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Inglewood Voters Soundly Defeat Raise for Mayor

April 09, 1987|TERRY SPENCER | Times Staff Writer

In a major defeat for Mayor Edward Vincent's political organization, Inglewood voters this week overwhelmingly defeated a measure that would have made the mayor's job a full-time position and given him more than a fourfold pay raise.

In two City Council races, two school board races and the city treasurer's contest, no candidate got enough votes to avoid a runoff June 16.

Proposition 1, which would have increased the mayor's salary from $10,800 a year to $49,621, was resoundingly defeated, 4,273 (62.7%) votes to 2,547 (37.3%).

Vincent won reelection with 80% of the vote only last November. He campaigned for the raise on the grounds that although the mayor's job is a part-time post under the City Charter, performing his duties was a full-time commitment and had forced him to take a leave of absence as a county probation officer.

Vincent did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment. Before the election, he said if the proposition was defeated, he would have to return to his probation department job, which would leave him less time to spend on city business.

One leader of the No on Proposition 1 Committee, Bert Whitfield, said the voters of Inglewood have become "tired of Vincent's deceptions."

"The people have awakened to what the mayor is attempting to do to this city," Whitfield said, "which is dupe the people for his own self-serving interests."

Others Fare Better

Vincent fared somewhat better in the city and school board races. Of the five candidates endorsed by his political organization, the Inglewood Democratic Club, three finished in first place, although short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff. One Vincent-endorsed candidate finished second to make the runoff, and one finished third.

Incumbent Councilman Bruce U. Smith, endorsed by Vincent, was held to 702 votes or 45.2% in the 3rd District council and will face Ann Wilk, a former school board member who received 462 votes or 29.7%, in the general election. Claude Lataillade, a newcomer to Inglewood politics, finished with 391 votes for 25.1%.

Smith, who is seeking a third term, said he may have been hurt by his refusal to take a public position on Proposition 1.

"It's disappointing to be in a runoff, but that's the way it goes in politics sometimes, " Smith said. He said he had been against the proposition all along but did not say so because he "didn't want to influence the voters."

His opponent in the general election, Wilk, who opposed Proposition 1, was hampered in the primary campaign by a leg injury that limited her ability to canvass the district. She has accused Smith of having lost his independence on the board. She said the people are beginning to tire of the political establishment of the city.

"The community spoke (Tuesday) and the people are beginning to realize (with Proposition 1) what has been going on in the city," Wilk said. "The machine had a few cogs knocked out of it."

Garland Hardeman and Ervin (Tony) Thomas advanced to the general election in the 4th District council contest to replace Virgle Benson, who did not run for reelction. Hardeman had the highest percentage total of any candidate, getting 48.2% or 533 votes. Thomas, who was endorsed by Vincent, received 327 votes or 29.6%. William E. Jenkins, who finished a distant second to Benson in 1982, captured 180 votes or 16.3% while Joseph Young, a bookstore manager, finished with 65 votes or 5.9%.

Hardeman, a Los Angeles policeman who ran on an anti-drug platform, was over the 50% total needed to avoid a runoff during most of the vote-counting Tuesday night, but fell under that figure as the final precincts and absentee ballots were tallied.

"The people have indicated they want independent, quality leadership on the council," Hardeman said. "The people are no longer impressed by candidates backed by certain political machines."

Thomas Faces Hardeman

Thomas, who was backed by Vincent and will face Hardeman in the runoff, said that being the only one in his race in favor of Proposition 1 hurt his campaign but he doesn't think it will hinder his chances in June.

"It's going to come down to the grass roots, with the community determining who can do what for them," Thomas said.

Hardeman said it is time for Thomas to "stand on his own, because I'm not running against Ed Vincent."

Votes were scattered among the large fields of candidates in both school board races. Although the candidates run for specific seats, they are elected at large.

Incumbent William Dorn, a leader of the Democratic club, took 3,026 votes or 43.9% in the Seat 5 race and will face Zyra McCloud in the runoff. McCloud, president of the Inglewood Council of PTAs, polled 1,126 votes or 16.3%, edging Dexter A. Henderson, who finished with 929 or 13.4%. Three other candidates, Gloria A. Grattan, William (Bill) Gill and James Wilson trailed further behind.

Draper Leads Five

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