LYNWOOD — The City Council has voted unanimously to hold a special election with the Nov. 4 general election to replace Councilman Louis A. Thompson, who died last week.
By law, the council had to either appoint someone to fill the vacancy within 30 days or hold a special election in conjunction with the next regularly scheduled election. Thompson's term would run until November, 1989.
Thompson, 67, who was serving his second four-year term on the council, died of a heart attack last Thursday.
Meeting in an emergency session Friday to discuss the vacancy, the City Council at first split on whether to appoint a replacement or hold a special election.
Motion Fails 2-2
Councilman John Byork wanted to appoint Thompson's widow, Vivian, but the motion lost on a 2-2 vote.
Councilman E. L. Morris, who seconded Byork's motion, said that Mrs. Thompson would be a "wise choice," and would provide the "strength needed" as the fifth member of the council.
Mayor Robert Henning and Councilwoman Evelyn Wells voted against the appointment. Henning and Wells said they were not voting against Mrs. Thompson but wanted an election to be held.
"I think the nomination (of Mrs. Thompson) is good. A fine one," Henning said, "but I would like to see a special election.
"There are three years remaining (on Thompson's term). Let the public decide what and who it wants."
Cost Put at $25,000
Byork said he estimated that a special election would cost the city $25,000 and he was concerned about the expense. "Let's save the money," he said.
Henning immediately made a motion calling for a special election but the council again reached a stalemate, with Henning and Wells voting for the election and Byork and Morris voting against.
"We are never going to accomplish anything until we can fill this council position," Henning said. "We should start working together."
"Do we work together only as far as you lay down the rules?" Byork asked Henning.
"I didn't say that," said Henning.
Henning said he had a nomination but had not offered it because he "didn't want to create animosity on the council." Henning said he and Wells would have nominated Alfreddie Johnson Jr., but "We didn't want to dictate to the community."
Morris then changed his position, saying he was doing so "to prevent you (Henning) and I from sitting here hacking at each other."
Wells' motion for a special election passed unanimously.
The nomination period for all candidates in the November election ends Aug. 8, which meant that city officials had to hurry this week to notify potential candidates for the vacant seat. Advertisements were to be placed in five area newspapers and notices mailed to the more than 14,000 households in the city, said Margaret Warren, deputy city clerk.
Council members, who are elected at-large, meet regularly twice a month and receive a salary of $500 a month. They also receive a $175-a-month car allowance.
Vivian Thompson said in an interview Wednesday that she will not run, citing family and civic commitments.
Planning to Run
One of the first to say he was interested in the vacancy was Johnson, who was one of 12 candidates who ran for the council in last November's city election. Three council seats--including Thompson's--were on the ballot. Johnson, who finished fifth in that election, said in an interview that he would be a candidate for the vacant seat.
Wells, who is serving her first term on the council, finished first in the Nov. 5 election and Thompson was second. Morris was third.
Louis Heine, the fourth-place finisher who ran on a slate with Thompson and Morris, said he has not decided whether to run. However, he said if the council had appointed him he would have accepted.
Funeral services for Thompson were held Tuesday at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Lynwood.
Attended Breakfast Meeting
Thompson had complained of not feeling well during an early morning business breakfast Thursday, said Bernard Lake, Lynwood Chamber of Commerce executive director.
Thompson went to his physician around noon, collapsed and was taken to St. Francis Medical Center. He was pronounced dead around 12:30 p.m.
Thompson spent 32 years in the Lynwood Unified School District as a teacher and administrator. He retired in 1978 as an assistant superintendent of administrative services.
In addition to Mrs. Thompson, survivors include two sons, David L. Thompson of Huntington Beach, and Douglas C. Thompson of Cerritos; two daughters, Carolyn Thacker of Santa Monica and Janet Duarte of San Jose; a brother, Hanley Thompson of Minneapolis, Minn., and 10 grandchildren.