LYNWOOD : 3 Council Members Target of Recall Drive

Activists are circulating petitions to recall three of the five City Council members.

The recall documents accuse the three officials--Mayor Paul H. Richards II, Mayor Pro Tem Louis Byrd and Councilman Louis J. Heine--of raising water rates unnecessarily and mismanaging public money.

"We're tired of the total disrespect for the community and for the taxpayers," said Benjamin Miranda, executive director of the group Concerned Citizens of Lynwood.

Byrd denied mismanaging public funds and accused the recall proponents of misleading the public by failing to note on the petitions that the water rate increase was postponed. He said the recall was nothing more than an attempt by Miranda and his allies to get their own people elected to the council.

Miranda and another organizer, Ada Candelario McZeal, have run for the council in the past, but were defeated.

The three council members voted in August for a 75% hike in water rates, arguing that the fees had remained unchanged for seven years and that the price of purchased water had doubled. But after residents complained, the council decided to postpone the increase indefinitely.

Miranda said recall organizers have gathered about 1,200 signatures of registered voters. They have until Jan. 4 to gather at least 2,565 valid signatures to force what would be Lynwood's first recall election.

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