Bell Gardens Expected to Cancel City Council Election

August 13, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

For the first time in decades, a city known for its tough political rivalries may cancel its upcoming city council election because no one has filed to run against the two incumbents up for reelection.

On Monday, the city clerk’s office announced Mayor Jennifer Rodriguez and Mayor Pro Tem Pedro Aceituno were the only two candidates to turn in paperwork before the nomination period closed Friday, Aug. 7.

It’s a surprising turn of events considering Rodriguez, and Aceituno to a lesser extent, have in recent years been involved in some of the city’s most volatile elections. The difference this year could be the absence of former Mayor Daniel Crespo, who until shortly before his shooting death last year, was a vocal and often aggressive opponent of the two incumbents.

“In past elections there are usually no shortage of challengers, but I can only assume that residents are pleased with the job their representatives are doing on the city council,” said City Manager Phil Wagner.

Under the city’s election code, if there are no more candidates than offices to be elected, in this case two city council seats, the city council at its discretion can appoint those who turned in their required paperwork before the deadline and cancel the election. The city council also has available to it the option to appoint an eligible voter in the city to the seat, or still hold an election.

“Given that we have two qualified nominations the city council will most likely choose option one and not hold an election,” said new City Clerk Kristina Santana.

Canceling the election will save Bell Gardens $90,000, the amount it would have paid the County for election services, Santana said.

As long time members of the council, Rodriguez and Aceituno are expected to be appointed to new four-year terms when the council meets to consider the issue at City Hall, Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m.

Rodriguez and Aceituno will serve exactly as if elected during an election, according to the City Clerk’s office.

Rodriguez has served on the council since 2003. She works as a social worker and director of admissions at a local healthcare facility. Aceituno was first elected in 1999 and was one of the youngest elected officials to serve as Mayor in Los Angeles County.

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