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San Fernando Recall Election Nov.6 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Diana Martinez   
Thursday, 01 November 2012 07:30

With less than a week to go before the City of San Fernando's recall election, organizers of the campaign to vote "Yes" to recall Mayor Brenda Esqueda, Councilmember Maribel De La Torre and former council member Mario Hernandez, said that they've had to contend with public harassment from Mayor Esqueda and her supporters. They've complained that Esqueda, with her boyfriend SFPD Sgt. Alvaro Castellon, continue to stalk and engage in "childish campaign tactics," attempting to derail the recall effort.

"We leave literature for our neighbors and then they show up. Our literature disappears behind us," said Jesse Avila, a recall candidate, who previously filed a police report to complain that Esqueda had been following and videotaping him.

"We had 400 signs out, and they've been knocked down, vandalized and stolen," said Julian Ruelas, organizer for the "Yes on Recall" campaign. Ruelas concurred with Avila.

"Brenda and Castellon, even though he's been placed on administrative leave by SFPD, have driven back and forth in front of my home. The other day, my dogs were going crazy, and Brenda's teenaged pregnant daughter was in front of my house, just staring."

More seriously, Ruelas was concerned with the anonymous flyers that have been distributed around town salaciously labeling the recall candidates as either "adulterers", "criminals," or "selfproclaimed homosexuals." Ironically, the flyers also quote religious scripture.

Matthew 7:1-5 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Ruelas said that another flyer has personally attacked recall supporter and life long resident, Kevin Beaulieu. The flyer accuses him of being anti-immigrant, with a warning to beware that he will call ICE on residents.

"Kevin is one of my best friends and just because he happens to be white, his character is being unfairly attacked by these people. He is the most Latino friendly guy I know," said Ruelas.

"This kind of illegal and unethical campaigning will have to be dealt with after the election."

Ruelas said he is taking all of the hits to candidates and recall supporters seriously, but he also notes there are other, immediate incidents of intimidation reported to them that involve residents.

"We were told by one resident that Mayor Esqueda wouldn't leave their home until they put up her sign. One resident said that she actually had to call her daughter to help her force Esqueda to leave," Ruelas said.

"Another resident told us they were told by Esqueda that she wasn't the Mayor. She told the resident that she wasn't the same person and they believed her, and put her sign up. After they found out later that Esqueda was the same person being recalled, they took the sign down. Others have told us that they've put up her sign just to get her to leave their property."

The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol made phone calls to Mayor Brenda Esqueda but she did not return our calls. The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol has repeatedly requested numerous interviews with Esqueda, which she has refused or ignored.

Maribel De La Torre has not been actively campaigning to save her seat, and former Mayor and councilman Mario Hernandez resigned his seat after alleging an incident of domestic violence against De La Torre. Although he resigned his seat, his name must still appear on the ballot to be formally recalled from office. De La Torre appeared in court on Wednesday and her trial has been continued until Dec. 10, after City Administrator Al Hernandez, who is a key witness, left town to vacation in Europe.

Meanwhile, the efforts of the "Yes on Recall" campaign is being supported by a long list of outside politicians including Congressman Howard Berman, State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, State Senator Alex Padilla, L.A. City Councilmember Tony Cardenas, former state Assemblymember Richard Katz, Supervisor Michael Antonovich, former San Fernando Mayor Nury Martinez, Los Angles Commmunity College Board President Steven Veres, and San Fernando council members Sylvia Ballin and Antonio Lopez.

Brochures announcing the political endorsements have been mailed to San Fernando residents, and phone-banking in English and Spanish have been made to support the recall.

Robo-phone calls from both Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes and State Senator Alex Padilla have been made to local residents. The recorded phone call states:

"Good evening. I'm State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes. State Senator Alex Padilla and many other local elected officials join me in urging you to vote YES on the Recall of Mayor/Councilmember Brenda Esqueda, Councilmember Maribel De La Torre, and Former Councilmember Mario Hernandez. Your vote 'Yes' on the Recall of these three City council members on Tuesday, Nov. 6, is critical to restoring integrity and dignity to City Hall. Paid for and authorized by San Fernando Residents and businesses united to restore integrity 2012."

Ruelas said he believes that residents overwhelmingly support the recall but he has found that many residents are undecided about whom to vote for to replace Esqueda, De La Torre and Hernandez.

"Some residents still don't feel that they have enough information about all the candidates," Ruelas said. "We will all be walking and working up until Election Day."

Running for Esqueda's seat are Avila and Victoria S. Mojica; running for Mario Hernandez's seat are Gilbert Berriozabal, Robert C. Gonzales and Bennie Najar, Jr.; and running for De La Torre's seat are Joel Fajardo, Renato Lira, Louis A. Lopez, and Danitza Pantoja.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 01 November 2012 07:42