Three community activists, encouraged by a new grass-roots group that is highly critical of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, have announced their intention to run against the two-term incumbent in June.
Leaders of the organization, called the Planned Growth Coalition, said they want even more people to oppose Antonovich in the hope that a wide field will splinter the vote and force the supervisor into a runoff in November.
The coalition is composed of a number of homeowner association activists.
The candidates are Glenn Bailey, 32, an Encino resident who coordinates a reading program at California State University, Northridge; Sally Chase Clark, 48, a secretary from Canyon Country, and Don Wallace, 47, a Los Angeles fire captain who lives in Calabasas.
The candidates said they are entering the race because pro-development policies of the Board of Supervisors have helped to foul the air, clog freeways, crowd schools, and desecrate the canyons and hillsides. They also contend that Antonovich and the rest of the board's conservative majority will not listen to constituents' concerns.
'Out of Step With Reality'
"The most important thing is to get the people to recognize Mike Antonovich is out of step with current-day reality," Wallace said. "He's been bought and paid for by the developers. I think we can beat him to death with his campaign-contributor list."
The candidates, who said they will depend on their extensive community ties to attract volunteers, are definitely underdogs. Antonovich has name recognition, a large campaign war chest and other advantages of an incumbent.
But one Republican political consultant, who asked that his name not be used, called the coalition's strategy "very clever" and said it was probably the most realistic approach for opponents without a lot of money.
But, he said, the coalition faces major stumbling blocks.
For instance, a large voter turnout for the presidential primary would hurt the opposition candidates because they can only expect a limited number of votes from their associations through work, neighbors and community activities. He said the candidates would have a better chance in a City Council or Assembly district election, in which there are far fewer voters to woo.
The contest has all the makings of an unusual race.
Pledged to Help Survivor
The three candidates said they want to encourage others to join in the race. And, if one of them makes the runoff, the others have pledged to help the surviving candidate's cause.
"Hopefully, it's going to be an unprecedented campaign," Bailey said. "It's going to be historic."
Wallace, former president of the city's firefighters' union, is a federal appointee to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Advisory Commission. He is also active in the Cold Creek Property Owners Assn. and local Democratic politics.
Clark has been involved in educational issues in the Santa Clarita Valley for many years and worked for the successful Santa Clarita incorporation drive.
Bailey, who is involved in many local environmental issues, was the north Los Angeles County coordinator for the drive to place the state parkland bond initiative on the June ballot.