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Small Price to Pay for Accurate Vote

September 07, 1986

I would like to respond to (the letter) "Win at Any Cost" by Mayor Betty Wilson (Southeast/Long Beach sections, Aug. 13).

Mayor Wilson was not present during the court trial and reported information to the public based on hearsay. The committee to elect Ruben Elizalde as well as Elizalde himself, have no regrets about taking City Hall and Al Fuentes to court.

We teach our children about good sportsmanship and that we live in a democracy, and when something in the system is unjust they should utilize the legal process. The mayor, who should be an advocate of democracy, should be the last one to put down Elizalde for exercising his right to the legal process.

Mayor Wilson attacks Elizalde by blaming him for the $33,000 that taxpayers will have to pay because of his decision to utilize his right to the legal process. I believe the taxpayers are too smart to be fooled by Mayor Wilson's tactics. The City Council made the ultimate decision on the attorneys they would hire, giving no thought to what it would cost the taxpayers.

Mayor Wilson also attacks Elizalde's attorney, Julia Sylva, as trying to win at any cost, yet the lady stood her ground against three attorneys and one consultant during the court-ordered recount and two attorneys during the trial.

Sylva uncovered the following facts that will benefit the voters of Santa Fe Springs:

1. The voting system in the city is obsolete. Some voters appeared to be confused by the voting instrument. It's amazing that a city like Santa Fe Springs, with sufficient wealth, can not keep in step with modern voting methods such as the computerized punch card.

2. The precinct workers showed irresponsibility in their duties, despite the city clerk's testimony that they were well trained. Their irresponsibility may not have been relevant to the judge, but possibly cost Elizalde the election.

3. The city clerk could have made special arrangements to check the post office on election day for absentee ballots. As a result of taking no special precautions, four absentee ballots were not allowed to be counted. The ballots were postmarked April 7 and 8 (the day of the election). (Sylva) pointed out that city clerks in other cities make every effort to retrieve those ballots from the post office.

Thirty-three thousand dollars is a small amount to pay to assure people in a democracy that the intent of the voters, when they cast their votes, will be adhered to.

--TINA DELGADO

Santa Fe Springs

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