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Seven area cities to conduct elections March 7

Seven Southeast cities will conduct municipal elections March 7, while voters throughout Los Angeles County will take part in a special election on Measure H, which would raise the sales tax a quarter-cent to fund services to fight homelessness.

Elections also are being held for Los Angeles Unified School District school board members and the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees.

The seven cities holding elections are Bellflower, Bell, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Norwalk, Monterey Park and South Gate.

This is the last City Council in Bellflower where office seekers will run citywide. The two winners will serve until November 2020, four months shorter than the traditional 48-month term.

Candidates are Mayor Dan Koops, Councilman Juan Garza, Cerritos College trustee John P. Drayer, Rene Meja and Robert Wilson.

Also on the ballot is a proposal to tax various marijuana operations within the city.

Another Cerritos College trustee, South Gate’s elected City Clerk Carmen Avalos, is being challenged for the clerk post by current Councilman Gil Hurtado.

South Gate’s other council incumbent, Bill De Witt, is seeking re-election and faces challenges from Jose De La Paz, Tyler F. Morrison, Al Rios, Jenny Perez, Christina Montalvo, Denise Diaz, Edgar J. Pelayo and Mary Johnson.

South Gate’s elected treasurer, Greg Martinez, also a former council member, is being challenged by Miguel Morales and Sonia Lopez.

In Norwalk, three seats are open as longtime council members Mike Mendez and Cherie Kelley are not seeking re-election. A third seat, that of former Councilman Marcel Rodarte, who resigned last July, has been held open.

Seeking four-year council terms are Esperanza Free, Marcel Mercado, Debbie Martinez, Candy Martinez (no relation), Jaime Armenta, Enrique Aranda, Tony Ayala, a former city employee; Harvey Cardenas and Planning Commissioner Jennifer Perez.

Seeking the remaining two years of Rodarte’s term are Ken Manchaca, Norwalk-La Mirada school board member Margarita Rios and Albert Uribe.

Seeking re-election in Bell are Mayor Alicia Romero and Councilwoman Ana Maria Quintana. They are being challenged by Violeta Alvarez, a former council member; and Susana Lopez.

Also on the ballot in Bell is Measure T, which would impose a 12 percent bed tax on hotel and motel stays to fund general city infrastructure improvements, raising $285,000 a year. The measure requires approval from two-thirds of voters.

Huntington Park City Councilwoman Karina Macias is seeking re-election and says she is running with Manuel Avila, the husband of the city’s former elected treasurer.

Councilman Valentin Amezquita is also seeking re-election. Challengers are civic leader Alex Reynoso, a federal law enforcement officer; Laura Hererra and Kerry Porter.

Monterey Park City Councilmen Peter Chan and Hans Liang are running for re-election and face challenges from Anthony Felix Jr., Randall Avila, Joe Ray Avila (no relation) and Margaret Leung.

Also on the Monterey Park ballot is a proposal to renew a $25 per year parcel tax for library services.

Incumbent City Clerk Vincent D. Chang and City Treasurer Joseph Leon face no opposition.

In Cudahy, incumbents Jack Guerrero and Chris Garcia face opposition from Adam Ochoa, a health care representative; Elizabeth Rodriguez, a public safety commissioner; Sergio Vasquez, Planning Commissioner Martin Fuentes, businessmen Jesus Lopez and Carlos Fragosa and Jessica Ramirez, an accountant.

Also on the Cudahy ballot is Measure PS, which would impose a $139 annual parcel tax on single-family and unimproved properties, $181 per dwelling on multi-family properties; and between $1,550 and $49,600 for industrial, commercial, mobile-home park and other non-residential properties.

The tax would last five years and raise about $2 million a year, funding roughly half of the city’s cost of police services. The measure requires approval from two-thirds of voters.

Three seats are up for re-election on the Los Angeles Community College District board, which serves voters in Montebello, Monterey Park, East Los Angeles, South Gate, Huntington Park, Bell, Maywood, Cudahy, Commerce and Bell Gardens.

In Board Seat 2, incumbent Michael Eng is not seeking re-election. Four people are seeking to replace him: former board member and college teacher Steve Veres, community college advocate Steve Goldstein, education advocate Sergio Vargas and college professor Thomas Norman.

In Board Seat 4, incumbent Ernest Moreno, a longtime district employee, is facing Dallas Fowler, a South Los Angeles resident and a city commissioner.

In Board Seat 6, incumbent Nancy Pearlman is being challenged by college professor Gabriel Buelna.

In Los Angeles City elections, Mayor Eric Garcetti is facing 10 challengers in his bid for re-election.

Challengers are Mitchell Schwartz, a political strategist, an environmentalist and an entrepreneur; David Hernandez, a community advocate; Diane “Pinky” Harman, a retired educator and actor; David “Zuma Dogg” Saltsburg, a community activist; Y.J. Draiman, a neighborhood council board member; Yuval Kremer, Paul Amori, a creative artist; Dennis Richter, a factory worker; Frantz Pierre, a community activist; and Eric Preven, a writer and producer.

In the 1st City Council District, incumbent Gil Cedillo is being challenged by community advocate Joe Bray-Ali, education advocate Giovany Hernandez and businessman Jesse Rosas.

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, incumbent Monica Garcia is being challenged by public school teacher Lisa Alva and parent advocate and businessman Carl Petersen.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For help locating your polling place, call (800) 815-2666.