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Bell councilman calls on colleagues to resign

September 15, 2010 |  2:16 pm

Velez Bell City Councilman Lorenzo Velez -- the only council member who was not receiving lavish pay -– called again on his colleagues to resign.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday by state Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown "is what I have been demanding all along," Velez said. "This is a positive step forward for the residents of Bell."

Velez is not named in the lawsuit. Velez was appointed to the council in October and received $310.62 every two weeks, considerably less than the nearly $100,000 his colleagues collected annually.

"It's time that all four City Council members take accountability of the poor choices they made and take the next step to resign," Velez said. "It's time to do a clean sweep of the officials who are associated with this form of corruption."

Mayor Oscar Hernandez and council members Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabel were named in Brown's lawsuit.

Councilman Luis Artiga was not named in the lawsuit. He told The Times he had been interviewed several times by the Attorney General's Office and was cooperating with the investigation.

Artiga denied participating in any votes that led to excessive salary increases, but acknowledged receiving nearly $100,000 in annual pay.

"I failed," Artiga said. "I should have asked more questions. I should have investigated more. I let the community down and I ask for a humble forgiveness."

Artiga told The Times on Wednesday that he was considering resigning from his post.

The four council members who were earning high salaries have already taken 90% paycuts. Several have said they will not seek reelection.

-- Ruben Vives in Bell

Photo: Bell City Councilman Lorenzo Velez. Credit; Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times