The Press

Recall efforts in area cities fail

Recall efforts against four Huntington City Council members and South Gate City Clerk Carmen Avalos have failed, according to spokespersons in the two cities.

Richard Luna, assistant to South Gate City Manager Michael Flad, said the recall papers, issued to Avalos in December, were found to have an insufficient number of valid signatures by the city, which conducted the certification of names.

Avalos denied any wrongdoing as elected city clerk and said the intent apparently deals with her actions as a member of the Cerritos College Board of Trustees.

A spokesperson for the recall proponents said the group has decided to wait until the Cerritos College election in November to attempt to remove Avalos from that board.

Huntington Park City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman said proponents there failed to produce “documents required under the state election code,” outlining charges against the four council members.

That deadline has passed, Alvarez-Glasman told a Wreporter  March 15.

Targeted in the intent to recall papers served Feb. 16 at a City Council meeting were Mayor Graciela Ortiz, Vice Mayor Marilyn Sanabria and council members Jhonny Pineda and Karina Macias.

Noting an article in The Wave Feb. 18 that the county was expected to certify names on the recall petitions, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters office in Norwalk said the county does not automatically certify signatures on recall petitions unless asked.

“That is an option,” Huntington Park City Clerk Donna Schwartz said in February about county certification, but that was not requested, pending instructions from Glasman.

Ortiz, Pineda and Sanabria were elected in March 2015 and were supported by Macias, who was elected in 2013.

According to the petitions, the four appointed friends and relatives to advisory committees, Pineda’s appointments being two non-citizens who worked on his campaign. Efrain Martinez, who was reportedly campaign manager for Macias and not currently a Huntington Park resident, was named to the Planning Commission. Macias also was accused of seeking election while not yet a city resident.

The four also were accused of approving a sweetheart contract to Metro Transit Services, headed by a large donor to their campaigns.