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February 21, 1993
The City Council has authorized a nationwide search for a new police chief. The council has had several discussions about whether to give the job to acting Police Chief Ed Taylor, who has held the position since William Donohoe resigned last April. Taylor, a veteran patrolman who once headed the Police Officers Assn., is generally liked by officers, according to Bell Gardens officials.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 22, 2007 | Mary Engel
A former City Council member who pleaded no contest to conflict of interest charges over her appointment as city manager will have to repay her entire salary -- more than $85,000 -- to the city, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Drew Edwards ruled Friday. The restitution ruling marked the resolution of a case that began with the 2001 arrest of Maria Chacon, then considered the most powerful public official in Bell Gardens, and went all the way to the state Supreme Court.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 27, 2002 | From Times Staff Reports
District attorney investigators searched Bell Gardens City Hall and the El Segundo home of City Clerk Ronald Hart on Wednesday as part of an investigation into the possible misuse of public funds. About two dozen investigators seized computer disks, files and other items after searching the offices of Hart and Councilman Salvador Franco, according to City Hall sources. Hart and Franco were not available for comment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 30, 2007 | Sam Quinones
The Bell Gardens City Council fired its city clerk this week, amid controversy involving delinquent campaign filings. City officials have declined to comment, but City Clerk Martha Zermeno said she was fired after three years on the job. Zermeno said she came under fire from council members when she reported to state officials that Councilman Mario Beltran hadn't filed mandatory campaign contribution reports.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 20, 2002 | From Times Staff Reports
Former Bell Gardens City Manager Maria Chacon pleaded not guilty to conflict-of-interest charges at her arraignment Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for Oct. 15. Earlier this month, Chacon was ordered to stand trial on charges that she pressured council members to vote for her appointment as city manager. Chacon, a former city councilwoman, was appointed to the $89,000-a-year post of city manager in December 2000.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 7, 1997
Embezzlement charges against leaders of a Bell Gardens youth soccer league have been dismissed after witnesses for the prosecution could not be found. "We were unable to proceed to trial because we could not locate sufficient witnesses," Deputy Dist. Atty. Ann Rundle said. Supporters of Danny and Martha Lopez steadfastly maintained that the couple were innocent after their arrest last October on suspicion of misdemeanor embezzlement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 4, 1997
Three people were injured, two critically, when a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus collided with a car Thursday night, then crashed into a Bell Gardens house, authorities said. The crash occurred about 7 p.m. near Chalet Drive and Foster Bridge Boulevard, Charlotte Kramer said. "The bus driver and someone inside the structure were trapped," Kramer said. All three victims were taken to St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood.
NEWS
November 15, 1992 | DUKE HELFAND
The Bell Gardens Neighborhood Youth Center will open Saturday, with former gang members running programs to help entice the city's 3,500 to 5,000 gang members to quit. The center, at 5856 Ludell St., will offer several services, including counseling, weightlifting and field trips to the mountains and beach, said Sgt. Ruben Musquiz, who will oversee the center for the Bell Gardens Police Department. A report-writing room for patrol officers is expected to open by the end of the year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 6, 2003 | Richard Marosi, Times Staff Writer
The former political power broker of Bell Gardens goes on trial this week, accused of orchestrating her appointment in 2000 to a high-paying administrative post while on the City Council. Maria S. Chacon, a Mexican immigrant whose leadership helped transform politics in the working-class city, is charged with violating a conflict-of-interest law in a two-pronged plan: First, by voting for a measure that cleared the way for her appointment as city manager.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 9, 2007 | Maura Dolan, Times Staff Writer
Ruling against a former Bell Gardens City Council member, the California Supreme Court decided Thursday that public officials may be guilty of corruption even if they relied on a government attorney's opinion that their conduct was legal. The unanimous decision clears the way for the prosecution of ex-council member Maria Chacon, who was charged with conflict of interest after allegedly pressuring other council members to appoint her city manager.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 17, 2007 | Charles Proctor, Times staff writer
