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Suit Contests Outcome of Compton Vote

July 04, 1985|DAVID HALDANE | Times Staff Writer

COMPTON — An unsuccessful City Council candidate has filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court asking that the results of the city's bitterly contested District 2 election be nullified and a new election held.

Patricia Moore, overwhelmingly defeated by incumbent Councilman Floyd James in Compton's June 4 council runoff, filed suit this week alleging that James did "unlawfully influence, deceive and defraud" voters in the district by distributing two mailers in the final days of the campaign that violated sections of the California Elections Code and "prevented the . . . election from being fairly held."

The suit asks that James be removed from office, that he be disqualified forever from holding office in California and that a special election be called to fill his seat on the council.

"There is a responsibility of people who run for office to obey the law," Moore said in an interview Tuesday.

Mailers Key to Claim

Countered James, who denied any wrongdoing: "I'm certain the suit should be dismissed."

Central to Moore's claim are two mailers that went out during the last week of the campaign. Distribution of the first, a letter purportedly written by the Rev. Jesse Jackson promising free copies of a Jesse Jackson record album to voters pledging their support to James, was halted by a judge who declared the mailing a probable violation of a section of the election code prohibiting the offer of "valuable consideration" in exchange for votes.

Jackson's press secretary, Frank Watkins, later said the former Democratic presidential candidate had not written the letter and was not aware of it having been distributed.

'Revised Voter Guide'

The second mailing consisted of an official-looking "revised voter guide" claiming that Moore had been disqualified from the race. In fact, she had been mistakenly disqualified but was reinstated.

James--who won 61.9% of the vote to Moore's 38.1%--disavowed any knowledge of the Jackson mailing, attributing it to a political consultant in Inglewood. The "revised voter guide," he said, was legal because it contained a disclaimer clearly identifying it as campaign material and only "stated the facts."

"She's just a bad loser," James said of his political opponent.

Said Moore: "Innocent people have been taken advantage of. We cannot allow this to happen."

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