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ARTESIA RECALL: Political Operative Chris Robles Seen Loitering Inside Artesia Flame Broiler


By Brian Hews

A local business owner has informed HMG-CN that she saw Chris Robles loitering inside the Flame Broiler in Artesia last week which is reportedly owned by Artesia recall proponent Gurpal Sood.

Chris Robles.

It is additional evidence that the controversial Robles, a well-known operative in other recall campaigns, is involved with the supporters of the Artesia recall.

“I questioned who he was and then told Robles I read about him in HMG-CN and he got really angry, actually a little hostile,” the business owner said, “he ended up taking pictures of me.”

“I asked pointed questions about the recall and nobody could answer them.”

In July of this year, HMG-CN reported the recall supporters enlisted a “campaign consultant” to help them with their campaign to oust Mayor Ali Taj and Councilmen Victor Manalo and Miguel Canales.

Disgruntled former Artesia Parks and Recreation Commissioner Rene Trevino, along with a few angry vocal business owners in Artesia, were behind the controversial recall attempt and hiring.


Pictured (l-r) Rene Trevino, Melinda Kimsey, and Jerry Bernstein.


Helping Trevino was Gurpal Sood, Dorothy Kane, local newsletter owner Melinda Kimsey along with her writer Jerry Bernstein.

Trevino and Sood’s character judgement came under fire working with Kimsey who admitted in court to committing perjury, falsely accusing a 4th grade teacher of harassment and pedophilia and paying a $20,000 fine.


Cerritos Resident Melinda Kimsey Fined $20,000 for Falsely Accusing Teacher of Pedophilia


Bernstein, a Republican, has for years been a critic of Taj, Canales, and Manalo, who are all Democrats.

At the time, sources told HMG-CN that the group was using Robles.

Robles, who operates the Pericles Group, is a long time operative with a past that includes managing controversial recalls for trash haulers.

He also has several Fair Political Practices Commission violations including depositing  funds meant for his campaign into his own bank account.

The revelation of his inclusion had many local residents wondering why he had joined the recall effort.

Sources were telling HMG-CN that Robles and the new recall could be backed by trash hauling companies angry that CR&R landed Artesia’s trash contract in 2015.

Their endgame is a referendum to recall Taj, Canales and Manalo and then vote on a new trash contract, but they need to clear out the Council first.

Robles trash history

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.

Robles working for free? Who is paying for the Artesia recall?

Three weeks ago HMG-CN reported that an expensive robo-call hit Artesia, frightening residents while talking about the “lack of safety” along Pioneer Boulevard.

One week later, a recall signature gathering event was held in front of the same Flame Broiler that Robles was seen at.




Finally, recall signature gatherers have been seen in front of Stater Brothers market in Artesia asking for signatures to get the recall initiative on the ballot.

Someone or some organization is spending money on the recall campaign; the robo-call and signature gathering events cost money.

But according to Artesia City Clerk and Norwalk Registrar Recorder’s office, as of two weeks ago, no committee has been registered showing donations to – or proponents of – the controversial recall.

It is a major violation of Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) laws under the Political Reform Act to spend money in support of a recall effort without reporting the expenditures and who is behind the donations.

Each violation carries a maximum $5,000 fine.

It is additional strong evidence that the recall, aimed at Taj, Manalo, Canales, is a blatantly corrupt movement to remove three competent elected officials.

The recall has exhibited graft and corruption from the very beginning.

Trevino and Sood submitted their “Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition,” with what they said were valid signatures in May of this year.

But according to Taj, Canales, and Manalo, the petition contained fraudulent signatures and signatures that were obtained by false statements.


ARTESIA RECALL FRAUD: Petitions Show Additional Forged Signatures


The three, with their allegations, accused Trevino of fraud, forgery, and perjury.

And other Artesia residents backed those allegations.

On May 23 HMG-CN reported that the recall campaign was invalidated due to questionable signatures.


Artesia Recall Petitions Invalidated Due to Questionable Signatures


Many residents on social media confirmed what HMG-CN published, that Trevino and Sood were misleading residents to get them to sign the petitions.

A number of posts indicated that Trevino and Sood were telling residents, “this petition is to get the Pioneer Blvd. project moving forward,” to obtain signatures.

The proponents were later allowed to use other signatures obtained from the same fraudulent May campaign and were able to set in motion the signature gathering movement.

That is when a high-level Artesia elected official saw  Robles with Trevino, Sood, and Kimsey posting legal notices about the recall campaign.

Once HMG-CN learned of Robles, several phone calls were placed to his listed numbers and his cell phone with no response.

Later phone calls found that the Robles numbers were disconnected.