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Controversial Councilman Finishes Last : Agoura Hills: Jack W. Koenig, who was at odds with fellow council members, calls the margin of his defeat "drastic."

November 09, 1989|GABE FUENTES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Agoura Hills City Councilman Jack W. Koenig, whose feud with his fellow council members became an election issue, said Wednesday he was "rather shocked" after being soundly beaten Tuesday in his bid for reelection.

Two other incumbents, Darlene McBane and Fran Pavley, were reelected. Voters also elected Ed Kurtz, who had support from political factions seeking to oust Koenig.

"I was rather shocked," said Koenig, who finished last in a field of six candidates. "It was far more drastic than I expected."

Koenig garnered just 679 votes, or 9.4% of the ballots cast. The leading vote-getter was Pavley, with 1,706 votes for 23.6%, followed by Kurtz with 1,601 votes for 22.2%. McBane was reelected with 1,438 votes for 19.9%. Paul G. (Gary) Mueller received 995 votes for 13.8%, and Barry S. Steinhardt received 803 votes for 11.1%.

About 22% of the city's 10,797 registered voters turned out to vote, Deputy City Clerk Pat Manning said.

In the final weeks of the race, the campaign focused on Koenig, who had become increasingly at odds with the rest of the council after being elected in 1985 on a slate with McBane and Pavley. Koenig would sometimes refer to his four women colleagues on the council as "the girls." Last month he was accused of participating in a failed recall drive against them; he denied involvement in the recall.

Last week, a group called For Agoura '89 endorsed McBane, Pavley and Kurtz but dropped Koenig from its slate.

Kurtz called for a town hall meeting in early 1990 to unify the town's opposing political factions.

"A lot of people have gotten tired of the infighting and the charges and countercharges between the recall organization and the city," Pavley said of Koenig's defeat.

Koenig attributed his defeat to "negative campaigning" by For Agoura '89, which accused him of not accounting for $1,365 in city funds advanced to him for trips related to city business. He also cited the recall accusations by former recall activist Paul Foote, whom Koenig called "the X factor . . . whom I don't even know."

Koenig said he had no immediate plans to seek office in 1991, when two seats will be up.

Mueller said he probably will run again. He said the controversy over Koenig obscured his own campaign.

"Jack is a difficult person to deal with," said Mueller, an auto parts store owner and past chamber of commerce president. "In a lot of cases he has a right to his opinions, too. Unfortunately, it was decided by the rest of the council that he had to go. They couldn't handle him for another four years."

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