San Fernando Councilman Resigns; Pressure Builds for Other Officials to Depart

Mounting pressure from voters and intense media scrutiny led San Fernando Councilman Mario Hernandez to announce his resignation this week. We relayed recently that Hernandez and Councilwoman Maribel De La Torre both had restraining orders against each other after the two had been romantically linked (while Hernandez was still married). Hernandez divulged the affair during a council meeting. Hernandez didn’t make an appearance at this week’s council meeting, so he avoided a conflict with the restraining order mess and his resignation will allow him to avoid the rigors of a heated recall campaign. A statement was read on his behalf at the meeting, which said, “I want to apologize to the community for the inconveniences caused by my personal life.”

Of course, voters are still pushing De La Torre and Mayor Brenda Esqueda to resign as well, and fellow council member Sylvia Ballin is adding to the pressure, as she commented, “I'm pleading with them, it is time for you to also resign. Please step down. Give us a chance. We want to move forward. We want to pick up the pieces." Mayor Pro Tem Antonio Lopez and Ballin have called for an investigation and the San Fernando Police Officers Association also supports the recall.

When asked why Councilman Hernandez resigned, City Administrator Al Hernandez commented, “I think it was the media attention over the restraining order. That's my guess."

In a letter directed to the city clerk, Hernandez wrote the following:

“It is with much sadness as it has been an honor and a privilege to serve the community and the fine men and women of the City. I wish the City well as it continues to move forward. I wish to apologize to the community for the inconveniences caused by my personal life," he went on to say. "It was never my intent to damage or inconvenience our City. Although I did not let these issues affect the execution of my duties as an elected representative, I feel submitting my resignation will help continue to heal the city."

NBC filed the following report:

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