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Four Commerce City Officials Now Face Recall Campaigns

Councilwoman Denise Robles joins Council members Altamirano, Baca Del Rio, and Leon as targets for removal from office.

By Brian Hews



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Commerce City Councilwoman Denise Robles was officially served with a petition that seeks her removal from office after a heated city council meeting on Tuesday night bringing the number of current seated city officials who are facing recall efforts to four.

Robles now joins three other city council members who were served with removal petitions during the past four to six weeks.

California election code allows for citizens to call for the removal of an elected official in a legally binding election if enough voters sign a specific circulated petition.

During the past month, City Councilmembers Tina Baca Del Rio, Ivan Altamirano and Lilia Leon were also served with recall papers that seek their removal from office.

The lone city official who is not target of removal is current Mayor Joe Aguilar.

Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper has obtained copies of all four recall petitions and published them this week online at www.loscerritosnews.net.

The petitions allege that Baca del Rio, Altamirano and Leon “raised our taxes in the last election,” “voted to give city employee Jason Stinnett, a raise as payback for running (their) reelection campaign(s).”  The recall papers also claim that the three “refuse” to disclose all the names and amounts of money all the names and amounts of money given to their past campaign, as required by City and State laws.

“Why won’t (they) reveal to the residents of Commerce the names of amounts of cash (they) received for their campaigns,” the petitions state.

The recall petitions also claim that Leon, Altamirano and Baca del Rio “cannot be trusted to be fair and independent or to protect the interests of Commerce residents.”  It also alleges that the three are “political crony’s” of “special interests,” and will do “whatever they want,” and that they are “out to take care of (themselves) and (their) corrupt friends who see Commerce as a city with a lot of money!”

“We do not need another puppet controlled by special interests,” the petitions state.


Perhaps more stinging are the allegations listed against first term councilmember Robles in her recall intention papers. Robles said she was served after Tuesday’s city council meeting at Commerce City Hall.

“Robles has put our children in danger by allowing a convicted sex offender to live with her family in Commerce,” the petition states.  It also alleges that “although she is a councilmember, she believes that it is none of our business if she allows sex offenders to live in our city.”

It also alleges that she “took a City car without permission to school.  She knew it was illegal but did it because she did not want to pay for gas.”

The petition goes on to claim that “Robles voted NO to helping fund the City’s Crush Volleyball program, which helps our girls get scholarships and go to college.  When other Councilmembers voted YES, she got mad and began to stalk and threaten them.”

It also states that “Robles and her corrupt friends are trying to take over Commerce. Robles is a political crony of special interests who want to take the City’s money. She will do anything for them.”

Robles denounced the allegations on Wednesday.

“My desire is to serve the best interest of the entire community of Commerce.  The voters did not elect me to go along with the rest of the city council, day after day, and to be a rubber stamp for campaign contributors who have given huge contracts,” Robles said in an interview.

She did confirm that she is a cousin, three times removed, who is listed on the California Megan’s List Registry, and that he did live at the property of her family owned property on Wellman Street in Commerce.  Robles said she and her husband Richard cut ties with the family member more than 18 months ago, and that he no longer lives at the location.

“I demanded that he move from the home and he complied.  This is old news,” Robles said.

“This entire recall against me is nothing more than political retaliation because I am standing up against corrupt politicians here in Commerce,” Robles charged.

“I might be rough around the edges sometimes, but I will not allow for my voice to be silenced as an elected official by the current city council majority,” Robles said.

Robles said that she will take her case “directly to the voters, and to the good people of Commerce.”

“We can spot a political smear a mile away here in Commerce. The voters here are smart and totally understands who controls who around here,” Robles concluded.