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California First Amendment Coalition
|Why BASTA is not Calling for Carrillos' Resignation
State Controller John Chiang Conflict of Interest in Bell
Rizzo & George Cole Donated to Pedro
Carrillo's 2001 Assembly Campaign
The Editor, WatchOurCity.com,
Thursday August 12, 2010, 10:30 a.m.
Bell, CA - Nestor Valencia and Bell residents have been
complaining that they have no trust in Bell's Interim City
Manager Pedro Carrillo. Carrillo is now in charge of key
decisions in the city of Bell. Carrillo has direct deep personal
connections to Bell's regime, including Rizzo and George Cole,
Bell's long time mayor at the helm when salaries spiked.
Carrillo was hired by George Cole's Oldtimers Foundation in
Huntington Park. Pilar Marrero from La Opinion, a Spanish
daily newspaper, reports on August 11, 2010 that Carrillo
received consulting contracts not only from George Cole, but
also from the local cities of Bell, Huntington Park, Maywood
BASTA, the group led by Cristina Garcia, is calling for
resignations of other highly paid Bell city staffers. Yet BASTA
is curiously not calling for the Resignation of Pedro Carrillo.
Pedro Carrillo was appointed by the very same council
members who approved Rizzo's salaries. Carrillo made
appearances on live news broadcasts defending Rizzo's
criminal level salary. Carrillo also defended Spaccia and even
appointed her to a $10,000 a month gig to manage
Maywood's municipal affairs, this after she had already
resigned.....twice, and before we learned that Spaccia's total
compensation now reached $800,000. Even after learning
that Rizzo had authorized a $130,000 personal loan to
Spaccia from public funds, on top of everything else, Carrillo
capriciously stood by his man Rizzo, his policies and his
It is puzzling why BASTA and its leader Cristina Garcia would
continue to work with Carrillo and legitimize his position. The
answer lies in Carrillo's campaign contribution statements
(Form 460) filed with the State during his State Assembly
race back in 2001.
Carrillo's connections to Bell's Robert Rizzo and George Cole
have a long history going back that campaign, when Carrillo
was a candidate for the area's 49th Assembly seat, in a race
against Fabian Nunez (Carrillo lost).
Carrillo's Form 460's cover the filing period from January 1,
2001 to December 30, 2002. WatchOurCity.com reviewed the
publicly available on-line database and discovered that Bell's
city manager Rizzo, then mayor George Cole and councilman
Mirabal, all contributed a few thousand dollars to Carrillo's
campaign. The State's website, Cal-Access (www.cal-access.
ss.ca.gov), shows that George Cole and George Mirabal each
gave $250 on 9-30-01 to Carrillo's campaign. We'll get to
Rizzo's contribution later.
Congresswoman Lucille Royball-Allard donated to Carrillo a
total of $3,000 on 12-28-01. Carrillo worked for Royball-Allard
as a local field rep in Bell, Huntington Park and Maywood.
Other contributors to Carrillo included:
- Maywood Club Towing, $1,000 on 12-30-01
- George Perez, City of Cudahy's city manager, $250
- Magdalena Prado, LAUSD Outreach, $100 on 10-12-01
- Bell Tow Services, Inc., $800
- Cindy Lopez, California Attorney General's office, $100
Magdalena Prado is now one of Bell's city employees hired to
run Maywood. Her part-time duties as Maywood's
spokeswoman fetch her $5,000 monthly.
Remember State Controller John Chiang coming down to Bell
on the pretext that Carrillo called him to "audit" Bell's books?
Well, John Chiang also donated to Carrillo's campaign, a total
of $1,150. You think Chiang has in interest in calling for
Carrillo to step down or to ask some hard questions?
