The Press

Huntington Park fills last commission vacancy

HUNTINGTON PARK — The City Council July 20 filled a vacancy on its Planning Commission, but not without dissension as was the case in the appointment of the other four commissioners June 15.

Mayor Karina Macias named Amy Zubieta, a 41-year resident with a background in accounting, to a four-year term on the advisory group.

The vote was 4-1 with Councilman Valentin Amezquita dissenting, not over the appointee but the manner in which she was selected.

Amezquita said it was his understanding that each council member could make his or her own selection. His colleagues made their individual appointments June 15 choosing from five applicants. Amezquita said at that time he was not ready to choose.

Macias, backed by Assistant City Attorney Noel Tapia, said the mayor can fill a vacancy after 60 days. She noted that Amezquita, as the other council members, do have control over appointees.

Zubieta was among the five original applicants, the mayor said.

A lifelong resident of the city, Zubieta’s application said she is active in Rhema of Life Church, Covenants 4 Kids and the Huntington Park High School class of 1991 Scholarship Committee.

She was president of the San Antonio Elementary School PTO from 2007 to 2010.

“I love my city. I want to be part of a positive influence of change and improvement. I believe H.P. has so much potential,” she wrote on her application.

The council earlier this year abolished all advisory commissions and rewrote the requirements, including absentee warnings and non-residency rules.

Selection of the other four planning commissioners drew protests from Amezquita and some residents who opposed the new rules allowing two members of each commission to be non-residents.

They especially opposed the appointment by Vice Mayor Graciela Ortiz of former resident Efren Martinez, who is director of the Florence Firestone Chamber of Commerce. Some said it was payback for Martinez’s help in the successful campaign in March of Ortiz and her running mates, Marilyn Sanabria and Jhonny Pineda. They also were supported by Macias.

Martinez told a reporter he was an unpaid volunteer in the campaign.

Other Planning Commissioners appointed June 15 were 20-year resident Carlos Cordova, picked by Pineda; real estate agent Eduardo Carvajal, appointed by Macias; and Marcos Osorio, a one-year resident active with a number of civic groups, named by Sanabria.

Commissioners are to meet once a month with a monthly stipend of $75.

The commission will meet for the first time at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 19, at City Hall, a city spokesperson said.