A security guard testified Friday that he found a Bell Gardens councilman passed out drunk on the second floor of a downtown Los Angeles hotel used by prostitutes. Another witness testified that he heard Councilman Mario Beltran call a woman a racial slur during the June 2006 incident at the Huntington Hotel, on Main Street between 7th and 8th streets. Beltran, on trial at the Downey branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, is accused of filing a false police report, a misdemeanor.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 9, 2007 | Maura Dolan, Times Staff Writer
Ruling against a former Bell Gardens City Council member, the California Supreme Court decided Thursday that public officials may be guilty of corruption even if they relied on a government attorney's opinion that their conduct was legal. The unanimous decision clears the way for the prosecution of ex-council member Maria Chacon, who was charged with conflict of interest after allegedly pressuring other council members to appoint her city manager.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2003 | Megan Garvey and Richard Marosi, Times Staff Writers
By any modern measure, what has gone on in the name of politics in southeast Los Angeles County has been extreme. In less than a decade, local officials and rivals in such cities as Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lynwood, Maywood and South Gate have been indicted, jailed, wire-tapped, bribed, recalled, threatened, firebombed and shot. In January, the recalled mayor of South Gate whacked a fellow council member in the face. Troubles continue farther south.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 9, 2003 | Richard Marosi, Times Staff Writer
In a surprise ending to an unusual political corruption case, a judge Wednesday dismissed a felony count against a former Bell Gardens councilwoman after prosecutors, just before the trial's start, decided not to proceed. Maria S. Chacon was accused of orchestrating her appointment -- through influence peddling and votes -- to the high-paying post of city manager. The prosecutors' case collapsed after Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson ruled that Chacon could raise a novel entrapment defense.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 6, 2003 | Richard Marosi, Times Staff Writer
The former political power broker of Bell Gardens goes on trial this week, accused of orchestrating her appointment in 2000 to a high-paying administrative post while on the City Council. Maria S. Chacon, a Mexican immigrant whose leadership helped transform politics in the working-class city, is charged with violating a conflict-of-interest law in a two-pronged plan: First, by voting for a measure that cleared the way for her appointment as city manager.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 20, 2002 | From Times Staff Reports
Former Bell Gardens City Manager Maria Chacon pleaded not guilty to conflict-of-interest charges at her arraignment Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for Oct. 15. Earlier this month, Chacon was ordered to stand trial on charges that she pressured council members to vote for her appointment as city manager. Chacon, a former city councilwoman, was appointed to the $89,000-a-year post of city manager in December 2000.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 6, 1995
Three cities faced with job and revenue losses after a court decision outlawing a popular casino poker game have filed petitions asking the state Supreme Court to overturn the ruling. The state Court of Appeal in Los Angeles agreed in July with the state attorney general's office that the game, jackpot poker, is illegal in California casinos because it is a game of chance, and therefore a lottery. Lotteries not conducted by the state are illegal.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2003 | Megan Garvey and Richard Marosi, Times Staff Writers
By any modern measure, what has gone on in the name of politics in southeast Los Angeles County has been extreme. In less than a decade, local officials and rivals in such cities as Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Lynwood, Maywood and South Gate have been indicted, jailed, wire-tapped, bribed, recalled, threatened, firebombed and shot. In January, the recalled mayor of South Gate whacked a fellow council member in the face. Troubles continue farther south.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 27, 2002 | From Times Staff Reports
District attorney investigators searched Bell Gardens City Hall and the El Segundo home of City Clerk Ronald Hart on Wednesday as part of an investigation into the possible misuse of public funds. About two dozen investigators seized computer disks, files and other items after searching the offices of Hart and Councilman Salvador Franco, according to City Hall sources. Hart and Franco were not available for comment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 5, 2002
An appeals court ruled Friday that the Los Angeles County district attorney's office can prosecute Bell Gardens Councilwoman Maria Chacon, reversing a lower court decision that recused the office on grounds of conflict of interest. The lower court ruled that a conflict existed because the chief of investigations for the district attorney's office, Steve Simonian, once worked for the city of Bell Gardens.
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