Chiang's visit was staged and only served to legitimize
Carrillo's very shaky footing as Interim City Manager. State
Controller John Chiang now seems to have a Conflict of
Interest with Carrillo. State records also show that Carrillo
donated $450 to John Chiang's campaign for State Board of
But it's Robert Rizzo's contribution that sticks out like a sore
thumb. Rizzo contributed a total combined $1,152 to Carrillo's
campaign, identifying himself as "City of Bell Municipal
The on-line record of contributions also reveals that Carrillo's
campaign treasurer at the time was a certain Conrado
Terrazas. Terrazas was a employee of George Cole's
Oldtimers Foundation in Huntington Park. Carrillo paid
Terrazas thousands of dollars over the course of Carrillo's
failed State Assembly campaign.
Public records obtained by WatchOurCity.com from the city of
Huntington Park, show that from 2002 to 2003, Conrado
Terrazas was the campaign treasurer for a candidate for
Huntington Park city council, who is now Huntington Park's
mayor, John "Juan" Noguez. Noguez also paid Terrazas
thousands of dollars for his campaign leading up to
Huntington Park's March 2003 election, when John and his
slate, sponsored by Rosario Marin, then U.S. Treasurer, won.
Cristina Garcia's BASTA group has been demure and tight
lipped about its relationship to Carrillo; bullets from it's firing
squad demands all but spare Pedro Carrillo.
The other puzzling thing about Cristina is that she is highly
educated. Her Facebook page notes that she has earned a
Bachelor's degree from Pomona College, A Master's degree
from Claremont College and a PhD from USC. "Cristina Garcia
is a product of Bell Gardens", she states on her Facebook
page. When she ran for Bell Gardens city council, the League
of Women Voters Smart Voter Guide posted her biographical
highlights, one of which noted, under "Top Priorities if
elected: Transparency, Accountability, and Accessibility of/to
Government". No doubt that Cristina is an academically
accomplished woman. No doubt that she is smart. Her lack of
disclosure and transparency with Bell residents with regards
to her connection to Leo Briones and Pedro Carrillo leaves
substantial doubt about her character and agenda.
When the Bell residents ask Cristina where she's getting
money for BASTA, she says "Don't worry about that." BASTA's
website requests contributions but no entity is listed, no
political campaign or non-profit registration number is listed
as the recipient. BASTA and Cristina are not being
transparent with their finances. Bell residents would like to
know who is giving money to BASTA, where the money is
going to, who benefits financially from BASTA and why they
hide sources of revenue and use of such revenue. Again, non
of BASTA top leadership are from Bell. All of BASTA's top
leaders are connected to Pedro Carrillo, George Cole and
While genuine Bell residents, such as Nestor Valencia,
clamour for Carrillo to resign due to his tainted associations
with, and knuckle-headed defense of, Rizzo, BASTA continues
to turn a blind eye on Carrillo. For all its grass-roots
posturing, BASTA is a slick political fabrication, with non of the
leaders actually from Bell (not Cristina, not Briones, not
Carrillo), all the while fooling a few die-hard foot soldier
residents to back them up for legitimacy. If only John & Ken of
KFI Radio knew who really was behind BASTA when they so
ardently pumped BASTA as the voice of the people in Bell. In
fact, they are not.
Why in the face of overwhelming evidence mounting against
Carrillo, would BASTA coddle Carrillo?
Here's the critical juncture: Pedro Carrillo's campaign
manager during his assembly race was Leo Briones. In an on-
line profile posted by Leo Briones, he proudly highlights his
one accomplishment as Campaign manager for Pedro
Carrillo's failed bid for the 2001 Assembly seat.
Leo Briones runs Centaur North, a "strategic
communications" firm. The Times wrote a not so glowing
report on Briones and his then wife, now termed out State
Senator Martha Escutia. The Times found evidence that
Briones would profit from his wife's connections for profitable
consulting gigs. An endorsement to a cause, ballot initiative,
power plant, or candidate by Escutia was followed by a side
deal, a lucrative consulting gig for Briones. The Times report
by Dan Morain, "As Lawmaker Rises, Her Spouse Prospers",
was published on July 8, 2004.
BASTA's leader, Cristina Garcia, the USC Adjunct Professor in
Statistics from Bell Gardens, also used Leo Briones as her
campaign manager in her failed bid for a city council seat in
Bell Gardens in November 2009.
