MONTEBELLO – The city will be mailing a newsletter that could leave it open to legal risk after a 3-2 vote by the council, officials said. About a dozen people attended a special council meeting Tuesday morning called by Mayor Norma Lopez-Reid to discuss behind closed doors the mass mailing of a city-funded newsletter, Montebello Today, with the names of council members printed on it. “There’s nothing time-sensitive in it to stop us from mailing it until after the election,” said Councilman Bill Molinari, who along with Councilwoman Rosie Vasquez voted against sending it this week. “The timing only matters to those who are running for re-election,” he said during a meeting that had heated exchanges between some of its members. “They are taking the risk only because it’s a political advantage for them,” Molinari said. Vasquez said city officials, specifically Lopez-Reid, have been warned in the past about bulk mailings. “You do not need to implicate me,” Lopez-Reid said, raising her voice as the two women tried to talk over each other. Molinari said the California Fair Political Practices Commission told the city it violated the bulk-mailing law in 1999 when Lopez-Reid signed a mailer sent to senior citizens about the Dial-A-Ride program. Molinari said it cost more than the $1,000 limit on bulk mailings that are endorsed by elected officials and paid for with city funds. Also, the number of mailings went beyond a 199 limit. “These candidates are desperate,” Vasquez said. “How low can you be to use taxpayers’ money to get elected?” Last published in 2004, Montebello Today is paid for by Montebello Tomorrow Inc., a nonprofit corporation founded in the 1970s to help publicize city activities. Interim City Administrator Randy Narramore said the council approved a newsletter in August 2006 and that it was paid for before his arrival in April. “There’s been a push for it to be completed and mailed since I got here,” he said. The cost of the newsletter is about $12,000, Molinari said. The funds for Montebello Tomorrow come from the city and its Redevelopment Agency, officials said. The newsletter, which is four pages and in full color, was delivered to the post office Tuesday afternoon, Narramore said. About 20,000 will be mailed to residents. Members of the public were split on the mailing being sent on the eve of the election. “To be denied information about the city for any reason is a violation of our rights,” said Jacqueline Carr. Steve Stokes said the newsletter was a political tool being used by the incumbents. “If this information is so important, it will still be after the election,” he said. The rest of the candidates for City Council – Giuseppe “Joe” Veneziano, Robert Urteaga, Kathy Salazar and Leo Rodriguez – were also on hand. They thought the mailer should be sent after the election so there could be no misrepresentation about its motivation. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Lopez-Reid and Councilman Bob Bagwell, who are the incumbents in the Nov. 8 election race, and Councilman Jeff Siccama, who is mired in a Dec. 18 recall election, voted in favor of the glossy mailers being sent immediately. “The city attorney gave us his opinion, and it’s each council member’s right to make our own decision,” Siccama said. Molinari said City Attorney Arnoldo Beltran in the one-hour closed session advised them that the mailer opens Montebello up to potential litigation. Vasquez confirmed that, saying, “The attorney was explicit that we will be at risk.” Beltran said he was unable to speak about what he told the council behind closed doors.