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Cudahy residents gathered Tuesday to demand a special election and insist it be carried out by an outside organization. Patrick Healy reports from Cudahy for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on August 7, 2012.
A community group that organized in the wake of a corruption scandal in the city of Cudahy was on Tuesday night demanding a special election to replace disgraced City Council members.
The group, Cudahy Association Unidos Salimos Adelante or CAUSA, held a small rally outside a special council meeting in the tiny city southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
At the standing-room-only meeting, the City Council was set to consider how to fill out the terms of two former council members – ex-Mayor David Silva and former Councilman Osvaldo Conde – who resigned after being faced with charges of bribery and extortion.
"We oppose any type of appointments and ask council to leave the seats vacant until the March Special Election," the community group said in a press release.
Silva and Conde – along with the city's former code enforcement chief, Angel Perales – pleaded guilty to last week after an FBI sting caught them asking for and taking money from federal informant who had said he wanted to open a marijuana dispensary in the city.
Their plea agreements detailed multiple, larger instances of alleged bribery and extortion as well.
Perhaps more important to local residents were the allegations in Perales' plea agreement that two municipal elections had been fixed in favor of council incumbents, with ballots that favored challengers having been trashed.
Now activists say they want to ensure the integrity of any future election: they want the city of Los Angeles to run it.
"We want this process to be as open and as democratic as possible for the better well-being of our community," activist Chris Garcia said.
The council will consider a resolution calling for a March 5 special election to replace Silva and Conde, and will indeed consider asking the LA city clerk's office to run the election.
Also on the agenda is an item that would essentially compel the three remaining members of the council to attend future meetings so that are enough votes to form a quorum.
"You have a choice: to decide whether to start a new era, a new beginning of transparency or continue the old tactics," one local residents said at the council meeting.
Coincidentally, the council is also tonight scheduled to consider an ordinance that would prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries from opening in the city.
In addition, a package of "good government" reforms is set to be drafted for a Sept. 4 vote.
The federal prosecutor in the corruption case has said the corruption investigation is continuing.