Election results were mixed Tuesday for slow-growth candidates in Orange County's municipal races, but anti-development candidates seemed certain to increase their representation on the city councils of coastal-area communities.
In Newport Beach, slow-growth incumbent Councilman Donald Strauss had a comfortable lead in the 1st District, and slow-growth candidate Philip Sansone was leading in the crowded 6th District race. But Allan Beek, founder of the slow-growth organization Gridlock, was trailing incumbent Councilwoman Evelyn Hart, and another slow-growth candidate, David Shores, was trailing Planning Commission Chairman Clarence J. Turner, who favors expansion of the Newport Center.
In Huntington Beach, early returns showed two slow-growth candidates, Tom Livengood and Grace Winchell, and two pro-development candidates, John Erskine and Tom Mays, ahead of the jammed field of 21 seeking four open seats on the seven-seat City Council.
In San Clemente, three slow- growth candidates, Tom Lorch, Brian Rice and incumbent Councilwoman Karoline Koester, were leading the 10-candidate field seeking three council seats on the five-member council.
In Costa Mesa, early totals showed a close race between pro-business and slow-growth candidates vying for two of the City Council's five seats. Mesa Action, a group that two years ago helped elect two slow-growth advocates, this year was promoting candidates Joseph Erickson and Douglas Yates.
Erickson was running a close third in the race for one of the two seats, with pro-business candidate Orville Amburgey comfortably in the lead and Planning Commission member Peter Buffa, who describes himself as "moderate" on development, in second place by a narrow margin. Yates was running fifth, behind candidate Sandra L. Hamilton.
Limits on development was also the major issue in Orange, where incumbents were accused of permitting unchecked growth in the eastern part of the city. In addition, Councilman Jess F. Perez battled three candidates in a race for the mayor's slot, vacated by Jim Beam, who opted to try for a seat on the Board of Supervisors. Debate over Chapman College's proposed new building and the school's possible relocation also were features in the election.
In Santa Ana, the election focused chiefly on the outcome of Measure H, a citizens initiative that called for election of councilmen by wards rather than citywide. Incumbent council members opposed the initiative, and early returns showed that all three incumbents seeking reelection Tuesday, Robert Luxembourger, P. Lee Johnson and Dan Young, were leading their challengers.
In Westminster, Elden Gillespie held almost a 2-to-1 lead in early returns over Jules Kerker in the race for mayor.
In north Orange County, campaign themes ranged from complaints about traffic to the elimination of a golf course in Cypress.
There were open council seats in the cities of Anaheim, Brea, Cypress, Fullerton, La Palma, Placentia and Yorba Linda.
In Anaheim, early returns showed the two mayoral candidates running a close race, but Mayor Pro Tem Irv Pickler had a narrow lead over Councilman Ben Bay.
In the 14-candidate race for three council seats, two of the three incumbents, Pickler and Councilwoman Miriam Kaywood, were leading the field, followed by candidate Fred Hunter, who had a narrow lead over incumbent Councilman E. Llewellyn Overholt Jr. and candidate William D. Ehrle.
Times staff writers Roxana Kopetman and Andy Rose contributed to this story.