DOWNEY — The field in the City Council election Tuesday--with an incumbent running unopposed in one district and two candidates competing in the other contest--is the smallest in the city's 30-year history.
City Clerk Robert L. Shand said there has not been as small a group of candidates since the city was incorporated in 1956.
"In the past, District 2 has always drawn the most candidates," Shand said. "Maybe this represents a decrease in citizen interest in running for a grass-roots office."
Roy Paul, the District 2 challenger, has raised the most money. Paul, 36, an attorney and former Bell Gardens city councilman, had raised $13,976 as of his latest campaign contribution report on May 22--twice the amount raised by his opponent, Mayor Robert Davila.
Councilman Randy Barb is running unopposed in District 4.
Davila, 58, a retired juvenile court liaison with the Los Angeles Police Department and the first Downey City Council candidate to hire a campaign manager, had raised $6,760 as of May 17, including a $1,500 loan he made to his own campaign in March. Davila hired Ralph Pacheco of Norwalk for a $1,500 initial fee and has since spent $3,700 on postage, campaign literature and signs, according to the most recent campaign statements which were filed May 17.
6 Candidates Ran in 1982
In Downey's last city election in 1982, six candidates ran for the seat in District 2, which has 9,720 registered voters in a city with a population of 83,623.
Davila's two largest contributions, $1,000 each, are from Brookshire Partnership and Downey Retirement Center, which houses College House, a drug and alcoholism rehabilitation center. Both Brookshire Partnership and Downey Retirement Center are owned by Stanley Diller, a Los Angeles developer.
These contributions, both made in early April, prompted Councilman Randy Barb to accuse Davila, who had voted several times in the past on issues involving College House, of a conflict of interest. Barb said at last week's council meeting he was concerned that Davila had voted on those issues without declaring a conflict of interest.
However, Davila abstained at the May 13 council meeting, when the City Council in a 3-1 vote gave College House 90 days to vacate the center because of conditional use permit violation.
In an interview Thursday, Davila said the charges are unfounded because he has not voted on issues involving the College House since receiving contributions from Brookshire Partnership and the retirement center.
Paul, who has reported $3,457 in unitemized contributions under $100, has received two $500 contributions from Alpase Inc. of Downey, an aluminum plate manufacturer, and from John A. McDermott II, a Newport Beach attorney. Paul has also received $250 from the Joint Council of Teamsters Political Action Committee. In February, Paul loaned $5,000 to his campaign. As of May 22, Paul has spent $7,183 on mailing lists, advertising, postage, printing and photographs.
Davila recently gained the support of Downey CAREs (Downey Citizens Against Redevelopment Excesses), a 50-member citizens' group, which sent out a mailing to 600 voters urging them to contribute time and money to Davila's campaign.
In District 4, Barb, an executive at Newco Purina in Fontana, is running unopposed for the second consecutive time--a first in Downey elections. He had received $495 in contributions and spent $125 as of May 22.
Candidates must file a final campaign statement on July 30.