Huntington Park City Council recall, California (2012)

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An effort to recall all five members of the city council of Huntington Park, California, was launched in October 2012.[1] The members of the city council are Mayor Andy Molina, Vice Mayor Elba Guerrero, and council members Mario Gomez, Ofelia Hernandez, and Rose Perez. In November 2012, recall organizers withdrew their recall petitions against Gomez, Hernandez, and Perez, citing "intimidation tactics" by recall opponents. However, recall organizers said they would re-file recall petitions against all three officials.[2]

Reasons for recall

Marilyn Sanabria organized the recall effort. Former City Councilwoman Linda Guevara and community members Nick Ioannidis and David Leija were also involved in organizing the recall effort. Sanabria said the catalyst for recall is the fact that Huntington Park's former City Attorney Francisco Leal was being paid over $600,000 a year, which is similar to the city salaries that were being paid by the City of Bell prior to a successful recall campaign targeting Bell's city council. On October 16, one day after city council members were served with recall papers, Leal resigned from his position as City Attorney.[3]

Sanabria said, "Huntington Park and Bell residents are paying 30% more in property taxes than Beverly Hills or Downey. The City is currently facing a $9,000,000 budget deficit due to financial mismanagement and lack of leadership. The City Council has approved higher taxes and fees including an over 30% increase in the water bill recently. The City lacks transparency and the residents are demanding to know where their money is. The current City Council granted questionable historical designation the John Noguez home (the County Assessor) to stop foreclosure proceedings and avoid paying his fair share of taxes."[1]

Path to the ballot

Recall supporters would have needed to gather 3,100 signatures on each petition in order to force a recall election.[3]

Allegations of intimidation tactics

In November 2012, recall supporters received a letter from attorney Bradley Hertz, with the San Francisco-based Sutton Law Firm, which represents council member Rosa Perez. The four-page letter demanded that recall organizers withdraw the Notice of Intention to circulate the recall petition against Perez. Recall oranizer Sanabria said, "The 24 residents who support the recall where paid a visit by two young men who informally delivered a threatening letter written by Hertz."[2]

See also