LONG BEACH — Gov. George Deukmejian, a Long Beach resident since 1956, has endorsed candidates in the three City Council races on the June 3 ballot.
Deukmejian has endorsed Councilwoman Jan Hall in District 3, where he is registered to vote; Councilwoman Eunice Sato in District 7, and politically conservative newcomer Ron Batson in District 1.
Although five of six candidates in the council races are Republicans, the governor's endorsements prompted charges by two candidates that nonpartisan council races are being marred by partisan politics.
In District 1, Evan Anderson Braude, a Democrat, said he has gotten much support from both parties, while Batson has promoted the endorsements of conservative Assemblyman Dennis Brown (R-Signal Hill) and Rep. Daniel E. Lungren (R-Long Beach).
"My opponent has made this a partisan race up until now, why should he change?" Braude said. "He was the first to come out with partisan endorsements."
Batson, in turn, said Braude's "whole platform" has been to tie himself to his stepfather, Rep. Glenn M. Anderson (D-Harbor City). "That's partisan politics," Batson said.
"The governor sees me as a legitimate candidate and not just somebody who has just moved into the district," Batson said.
Batson, a downtown resident since 1977, has called Braude a political opportunist who moved into the district in August just to run for office. In response, Braude, a lawyer here for three years, has cited longtime family and professional ties with the city.
The endorsements of Hall and Sato reflect an ongoing alliance between those candidates and the governor.
Deukmejian supported Hall when she first won a council seat in a close race in 1978. He backed her again in a razor-thin 1982 primary victory over Jim Serles, who has forced her into a runoff this time. And last year the governor was the honorary chairman at a fund-raiser that gave Hall about $32,000 for this year's race.
"I think I identify very closely with the governor's politics. . . . in positions from crime to local control," Hall said.
Serles, who trailed Hall by only 108 votes in the April primary, called the Deukmejian endorsement unwelcome partisan politics. Deukmejian "endorsed her four years ago and she won by less than 51% of the vote," said Serles, "so I guess the people have to decide if they think these endorsements are important. I'm not running for the benefit of any politician."
Sato, a 1983 Deukmejian appointee to the California Council on Criminal Justice and a state advisory committee on juvenile delinquency, said Deukmejian's endorsement came "because he knows of my contributions to the city." She predicted that the endorsement would be of "some significance" in turning back the general election challenge of Ray Grabinski.
But Grabinski, who nearly matched Sato's vote total in the primary, said his endorsements from local groups probably will be more important than support from the governor. "And I really think most of the public, because of our 13-month campaign, are aware of what the issues are in the district," he said.