Intent-to-recall petitions, which were rejected twice before because they had not been filled out correctly, against four Bellflower councilmen have received final approval from City Clerk Deborah Harrington. The petitions accuse Mayor James Earle Christo and Councilmen Joseph Cvetko, M. G. (Mike) Brassard and John Ansdell of discriminating against businesswoman Bonnie Dummar and giving preferential treatment to Councilman Ansdell's son, Garry, in the rental of space in the former City Hall.
Recall organizers have 120 days to gather 5,067 signatures, which is 20% of the city's registered voters, against each official to force a recall election. Stanley Massey, one of the petition circulators, said he is confident that the signatures can be gathered.
Dummar, who did not sign the intent papers but is a primary organizer, said she and her supporters expect to begin efforts immediately. She said the group probably would start gathering signatures in the next few weeks.
Bellflower has a regular municipal election scheduled for April. The terms of Christo, Ansdell and Ray O'Neal will expire then.
Dummar's recall effort grew out of an attempt to rent additional room in the former City Hall for her telephone-answering business. She said she had been told by City Manager Jack Simpson that she had to make a formal request to the council because it had to vote on such requests. However, she said, she discovered that Hosanna Chapel, of which Garry Ansdell is pastor, rented space without a vote.
Dummar said she made her request in March and only Councilman O'Neal gave approval. The council later voted 3-1 on April 22 to consider her request on the condition that she undergo a credit check, make a substantial security deposit and pay increased rent equivalent to rates in the area. Christo, Brassard and Cvetko cast favorable votes. O'Neal voted against the motion and Councilman Ansdell abstained.
Garry Ansdell said he was told by Simpson that he could rent space on a day-to-day basis for a day care center in the building. The church rented the space from March 24 to May 19.
In addition to the rental issue, the recall petitions also charge nepotism on the part of the council for approving a resolution allowing the younger Ansdell's Hosanna Chapel to buy the city-owned Holiday Theater building.
The four council members have denied any impropriety. Councilman Ansdell has denied the charge. He said he had always excused himself on votes involving the church.