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As the City Turns… PDF Print E-mail
Written by Diana Martinez | Editor   
Thursday, 30 August 2012 04:47

When the stream of news trucks drove into San Fernando last November following former councilman Mario Hernandez' true confession, San Fernando residents emphasized that their town wasn't like other small cities. They resented the comparison between San Fernando and South Gate or Bell.

While the issues between these towns may not be mirror images, those same San Fernando residents today, now refer to what's been going on in San Fernando as in many ways much worse.

Residents now refer to their city council meetings as "toxic."

It's clear to anyone who attended last Monday's San Fernando city council meeting why this is the point of view as this dysfunctional council awaiting a November recall election can get little done.

City administrator Al Hernandez has over recent days been more frank about the condition of the city with a hemmoraging budget and impending layoffs.

In previous months he was still carefully couching his words, but now the word "bankruptcy" is falling from his lips.

Senior citizens from Las Palmas Park came to Monday's meeting hoping to convince the council to keep Las Palmas Park Human Services Director Virginia Ufano who oversees their activity and nutrition program, she and other employees are being considered for the chopping block.

On the items listed on the council agenda, Monday, was to consider raising property taxes for residents and business. But instead of addressing these issues squarely, verbal salvos were thrown back and fourth, with the same cast of characters who were at first viewed as entertaining, they are now taking precious time from the long list of urgent matters before the council.

Salvos were thrown not as much from residents Monday, but tossed back to them from Mayor Brenda Esqueda who just can't seem to control herself. If a comment pleased her, maximum time was extended to the resident, if a comment displeased her, she broke the rules and had to have the last sarcastic word.

This is now a council that is beyond dysfunction. It is broken and toxic. Instead of handling urgent matters, posturing continues and Councilwoman Maribel De La Torre and Esqueda have been working overtime to try to figure out a way to appoint someone of their choosing, to get the chair vacated by Mario Hernandez, filled by someone of their choosing.

Some have joked at the notion that Hernandez wants the chair back. They hope to recapture their majority voting block and assist them in their last ditch efforts to politically maneuver before the November recall election.

Following the physical fight with De La Torre, Hernandez, when announcing his resignation, said that now the "city could heal." But instead, at each council meeting, his presence has caused the environment to become even more toxic.

As Police Officers Association President, Det. Irwin Rosenberg attempted to speak, Hernandez called him obscene names from the back of the council chambers.

By the end of the meeting, Hernandez concocted a scheme to accuse Rosenberg of acting improperly during a verbal exchange, and this situation has now gone so far that a complaint has been filed against Rosenberg. Hernandez' goal many believe is to place Rosenberg on administrative leave. This would add to the list of other officers they have placed in legal limbo.

Under questionable circumstances, the trio was successful in placing Police Chief Jeff Eley, and most recently Sgt. Kevin Glasgow, on administrative leave. Rosenberg, in his position as President of the POA has spoken out against laying off police officers. Rosenberg has been a target as he has taken a public stance to support the recall committee in their effort to remove Esqueda, De La Torre and Hernandez, prior to his resignation.

Rosenberg has paid a price for his convictions. Rosenberg has been a vocal and formidable opponent. Among his public comments at Monday's council meeting Rosenberg said:

"Finally, on a personal note, let me clarify again for the record, I have no desire to be the City Administrator or Chief of Police. I just want to be able to do my job, as does every other officer in this city, without fear or retaliation, reprisal and interference by and from members of Council. I ask Mayor Esqueda to quit making false statements and again, if you are going to accuse the police department of corruption, as you did recently in a public forum, finally present the facts or please refrain from making these false statements. The men and women I work with , perhaps with one exception, are honorable men and women committed to the people of this city and would give their lives for anyone, even you and they don't get to make a choice because they don't like or support you. Please stop lying and finally do the right thing for the right reasons because it is the right thing to do as two of you, Esqueda and Delatorre, finish your final days on this council."

An investigation on Rosenberg is now underway. And so the city turns ...

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Last Updated on Thursday, 30 August 2012 16:55