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Ellman Says She'll Forgo 4th Term in Beverly Hills

February 04, 1988|JULIO MORAN | Times Staff Writer

Three-term Beverly Hills Councilwoman Donna Ellman will not seek reelection in the April 12 municipal election.

Her decision, coupled with Councilwoman Charlotte Spadaro's earlier decision not to seek a second four-year term, leaves Mayor Benjamin H. Stansbury Jr. as the only incumbent in the race for three council seats.

Because some of the incumbents are not running, the candidate filing period has been extended from today to Feb. 9, City Clerk Jean M. Ushijima said.

The city treasurer's post is also up for election and incumbent Ramon I. Gerson is not seeking reelection.

Ellman made her announcement soon after the start of Tuesday night's City Council meeting. In an interview before the meeting, Ellman said she decided not to seek a fourth term four years ago, when she was elected back onto the City Council after quitting for two years.

"After 17 years in city government (three years as a civil service commissioner), it's time for me to walk a different path," she said. "My life, like the life of the city, has changed."

Among her accomplishments, Ellman lists 2,000 new public parking spaces, the senior citizen housing project on Crescent Drive and a city ordinance that requires commercial developers to provide fine art for public display.

Among her regrets, she lists being unable to persuade the public of the need for another hotel in the city. In 1984, voters overwhelming rejected plans for a 12-story luxury hotel at Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive. The hotel eventually opened up just across the city boundary in Los Angeles, leaving Beverly Hills with much of the traffic congestion that residents feared, but without any of the hotel bed or sales taxes, Ellman said.

During her announcement Tuesday night, Ellman said:

"This is not a job for those with a penchant for manipulating the truth, nor for those seeking personal power, nor self-aggrandizement.

"It may appear that this will be an election about keeping peace on the council," she said, alluding to friction among some council members. "However, it's really about who's going to control the city. Whoever is elected is going to have the power to shape this city, and there is no question they will use the power. This power can be positive or destructive."

Ellman said she is likely to endorse only Stansbury in the election.

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