Friday, October 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

California ex-mayor sentenced in corruption case

By
From page A5 | August 01, 2014 |

LOS ANGELES — A former mayor of the scandal-ridden city of Bell who could not read or write English was sentenced to serve a year in Los Angeles County jail and five years of probation.

Oscar Hernandez was ordered Thursday to pay $241,000 in restitution to the city that was driven close to bankruptcy by a scheme to vastly inflate official salaries.

Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy also ordered Hernandez to perform 1,000 hours of community service, but she suspended a four-year prison term.

Kennedy said the former official should not have run for office because he couldn’t read English and wound up rubber-stamping documents for corrupt city manager Robert Rizzo. Hernandez came to the U.S. from Mexico as a teenager.

Hernandez expressed remorse, saying, “The problem was my English.” He said he should have asked more questions of Rizzo, who was collecting $800,000 a year for running the tiny blue-collar town of 35,000 people.

“Mr. Hernandez is an example of someone who came from another country, made something of himself and ran for public office and was elected,” Kennedy said. “It takes a lot to run a city. One would think that being able to read and write English would be a prerequisite to running a city. I don’t think Mr. Hernandez obtained those skills. Mr. Rizzo took advantage of that, having him sign documents he didn’t read.”

Hernandez is the latest in a series of former officials of the city to be sentenced for corruption-related offenses involving misappropriation of funds.

“There’s a lot of blame to go around, and Mr. Hernandez, there’s blame for you,” said the judge who presided over trials of the former officials. “If you didn’t have the skills to do the job, you shouldn’t have run and taken the position.

“The people of Bell will have to pay very high taxes because you were asleep at the switch. ”

His lawyer, Stanley Friedman, told the judge: “There is a stain that will remain on Mr. Hernandez’s life forever.”

Deputy District Attorney Sean Hassett acknowledged that Hernandez helped prosecutors make their case with a lengthy statement when he was arrested in which he said he and others did a “lousy” job. “He did make what I consider a truthful statement and laid out the case,” Hassett said.

But Hassett faulted Hernandez for covering up Rizzo’s misdeeds.

When the scandal broke in 2010, Hassett said Hernandez was “the face of Bell, and he came out in support of Rizzo,” saying he deserved his huge salary.

“He covered up for Robert Rizzo,” Hassett said. “It was a close thing. He almost saved the day for himself, Robert Rizzo and his co-defendants. ”

Hernandez, the fourth of five former council members sentenced in the public corruption case, went from earning $673 a month on the council to collecting $100,000 a year by inflating his salary and serving on sham commissions that did nothing.

The judge told Hernandez that he could have fired Rizzo, but “you were complacent. You had no reason to upset the apple cart because you were getting a very good salary.”

“Do I think you are the worst of the worst?” the judge said. “No. I think you did wrong.”

Kennedy said Hernandez had been alternately portrayed as “a bumbling bumpkin” or “sophisticated and pulling strings,” but the truth was somewhere in between.

Hernandez’s lawyer said he now lives in a small trailer and suggested he doesn’t have the money to make restitution. Hassett said he owns several buildings in Bell and his assets can be seized to pay restitution.

In the end, the judge said partial blame rests with the citizens of Bell, few of whom voted on city issues or attended council meetings. Although a few residents had expressed concerns about rumors of large salaries, the scandal didn’t come to light until the Los Angeles Times obtained city officials’ true salaries under threat of legal action and published them in 2010. The resulting outrage led to Bell residents recalling the entire city council.

“This wouldn’t have happened if people were as interested then as they are now,” Kennedy said.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Home: Some things never change

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

Holiday boutique set for weekend

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Live Your Dream award applications due Nov. 15

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
 
Victim of Tuesday traffic incident dies

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 7 Comments

Transportation Info Depot opens Monday in Suisun

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Salvation Army set to host Kroc Fest

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
 
Deadline looms for vote-by-mail ballots

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

Suisun City police log: Oct. 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
.

US / World

 
Pentagon orders 21-day Ebola quarantine for troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

US health care unprepared for Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California orders risk-based Ebola quarantine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 55 Comments

Suge Knight, Katt Williams charged with robbery

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Military jet crashes in California, killing pilot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Peshmerga troops cheered by fellow Kurds in Turkey

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
New York, New Jersey look back 2 years after Sandy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Russian rocket engines suspected in launch blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

 
Al-Qaida: IS should rejoin group and fight West

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Bill Clinton says voting is cure for polarization

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

 
Lava 100 feet from Hawaii home, nearing main road

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Police: Man decapitates mother, is killed by train

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Army blows up houses, Egyptians evacuate near Gaza

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Opinion

Measure A helps students

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Jane Day for council: She cares

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

Do you trust Spering?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 6 Comments

 
Support for Spering, Moy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

Measure A a simple choice

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Mraz is desperate

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 12 Comments

 
We’ve got to stop meeting like this

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

Editorial Cartoons: Oct. 30, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Davenport, Pal, Spering best choices for vote

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

Spering record not set straight

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
In support of Brian Thiemer

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

Debate was eye-opening

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
Vote for Catherine Moy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

Tonnesen right choice for City Council

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Vote for Tonnesen

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Learn to say no

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Support for Bertani

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 10 Comments

Better uses for negative campaign mailer costs

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Proposition 47 fails to advance state

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Mraz not best officer for council post

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

 
Moy is the leader we need

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

Vote for Moy; Vote for Fairfield

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
Time for something new: Integrity

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 9 Comments

Supports Timm for Fairfield council

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 10 Comments

 
Measure A a wise investment

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 30, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A10

 
My sister won’t talk to any of us, I’m worried about my nephew

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A10

.

Entertainment

Taylor Swift talks books and music with kids

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
‘House of Cards’ actress Norment dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Orson Welles’ last film may finally be released

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Sports

Giants fans revel in victory

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Giants ace Bumgarner wins World Series MVP

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Royals’ dream season falls short in World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Bumgarner, Giants beat KC to win World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

Bumgarner, Giants beat KC 3-2 in Series Game 7

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Selig’s imprint seen in Game 7 of World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors whip Kings 95-77 in season opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jose Canseco resting at home after shooting hand

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sacramento breaks ground on new Kings arena

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

It’s Thursday Night Lights for SCAC

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B2

 
49ers rookie center Marcus Martin to make NFL debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Stanford men looking to build on NCAA tournament run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Carr prepares for tough test vs. Seahawks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Vanden’s McDaniel repeats as SCAC singles champion

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

Gov’t pushes air bag maker on replacement parts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Fed ends bond buying and cites brighter job market

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Obituaries

Hardie Lee Doshier

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Howard Lenowsky

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10