Fourteen candidates, including three incumbents, are running for three open seats on the Anaheim City Council in Tuesday's election, and two council members--including one incumbent running for reelection--are vying for the mayor's job in Orange County's largest city.
For several of the candidates, the battle has been an expensive one, with the likes of Disneyland, the Disneyland Hotel, major outdoor billboard agencies, the Los Angeles Rams football team and the parent company of the California Angels baseball club contributing to campaigns.
This Sunday, newspaper ads are to feature Angels owner Gene Autry endorsing Mayor Don R. Roth for county supervisor and candidate Fred Hunter for City Council. Autry has never supported a council or county candidate "to this extent," Angels Vice President Mike Schreter said Friday, but this year "we think it's time for a change."
In interviews with the candidates, nearly every one raised as an election issue the Angels legal battle with Anaheim over who has control of the Anaheim Stadium parking lot. Most criticized the city for not settling the dispute, which has cost Anaheim more than $5 million.
The Anaheim races have been expensive this year.
As of Oct. 30, Mayor Pro Tem Irv Pickler, who is seeking to replace Roth as mayor, reported receiving $80,869 in campaign contributions. His opponent, Councilman Ben Bay, reported receiving $64,585 as of Oct. 18.
In the council races, these campaign contribution totals have been reported in disclosure statements for the period ending Oct. 18: Councilman E. Llewellyn Overholt Jr., $44,898; Councilwoman Miriam Kaywood, $31,247; William D. (Bill) Ehrle, $94,785; Fred Hunter, $54,811, and Charlene La Claire, $26,187. The other candidates have received and spent less than $500 on their campaigns thus far.
Here are the candidates:
Melvin A. Aguilar, 29, is making his third bid for a seat on the council. An assistant pastor at Set Free Christian Fellowship in Anaheim, Aguilar said "God has called me" to lead people. Unlike many of the other candidates, Aguilar is a common sight at City Hall, where he regularly attends the weekly City Council meetings. Aguilar, whose family has been in Anaheim more than 60 years, emphasizes "going back to the citizens." He said one of his first tasks if elected will be meeting with city personnel, "from interns to department heads."
Ben Bay, 60, is running for mayor. Bay is an Anaheim councilman whose term will end in 1988. He was appointed in 1979, elected the following year and re-elected in 1984. Bay said the key issue is "how to maintain the quality of life in Anaheim." Bay has been a constant critic of his colleagues' approval of city budgets and management contracts. "I felt strongly that the current council majority has not been tough enough on handling taxpayer money. It's been my feeling all along we could have done more things for the city, if there wasn't so much money spent on what I consider unnecessary government functions and bureaucracy in general."
Gustave E. Bode, 62, describes himself as a "jack-of-all-trades." He's done it all, he said, from running the old "Fun Bus" around the perimeter of Disneyland, to driving a milk truck for 20 years, to operating a movie projector. If elected to the council, Bode said, he will concentrate on housing for the elderly and needy and look at the cost to the city of "small items"--such as paper towels in public restrooms, which could be replaced with air dryers--because "you take small items and add them up, and they become a big item."
Jerry Cook, 43, looks at the City Council and sees a group of people who have been in power too long. "I feel we have a powerful political machine," Cook said. "I'm not saying they're incompetent. I think we can do better. And we need to have different people in there so they don't become entrenched." Cook is the owner of a wholesale car lot and an Anaheim resident for 10 years. He emphasizes a separation between private enterprise and city government, calling the city's move last summer to lend its power of condemnation to a private developer to acquire part of a strawberry farm "ridiculous."
Loisalene M. Dunleavy, 55, is a Chicago native who moved to Anaheim five years ago. Dunleavy, who is retired, said she decided to run for council after the city voted this summer to take part of a strawberry farm, belonging to the Fujishige family of Anaheim, to make way for access roads needed for an adjacent development project. "I just don't like what they did to that family," she said. "I think what's yours is yours and you should be able to keep it."