City of San Fernando Mayor Mario "Tonto" Hernandez and City Councilwoman Maribel "Sancha" De La Torre.
Blogger's Notes: Welcome lovers of "political chisme" to another season of "Oh Mario y Maribel of San Fernando", the "Political Novella" featuring City of San Fernando Mayor Mario "Tonto" Hernandez and City Councilwoman Maribel "Sancha" De La Torre with support from Councilwoman Brenda "The Other Woman" Esqueda, that is bound to garner additional attention in 2012. Through the excellent reporting of the San Fernando Sun's Diane Martinez and supporting stories from the likes of the Daily News (** alleged ticket fixing by current acting police chief), this season's virtual reality of politics in San Fernando, has already feature getaway cars, censure motions, recall petitions and allegations of ticket fixing. Join us after the jump for more from the 2012 Season Opener of "Oh Mario y Maribel of San Fernando"---Scott Johnson
Video of the ticketing questioned in Daily News just posted (10:20 P.M.) after the jump.
Video of the alleged traffic ticket fixing as noted in Daily News story.
** Excerpted from Diana Martinez's "More Sparks Fly in San Fernando-But Its a Draw For Now" Column.
Since December of 2011:
Before this latest embarrassing installment of the "city turning," there have been several months of scandalous revelations about San Fernando city officials. But what became the last straw for residents was the public confession from the council dais last November from Mayor Mario Hernandez who announced his bankruptcy and ongoing affair with Councilwoman Maribel De La Torre.
The city was ill prepared for the storm of media attention that aired nationwide. Iin a previous discussion, city administrator Al Hernandez told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol they were hoping the holiday break would give them a breather and life at city hall would return to business as usual. Tuesday's council meeting, with Councilwoman Maribel De La Torre present was the first meeting of the full council since the now infamous scandal. (** We should also note that De La Torre enjoyed some quality time with sister, former Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez in Israel while "Tonto" faced the masses alone SJ.)
"Tonto" faces call for resignation as Mayor:
Mayor Hernandez' attempt to hold that business -as- usual council meeting, was thwarted as the public lined up to call for the council three to step down and in a surprise move to all, Councilwoman Sylvia Ballin asked for Mayor Hernandez' censure and resignation. Ballin said she didn't want to rehash last November's council meeting but felt it was her "ethical responsibility" to make this motion.
"In the best interest of the city, I am formally requesting that Mayor Hernandez step down immediately," Ballin said.
"That is the most decent and right thing to do, given the fact that San Fernando's confidence in him has been shattered. Also given the fact that San Fernando's every step is being watched. What we do going forward to recover will determine whether San Fernando falls or rises," Ballin said.
Recalling the "Tonto", "Sancha" and "The Other Woman":
In the lobby of the council chambers, residents signed a notice to recall the three council members as residents continued to take turns speaking to request that the three members of the council voluntarily step down.
Resident, Carolina Perez addressed her comments to Mayor Hernandez and De La Torre.
"It's shameful for you guys to be everywhere in the media and the newspapers. It's a shame you did that to the city," she told them and facing De La Torre, she said "Mrs. De La Torre, you never took responsibility, it's time for you to go." Patty Lopez echoed those sentiments.
"I don't know if you have dignity, morals or ethics," she told De La Torre. "[This] here is not Sepulveda. It's not Sunset," she said in reference to thoroughfares synonymous with prostitution. "It's time for you to go, if you still have some dignity."
.... and this about "The Other Woman" Councilwoman Brenda Esqueda:
The call for the resignations stopped briefly when one family praised Mayor Pro-Tem Brenda Esqueda and the officer she has been reported to have been having her own affair with, SFPD Sgt. Alvaro Castellon, for helping them with unruly neighbors after allegedly receiving no help from the San Fernando Police Department.
"Estamos contigo Brenda" (We're with you Brenda) said the woman as she left the podium to jeers from the public.
Esqueda and Sgt. Castellon have been noted for privately telling residents that there is an abundance of corruption within San Fernando's Police Department but have yet to publicly produce tangible or specific evidence of those claims.
Any comments from the "Sancha"?:
Uncharacteristically, De La Torre passed on her chance to speak. It was Council member Ballin who broke the uncomfortable ice and delivered an unexpected bomb to the Mayor.
Reading from a prepared statement, she asked for the mayor's resignation, then made a motion for his censure for violating the very anti-fraternization policies that he was supposed to be drafting for the city. She also attempted to propose that Council member Lopez replace Hernandez as Mayor.
This left a moment of stunned silence in the council chambers, as the city's attorney, Michael Estrada, tried to figure out if the motions made by Ballin were permitted.
"We don't have a procedure for that," said Estrada, appearing befuddled, and recommended that they take a five-minute recess to check legal procedures.
De La Torre quickly motioned for Ballin's items to be included in the next meeting agenda.
"I thought I'd never said this because I love surprises, but this time I hate surprises," said Esqueda when it seemed as if she, as Mayor Pro-Tem, would have to decide on the matter.
"I understand exactly what you're saying," retorted Ballin.
"I wish I had a heads up about this," said Mayor Hernandez.
"Does this mean I can be Mayor?," asked a smiling Esqueda, who scooted her chair closer to the Mayor's spot and picked up the gavel. "I want that," she said. Some in council chambers giggled. Mayor Hernandez looked angry and irritated. (** I would not trust "The Other Woman" with my back SJ).
Here comes the Recall!:
Having collected the required signatures needed to serve a recall notice to Mayor Hernandez, De La Torre and Esqueda, the recall committee decided to serve them while they were still at City Hall. Members of the committee, went to the back of the City Hall building where they would normally exit to reach their cars parked directly outside. "They were looking at us through the window," said resident Julian Ruelas. "City administrator Al Hernandez even gave us wrong information telling us to just drop off the notices with the city clerk later."
..... and the evening ends with a Getaway:
Ruelas said the group was aware that each council member they were attempting to serve would need to receive the notice, Ruelas said he was concerned that the city administrator may have been attempting to deliberately give them bad information, especially since the city attorney was with him, The group waited outside until 10 p.m but was surprised to find that Mayor Hernandez and Council woman De La Torre had called for a "getaway" car and had their teenaged children pick them up from another exit and exchanging cars, they had the teenagers drive their cars out of the back city hall parking lot.
"The teenaged boy while backing up the car was gunning it," Ruelas and Juaron described.
.... and that's a wrap on Episode One of the 2012 Season of "Oh Mario y Maribel of San Fernando".
Scott Johnson in CD 14
Labels: "Oh Mario y Maribel" Mario Hernandez, city of san fernando, maribel de la torre