BELL, CALIFORNIA – Bell City Council Member Nestor Enrique Valencia appears to have been defeated in the race for city council. Los Angeles County results from the March 3rd election have Valencia currently battling for 3rd place. Bell residents took to the polls to decide who should represent them on the City Council. Three seats were up for grabs and three incumbents and three challengers were on the ballot. Valencia was first elected to the Bell City Council in 2011, following the recall of 8 (then current and former) city council members and then City Manager Robert Rizzo and his assistant Angela Spaccia. Valencia campaigned as the community candidate, having formed the Bell Resident Club after mounting fledgling campaigns against the status-quo in 2007 and 2009.
Valencia emigrated with his family from Cihuatlán, Jalisco, Mexico and settled in the City of Compton before moving to Bell. He attended Chester W. Nimitz Middle School in Huntington Park and graduated from Bell High School. He went on to graduate from San Jose State University and completed post-graduate courses from the Harvard-Kennedy School of Executive Leadership, Action and Organizing. Valencia was chosen to serve as Mayor in 2014 and 2015. In 2014, as Mayor, Valencia presided over a city council meeting that drew national attention from the media, as the city proposed to utilize an empty warehouse in Bell as a possible temporary shelter to house immigrant children. As founding member of the Bell Resident Club, he established the annual “Bell Teacher of the Year Awards” to honor local teachers who serve students who live within in the City of Bell.
Valencia also ran for Los Angeles County Assessor in 2014 to replace disgraced former Assessor John Noguez, who is facing corruption charges stemming from his term in office. Noguez refused to resign amid charges and continued to collect his salary as Assessor but was replaced by his Assistant, Jeffrey Prang, the current Assessor of Los Angeles in the 2014 election. Valencia also ran for Los Angeles Unified School District Board Member representing District 5 in 2019 to replace former School Board Member and past president Ref Rodriguez, who resigned and later plead guilty to conspiracy. Jackie Goldberg was elected to replace Rodriguez in the LAUSD’s 5th District in 2019.
Bell City Councilman Fidencio Joel Gallardo is leading Valencia for third place by more than 100 votes. Results show newcomer Monica Arroyo Khatib in the lead, with Bell Mayor Ali Saleh currently in second place. Los Angeles County election officials are expected to certify the election results 30 days after Election Day.