San Fernando councilman who admitted affair resigns
A San Fernando councilman who publicly revealed that he was having an affair with a colleague last year has resigned.
Councilman Mario Hernandez’s resignation came just days after the City Council unexpectedly fired the city’s police chief.
Hernandez submitted his letter of resignation Tuesday, saying: “Unfortunately, our city became entangled in my personal life back in November and once again faces the same challenge today. I wish to apologize to the community.”
Residents who gathered outside Tuesday night’s council meeting expressed disgust with the council.
“They have tarnished one of our precious resources: our image,” said Julian Ruelas, whose family has lived in the city since 1936. “They imposed an order of decorum on residents at the meeting, but they need to follow it.”
Hernandez had stunned the community when he announced during a public meeting that he was involved with Councilwoman Maribel de la Torre. Hernandez’s wife was sitting in the front row when he made the announcement.
But the relations between the council members evidently cooled, and Hernandez and De La Torre obtained restraining orders against each other after a June 28 confrontation.
The incident unfolded when an officer responded to a call at Hernandez’s home and found that the residence had been ransacked and that the councilman had red marks and scratches on his neck, according to a police report.
Hernandez sought a restraining order against De la Torre, who responded in kind, officials said. De la Torre accused Hernandez of assaulting her in December, although no police report was filed.
“The only thing I will say is that I have never raised my hand against her at any time, or any other woman in my life,” Hernandez said in a statement Saturday.
The story took an unusual twist Monday when the City Council, with De la Torre abstaining and Hernandez absent, voted to fire Police Chief Gil Carrillo, who was overseeing the investigation of De la Torre.
Carrillo, a retired veteran of theLos Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said his firing “came out of left field.”
In an email to The Times on Friday, De la Torre said, “Words cannot begin to express how saddened I am over the events of the past several days.”
The recent incident apparently stemmed from an argument between the couple over a trip Hernandez was planning, according to a police report. Hernandez told police that De la Torre arrived at his residence to retrieve an iPad she had given him for his birthday and pushed past him into the home, the report said.
When Hernandez told De la Torre he did not have the iPad, she punched him in the left cheek and slapped him before “ransacking his bedroom,” smashing some glass and breaking his laptop by hurling it onto the floor, Hernandez told police.
She then grabbed Hernandez by the neck with both hands and began to squeeze his throat, he told police. Hernandez said that he was able to break free but that De la Torre punched him again before they fell onto the bed and she cut one of her toes on broken glass, according to the police report.
De la Torre said “it would be inappropriate to discuss this matter until any potential legal issues are resolved.”
In seeking her restraining order, De la Torre alleged that the councilman was the aggressor during last month’s incident. She alleged that it was Hernandez who pinned her on the bed.