Shit is going down in Cudahy in the name of keeping the political status quo.
Since 1999, Cudahy did not have contested elections until 2007, when two newcomers, Daniel Cota and Luis Garcia, ran for positions in the City Council and lost by a few dozen votes. A third newcomer, Tony Mendoza, was forced out of the race after receiving death threats against him and his family.
A year after that election, Cota and Garcia decided to run for office again and set up their 2009 election website a few weeks ago. Last week, Garcia’s house was firebombed (video taken by a security camera), burning the outside of his home and one of his trucks. Below is a picture of Garcia and the damage done to his truck, from the L.A. Now blog.
What’s incredible is that this is the SIXTH time since the past election that he has been vandalized at home. His truck has been showered with gallons of paint four times and two weeks ago, a brick sailed through his window.
In May, Cota’s car was showered in red paint, imitating the sight of blood and sending the chilling message that if he continued, this would be his future. “I’m not afraid,” rightfully says Cota to the L.A. Times.
Cota and Garcia have no reason to be afraid. They should keep the fight up to clean up Cudahy and keep the city responsive to its constituents. In this NBC 4 report, Cota says there are entrenched political interests that don’t want to see him or Garcia elected but chooses not to name people. I doubt it’s a publicity stunt by Garcia and Cota to get more votes. It’s way too early in the campaign to get any votes out of this.
Huntington Park went through the same thing last year, when Efren Martinez ran for a seat in the City Council. He was walking down the street when he was confronted by three men in dark clothing. One pushed him against the wall and said, “Whatever you’re doing with John Noguez, let it go.” Martinez had recently made an issue that City Council member John Noguez’s real name was not John Noguez, it was Juan Renaldo Rodriguez, as it is on his birth certificate.
There is a reason why the L.A. Weekly dubbed Cudahy, “The Town the Law Forgot.” It’s a town where the police do nothing about gangs or homicides but spend all their time looking for the next ticket, where I can’t walk down the street to T & A to get a meal because I fear catching a stray bullet, where I feel forced to send my kids to school in Bell Gardens, where drug runners and gangs are king.
What to do? Cota and Garcia shouldn’t be stopped by these tactics. Cota has the right attitude: “I’m not afraid.” Though their campaign website asks you to call the Maywood Police Department with any information about what happened at their homes, go to the FBI or Department of Justice and let them know of what is going on in the city. Make sure Cudahy, like South Gate a few years ago, is cleaned up before Cudahy is bankrupt. Prosecute corrupt politicians to the full extent of the law, like Albert Robles, for their unlawful actions.
Most importantly, make noise to everyone you know until the Public Corruption Unit, the same unit that successfully investigated corruption in South Gate, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles is reinstated. It was illogically disbanded earlier this year. Cudahy is the reason it should be brought back. Get these sleazeballs out of office as soon as possible.
I contacted the admins of this blog and asked to contribute this post.