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Downtown | Community News File

Residents Vow Recall Effort Against Hernandez

September 25, 1997

Angry residents of the 1st District on Wednesday reiterated calls for City Councilman Mike Hernandez to resign after his public admission of drug addiction and vowed to start a recall campaign if he did not voluntarily step down.

"We call on everyone in the community to join us in a recall effort," said Albert Molina, president of a Highland Park neighbors group, in a news conference on the steps of City Hall.

Molina also asked public officials to step forward and demand a grand jury investigation of Hernandez's staff, which he said must have known about the drug use. Staff members have denied those charges.

Organizers said that the recall effort will start Oct. 1, when they will begin collecting the nearly 6,400 signatures they need for a special election.

The small group of residents who spoke out Wednesday said Hernandez's cocaine use betrayed the trust of his constituents.

Pico-Union resident Rudy Tenorio de Cordova, who was appointed by Hernandez as vice president of a neighborhood project board, announced that he was resigning because of Hernandez's actions.

"I apologize to my colleagues for letting them know in this manner," he said. "But I am so disappointed and disillusioned that I cannot in good faith work as [Hernandez's] representative."

Meanwhile, former state Assemblyman Richard Katz, who is running for state Senate, called on the city's elected charter reform commission Wednesday to "close a loophole" that allows a council member to plead guilty to a felony and remain in office. The City Charter states that a council member faces removal from office if convicted of a felony.

Hernandez's lawyer says that the councilman will plead guilty to drug charges under the condition that he enter a rehabilitation program that would result in the felony eventually being dismissed.

"We would not tolerate police officers entering such admissions in court and then continuing to perform their duties," Katz wrote to the group. "We should not tolerate such an action by elected officials who oversee the Police Department and are ultimately responsible for ensuring our public safety."

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