In an election marked by last-minute name-calling, Buena Park residents late Tuesday were giving overwhelming support for the only incumbent in the race for three City Council seats.
Councilman Kenneth B. Jones was ahead by a wide margin late Tuesday night, with nearly two-thirds of the city's 39 precincts reporting. Rhonda J. McCune was running second and Donna Lee Chessen third. D.L. (Don) Bone was running fourth.
Steve A. Grasha, who last week was charged by the Orange County district attorney's office with three counts of perjury and one count of filing false nomination documents, was running far behind in the voting.
Another candidate, Douglas John Jarrell, son of Buena Park Mayor James Jarrell, was trailing the field of 14.
Charges Filed Last Week
Charges were file last week after Police Chief Robert Reber, at the request of Mayor Jarrell, asked the district attorney's office to investigate the validity of Grasha's address. Jarrell told Reber he had received inquiries from residents who said they did not think Grasha was living at the Buena Park address he listed on campaign documents.
Grasha pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Grasha said this week that the charges were "a political smear" by Jarrell, whose son Douglas also was one of 14 candidates for the three open council seats.
Grasha said the incident was "swept under the rug."
"I thought this one was going to be quiet, the way it started out. Then, suddenly a bombshell hits," CouncilmanJones said earlier this week, referring to the furor involving Grasha.
To the voters in Buena Park, the scenario that built up within days of the election was quite different from the city's typically tranquil elections.
"It is really very uncommon," said Mayor Pro Tem Don Griffin, a resident of about 11 years.
Most 'Fairly Uneventful'
City Clerk Alcene Cain, a resident for 30 years and city employee for 18 years, agreed: "I've never seen anything like this. Most of our elections have been fairly uneventful."
Grasha has said that he lived outside of Buena Park for only two months, May and June of this year, while awaiting to move into a new apartment in the city.
The manager of the apartments where Grasha lives said the council candidate has been there since Oct. 15. Grasha said he was living in a friend's apartment in the same complex before Oct. 15. His address is listed in Fullerton, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Grasha said he probably inadvertently listed his parents' Fullerton address when renewing his driver's license.