Politics, government and public life for Southern California

As San Fernando turns: ousted council members end tenure on Monday

Mario Hernandez

Alice Walton/KPCC

Former San Fernando City Councilman Mario Hernandez was officially recalled on Nov. 6, along with two other council colleagues.

Lost in the drama of the presidential contest and the fate of Prop 30 was the effort to recall three City Council members in the soap opera-tinged town of San Fernando.

Voters there responded to confessions of sexual affairs and political intrigue by ousting council members Brenda Esqueda, Mario F. Hernández, and Maribel De La Torre. Their last council meeting is Monday. (Hernandez stepped down in July, but his name remained on the recall ballot.)

Robert C. Gonzales was elected to replace Hernández and Joel Fajardor to take De La Torre's seat. The two newcomers inherit terms that end next year and they've already pulled papers to run for full terms in next March's election.

Hernandez late last year announced at a City Council meeting attended by his wife that he was involved in an affair with fellow council member De La Torre. 

Hernandez later filed a police complaint alleging that De La Torre physically attacked him during an argument. De La Torre faces battery charges in the alleged domestic violence, though Hernandez asked the D.A.'s office not to pursue the case.

Jesse H. Avila was elected to replace Esqueda. She was alleged to have engaged in an extramarital affair with a city police sergeant, who has been placed on leave.

The three replacements are to be sworn in on Dec. 3.

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