The absence of incumbents in the battle for three seats on the Beverly Hills City Council has brought an unusually large number of candidates into the fray.
Thirteen candidates filed by the 5 p.m. deadline Tuesday, the most candidates in the city's history, according to city spokesman Fred Cunningham. (In 1986, there were six candidates, including one incumbent, for two seats. In 1984, eight candidates, including one incumbent, ran for three seats.)
There would have been a 14th candidate, but the nomination papers of real estate broker Robert C. Eilbacher were ruled incomplete.
In addition to the council race, there are three candidates running for city treasurer, a job being vacated by Ramon I. Gerson after four terms.
A large number of council candidates was expected after all three incumbents decided not to seek reelection. Councilwomen Charlotte Spadaro, after one term, and
5 Compete for 2 Council Seats in West Hollywood. Story on Page 3
Donna Ellman, after three terms, had announced last month that they would not run again.
By last Thursday, which would have been the filing deadline had all the incumbents decided to run again, three candidates were in the race. Late Thursday afternoon, less than an hour before the original filing deadline, the final incumbent, Mayor Benjamin H. Stansbury Jr., announced he would not run.
Of the 26 people who took out nomination papers for the City Council, 14 did so after Stansbury's announcement. Thirteen actually filed and became certified candidates.
Because no incumbent is running, Beverly Hills is guaranteed a City Council made up entirely of freshmen after the election April 12. (Robert K. Tanenbaum and Maxwell H. Salter, the two City Council members whose seats are not on the ballot this year are in the middle of their first four-year terms.)
The addition of three new members continues a trend toward newcomers on the Beverly Hills City Council in recent years. In 1984, two of the three elected members were new, and in 1986 two challengers were elected and an incumbent defeated.
Of the 13 candidates in this year's race, only one has previously held elective office, and only one other has held an appointed office.
Tanenbaum, who is scheduled to be the next mayor in the rotation among the five council members, said the new faces will be good for the city.
"We are increasing the opportunity for more people to participate in the governmental process," he said in an interview. "I personally thank Ellman and Stansbury for their service, but it is an end of an era."
Picking Up the Pieces
He said there should not be a problem with a freshman City Council picking up the pieces of unfinished city business.
"The business of government is not so esoteric that people cannot deal with it fairly and compassionately," Tanenbaum said. "I see it as a positive aspect. Tenure, per se, does not necessarily represent continuity. The Founding Fathers didn't have the opportunity for continuity and they did all right."
Tanenbaum added that the public is more aware of council actions because council meetings and study sessions are now televised over cable television.
In alphabetical order, the City Council candidates are:
Allan L. Alexander, 47, an attorney and a member of the Planning Commission.
David L. Brady, 54, an attorney and accountant.
Mary Levin Cutler, 54, an investor.
Steven M. Foonberg, 18, a television film student at USC and a production assistant for the city's cable government channel.
Michael J. Garris, 68, an electrical engineering consultant.
Ellen Stern Harris, 58, a "consumer advocate" and journalist.
Bernard J. (Bernie) Hecht, 65, a retired business executive.
Franklin J. Lamm, 62, an accountant.
Robert M. Magid, 58, a business executive and community activist.
Vicki Reynolds, 52, former president of the Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education.
Cynthia Rose, 43, a retired banker.
Alan Schuchman, 40, an attorney and former teacher.
Lillian Worthing Wyshak, 59, an attorney and independent real estate broker.
The candidates for city treasurer are:
Chauncey C. Ferris, 47, an accountant and investment adviser.
Benjamin F. Sanford, 67, an arbitrator for the New York Stock Exchange.
Joan Seidel, 54, a stockbroker.