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File photo: (L-R) City of Bell council members Lorenzo Velez, vice mayor Teresa Jacobo, mayor Oscar Hernandez, Councilman George Mirabel and Councilman Luis Artiga listen to residents asking them to resign during a council meeting on July 26, 2010 in Bell, California.
Los Angeles County Supervisors have certified last month’s election results that put a brand new city council in place in Bell. That means the old one will be gone soon.
For almost half a year, Bell hasn’t had a functioning city government. Four of the five councilmembers are charged with corruption for paying themselves enormous salaries. Three stopped going to City Council meetings; the fourth quit.
In February, a judge ordered the council members in trouble to stay away from city hall. No problem – last month, Bell voters elected a new city council. But to swear in the new five, the soon-to-be-former council had to certify the election results – and that couldn’t happen because three councilmembers couldn’t go anywhere near City Hall.
Assemblyman Ricardo Lara wrote an emergency bill to let the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approve Bell’s election results. The Legislature passed it, the governor signed it – and now the supervisors have okayed the results.
By week’s end, Bell’s city government will be back in business, and not a moment too soon – there’s a three-and-a-half-million dollar budget deficit to fix.