Local News The Press

Huntington Park council moves protests to end of meetings

HUNTINGTON PARK — A regional group protesting the appointment of two non-citizens to advisory commissions here say they will continue their efforts even though they will have to wait until the end of City Council meetings to speak.

The City Council voted 4-0 Nov. 3 to separate the public comment portion of the council agenda. Those commenting on an agenda item will continue to be heard at the start of the council meeting. Those wishing to address issues not on that evening’s agenda will be heard at the end of the meeting.

Assistant City Attorney Noel Tapia, in response to a question from Pineda, said such a separation is legal under the state’s Brown Act governing the conduct of council meetings.

“It won’t work,” said Torrance resident Arthur Schaper. “They hope we will get tired and go home, but we will continue to protest.”

“I am extremely perplexed, but we will continue our protest at the end of the meetings,” said Robin Hvidston of Claremont, identified as the head of the group called We the People Rising.

The group, along with some local residents, has protested at every council meeting since Sept. 21, calling for removal of  the two advisory commission members who are not legal citizens —  Francisco Medina and Julian Zatarain. The two were appointed by City Councilman Jhonny Pineda and supported by a council majority to the Heath and Education Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission, respectively.

We the People Rising also is calling for the removal from office of Pineda and his council supporters — Mayor Karina Macias, Vice Mayor Graciela Ortiz and Councilwoman Marilyn Sanabria.

Councilman Valentin Amequita was the lone dissenter in the Aug. 3 appointment of Medina and Zatarain.

Schaper said Nov. 3 that he has written to Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey demanding an investigation by her integrity division, which investigates the alleged misconduct of public officials. Lacey’s office reportedly responded to the Oct. 22 letter and asked Schaper to provide more information.