Cristina Garcia has not disclosed to Bell residents her
conflicts of interest in supporting Pedro Carrillo at the
expense of Bell residents, and in the face of massive and
unprecedented corruption probes. Nestor Valencia, Mario
Rivas and Ali Saleh better watch their backs. Cristina, Briones
and Carrillo have proven that they make a formidable team,
and are good at deceiving the public.
Also contributing to Pedro Carrillo's campaign was Sayed
Madaen, who donated $250 on 2-15-02. Sayed is identified
on Carrillo's campaign contribution statements simply as
"Towing Company Owner". In an investigative report in the
L.A. Weekly ("Friends in High Places", April 19, 2007), ace
investigative reporter Jeffrey Anderson reveals that "When
the city of Bell Gardens awarded an exclusive towing contract
to United Motor Club last November, there was no public
mention that the company’s representative, standing before
the city council and chief of police, was a convicted felon on
trial in two federal drug-trafficking cases."
Anderson discovered that "Madaen is the brother of United
Motor Club’s president, Seyed Madaen. (Seyed and Bahran
Madaen shared a residence address as recently as 2005,
property records show.) Seyed Madaen, court records state,
refinanced his house in Arcadia in 2006 to post a bond for
Shayesteh in one of his federal cases. Officials in Bell
Gardens and Los Angeles, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, say that Shayesteh’s brother-in-law owns
Maywood Club Towing, which currently is under federal
investigation for allegedly paying kickbacks to Maywood
officials." (see WatchOurCity.com report from 10-31-07)
Mario Beltran, Bell Gardens' former councilman, now a twice
convicted felon, was who voted to award a multi-year towing
contract to a federally convicted felon Shayesteh. Beltran
was George Cole's campaign manager running Teresa Jacobo
and Luis Artiga's reelection campaign in March 2009, where
allegations of voter fraud are being investigated. Nestor
Valencia was the loosing candidate. Mario Beltran also ran
Huntington Park mayor John Noguez's successful reelection
campaign in March 2007, where voter fraud also occurred.
One voting precinct was located inside of George Cole's
Oldtimers Foundation located on Gage Avenue in Huntington
Park, adjacent to Bell.
While Cristina Garcia of BASTA has a long-festering corruption
problem in her own backyard of Bell Gardens, she prances on
over to her neighbor's backyard in Bell, pretending to clean
the mess there.
Another contributor to Carrillo's campaign was Darryl Roth,
identified as "Western Auto of Bell Manager", who on
February 5, 2002, donated $1,000 to Pedro Carrillo. Roth
worked for Pete Werrlein in Bell. The L.A. Times reported on
July 31, 2010, "Bell's business Ties to Officials Probed". "The
city of Bell has a pattern of doing business with current and
former city officials, including an ex-mayor who served time in
federal prison, according to interviews and records obtained
by The Times. In the most recent deal, Bell's Community
Redevelopment Agency last year paid $4.6 million to
purchase property from a family trust of longtime politician
Peter Wherein, who was sentenced to three years in prison
in the 1980s for holding hidden interests in a poker casino."
That property is Western Auto. George Cole and Rizzo hired
Pete Werrlein as a consultant after his stint in federal prison.
When questioned about the decision to hire a federally
convicted felon as a city of Bell consultant, Mayor George
Cole stated to the Times that he had no problems with that.
Bell's city council selection of Pedro Carrillo as it's interim city
manager was, in Bell's perverse and twisted logic, a natural
choice. BASTA protects that choice.
Pedro is a political operative of the highest order in the
southeast, public records show. What the public record does
not reflect, nor his resume, is any trace of Carrillo's
experience as a city manager. Bell needs a seasoned city
manager capable of managing the city's normal municipal
affairs, let alone municipal affairs in a time of unprecedented
crisis, with massive financial and legal obligations to untangle.
BASTA is providing cover for Carrillo's ineptitude. They are all
one big happy family.