By Emilie St. John
LYNWOOD — A former city councilman has submitted an application to be appointed the city’s treasurer. Residents voiced their displeasure during the Jan. 17 City Council meeting.
Although he was on the Nov. 8 ballot for re-election Jorge Casanova asked the community to support three other candidates for the three seats. Campaign finance reports on the city’s website show he supported their campaigns financially as well.
“True change comes through stability, it takes time and dedication. Join me and vote for Jose Solache, Marisela Santana and Gabriela Camacho for Lynwood City Council,” wrote Casanova on his official social media accounts. Casanova finished last in a field of six candidates.
Residents were concerned that the city wasn’t being transparent about the election process by initially omitting election details from the city’s website.
Residents complained during the Jan. 17 council meeting about the appointment process.
“I am actually disappointed to see the rotation of the way politics is being played on our City Council,” said Lorraine Avila Moore. “Especially with Mr. Casanova because he ran but didn’t run. He didn’t claim to be the mayor last year when he put his name on the ballot and he said he was retiring to tend to his business and his family and now here he is coming back to be treasurer.”
“I am a resident for many years and I’m critically concerned about the treasurer appointment process,” said Linda George, who also applied for the post.
George also discussed that there are no African Americans in leadership positions within the city’s departments. She also spoke of her experience serving as the treasurer for the Lynwood Teachers Association.
“The community is aware that former Mayor Casanova is the favored candidate for this appointment which is evident by the incomplete application he submitted,” George said. “He retired to care for his family. Why is he coming back?”
Resident Maria Estrada also spoke against the appointment process.
“You are career politicians and are here for yourselves not the people of the city,” Estrada said.
Casanova spoke on his own behalf, stating his being a business owner gives him the experience to be treasurer.
“As a business owner, I serve as treasurer for several of my companies that my employees and family depend on and will treat the city’s money no different,” Casanova said.
According to state records, his company, Casanova Towing Equipment Inc. has been suspended by the Franchise Tax Board nearly a half dozen times since opening in 2008. The board typically suspends businesses for failure to pay fees and/or taxes owed to the state in accordance with state guidelines.
One member of the council spoke about the significance of the meeting on the appointment taking place the day after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and implored his colleagues to weigh all applicants fairly.
“I tried to pay attention to everyone’s points and the issue of Black representation does weigh on me and to think yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, what better person in American history to fight for a multi-racial democracy than Dr. King, and I ask my colleagues to truly weigh every single person and their qualifications and those who put in the effort to give us a full application,” said Councilman Juan Muñoz-Guevara, who was elected to the council in November.
The council voted unanimously to move the process to an ad-hoc committee for the selection process to continue.