupt is what corrupt does. Hey, it's the council's problem. Time is running out and they're wasting what time they have by storming out of the room like a child.

OK, the residents of Bell already made their point, the council members are going to ousted and some may even end up in jail. Whereas this guy feels that he can say anything anywhere under the pretense of freedom of speech, the mob mentality is clearly in his mind. Residents of Bell please put your pitch and forks in your garages, you need to move on. You'll get your chance to remove the "shameless thugs" in a few months. In the meantime, while vigilant, you need not to resort to insults in order to get a point across.

I think that the city council and Mr. Hernandez needs to understand is the damage that it has done to its residents and people around them. I clearly think that the residents of Bell have a clear right to speak their minds about anything and I'm sorry to say but "descarado" is not a word and justification to get Oscar out of the room and to order the police to get a citizen out of the room. I understand that we all have the election in March, and at that time, at the ballot booth, we do have a chance to make history. However, keeping in mind that one cannot control people and people are going to keep saying those things whether one likes them or not. People are still upset and they are going to until residents sees positive changes that will benefit. If Mr. Hernandez or Ms. Jacobo do get offended by similar future remarks, then it is a clear signal that they should resign from their posts despite having an election around the corner, or that they should just walk out.


100 years ago these people would have been dragged from their offices and hung in the town square for all to see had corruption like this come to light. Given the fact that these individuals have in essence stolen public money and that it will take more public money to prosecute and imprison them, it seems they should be cuffed in their chairs and be forced to listen to every affected citizens voice who wants to give them a piece of their minds.

The only thing they fear is losing the cash cow and their only regret is getting caught. It seems this is the case in many levels of government these days and I'm afraid Bell is just the tip of the iceberg.

Bell is the tip of the iceburg, I'm sure Cudahy and Maywood are NEXT... The councils on both cities are worse than Bell, Especially the gangster, drug dealing thugs that run Cudahy... I'm surprised they're not in prison yet. More than likely because people are too afraid of them to say anything.


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