While the city of Montebello is currently dealing with a scandal involving the mayor, it’s the future of two incumbents that is most pressing. Voters must decide if they want to reelect incumbents William M. Molinari and Art Barajas, and who should replace Frank Gomez who opted to not seek another term. Molinari and Barajas are facing challengers Anna Arriola, a retired financial technician; Emma Delgado an Operations Manager; Flavio Gallarzo, a teacher/school administrator; City Clerk Daniel Hernandez and businesswoman Vivian Romero. The three candidates with the most votes will be elected.
The candidates voted into office will have to take on the task of finding ways to bring revenue to the city without RDA funds and to address the city’s multi-million dollar debt obligation, and for improving the city’s image, damaged by allegations of financial problems resulting from alleged past improper handling of city’s finances.
Longtime resident and challenger Anna Arriola said she blames the city’s negative image on its current officials. She claims they have not always been straightforward, and she plans to use her financial background to take a close look at the city’s current finances before taking drastic, but potentially necessary actions such as raising taxes.
Incumbent Barajas told EGP he would focus on economic development if reelected. He said one of his top priorities is to change the media driven negative image of the city as corrupt or dysfunctional in order to attract new restaurants, shops and shoppers to Montebello.
Molinari, the longest sitting member of the council, agreed that the hit to the city’s reputation in recent years has been the biggest impediment to attracting new businesses to Montebello. Changing Montebello’s image would help them convince new businesses to take advantage of the economic opportunities the city offers, he told EGP.
Challenger Romero said she wants to focus on economic development to ensure the city has the revenue it needs to improve its infrastructure. She favors potentially relaxing some ordinances to make the city more conducive for business. She said restoring the city’s reputation is also vital.
Challengers Delgado, Hernandez and Gallarzo, in previous statements, have suggested that the best way to address the city’s negative image is to replace those members of the council who were in office when the misuse and mismanagement of city funds was alleged to have occurred. Delgado told EGP she would like to bring cohesion to the board, while Gallarzo and Hernandez each told EGP they would like to see the city move forward and grow through new ideas from new city leaders.