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MEETING TONIGHT: Bell Gardens Council to Vote in Closed Session to Appoint Questionable City Manager



The Bell Gardens City Council, at their regular meeting tonight, will allow public comment as their only public council action,  then adjourn into closed session to appoint a city manager.

Tonight’s Bell Gardens City Council agenda, item 1 shows the appointment of a city manager.


Last week, Hews Media Group-Los Cerritos Community News exclusively reported that two Bell Gardens City Councilmembers were scheming to install a city manager with a controversial past and little municipal experience in order to control the lucrative cannabis market in the City and possibly influence the awarding of large City contracts.

The effort comes just months after long-time and well-respected City Manager Phil Wagner suddenly took medical leave.

HMG-LCCN was told through sources that Mayor Alejandra Cortez and Councilman Marco Barcena were attempting to court one more Bell Gardens City Councilmember to hire current Huntington Park City Councilmember Jhonny Pineda.

Pineda, 36, is best known for nominating two undocumented immigrants to Huntington Park commissions in 2015.


From (l-r) Councilman Marco Barcena and Mayor Alejandra Cortez are scheming to hire Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo’s Field Representative, Johnny Pineda.


Pineda’s only exposure to municipal government is his city council position; according to his Linkedin account, he has never held a top-level business position managing a large staff in any municipality.

In fact, in 2018, according to Pineda’s Statement of Economic Interests-Form 700, which all elected officials must file annually and report any income received, Pineda earned his money as a Field Representative for Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo.

In 2017, Pineda’s 700’s reported two sources of income of less than $10,000, both political consulting positions.

In addition to his questionable qualifications, Pineda is also associated with extremely shady characters, including  former Bell Gardens City Councilman Mario Beltran.

Beltran was convicted in 2007 of filing a false police report after claiming he was robbed by an African-American prostitute. Two years later, he plead guilty to three egregious campaign finance violations and was forced to step down from the City Council.

Beltran and his company, Principia Group LLC, was a paid consultant with Saving Local Jobs, a PAC instrumental in Pineda’s successful city council campaign in Huntington Park.

After his election to the council, Pineda and two others voted, without seeking bids, to hire Metro Transit Services, a bus service that charged Huntington Park 46% more than the previous service.

Metro hired Beltran as its general manager.

There is also rumors of Principia and Pineda’s own political consulting company, the Pineda Group, working together. Pineda reported income on his 2018 Form 700 from the Pineda Group of in between $1,001 and $10,000.

And Pineda is married to the sister of Beltran’s wife.

Now, according to multiple sources, Beltran is fighting hard to get his friend installed as Bell Gardens City Manager.

The inside source told HMG-LCCN, “the council-members are trying to bring Pineda in as city manager, giving them authority to bypass policy and procedures, Pineda has very little experience in city management, he doesn’t know what he is doing and Mario Beltran is close behind him.”


After the story broke, HMG-LCCN was sent pictures from a Facebook post by Montebello City Counclman Salvador Melendez while in Tijuana. In the picture was Beltran, Pineda and Mayor Alejandra Cortez.





  • Abigail says:

    hahahahahahahahah….. well welcome CM Pineda

  • Mike Hawk Esbig says:

    I love this, tell me more HMG