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Commerce City Council Recall Signature Gathering ‘On Target’ Proponents Claim
By Brian Hews
Hews Media Group-Community News has learned that a Commerce recall petition gatherer and a petition signer were forcefully intimidated not to sign the recall petition by Commerce Councilwoman Lelia Leon last week.
HMG-CN was told that Susan Rodriguez, one of the petition gatherers in the recall effort against Mayor Joe Aguilar and City Councilmembers Ivan Altamirano, Tina Baca Del Rio, and Leila Leon, witnessed Councilwoman Leon driving along Fitzgerald Street.
When Leon saw Rodriguez talking to a voter, she exited her vehicle, approached her and the voter, who was in the process of signing the document, and yelled, “don’t sign that petition!”
Another signature gatherer who did not want to be identified told HMG-CN that Leon continued to tell the voter and Rodriguez that HMG-CN was “getting indicted for perjury.”
The source went on to say that Leon then got back into her car, drove off, and continued to follow Rodriguez and her associates down the street.
HMG-CN was also told that Councilwoman Baca Del Rio then arrived at the location where the signature gathering was being conducted and that she proceeded to “stare down” potential recall signature participants who were talking to proponents of the campaign.
HMG-CN was told that signature collectors are “contemplating” filing a complaint with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department on both Leon and Baca del Rio for “voter intimidation” as well as “interfering in the electoral process.”
The group of petition gatherers claim that they are on target in reaching their goal that would ensure a Fall special election.
“The response has been positive and overwhelming at this stage of the gathering,” said Miguel Alvarado a resident of Commerce and one of the main leaders of the recall movement.
Petition gathers have already visited homes throughout Commerce “for the first time” and are planning to double up on their efforts during the next several days, according to Alvarado.
“We are moving forward and the residents are excited to sign the recall petitions,” he said.
Alvarado would not give the exact number of signatures that have been collected thus far but did tell HMG-CN that the recall organizers are “working around the clock” to collect the 1,570 names that are required by election officials in order to force the recall election.
“We want to collect 2,000 signatures, and the goal is to get this done as quickly as possible. People want change here in Commerce, especially the seniors who are living on tight budgets these days,” Alvarado stressed.
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