Thursday, April 18, 2002
Appeals Court Maintains Stay of South Gate Recall
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Petitions targeting the majority of South Gate city council members and the city treasurer will remain unprocessed for the present in the wake of a decision by this district’s Court of Appeal to suspend the recall effort pending further court action.
The court on Tuesday ruled that an automatic stay of a Los Angeles Superior Court order permitting the filing of the petitions will remain in place while the parties comply with an expedited briefing and argument schedule.
The court has ordered that transcripts of earlier hearings on the contentious South Gate dispute be filed by the end of this week and that opening briefs from Julia Sylva, an attorney and elections consultant hired by the targeted officials to examine the recall petitions, be filed by May 2. Briefing from the plaintiffs, who are seeking the recall, is due two weeks later.
On March 15, Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs granted the plaintiffs’ request to file their recall petitions with city election officials, culminating a long battle between two factions in the turbulent city in southeast Los Angeles County.
South Gate’s elected city clerk, Carmen Avalos, normally would take charge of reviewing the petitions to assure they comply with the law and that they contain the requisite number of signatures to allow a recall election to be held. But the council last year accused Avalos of favoring the petitioners and suspended her from her duties, hiring Sylva in her place.
The city treasurer, Albert Robles, was arrested earlier his month on charges of making threats against other officials and possession of illegal weapons. Sylva and three recall targets—Mayor Xochilt Ruvalcaba, Vice Mayor Raul Moriel, and Councilwoman Maria Benavides—have been accused by recall proponents of corruption and of doing Robles’ bidding in city affairs.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company