LYNWOOD — On the basis of money and endorsements, three candidates have emerged as top contenders in a crowded field of candidates for City Council.
The special election is being held Nov. 4 to fill the vacancy left by the death of Councilman Louis A. Thompson, who died in July. Seven candidates are competing for the seat. An eighth contender, John M. James, announced his withdrawal from the contest on Tuesday.
Paul H. Richards, 30, an attorney employed as an administrator by the City of Compton, has raised the most money--$13,640--and spent the most on the campaign--nearly $9,000. Richards said he had been endorsed by Lynwood school board members Thelma Williams and Joe Battle.
Louis J. Heine, 68, a retired Lynwood school principal who finished fourth in last November's city election, has received the endorsement of Councilmen John Byork and E. L. Morris. Heine said he has also been endorsed by Thompson's widow, Vivian Thompson, school board members Helen Andersen, Willard Hawn Reed and Richard Armstrong and former school board member Jo Evelyn Terrell.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday October 19, 1986 Home Edition Long Beach Part 9 Page 3 Column 2 Zones Desk 2 inches; 49 words Type of Material: Correction
In an Oct. 16 story in the Southeast/Long Beach editions of The Times, John M. James was quoted as saying that Lynwood City Council candidate Louis J. Heine is "too religious." James said he did not use that phrase. James said he stated that Heine "is a religious man" whose beliefs "might be a problem" or cause a conflict when making political decisions.
Endorsed by Mayor
Heine reported contributions of $1,849, second only to Richards.
Alfreddie Johnson Jr., 25, a marketing representative for Xerox Corp., who finished fifth in last November's election, has been endorsed by Mayor Robert Henning and Councilwoman Evelyn Wells. Johnson, and each of the remaining candidates in the race, reported raising and spending less than $500. As the front-runner in fund raising, Richards has been criticized by Henning, who has accused him of being supported by Compton officials. Henning also accused Richards of sending out misleading campaign literature that he said implied that Richards was an attorney at age 15. Henning did not name the Compton supporters.
Richards has responded by accusing the mayor of deliberately misinterpreting the campaign material. Richards said his campaign literature states that he started his government experience at age 15.
"I started working as an administrative intern in Compton at 15," Richards said.
He said he continued to work in city government while attending Cal State Dominguez Hills, where he received a bachelor's degree in economics and business; USC, where he received a master's of public administration, and UCLA, where he received a law degree. He said he is currently chief of staff and legal and policy adviser for the Compton City Council.
Richards, who said he bought a home in Lynwood seven years ago, denies he is being supported by Compton officials.
"That's ridiculous. I work in Compton to support my family. Henning works in Compton also," Richards said. (Henning works as an unemployment insurance adjudication management supervisor for the state Employment Development Department branch office in Compton.)
Of the more than $13,000 Richards has raised, $6,250 came in the form of a loan he made to his campaign, according to the latest financial statements filed with the city clerk's office. A $1,250 loan came from Laurence Adams. Richards said in an interview that Adams, whom he described as project manager for redevelopment for the city of Compton, "is a lifelong friend."
Candidate Drops Out
During a candidates' forum Tuesday, Richards' campaign got a boost when candidate James, 51, announced he was dropping out of the race and throwing his support to Richards. James, a former Compton policeman who is now a private investigator in Compton, said he is withdrawing because he cannot devote enough time to the campaign. City Clerk Andrea Hooper said ballots are already printed and it is too late to remove James' name.
James said he believes that Richards is the most qualified. He said Johnson is too young and lacks experience, while Heine is "too religious."
Johnson said in an interview his age and lack of political experience "will not hinder me. I'm capable." Johnson, who has a bachelor's degree in history and economics from UCLA, also declared that he would be independent and "would not be a rubber stamp for Henning."
Heine said he is an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but said it would not interfere with his serving on the council.
As for issues, Richards said bringing "redevelopment to Lynwood is a must," and he said the City Council must become aggressive in seeking redevelopment projects.
Goal of Improving Streets
Heine said he hopes to work toward sidewalk- and street-improvement projects as well as promoting anti-drug programs.
Johnson said that combatting crime and drug trafficking, while developing more recreational programs and jobs for youths, would be some of his priorities.