Bell Residents Come Out to Protest
By Esmeralda Fabián 08/17/2012
For over a year now, the residents of Bell have remained in the uncertainty of not having a person officially in charge of the safety in this city.
Feeling ignored, more than a dozen residents of the city of Bell, came out yesterday to demand, in front of City Hall, that they be taken into consideration in the forthcoming appointment of the Chief of Police of that city.
For over a year now, the residents of Bell have remained in the uncertainty of not having a person officially in charge of the safety in this city, southeast of Los Angeles, of which two years ago, faced one of the biggest corruption cases.
“We took out all of the corrupt individuals and put in new council members who promised transparency, but now, they do not take us into account with something so important as this appointment, they are planning without our opinion,” said Velia Costa, a resident of Bell for almost 40 years, who proved to be tired of not seeing transparency in the decisions made by the council members and city administration.
According to another resident and community advocate, Alma Rico, the council has met behind closed Doors to make their decision without taking into account that the community has already made their Choice, choosing Captain Anthony Miranda as its new Chief of Police.
“He knows our community, has guarded our neighborhood for more than 20 years, and also the schools attended by our children. There is no better person than him to fill the position, but the council has refused to honor our request,” said Rico.
“People here really like him, we do not understand why they need to consider other people,” said Sandy Orozco, another community organizer.
But according to Ana Maria Quintana, one of the Bell council members, this decision can not be taken lightly and denied that the process is not being transparent enough.
“A panel of the community had the opportunity to interview the three finalists. It is not true that people are not participating in this process,” said Quintana.
“The search for police chief has been extensive and the city has taken it very seriously. We hired a firm that introduced us over 70 candidates. The process could not be more transparent,” said the councilwoman and suggested next Wednesday to be when the final decision is made.
Captain Miranda is one of the three finalist, who in addition to having the support of this group of residents, was also recommended by the city manager, Doug Willmore to become the new Police Chief of Bell.
“I made my recommendation but the council took no action-at the last public meeting- and people might automatically think that something was wrong, but the process continues and once the council makes a decision they will immediately report to the community,” explained Willmore.