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S. Calif. city recalls council members

March 9, 2011 at 8:03 AM

BELL, Calif., March 9 (UPI) -- Voters in scandal-ridden Bell, Calif., have recalled four city council members and elected five new ones, all of them promising to enact needed reforms.

Bell, one of the poorest cities in Los Angeles County, became a symbol for municipal greed last year when residents discovered that certain city officials were receiving huge salaries, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

City Administrator Robert Rizzo and his former deputy along with two other former city leaders are accused of bilking Bell through phony contracts, exorbitant salaries and illegal loans.

In addition, four of Bell's five city council members are charged with misappropriating city money by collecting big salaries for sitting on boards that did little or no work.

Final but unofficial results from Tuesday's polling showed residents voted overwhelmingly to recall Mayor Oscar Hernandez and council members Teresa Jacobo and George Mirabal as well as Luis Artiga, who quit the council last year but remained a recall target.

Lorenzo Velez, the only councilman not charged in the Bell corruption case, lost his bid to keep his seat.

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