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Norwalk voters elect three new council members

NORWALK — Voters here elected three new members to the City Council March 7, replacing two retiring council members and one who resigned last year.

Jennifer Perez and Tony Ayala were elected to replace Mike Mendez and Cheri Kelley, who retired after at least 20 years each on the council.

Norwalk La Mirada school board member Margarita Rios was elected to complete the remaining two years of the term vacated by Marcel Rodarte, who resigned last summer to become executive director of the California Contract Cities Association.

Perez was the leading vote-getter with 1,588 votes. Ayala, a former city employee, received 1,509 votes. They defeated seven other candidates.

Rios received 2,324 votes to defeat Ken Menchaca, who had 1,005 votes. Alberto Uribe finished a distant third with 303 votes.

In Bell, incumbent Councilwomen Alicia Romero and Ana Maria Quintana were re-elected with almost identical vote totals. Quintana received 607 votes and Romero received 602 votes. Former Councilwoman Violeta Alvarez finished third with 511 votes and Susana Lopez was fourth with 353.

Bell voters also approved a 12 percent hotel and motel tax. The measure, which is expected to raise about $285,000 annually for the city, was approved by 67.19 percent of the voters.

In Bellflower, incumbents also were victorious.

Councilman Dan Koops led the way with 1,651 votes. Councilman Juan Garza, who was appointed to fill an unexpired term, won his first election with 1,533 votes.

Robert Wilson finished third with 1,186 votes and Cerritos College trustee John Drayer received 528 votes.

Bellflower voters also approved a tax on marijuana related products to be determined by the City Council.

Cudahy City Council incumbents also were successful in Cudahy, where Jack Guerrero received 412 votes and Chris Garcia received 356. Elizabeth Rodriguez trailed Garcia by only 38 votes with provisional and late absentee ballots still to be counted, so that could change.

Cudahy voters also voted down a $139 a year parcel tax, with 75.5 percent of the voters voting against the measure.

In Huntington Park, Councilwoman Karina Macias was re-elected along with Manny Avila, who ran on a slate with Macias. Macias received 1,240 votes and Avila received 1,004. Avila knocked off Councilman Valentin Amezquita, who received 488 votes. Laura Herrera finished just three votes behind Amezquita.

In Monterey Park, incumbents Peter Chan and Hans Liang were re-elected. Chan received 1,604 votes and Liang received 1,351.

Margaret Leung finished third with 1,117 votes.

Voters also approved the renewal of a $25 parcel tax to fund library services.

In South Gate, incumbent Bill DeWitt was defeated and Councilman Gil Hurtado lost his bid for city clerk. Al Rios and Denise Diaz were elected to the City Council, Rios receiving 1,107 votes and Diaz receiving 1,091.

DeWitt was third with 958 and the other six candidates trailed him by more than 400 votes.

Hurtado lost his bid for the city clerk’s seat to incumbent Carmen Avalos. Avalos received 1,618 votes to Hurtado’s 1,595, a tally that could change as late votes are counted.

Incumbent City Treasurer Greg Martinez was re-elected with 1,553 votes, outpolling two challengers.

In Los Angeles voting, Mayor Eric Garcetti easily was re-elected to a second term, drawing more than 80 percent of the vote.

First District City Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents Lincoln Heights and Highland Park on the Eastside, apparently avoided a runoff by receiving 50.98 percent of the vote to stave off challenger Joe Bray-Ali, who received 36.13 percent of the vote.

Measure S, an initiative aimed at limiting development in the city by blocking General Plan amendments for two years, was defeated by city voters, with almost 69 percent of voters opposing the measure.

Measure H, a county initiative that will raise the sales tax one-quarter cent for the next 10 years to raise funds for programs for the homeless, appeared headed to victory with 67.44 percent of the vote after unofficial vote tallies. The measure requires approval by 66.67 percent of the voters to take effect.

And Los Angeles school board member Monica Garcia was re-elected in District 2, receiving 57.72 percent of the vote.