A City Council meeting in San Fernando, CA took an uncomfortable turn last month when Mayor Mario Hernandez announced that he was having an affair with his colleague. His confession came at a time when the actions of the city’s government were already being watched like a telenovela.
The San Fernando Valley town has so much going on for such a relatively small place that it those on the outside are pulling up a seat to watch what will happen next.
The predominantly Latino city is facing a serious financial crisis, but scandal is what dominates the headlines. Extramarital affairs, conflicts with developers, and the connections between the two are all anyone can talk about.
For example, during the last few minutes of a November City Council meeting, after blaming some of the city’s financial issues on developer and local newspaper owner Sev Aszkenazy, Mayor Hernandez announced he was having an affair with Councilwoman Maribel de la Torre.
In addition to announcing he was cheating on his wife, Mayor Hernandez stated that he had lost his business and had filed both corporate and personal bankruptcy.
He went on to say Aszkenazy, his “big, bad landlord” was responsible for forcing him out of his home, saying the consideration other tenants received in terms of rent extensions, was not extended to him.
“Mr. Aszkenazy,” he said at the meeting, “you can sit there with a smug look on your face, that is the truth.”