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Maywood voters reject recall, OK ethics plan

December 10, 2008|Ari B. Bloomekatz | Bloomekatz is a Times staff writer.

In a special election that drew only a fraction of Maywood's 7,470 registered voters, residents defeated measures Tuesday to recall Mayor Felipe Aguirre, Vice Mayor Veronica Guardado and Councilwoman Ana Rosa Rizo.

They voted 1,115 to 871 against recalling Aguirre; 1,110 to 839 against recalling Guardado; and 1,113 to 827 against recalling Rizo.

Measure M, known as the Maywood Ethics in Government Hiring and Contracting Practices Initiative, was passed on a vote of 1,080 to 735.

The initiative boosts the qualifications for police chief and discourages nepotism in city hiring practices.

The low voter turnout was not a surprise to Maywood officials.

"We usually have a low voter turnout, and we knew that this was going to happen," Guardado said.

She said volunteers had canvassed neighborhoods early Tuesday morning trying to get registered voters to the polls.

Near a polling location at Maywood's City Hall on East Slauson Avenue, 20-year-old Gerardo Sanchez distributed pamphlets supporting the recall that read: "It's time to take back Maywood."

He said he got interested in politics after the City Council voted in February to appoint Al Hutchings, who was convicted of theft and had resigned from the Los Angeles Police Department, as the city's interim police chief.

Mayor Aguirre withdrew his support for Hutchings after protests from residents and meetings between the city and the state attorney general's office, which had been investigating allegations of wrongdoing by officers in the city's troubled Police Department.

Hutchings stepped down and the City Council later voted unanimously to appoint Maywood Police Cmdr. Frank Hauptmann as interim chief.

Maywood is a city of about 30,000 residents, of which 96% are Latino.

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ari.bloomekatz @latimes.com

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