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At Los Angeles Sentinel press time an unofficial tally of the recall ballots indicated that the Yes votes carried the day. As a result of the voting results, Lynwood Mayor Louis Byrd, and council members Rev. Alfreddie Johnson, Fernando Pedroza, and Leticia Vasquez will be removed from office.
The recall was initiated largely on the fact that elected officials had tentatively approved a major, mixed-use development building project which includes a professional football/soccer stadium that may result in the demise of several homes and recently built schools.
At the center of the recall is an independent developer who had proposed the development of a project worth an estimated $8 billion that will be built without the use of any taxpayer funds. The development reportedly will create up to 40,000 new jobs for Lynwood citizens and neighboring communities, and will ultimately deliver millions of much-needed tax revenue to the city’s coffers.
The Concerned Citizens of Lynwood Alliance (CCLA), a group of citizens including clergy, business owners and parents, who share a strong commitment for honesty, fairness, and accountability have strongly opposed the recall and have also asserted that the untimely recall election, had been financed and silently supported by a “smaller developer whose project was rejected because it would have cost the city over millions dollars to complete.”
Dr. Hanan Islam, a Lynwood resident, business owner and active member of CCLA indicated in a recent press announcement, “it appears to be cheaper for the developer to fund a recall election in order to guarantee a yes vote on his project than to spend what it could cost to purchase and clean up land in a city that has had a reputation for giving away city resources in the past years.”
Just before the election CCLA members held a press conference on the front lawn of the Lynwood City Hall to reiterate their support for the existing development proposal which does not require the use of any city funds or revenue.
Islam said. “The citizens of this community came out to say no more. No to special interest groups using scare tactics, false allegations and fraudulent recall initiatives to manipulate and control their elected officials. Baseless recalls have been used in cities like Lynwood for many years to keep the council “under control.”
She was joined by Lorna Hawkins, CCLA president who posed the question, “who stands to benefit from recalling four of the five of our council members?” They further asserted that the real culprit is the manner in which the city has done business in the past which has allowed developers to come into the city to capitalize upon and profit from developments which have been funded in part by the citizens of Lynwood.
A large number of Lynwood citizens have stated to the CCLA that they are fed up and are not going to take it any more! “I am tired of traveling 10 miles or more to shop at Trader Joe’s or eat at a nice restaurant. We don’t have a theatre, skating rink or a mall that is not a swap meet in our community.
A few shocking moments came, according to Islam, when Councilwoman Maria Santillan showed-up, visibly agitated by the number of anti-recall supporters, and began to loudly direct obscenities and racial slurs towards CCLA supporters.
“Santillan and some of the others told some of our people to “go back to Africa .” Islam said. “One of our supporters responded by telling her to go back to Mexico . Maria Santillan reportedly stated, “This is Mexico, they need to check the stats.”
What was at stake was the leadership, experience, and balanced decision making on the part of the incumbent elected officials.
Now that they have been recalled, a new slate of elected officials will determine the future of Lynwood’s mixed-use development plans.