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Lorenzo Martinez: ‘We’re Doing This For The People’

Ebony Bailey |
March 4, 2011 | 7:59 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Lorenzo Martinez wants to be known as a community activist. He wants to help people not only in his own city of Bell, but also promotes activism whereever he sees trouble among people.

The 42-year-old truck driver is running for Bell City Council in a special recall election to replace councilmember Luis Artiga for a two-year term. He has lived in Bell for 37 years and attended Bell High School.

His activism started in the neighboring city of Maywood when the police department dismantled and he started going to council meetings.

He also worked with the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse (BASTA) to lead an 800-person march in Lindsay, a city with about 10,000 residents located in the Central Valley, after the city manager, Scott Townsend, came under fire for making an unusually high salary.

Townsend later resigned from his position.

“My heart is in the community,” Martinez said. “I want to help people not just in Bell but anywhere I see trouble.”

Martinez, with three others, pushed to get AB 900 passed in Sacramento, a bill that required the city to reimburse its taxpayers for property tax that was collected illegally.

He worked with Assemblymen Kevin De Leon to draft the bill; it was signed by Lieutenant Governor Abel Maldonado on Sept. 13, 2010.

“We fought very hard to get that reimbursed to all the people,” he said. “The people were lied to and I just don’t want to lie to the people.”

Martinez said about $3 million was reimbursed to property owners in Bell.

The scandal affected Martinez personally because, for a while, it was hard for him and his mother to pay their property taxes.

“A lot of people lost their houses because of the taxes,” he said. “The impact was very hard on us.”

If elected, Martinez wants to cut taxes for residents. He also wants to bring more business to Bell and maintain the Bell police department.

Martinez said he is running for City Council because he wants what the people wants and he takes pride in the fact that he is not supported by the Bell Police Officers' Association.

Throughout the city, he and his running mate, Marcos Oliva, have posted campaign signs made with spray paint.

“It’s handmade...we’re doing this all on our own,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about. It’s not like someone is giving us money to participate in this election. We’re doing this for the people.”

His campaign manager Richard Espiritu said one of Martinez’s main priorities is to increase transparency within the city.

“He has been very involved with the city and wants to make sure the public is aware of what’s going on,” he said.

What Martinez ultimately wants is to bring the community together and act as a “watchdog” for the people of his city.

“If I think something’s not right in the community, I’m going to speak up," he said. "I’m going to say something."


Reach reporter Ebony Bailey here.
Follow her on Twitter @ebonymarieb.



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