Mario Hernandez, the elected and married San Fernando city council member who either was the victim of an assault by his estranged girlfriend — or the perpetrator — or both! — resigned from office before tonight's council meeting. While he didn't show his face at the meeting, his ex-girlfriend did. Maribel De La Torre, also an elected city council member, sat stone-faced as resident after resident came forward and urged her to quit too. The critics are behind a recall effort against Hernandez, De La Torre and council member Brenda Esqueda, who is also the city's mayor.
Hernandez was the mayor when he announced last year at a council meeting that he and De La Torre were having an affair — apparently news to his wife, who was in the room at the time of the announcement. The affair of Hernandez and De La Torre had some good times, no doubt, but also some rocky times. This month, both obtained restraining orders against the other over a violent, or at least physically hostile, disagreement about an iPad — was it or was it not a gift that did not have to be returned after the breakup? — and probably other relationship issues. So it's probably better Hernandez didn't try to attend the same council meeting as De La Torre.
City Administrator Al Hernandez, no relation to the councilman, took a stab at explaining the resignation. "I think it was the media attention over the restraining order," he said. "That's my guess."
The prospect of a Hernandez-De La Torre encounter probably had something to do with the presence of outside news media at tonight's meeting — even TV cameras. That doesn't usually happen in San Fernando without at least the hint of sex or violence. Coverage at the Times, Daily News, NBC 4, ABC 7 and others.