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Artesia Recall Approved, Mayor and Councilmen Ready for Battle Against Disreputable Proponents

From (l-r) Mayor Ali Taj, Councilmen Miguel Canales and Victor Manalo.


By Brian Hews

Hews Media Group-Community News has learned that the controversial recall of Artesia Mayor Ali Taj, and Councilmen Miguel Canales and Victor Manalo has been approved by the Interim City Clerk and will move forward.

Artesia residents will now be faced with signing three petitions, one for each, in the next three months.

The City Clerk wrote, “The petition was approved based on the compliance of the Chapter 1 of Division 11 of the Election Code. In accordance with the Election Code Section 11220 (a) (3), the petition must be filed with the Election Official (Interim City Clerk) not later than 90 days from August 24, 2017.”

“The deadline for the petition submittal is on November 22, 2017 @ 5 P.M. The number of qualified signatures required is no less than 25% of the total registered voters in Artesia. As of February 2017, there were 7,469 registered voters in Artesia. Therefore, the proponents need to obtain a total of 1,867 qualified signatures to qualify for a recall for the ballot.”

As with most controversial recall campaigns, behind this campaign is a gaggle of questionable proponents who’s motives for the campaign are unknown, other than their stated reason that the Pioneer Blvd. project is taking too long to finish.

Artesia residents Rene Trevino and Dorothy Kane are the main proponents, backed by Cerritos resident Gurpal Sood and newsletter editor Melinda Kimsey, who has shunned all journalistic ethics in open support of the recall.

Kimsey herself has a disreputable history, falsely accusing a 4th grade teacher for two years of pedophilia and sexual harassment before recanting her story in court and paying a $20,000 fine.

HMG-CN asked Kimsey and Jerry Bernstein, Kimsey’s partner  who has been seen around town with Trevino, for comment, no response was given.

Melinda Kimsey (left) with recall proponent Rene Trevino.


The first recall attempt failed when residents who signed the recall petition claimed they were misled by Trevino and Sood and asked that their names be removed.

But Trevino and Sood gathered 300 additional signatures during their first attempt, using the same misleading statements, and were somehow allowed to resubmit those months-old signatures; this time the recall was approved.

And, according to HMG-CN sources, it is going to get dirty, trash dirty.

Sources are now telling HMG-CN that a few trash companies, who lost out to current Artesia trash hauler CR&R two years ago, could be behind the recall in an effort to pack the council and cancel CR&R’s contract.

HMG-CN was told by one Artesia elected official that he saw Trevino, Kane, and Kimsey, “with another gentleman,” posting the Petition to Recall in Artesia a few weeks ago.



The gentleman was Chris Robles, a campaign consultant who has run recall campaigns for trash haulers in the past.

Chris Robles.

HMG-CN called Robles using two phone numbers on his website Vantagecampaigns.com; within two weeks after initiating the phone calls, both numbers were disconnected.

HMG-CN also obtained and called Robles’ cell phone number ending in 4688; again no response.

In 2008, Robles established a political committee called Save Our City and began receiving contributions, mostly from trash hauling companies.

Those companies included well-known trash haulers NASA Enterprises, Serv-Wel Disposal, Universal Waste Systems, AAA Rubbish, American Reclamation, Haul-Away Rubbish, Key Disposal, and Commercial Waste Enterprises.

Robles reportedly collected over $128,000.

Robles and Save Our City funded a recall of Montebello City Council members Robert Urteaga & Kathy Salazar in 2010.

Similar to Artesia, the two council members were part of a three-council majority that voted for an exclusive trash-hauling contract.

Robles’ company, Pericles Group, was well-paid for the campaign literature and mailings, campaign consultation; even earning a large salary during the recall.

The committee also owed Robles money for the recall petition circulation after the recall was concluded.

After learning of the approval, Councilman Miguel Canales told HMG-CN, “I am disappointed that despite lies and fraud during this recall process the proponents of the recall get to move forward. I trust our justice system, and I am still confident that the Los Angeles District Attorney will soon step in to put an end to the fraud. I am also confident that our voters and our friends will not be deceived by lies and propaganda. To the voters in Artesia… Do not sign anything before reading. If you have any questions regarding my character, please contact me at (562) 619-4380.”

An angry Councilman Victor Manalo said, “A small group of misinformed and disgruntled residents and downtown merchants are pushing this recall to further their own interests. This recall is bad for business, bad for residents, and bad for Artesia.”

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