Voters in Compton decided overwhelmingly that they did not want a full-time mayor, while voters in two Southeast cities and four school districts have ousted incumbents.
Both the Lynwood and Montebello city councils will have new faces, with one veteran incumbent in each city rejected in Tuesday's elections. The four school boards from which incumbents were ousted are in the ABC, Bellflower, Los Nietos Elementary and South Whittier districts.
In the closest race, Carl E. Robinson Sr., who has been charged with bribery and is facing a trial Dec. 17, appeared to beat challenger James E. Carter by just one vote for trustee of Compton Community College.
"It's a win today, but (Thursday) we have to count the mutilated ballots and that may change in his favor or my favor. I'm sure there will be a recount," said Robinson, who is currently president of the college board.
Carter, a retired Los Angeles County parks employee who has unsuccessfully challenged Robinson twice in the past, could not be reached for comment.
Robinson acknowledged that many voters may have been disturbed by the bribery charge that was filed against him last spring. Although he is accused of soliciting and accepting a $500 bribe from a West Covina accountant who does business with the college, Robinson contends that the money was a campaign contribution.
As far as a recount goes, the Los Angeles County registrar-recorder's office will start canvassing late and damaged ballots in all races within the next week, said public information officer Marcia Ventura. The election must be officially certified by Nov. 25, Ventura said.
In Compton, before any ballot had been counted, many city officials had expected the full-time mayor measure to carry simply because part-time Mayor Walter R. Tucker has been so popular among city voters.
Upon hearing early returns at the close of a City Council meeting, a visibly discouraged Tucker tried to shrug off the defeat of the charter amendments.
"I'm not a poor loser," said the 61-year-old dentist. "I don't feel I've lost."
Tucker and two fellow councilmen had raised $63,800 to promote the issue of full-time mayor. The issue had been presented to voters in parts on the ballot; first asking if they favored a full-time mayor, then asking if Tucker should be automatically installed in the position, if it passed. Both questions were soundly defeated.
Tucker acknowledged that voters may have rejected the measure largely because they objected to the $73,452 salary that he would have been paid.
"You're dealing with people who might be a little jealous of the money," Tucker said.
While "that (salary) scares the hell out of the ordinary person," the mayor said, by today's standards the figure is "not all that much" to pay a city's chief elected official. "I just couldn't take the job for $30,000 or $40,000. I've got two kids in college."
He had planned sell his dental practice and work only for the city if he had become a full-time mayor. "I've been saving people's teeth for 30 years and I thought that I could use my business acumen, my humility . . . to save the city. (But) it's going to take education," he said.
In Lynwood, Evelyn Wells ousted long-time council member James Rowe, while veteran council members Louis Thompson and E. L. Morris were returned to office.
Wells, a financial accounting supervisor for the Lynwood School District, finished first in the crowded race in which 12 candidates were vying for three seats. It was her second attempt for a council seat.
She had been backed by Councilman Robert Henning, while Morris and Thompson had ran a slate with council candidate Louis Heine. Heine finished a close fourth.
"This is the result of a lot of hard work by me and my supporters. I feel great that the voters had confidence in me," said Wells, who becomes the first woman in more than 20 years to be elected to the council.
In Montebello, newcomers Arnold M. Glasman and Edward C. Pizzorno gained seats along with incumbent William Nighswonger who was returned to office. Incumbent Phillip M. Ramos, who served three terms, finished fourth in a six-candidate race.
Nighswonger's reelection marks his fifth term on the council. He was first elected in 1968.
Pizzorno, owner of a hardware store, was elected after four tries. "I finally won one," said Pizzorno, who first ran for a council seat in 1978.
He said the result stemmed from "a mood in the town that it was time for a change.
In Bell Gardens, where six candidates were running for two seats, funeral director Ronald J. Bird and incumbent Roger McComas were elected. One seat was vacant because incumbent Frank Dana decided not to run.
In school board races, voters ousted five incumbents in five separate school districts.
In the ABC Unified School District, where three seats were being contested, newcomers Catherine Grant and Barbara Y. Goul were elected along with incumbent Peggy Lee. One of the three seats was vacant because trustee William Watt is retiring after 13 years on the board.