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School Board Candidate Sues for Spot in Runoff

March 26, 1989|ASHLEY DUNN | Times Staff Writer

PASADENA — Arlene Moncrief, a losing candidate in the school board primary election, has filed a complaint in Superior Court to have her name put on the April 18 runoff ballot in place of another candidate who dropped out of the race more than a month ago.

Under state law, if no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes cast in a primary, there must be a runoff between the top two candidates.

In the March 7 primary, George Padilla, a civil engineer, was the top vote-getter with 6,974 votes, followed by Francisco Lara, former assistant dean of the Graduate School of Education at UCLA, who came in second with 4,024 votes.

But Lara dropped out of the race well before the primary because of unspecified personal reasons and has said he has no plans to campaign in the runoff.

Moncrief, who came in third with 3,924 votes, says her name should be on the runoff ballot. She named City Clerk Pamela Swift as the defendant in the case.

Moncrief, an auditor with the Internal Revenue Service, said it is "unconscionable, expensive and beyond the intent of the election code" to have Padilla face a candidate who has dropped out of the race.

She said in her suit that voters are also being cheated of having a choice of candidates.

City Atty. Victor Kaleta said that under the state Election Code, the city has no choice but to put Lara's name on the ballot.

Lara could have sought a court order from the Superior Court, compelling the city to remove his name, but the city never received such an order, Kaleta said. The city has 30 days to respond to the suit.

Padilla and Moncrief have both campaigned before for the school board. In the 1987 election, they ran against Roberta Moon, who won the seat with 57.2% of the vote. Padilla came in second with 29.8% of the vote, followed by Moncrief with 12.9%.

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