Jennifer Rodriguez is appealing the judge's decision, but losing, said she will run for the next election.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court ordered that Jennifer Rodriguez be removed from office as a councilor in the city of Bell Gardens for missing 10 of 20 Council sessions without justification, and at the same time for collecting her salary.

Judge Gregory A. Alarcón determined that Rodriguez violated his oath by missing multiple Council meetings and costing taxpayers a year, more than $ 50,000 and other medical, dental, vision benefits, while not showing up.

"They – the councilors – take an oath to serve their communities, forcing them to attend council sessions," can be read in the judge's ruling.

According to state law, when a member of the Council misses all scheduled meetings within a period of 60 days, his or her seat becomes vacant.

Jennifer Rodriguez says they want to take her out because it is an obstacle to dirty business. (Facebook Jennifer Rodriguez).

In an interview with The opinion, the councilwoman still says that they are punishing and separating her from her position for having been ill.

“Because I went through a family crisis, my mental health was affected. I suffered from depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I tried to attend the meetings, but I couldn't. I felt very bad. It was like being in a horror movie, ”he says.

And he regrets the lack of sensitivity of his colleagues towards his health problems.

He points out that during the trial to dismiss her, he always noticed that the judge was on the side of those who intended to remove her from the Council.

In addition, Rodriguez claims that behind his departure, there are many interests. “I was an obstacle for dirty businesses that want to be done in the city, because I strongly opposed the permits to establish marijuana businesses and the construction of a 47-dwelling project,” he said.

Councilman Pedro Aceituno defends himself and says that the accusations of Councilwoman Rodríguez are false. (Official photo Bell Gardens Council)

He directly accused Councilman Pedro Aceituno of being together with Vanessa Delgado, owner of a real estate company, in favor of a housing project with 200 parking lots.

"He will receive money from that project," he said.

He even said that the councilman declared his love when he learned that he had family problems. “He told me, I love you, I love you. I told him, I love you too, but like a brother. He loved me differently, even when he was married. I rejected him, and he doesn't forgive me, ”he said.

He also said that behind his departure is political consultant Mario Beltrán, who is determined to take marijuana businesses to Bell Gardens. “As soon as they get me out, they will approve them. I completely oppose it. Who will suffer is the community. I am an integral woman, I do not sell myself to the highest bidder nor have I stolen. ”

The Opinion asked Councilor Aceituno about the allegations of harassment denounced by Councilwoman Rodriguez. He replied that they were totally false.

“As far as there is a plot to get her out of the Council, she had the opportunity to provide the Court with evidence of her illness, and she did not. The judge issued a ruling, after listening to all parties, ”says Aceituno.

He adds that the City took action to remove her from office, after her seat was empty for a long time, and the community began to complain about her prolonged absences.

"The Council meetings were supposedly due to illness, but he was seen in the gym, and at special events," he says.

In the end, Aceituno emphasizes that we must not forget that if Councilwoman Rodriguez is one step away from leaving office, it is due to a problem that she caused when she missed so much.

"If she had justified her absences from the beginning, none of this would be happening," he says.

In the opinion of the Court, it is indicated that the councilor failed to provide evidence that she was ill. In addition, the City attorney and administrator repeatedly asked you to show written verification from a medical professional or health care provider, which you never did.

Councilwoman Jennifer Rodriguez says that after her departure she will seek to approve marijuana licenses at Bell Gardens. (Archive / Opinion)

Mario Beltrán, on the other hand, recognizes that there is a state law that authorizes licenses for the cultivation, manufacture, extraction and delivery of marijuana, as long as local governments approve it.

"It is the decision of local governments. To approve marijuana licenses, at least three of the five votes of the Council are occupied. Your vote is not indispensable. She is dating because a judge so determined, not because of her position to the legal use of marijuana or her opinions, ”says Beltrán.

It is still unknown what day Councilwoman Rodriguez will leave office or what will be the process for choosing her successor. The options available are the following: the remaining four of the five members of the Council may appoint a new member; or call a special election; or expect a new councilor to be elected by the voters in the November 2020 elections.

Councilwoman Rodriguez reveals that she is appealing the judge's ruling ordering her to leave office.

"In case I can not help it, from now on I anticipate that I will launch again in the next election to recover my seat," he says.

Rodríguez is a social worker by profession and advocate for the elderly, low-income families and young people. She is married, mother of two children, and was elected to the Bell Gardens Council in March 2003 for the first time. She was reelected in January 2007, 2011 and 2015. In this last year of 2015 she was elected by her colleagues as mayor. Already in 2009 he had been vice mayor. His term in the Council expired in November 2020.

Her illness caused her to lose her job as a social worker and director of admissions for a local health company, says the councilwoman.

Rodriguez is the daughter of former councilor Rogelio Rodríguez.

Unofficially it is known that you must leave your position on December 26 of this year.

The city of Bell Gardens is located in the southeast of Los Angeles County. It has approximately 44,000 inhabitants, mostly Latinos. It is located in an area of ​​2.5 square miles. It has around the cities of Commerce, Downey, South Gate and Bell.


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