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Commerce Council Candidate John Soria Caught in Another Lie

Commerce City Council candidate John Soria.

Commerce City Council candidate John Soria.

 

By Brian Hews

Last week Hews Media Group-Community News found that Commerce Council candidate John Soria, who proclaimed himself a law-enforcement professional in his direct-mailed campaign pieces to Commerce residents, was in fact a radio dispatcher for the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

The expose also found that convicted felon Angel Gonzales, who is managing the campaigns of Commerce candidates Oralia Reballo, John Diaz and Sonya Rodriguez, is assisting Soria with his campaign with the help of Citadel Outlet Mall owner Steve Craig.

Craig has donated $40,000 to an Independent Expenditure Committee called the California League of Voters, reportedly run by Gonzales opposing Hugo Argumedo and Denise Robles and helping Diaz.

In 2002, Gonzales was convicted of two misdemeanor counts of sending out misleading campaign fliers.

Angel Gonzales

Angel Gonzales

That same year, Gonzalez was convicted of a felony conspiracy charge — reduced to a misdemeanor at his sentencing — for sending out attack mailers with copies of fake official documents.

Now comes a third damaging revelation about Soria’s campaign.

For his entire Commerce City Council campaign, Soria has told residents that he will be “independent,” that current Commerce Councilmembers will not influence his votes, and that it is “time for a change” because he did not like how the council was “always arguing” at meetings.

Turns out that Soria is twisting the truth again much like his law enforcement professional statement in his direct-mailed campaign pieces.

HMG-CN has obtained a photo showing Soria standing with current Commerce Mayor pro tem Lilia Leon and Councilmember Ivan Altamirano, all three with their thumbs up indicating approval.

The picture was taken at a party that strongly signifies both Leon and Altamirano are endorsing Soria.

Commerce City Council Candidate John Soria (center) with Commerce Mayor pro ten Lilia Leon (l) and Commerce Councilmember Ivan Altamirano

Commerce City Council Candidate John Soria (center) with Commerce Mayor pro tem Lilia Leon (l) and Commerce Councilmember Ivan Altamirano.

Residents of Commerce have told HMG-CN they are fed up with the “gang of three,” Mayor Tina Baca Del Rio, Mayor pro tem Leon and Councilman Ivan Altamirano running the city into the ground while catering to Citadel owner Steve Craig.

And now the Soria picture with two-thirds of the “gang of three” surfaces while Soria was trying to distance himself from them.

City activist Leonard Mendoza commented at last week’s rancorous Commerce City Council meeting about the election.

“Steve Craig is running our city,” Mendoza lamented. “He donated over $40,000 to major Republicans in Sacramento in the past. Commerce is 90% Democratic and he just donated $40,000 to three Democrats?”

An attendee told HMG-CN that at that same council meeting, Craig was purposely given several questionable exemptions pertaining to his digital billboards in front of the Citadel in an ordinance being amended by the city, digital billboards that some outdoor advertising companies say are illegal.

Ex-Commerce Mayor Sylvia Munoz spoke at the same council meeting and later on was shouted down by a finger-waggling Mayor pro tem Lilia Leon.

“Dirty politics once again,” Munoz said. “Dirty politics happens all the time in this city, and now we have Steve Craig giving Leon’s candidate $20,000? This is ridiculous. All of you (pointing at Mayor Baca Del Rio, Mayor pro tem Leon, and Councilman Altamirano) can be seen endorsing Diaz and Rebollo on the campaign mailers, that’s because of Steve Craig.”

John Soria (left) with an unidentified friend at a football party.

John Soria (left) with an unidentified friend at a football party.

“These people have no shame, they are trying to fix the election, ” said long-time resident and activist Mike Alvarado. “They moved the polling places making it more difficult for everyone to vote, especially seniors, they endorse three candidates tied to convicted felon Angel Gonzales, and they all have ties to Steve Craig (Citadel owner) who just poured $40,000 to oppose Hugo Argumedo and current Commerce Councilwoman Denise Robles, they will do anything to get their candidates, Reballo, Soria, Rodriguez or Diaz elected.”

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