In early returns Tuesday, voters were rejecting a grass-roots effort to revamp the election of Santa Ana council members and provide for a direct mayoral election but were approving a competing proposition placed on the ballot by the City Council.
The two proposals, Measures H and G, were supported by opposing factions, and each had drawn more than 50% of the early vote. If each measure receives a simple majority of the vote, the one with the larger number of "yes" votes wins.
In early returns, City Council-backed Measure G was passing while Measure H, which was proposed by a citizens' group, was losing.
Elsewhere, early returns showed leads for ballot measures that would establish rent control in Westminster mobile home parks and ban fireworks in Anaheim. Another anti-fireworks measure in Yorba Linda also was leading in early returns, but that measure is advisory and not legally binding.
Meanwhile, voters in Placentia were turning down funding measures for improved athletic facilities and improvements at three city swimming pools. But in San Clemente voters were approving a restriction on the height of trees that obstruct views.
In Santa Ana, the Santa Ana Merged Society of Neighbors (SAMSON), a citizens' group, backed Measure H, which calls for election of council members by ward to four-year terms and a directly elected mayor who would serve for two years and vote only to break ties.
Currently, all seven council members are elected citywide but each must live in a separate district.
As an alternative, the City Council put Measure G on the ballot. It also would provide for a directly elected mayor to serve a two-year term, but as a full-voting member on the council. Council members would be elected citywide to four-year terms as they are now, but the number of districts would be reduced to six.
A proposition similar to Measure H was defeated by only 257 votes in June.
In Anaheim, Measure A called for a ban on the sale, possession and discharge of fireworks in the city except for public displays approved by the fire chief. It was supported by the Anaheim Fire Department, which spent no money and did not organize a campaign. A $70,000 campaign to defeat the proposition was mounted by the California Pyrotechnics Assn.
The Anaheim City Council put the matter on the ballot after a major fire on July 3 at the Casa de Valencia Apartments at which both legal "safe and sane" fireworks and illegal fireworks, such as bottle rockets, were found.
In a related issue in Yorba Linda, Measure O, a non-binding, advisory measure, asked residents whether the City Council should ban the sale and use of "safe and sane" fireworks there.
Measure N in Westminster was backed by an aggressive group of residents urging rent control for nearly 3,000 mobile homes. The measure would limit rent hikes to two-thirds of the Consumer Price Index each year and require the city to enforce the law, a provision that opponents say would be costly to a municipality already strapped for cash.
In San Clemente, Measure F would prevent the growth of trees and shrubs above rooftops or 15 feet above the ground, whichever is greater, if the tree obstructs any resident's view of the ocean or ridge line.
Countywide election tables take the place of the Orange County Digest page today.