POMONA — --One thing is guaranteed in Tuesday's City Council runoff election: At least one of the two new council members will be a novice.
Neither Donna Smith nor Tomas Ursua, vying for the District 3 council seat, has held public office before. The incumbent, Clay Bryant, surrendered his seat in an unsuccessful bid for mayor in the city's primary election March 5.
In the District 2 race, Joe Smith, a retired policeman who also has never held public office, is challenging incumbent Jay Gaulding.
Stick to Platforms
The four candidates have stuck close to the platforms they articulated in the primary, in which the two top vote-getters in each race became runoff candidates. No council candidate received enough votes to escape a runoff, but Mayor G. Stanton Selby defeated Bryant, his only opponent.
All four candidates agree on the need to attract business and development to Pomona, although they differ on how to do so.
Ursua, an urban planner, has made a special effort since the primary to dispel an "anti-development" image, which he says the news media have given him. He said he does not oppose development as long as it is planned intelligently, with careful attention to displacement of the city's poor. Ursua, a Latino, also says he will be a voice for the city's minorities, which he said make up at least 60% of the population.
Donna Smith, a local businesswoman, said her lack of experience in public office will be an asset, allowing her to bring "vitality" to the council. She said that as a council member she would pay special attention to the city's youth and elderly.
Joe Smith and Gaulding have engaged in frequent public debates over the city's future. Smith's campaign has focused on the need to reduce crime and to create a "new Pomona," while Gaulding has concentrated on his record and city improvements in past years, including stricter enforcement of building codes.
Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 4 p.m.; voters citywide will cast ballots in both district races.