When a group of La Crescenta leaders talked about gaining some political clout for their community, they fretted over whether enough candidates could be roused to form a viable town council.
At best, the leaders agreed, they needed 20 residents with enough interest in the idea to seek election to an 18-member board.
Sharon Beauchamp, co-chairwoman of the town council formation steering committee, said she kept telling her fellow activists, "Don't worry about it, they'll come out of the walls."
But even Beauchamp, who helped launch the idea of the council last summer, admits that she "was a little surprised" when a total of 40 candidates had stepped forward by last weekend to compete.
"I certainly was not expecting that," said Beauchamp, a trustee of the Glendale Unified School District that serves the unincorporated county territory. "It shows there is a lot of support out there; people ready to serve when we need them."
Each of the candidates paid a $25 filing fee to seek election in one of three census tracts. Three council members and one alternate will be chosen to represent each of the tracts in an election March 9.
While the council will have no real political power--it will not be able to make or enforce laws--it is expected to serve as the voice of the 20,000 residents of the once-sleepy mountainside community nestled in unincorporated county territory between the cities of Glendale and La Canada Flintridge.
Formation of the council was instigated by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich--who represents La Crescenta as part of his vast district--in an effort to give residents more say in local issues. Population growth, housing density, traffic congestion, air pollution and crime are among regional issues that also affect the local community, residents say.
More than 10,000 registered voters will be eligible to participate in the election--expected to cost about $1,000--which will be paid for entirely out of donated funds, Beauchamp said.
Notices informing residents of the opportunity to file as candidates were mailed to more than 5,700 households. A tedious schedule of speaking engagements is planned for candidates as part of the grass-roots, get-out-the-vote campaign.
Candidates will be introduced at a public forum tonight at 7 at Crescenta Valley County Park, 3901 New York Ave. John Janecek, spokesman for the steering committee, said residents will be asked to express their concerns about the community and the issues they consider important.
Four Voting Places
Beauchamp said ballots will be cast at four locations--Crescenta Valley High School, Crescenta Valley and Montrose/Verdugo chambers of commerce and the Crescenta Valley Sheriff's Station. The steering committee also plans to send absentee ballots to voters who request them, Beauchamp said.
Results of the election will be tallied by hand by a group of volunteers from outside the town council territory. "We're hoping now that we get a good turnout," Beauchamp said.
Those who answered the call to become candidates from several census tracts, generally between Pennsylvania Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard, are as follows:
Tract 3001, north of Orange Avenue: William C. Benning, Walter E. Burk, Bruce E. Campbell Jr., Nicholas A. Doom, Rick Drobner, Barbara Engelhardt, Betty A. Fitzgerald, Thomas M. Johnston, Jillayne D. Larson, Don Lawrie, Glynn B. Martin, Greta Pruitt, Lee Rooklin, Judy Tejeda, Eleanor Wacker and George E. Wadey.
Tract 3002, between Foothill Boulevard and Orange: Charles K. Beatty, William Beavers, Rebecca M. Billington, Joseph Grosch, Katherine Hug, Margaret A. Klug, Ruth Knowlton, Debbi L. Meadows, Robert B. O'Neil, Bob Schell, Christopher R. Thomas and Larry Walker.
Tract 3005, south of Foothill to Montrose and Honolulu avenues: Ann Marie Batesole, Brett Joseph Brauneisen, James Carl Gilchrist, Dave Hale, Lawrence E. Don Hogue, Anthony P. Hurtado, Jack Kashirsky, Larry Lousen, Sharon Martin, John A. Montanio, Fran Pehar and Daniel Joseph Rendler.