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Gonzalez Disputes Lombardo Claim

June 12, 1988

This letter is in response to the fine article written by Times staff writer Lee Harris, "South Gate Gadfly's on Other Side of the Mike" (Times, May 26).

My comments are directed at Dorothea Lombardo's assumptions and claim that "if Mr. Gonzalez was up here, he would be screaming that the city pay his legal fees."

It seems that Lombardo always speaks without thinking first. One would think that she would look at my prior record as councilman regarding my acceptance of car allowance, salary and other benefits before she spoke. But then her claim, in my opinion, is only a cover-up on her part to direct the attention away from her and cast doubts on my credibility regarding the issue of accepting the taxpayers' money to pay for her attorney fees. As I stated at the council meeting, it's a bad precedent, and what the council is really doing is paying her fees to get her elected or retain her in office. I happen to feel that the attorney fees are part of the price of getting elected and the people should not have to pay.

For the six years I served on the council, I never used one cent of my salary on myself. It all went into a special account, and I gave it all to charity, with about 70% going into the South Gate High School Booster Club activities. I also did not accept the $150 car allowance, nor did I receive dental or medical coverage at the expense of the city. In fact, during the last budget discussions, I was the only council member who returned $200 a month to the general fund, reducing my salary from $600 a month to $400 a month. This was done to help balance the budget.

So Mrs. Lombardo, in reply to your self-serving allegation: No, I would not be screaming for the city to pay my legal fee. I would do the same as I am doing now. The taxpayer would not, and should not, pay for legal fees to retain a seat on the council. That expenditure goes "with the territory" of getting elected.

HENRY C. GONZALEZ

South Gate

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