Santa Ana City Councilman Ron May announced Tuesday that he will run for the 1st Supervisorial District seat held by Roger R. Stanton in the June election.
The 48-year-old teacher at Santa Ana High School said he decided to run for supervisor several months ago, even though he has only been on the City Council since November, 1986.
May criticized the Board of Supervisors--pointing out that Stanton has twice served as chairman--for not responding to pressing problems unless they have "a gun to their head or a check in their pocket."
Reading from a prepared statement at a news conference in Santa Ana on Tuesday, May added: "The board has failed time and time again to anticipate, to deal with the most crucial issue--traffic--which is congestion, which is chaos, which is confusion." He said he supports the Citizens' Sensible Growth and Traffic Control Initiative and would look at alternatives to building more freeways, such as rapid transit, if elected supervisor.
Stanton, a former Fountain Valley city councilman who defeated incumbent Supervisor Phil Anthony in 1980 and was reelected without opposition in 1984, dismissed May's candidacy as "a lark."
"I was told by many people that I wouldn't have any significant opposition for this seat (in 1988) and that remains true," Stanton said. "This guy's not even going to get one endorsement out of his own council."
Stanton, however, said that he has not ruled out a bid for the 40th Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Robert E. Badham (R-Newport Beach). "But my intention always has been to run again for this seat (as 1st District supervisor), and as of this point, I have not changed my mind," he said. "Certainly there is nothing about this development that would change my mind."
May's decision has raised the eyebrows of several of his colleagues on the council, who privately have questioned the wisdom and sincerity of running for supervisor so soon after joining the council. His term expires in 1990.
On Tuesday, May sought to quash suspicions that he has higher political ambitions. "I'm 48, not a 21-year-old kid out to conquer the world. . . . I didn't get into this (politics) to be a professional politician," he said. "I got into it to solve local problems, and after 15 months, I realized that the problems are county related."
If money is a determining factor in the race, May faces long odds. Stanton has more than $300,000 in available campaign funds. As of Dec. 31, May had $33, according to campaign records.
But May, a lifelong Santa Ana resident who spent about $28,000 to upset incumbent council member Robert Luxembourger in 1986, said he would raise "just enough to get it done" from "Democrats, Republicans, housewives, doctors and dentists."
May is a registered Democrat, but his campaign manager, Don Sizemore, director of planning for the Orange County Community Development Council, is a conservative Republican. Stanton also is a Republican.
When May won his council race in 1986, he had the backing of the Santa Ana Police Benevolent Assn. and Orange County Deputy Sheriffs' Assn., and he has been a strong supporter of the police union--which is locked in difficult contract talks with the city--since his election.
Law Enforcement Backing
But Stanton also has had the backing of the same law enforcement groups in past campaigns and is likely to keep them in this race, said an official for the Santa Ana association.
"I think they (the sheriff's deputies) endorsed Ron May in 1986 because they thought he was qualified to begin a political career," said Robert MacLeod, association general manager, adding that he was expressing his own opinion and not the official position of the group. Formal endorsements will come after the filing deadline expires and all candidates are interviewed. "I would be amazed if they endorsed him against Stanton . . . this is an incredibly foolish thing he's doing."
MacLeod said that he and other association members had advised May against running for supervisor and were under the impression he had decided against it until learning of his planned announcement. "It really surprised us," he said. "It indicates he is politically naive and lacks common sense."
May was accompanied at the news conference by a nephew, a brother and a brother-in-law. He is divorced and has one daughter.