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Local Elections : Municipal Roundup : Rent Issue on Westminster Ballot

November 01, 1986|ANDY ROSE and ROXANA KOPETMAN | Times Staff Writers

If an aggressive group of residents gets its way Tuesday, Westminster will again have rent control for its nearly 3,000 mobile homes.

A measure on the Westminster ballot calls for a law that would limit rent hikes to two-thirds of the consumer price index each year. the city would be required to enforce the law, a provision that opponents say would be costly to a municipality that already is strapped for cash.

Westminster enacted a mobile home rent-control ordinance in 1982, but it was repealed by the City Council in 1985 and subsequently struck down by the California Supreme Court. Crystal Wadsworth, a rent-control opponent and president of the Chamber of Commerce, said the city paid more than $100,000 to defend the 1982 ordinance and cannot afford a repeat performance.

But supporters say mobile home rent hikes have increased at far too high a rate. And a shortage of trailer park spaces throughout the county has allowed park owners in Westminster to "gouge their residents," said Jules Kerker, 52, an insurance agent and candidate for mayor in Tuesday's election.

Kerker's opponent for mayor, Councilman Elden F. (Gil) Gillespie, has declined to take a position on the measure. Gillespie, 69, a chemical engineer, has served on the council for 13 years.

In the other Westminster council race to be decided Tuesday, incumbent Melvin Jay, 38, an accountant, is challenged by Anita Huseth, 57, a businesswoman and homemaker.

In other municipal elections:


Five candidates are running for three Cypress City Council seats Tuesday. Councilmen John Kanel, 56 and Richard Partin, 48, are seeking reelection. Mayor Otto J. Lacayo is stepping down from local office after serving the maximum two terms allowed. Challengers in Cypress are Margaret M. Arnold, 47, a businesswoman; William (Bill) Davis, 47, a businessman and administrator, and Alice J. Talbott, 47, an administrative assistant and former Cypress mayor.

Partin has been the target of a mail campaign by golfers angry over the council's 3-2 vote Oct. 14 to create a 169-acre business park in the city's Los Alamitos Golf Course. City officials have pledged to find a location for a new golf course, possibly at the Los Alamitos Armed Forces Reserve Center, but golfers have expressed skepticism.


Voters will elect two Placentia council members, a city clerk and city treasurer and determine the fate of two ballot measures Tuesday.

In the council race, Carol Downey, 45, who was appointed to the council after the resignation of Councilman Robert Kuznic last year, is up for election. The other seat to be filled Tuesday is being vacated by Richard E. Buck, who is not seeking reelection.

There are four other candidates for the two openings: Norman Z. Eckenrode, 48, a businessman; Betty Mead, 67, a retired editor and teacher who was ousted from the council during a 1981 recall drive; April Ottavian, 41, an admissions employee at Cal State Fullerton, and George Petzoldt, 38, an operations manager.

The single candidate on the ballot for city clerk is Edmund M. Ponce, 50, who was appointed after Doris Black resigned from the post in October, 1985. Ponce, a county deputy probation officer, served as Placentia's city clerk from 1969 to 1978.

Incumbent city Treasurer Carolyn H. Davis, 49, has two opponents in the race for a part-time job that pays $5 a month: Rachelle (Shelle) Bilhartz, 34, a homemaker and community volunteer with groups such as the Placentia Foundation and the Placentia Unified School District, and Gary R. Arnold, 45, a relentless critic of local government and leader of a group called Placentia Watch.

Arnold was given the legal go-ahead to run for treasurer Oct. 2, when an Orange County Superior Court judge rejected claims by city officials that he was not qualified to run because he was not a legal resident of the city. Arnold had listed an address in a non-residential zone as his home. According to the city charter, only Placentia residents can run for city office. Arnold argued that the city was harassing him.

Ballot Measure D asks voters if they are willing to pay an additional $17 a year to finance $1.4 million in improvements for athletic facilities at Kraemer Junior High school. Measure E asks voters for an additional $3 per household to finance improvements at three city swimming pools. Last year, voters rejected an advisory vote combining both issues. This year, the council decided to separate the issues to gauge how the community feels on each one individually, City Administrator Roger L. Kemp said.

Fountain Valley

The City Council race has prompted little controversy in Fountain Valley. In fact, council candidate Mary H. Ellis, 54, an attorney, characterized the race as dull.

"I wish there were were some issues," she said. "It's very difficult for someone not on the council to challenge under those conditions."

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