INGLEWOOD — The April 7 election races got off to an unexpected start last week when City Councilman Virgle Benson, who said earlier that he would seek a second term, failed to meet the filing deadline on Thursday.
In another surprise move, school board member W. R. (Tony) Draper filed to run for a second term, despite an earlier announcement that he would not seek reelection. Draper ran unsuccessfully for mayor in November.
Draper said he decided to run again at the urging of several parents in his district. "I had already started saying my goodbyes and was actually ready to move on to something else, but parents have a way of being very persuasive," Draper said in an interview.
Benson could not be reached for comment.
City officials said that a larger than usual number of candidates are running for two City Council seats, two school board seats and for city treasurer. The incumbent city clerk is running unopposed.
The school board races promise to be among the most heated contests, with several well-established community and parent leaders challenging incumbent trustees.
In District 4, incumbent Draper is being challenged by Clarence E. Jones, Lois Hill Hale, Don L. Fields and Loystene L. Irvin.
District 5 incumbent William Dorn is being challenged by William J. Gill, Gloria A. Grattan, Dexter A. Henderson, James Wilson and Zyra McCloud.
In the City Council races, three candidates are seeking to fill the District 4 post being vacated by Benson: Garland Hardeman, Joseph Young and William E. Jenkins.
In the District 3 race, incumbent Bruce Smith is running against Claude Lataillade and Ann A. Wilk.
In the city treasurer's race, incumbent H. Stanley Jones is being challenged by Wanda M. Brown and Pamela S. Fisher. No candidates filed to oppose incumbent City Clerk Hermanita Harris.
Candidates in each race must receive at least 50% of the votes cast plus one to avoid a runoff election. If a runoff is necessary, it would be held in early June.
The April 7 election will also include a ballot measure that would change the City Charter to make the mayor's position a full-time job and raise the salary from $10,800 to $49,621 a year.