Election shakes up City Council

first_imgHe was followed closely by Gracie Gallegos-Smith, 41, a local businesswoman, who received 1,673 votes. Salcido, 38, a teacher at El Rancho High School in Pico Rivera, received the third-highest number of votes, 1,585, securing the third open seat on the council. All three will be sworn in at the March 20 council meeting. Defeated were long-time incumbents Carlos Garcia and Pete Ramirez, both of whom were first elected to the council in 1997. Garcia received 1,404 votes and Ramirez got 1,361 votes. Challengers Martin Morones and Al Armijo also lost, receiving 1,200 votes and 962 votes, respectively. Garcia said he was “perfectly OK” at having lost. PICO RIVERA – When all was said and done Tuesday, voters went for change on Pico Rivera’s City Council. They ousted two incumbents who had each served for a decade and voted in two newcomers, including one who has resided in the city for only the past two years. Only Councilman Gregory Salcido, one of three incumbents seeking re-election, was returned to office by voters. “I think everyone pulled together and saw leadership in me that they felt was important,” said newcomer Bob Archuleta. “When a community speaks like that, the city is asking for some change and stability.” Although he moved to Pico Rivera just two years ago, Archuleta, 60, who serves on the county’s Military and Veterans Affairs Commission, nevertheless was the top vote-getter Tuesday, receiving 1,689 votes. “I wish all the new council members the best,” he said in a brief message Wednesday. “If they do good, we’ll all do good.” Ramirez said he was disappointed. “I thought I’d done positive things. But I guess the turnout showed that they didn’t want me back,” he said. Voter turnout was low in Pico Rivera. Only 14.8 percent of the city’s registered voters cast ballots, far fewer than than 20 percent turnout in the last municipal election in 2005, city spokesman Bob Spencer said. With the election now in the past, all three winners Wednesday said their main priority will be finding a new city manager, a post that has been vacant since September. Once that person is hired, the new council can get down to other pressing issues, the three winners said. “We need to get a legitimate city manager on board,” Salcido said. “From that point, that’s where we could start executing the visions this council has.” “Once we have that behind us, we can start trying to reunite everyone,” agreed Archuleta. Salcido said he also hopes to push for the completion of a county plan to renovate the Pico Rivera Library and local railroad upgrade projects, including a bridge or underpass for the Passons Boulevard rail crossing. “I’m optimistic and look forward to working with the newly seated City Council,” he said. “I will speak my mind freely, and I will disagree freely, but all with the goal of moving the city forward.” Archuleta said he’ll make public safety another of his top priorities, and he wants to start holding town hall meetings on a regular basis. Gallegos-Smith, who had previously served on the city’s Planning Commission, said she wants to focus on “easy fix” problems, such as the lack of parking along Telegraph Road and other issues that residents have been concerned about. “Having a seat on the council, we can make a better move to help those folks,” she said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3024160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img