BALDWIN PARK — Two former City Council members who were recalled in March, the widow of a councilman who died while in office and the city's first mayor are among the candidates seeking three vacancies that will be filled July 14.
The city is now being run by two council members.
Two council seats and the mayor's position are at stake in the election, which is expected to cost the city at least $16,000. Fifteen people have filed formal declarations of candidacy.
The race may focus on former Mayor Jack B. White and former Councilman Leo W. King. Both say the special election that forced them to step down did not reflect on them.
White said the election primarily was a vote on the utility tax and community redevelopment. "Those two issues were paramount to the people," said White, 53, who had been on the council since 1978 and whose two-year term was to end next year.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday May 21, 1987 Home Edition San Gabriel Valley Part 9 Page 3 Column 1 Zones Desk 2 inches; 49 words Type of Material: Correction
Justina T. (Tina) Ramirez's name was inadvertently omitted from a story May 17 on the July 14 Baldwin Park City Council election. Ramirez, 49, is among five candidates seeking to fill the unexpired term of former Councilman Leo W. King, who was recalled on March 31. Ramirez is a homemaker and former social worker who has lived in the city for 21 years.
King said not enough people cast ballots to convince him that the community wanted him removed. Only 2,672 of the city's 15,252 registered voters cast ballots.
"People just thought that they really didn't have to vote," said King, 58, a 15-year council member whose four-year term was to end next April. "They thought that things would be all right."
Herschel Keyser, who spearheaded the recall campaign, said the decision by King and White to seek election is "one of the low-downest things they could do. The people just got through recalling them from office."
Under state law, those defeated in a recall election can immediately run for other positions, but they cannot seek election to the office from which they were ousted for at least six months. King is seeking White's former job as mayor and White is seeking a regular council seat.
Keyser, a leader of Citizens for Better Government, said the group is not endorsing any candidate, but he added that he will work as hard to defeat White and King as he did to help force the recall.
He called King's assertion that not enough people voted to make the outcome meaningful "a bunch of bunk."
"If there had been only 10 people voting and six voted for us and four for (King and White), that would have still been a fair election," Keyser said.
Referendum on Project
Last year, Citizens for Better Government and the Baldwin Park Homeowners Group joined forces to seek a referendum on the controversial Sierra Vista Redevelopment Project and the recall of White, King and the late Councilman Robert H. McNeill, who were considered instrumental in passing a utility tax.
McNeill died in December but his name remained on the March ballot as required under state election laws. The vote on McNeill ended in a tie.
Plans for the redevelopment project call for the Community Redevelopment Agency to spend up to $180 million to help finance commercial and industrial development along the San Bernardino Freeway. Voters approved the project in a referendum in November.
Tax Cut to 3%
City officials contended that the 5% utility tax, which the council imposed on electricity, gas, water and telephone bills in August, 1985, was needed to replace $655,000 in federal revenue-sharing money that had been used to help fund the Police Department. The council has since reduced the tax to 3% and has voted to eliminate it, as required under Proposition 62, in November, 1988.
Keyser and his group wanted the council to allow residents to decide the fate of the tax in an election, but the proposal was rejected.
"I think the council did the best they could," said Julia S. McNeill, 65, who is a candidate for the seat that her husband, Robert, held before his death.
"At the time (the tax was approved), nobody was able to find an idea that was better," said Julia McNeill, a retired cardiovascular technician who was employed by the USC Medical Center Radiology Department for 16 years.
"I don't know what I would have done," she said.
Also vying for her husband's seat on the council, a term that ends in 1990, are:
Henry J. Littlejohn, 73, a retired dairy farmer and resident of Baldwin Park for 37 years. Littlejohn served as the city's first mayor from 1956 to 1962.
Terry O. Hughes, 28, a corporate lawyer who grew up in Baldwin Park.
Carlo L. Leone, 52, a union representative and city resident for four years.
Eulogio (Eli) A. Roca, 29, a printer and city resident for nine years.
Arthur L. Salsameda, 36, a salesman who has lived in Baldwin Park for 19 years.
Albert E. Sanders, 38, a househusband and city resident for 13 years.
Besides White, those seeking to fill the remainder of King's term are:
Raquel Corrales, 40, a cosmetologist and resident of Baldwin Park since 1962.
Raul A. Reyes, 31, a federal employee who has lived in the city since 1978.
Gustavo M. Rodriguez, 27, a businessman who has lived in the city for one year.
Besides King, those seeking to fill the remainder of White's term as mayor are:
Anne G. Farkas, 55, a homemaker and community volunteer who has lived in the city since 1965.
Bette L. Lowes, 54, a homemaker and city resident for 34 years.
Frank Mamone, a retired federal employee who declined to reveal his age. He has lived in Baldwin Park for 31 years.