The Press

Three newcomers elected in Huntington Park

Newcomers ousted incumbents in Bell, Cudahy and Huntington Park in the municipal elections March 3, according to unofficial results from the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters office.

Formal results are expected next week after a canvass of votes.

Upsets were most prominent in the contentious Huntington Park race, where Graciela Ortiz, Marilyn Sanabria and Planning Commissioner Jhonny Pineda won council seats over Mayor Rosa Perez, the only incumbent, and former council members Elba Romo and Andy Molina, civic leader Alex Reynoso and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leticia Martinez.

The three were supported by Councilwoman Karina Macias, who was criticized by fellow council members and demoted from her vice mayor position for using the city seal without permission on a campaign flier for them.

Unofficial vote totals for the Huntington Park candidates were 792 for Ortiz, 722 for Pineda, 673 for Sanabria, 495 for Romo, 473 for Perez, 464 for Reynoso, 345 for Molina, 331 for Martinez, 322 for Adolfo Cruz and 103 for David Sanchez.

The new council will be sworn in and reorganize at its next meeting, March 16, City Clerk Donna Schwartz said.

Incumbent Ali Saleh was the top vote-getter in Bell while Mayor Nestor Valencia also held his council seat, but newcomer Fidencio (Joel) Gallardo, a high school teacher, unseated Councilwoman Violeta Alvarez based on the unofficial totals.

Saleh received 898 votes, followed by Gallardo with 840, Valencia with 704, Alvarez with 426 and Isamar Arambula with 264.

A Bell measure to rewrite the City Charter was overwhelmingly approved, 1,160 to 267. It limits council and administration authority to increase their salaries, among other reforms.

Cudahy Mayor Baru Sanchez was the top vote getter in that city, followed by his running mate, newcomer Christian Hernandez, an account executive for a large company, and Councilman Cristian Markovich. Councilwoman Diane Oliva was out of the running, according to the unofficial count.

Sanchez was the top vote getter with 399, followed by Hernandez, 350; and Markovich, 327.

Out of the running were Oliva, 294; and Adam Ochoa, 269

The new council will be sworn in and reorganize April 1, Deputy City Clerk Victor Ferrer said.

A measure to limit two four-year terms on future council members was approved 521 to 107.

In District 5 of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, incumbent Bennett Kayser faces a runoff against Ref Rodriguez, the founder of a chain of charter schools known as Partnership to Uplift Communities.

Rodriguez received 8,217 votes to lead Kayser, who finished with 7,623 votes. Andrew Thomas was third with 5,426 votes.

The District 5 seat represents an area that includes Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights, Bell, Cudahy and Huntington Park.