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March 05, 1987|RITA PYRILLIS | Times Staff Writer

LAKEWOOD — It was no surprise to high school principal Wayne E. Piercy or his four opponents when Piercy won Tuesday's special election to fill Assemblyman Paul E. Zeltner's City Council seat.

Piercy, who maintained a steady lead through election night, arrived at Lakewood City Hall an hour before the results were announced with a typed victory statement. He was all smiles and handshakes.

"I guess it was all in the precinct walking that did it," Piercy said as he pointed to his shoes and laughed. "It has been a good campaign, so I wasn't really surprised by this turnout."

With 1,789 votes it was an overwhelming win for Piercy, who captured 43% of the ballots cast in the citywide election.

Robert C. (Bob) Trimble followed with 813 votes or 19.5%; Richard L. Brown won 17.5%, or 728 votes; Russell L. Godin won 596 votes or 14.3%, and write-in candidate Dea Langlois won 5.7%, or 236 votes.

A total of 4,162 voters out of 40,750 registered in Lakewood cast ballots.

Piercy, who had served a four-year term on the Lakewood City Council from 1972 to 1976, will fill the remaining year of Zeltner's four-year term. Zeltner was elected to the Assembly in November.

Piercy said he now wants to expand the city's Neighborhood Watch program and to review the city's revenue sources.

"Due to loss of state revenue for every city, not just Lakewood, we have got to look at other ways of generating revenue," Piercy said.

Piercy also said he will study the development of the 33-acre Chevron tank farm, which is the last large piece of developable land in the city.

The new councilman won a fairly quiet campaign that developed almost no major issues. The election centered on the candidates' personalities and experience.

Piercy, who also was a recreation commissioner for six years before serving on the council, was the most politically experienced candidate--a factor that the other candidates said was his greatest advantage.

"Piercy ran a very sophisticated campaign," said Godin. "There is no substitute for all the things you learn from running your first campaign."

Piercy also had the support of council members Larry Van Nostran and Jacqueline Rynerson, who attended Piercy's victory party along with Vice Mayor Marc Titel and Mayor Robert G. Wagner. Rynerson's husband Bud was chairman of Piercy's campaign committee.

"Mr. Piercy has experience and he has worked with most of us at one time," said Rynerson, who served with Piercy on the Parks and Recreation Commission. "It will be an easy transition."

Brown, 24, said he had hoped his age would give him the advantage and was surprised at what he saw as his poor showing. But as he put it, "you can't fight city hall," referring to Piercy's close ties with the City Council.

"Lakewood City Council is a clique," Brown said after the election. "It wasn't me and Trimble and Godin against each other, it was us three trying to fight Piercy, Van Nostran and Rynerson."

During his campaign, Trimble, 60, said he could run his campaign without spending much money and refused campaign contributions.

It was a move that he said may have cost him the race.

"I was advised that I would have a difficult time winning if I didn't put out a last-minute mailer," Trimble said. "I guess that proved to be right. I just wasn't visible enough."

While Piercy and Brown said they would run again in 1988 and Godin said he was "seriously considering it," Trimble scoffed at the idea.

"I'll just go back to pounding my typewriter," said Trimble, who used to write a column for the defunct Southeast News and whose letters to the editor have appeared in several Los Angeles-area newspapers. "I'd like to write another column someday. I'm probably better at that than at politics."

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