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Bell’s Newly Elected City Council To Be Sworn In

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(credit: AP)

(credit: AP)

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BELL (CBS) — A new City Council will be sworn in Thursday night to lead the embattled city of Bell.

Violeta Alvarez, Danny Harber, Ana Maria Quintana, Ali Saleh and Nestor Valencia will take their oath of office at the Bell Community Center Thursday night.

The event was delayed because most of the previous council has been indicted on public corruption charges, leaving the city without any leadership.

Bell law requires the City Council to declare election results official after they are certified by the city clerk, but a judge’s order requires Mayor Oscar Hernandez and council members Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal to stay at least 100 yards away from City Hall, making it impossible for the council to meet.

To remedy the problem, Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, authored AB93, giving the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors the authority to declare the results official in the absence of a functioning city council.

The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown March 21 and took effect immediately.

The board certified the raw election data March 22. That data was then sent to Bell’s city clerk, who made her own certification and returned the results to the board, which gave its final approval Tuesday.

Eight Bell city officials, including four sitting council members, were charged with a variety of corruption charges. Jacobo, Hernandez and Mirabal, who did not seek reelection, and former Councilman Luis Artiga, who had already resigned, were recalled by Bell voters. A fifth council member, Lorenzo Velez, was defeated in his reelection bid even though he was the only incumbent who wasn’t indicted.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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