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Bell's mayor says death threats have forced him to skip council meetings

Oscarhernandez Bell's embattled mayor said he's been forced to withdraw from his civic duties and skip City Council meetings because of death threats that have left him fearing for his life.

Oscar Hernandez's absences have left the council shorthanded and unable to make budget cuts that Bell's interim city administrator has said are necessary to keep the city from sliding into insolvency.

"I explain to police, and they don't want to give me protection," Hernandez said Thursday during a break in an ongoing preliminary hearing that will determine whether Hernandez and five other current or former council members will stand trial for allegedly misappropriating money from the city treasury.

Hernandez said that he doesn't trust his city's police officers because he supports replacing the department with Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, a move that would reportedly save the financially desperate city about $3.5 million a year. Interim City Administrator Pedro Carrillo has estimated the city could be facing a deficit of $3.5 million to $4.5 million by the end of the fiscal year.

"I don't know whether to be afraid of someone with a gun or someone with a gun and a uniform," said the mayor’s daughter, Lena Hernandez, 34.

Bell Police Capt. Steve Finklestein defended his officers.

"My cops are professionals, and as a professional police officer, no matter what your opinions and reservations, those are put those aside and you do your job," he said.

The council has been unable to muster a quorum three times in the last five months, mainly because Hernandez and Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo have failed to show up. Both had doctors notes to excuse them from last month's meeting, which was ultimately canceled.

It's unclear whether the council will be able to meet before next month's city elections, which likely will give the council a makeover.

-- Jeff Gottlieb

Oscar Hernandez//Times photo by Don Bartletti

 
Comments () | Archives (16)

Oscar doesn't show up because there isn't anything left to steal.

I hope he still gets paid, it's not his fault everybody in Bell wants him dead, is it?

I am sure he's lying. He's not man enough to answer to his constituents and the deserving taunts to his face. He should man up and face the music. Eat the crow and humble yourself. You did this to yourself, Hernandez. No one else to blame here.

If he can't or won't do the job, he should resign.

This situation begs the question, why fear when you have not done wrong?

The police were always there Mr. Mayor. Always... Even when the sheriff's department discovered an operational methamphetamine lab on your property.

When you get a spare moment, read Proverbs, Chapter 28, in its entirety. Pay close attention to 28:1.

This will afford you courage, and give you insight into the duties of a man entrusted with the mantle of "public servant."

This man stole so much money that he owes it to the people of Bell to be a man and attend these meetings no matter the death threats. He owes them to do the job he was elected to do, especially now that he has been exposed as a criminal. He brought on this hatred and now the cowardly thief is afraid of losing his precious hide. He is disgusting. If I were his daughter, I would be hiding under a rock in shame, and not opening my big mouth on the criminal's behalf. The rotten apple does not fall far from the rotten tree. Sickening...

@ Glenn - Get's paid for what? He stold plenty of mula from the city, for all you that don't understand spanish; mula is money.

Maybe he should just resign...

The great part is they are still earning a salary and benefits while this plays out. Our system is so wonderful.

This is the same man who refused to come out of his house when the D A Investigators showed up to arrest him and they had to use the SWAT Team and their battering ram to take his sorry A$$ into custody. Too bad Oscar can't hide begind Rizzo anymore. Looking at Rizzo, the whole city council could hide behind him.

Now can someone tell me how much tax payers money is being spent in court to give justice to the bell 8.This country is great protecting the rotten idiots that were suppose to deliver Bell residents of feduciary duty and leadership.I hope that if found guilty the weight of the law should fall and fall heavy,obviously they were offered redemption by the court and they chose to stand by their leader Robert Rizzo and company.This is truly the best of America and if anyone doesn't recognize this they need self-evaluation.

Wimp!

You have no problem cashing those inflated paychecks you got from stealing from the people..

You need to do some serious jail time dude!

You would be quite popular I bet in the gray bar hotel.

Suck it up puss. You and your merry band of civic thieves bought the meal, now pay the check. Do your job or resign. And give back all your ill gotten gains while you're at it.

None of this whole fiasco would never have come to light within the media if prosecutors, one being the (then) DA himself, "Honest" Steve Cooley and had listened to Sgt. James Corcoran in the first place with regards to deep political corruption within the City of Bell and opened a criminal investigation.

Instead, "Honest" Cooley picked up the phone and gave his old school buddy Randy Adams a "heads-up" regarding Corcoran's legitimate complaint against Bell officials. For his "reward" in coming forward, Adams moved quickly and placed Corcoran on administrative leave for "insubordination," thereby sweeping the problem under the carpet. If anyone should be joining the list of perpetrators in arraignment next at the Criminal Courts Building, it should be disgraced ex-Chief Randy Adams. Jim Corcoran is the real hero in all this mess. If it wasn't for Corcoran, nobody would be none the wiser.

Mike Hughes

Well said Mike!!! Bell PD always loyal even when the administration sticks the knife in their backs. Rot in Jail!!!!

Mr.Concron should be one to talk!! He and his buddies tryed to frame the Mayor and his Family by inventing a so called Meth Lab on One of the Mayors Properties on which he is not living, by stating that there was an Active Meth Lab on the Premisses but after futher investigation by the Los Angeles Sherif's department they determined that not only was there not a Meth Lab but there never was a meth Lab On the Premisses!! and the only thing that really happened was that a tennant living on the Property had his glue from his carpet installing biz conficased by the Police jajajaj
The Real Crimanals in all this Bell Scandel Are The Bell Police Department and yes of Course Cocran! Lets not bring to light a shooting behind a resturant OK!!!


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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