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City of Bell hires a permanent city attorney

The Bell City Council has approved David Aleshire as its permanent city attorney.

Aleshire, from the law firm Aleshire & Wynder, currently represents the cities of Banning, Signal Hill and Suisun City, northeast of Vallejo. He has served as city attorney or assistant city attorney for a dozen cities over a span of 60 years, according to the firm's website.

The city's former attorney, Edward Lee of Best Best and Krieger, was criticized for not doing enough to restrain allegedly lawless behavior from the town's former administrator and other officials, who paid themselves high salaries as the city struggled financially.

Aleshire will succeed Jamie Casso of the law firm Meyers Nave, who was appointed as interim city attorney amid the scandal and after Lee resigned.

At least two other firms were also considered for the job.

Many residents believed Aleshire & Wynder was favored by the council because it provided free legal work for the recall campaign in March, most of it was for the activist group Bell Assn. to Stop the Abuse. BASTA officials said the firm provided work for the recall campaign only.

On Monday night, three former BASTA members, Mayor Ali Saleh and council members Violeta Alvarez and Danny Harber, voted in favor of hiring Aleshire's firm, while council members Nestor Valencia and Ana Maria Quintana voted in opposition.

Some residents said the council members' previous connection to BASTA created a conflict of interest.

"Whoever the city hires, they will be working for the city and not one group," Saleh said in a recent interview. "As far as a conflict with Aleshire & Wynder, it is my understanding that all his firm did was to perform a much needed service for all of our community; they helped make sure the recall was done as efficiently and correctly as possible."

RELATED:

Full coverage on Bell scandal

Bell leaders to consider city attorney post at special meeting

-- Ruben Vives

 
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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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