The mayor of San Dimas and a Covina councilman face each other and three other opponents in the race for a position on the 12-member board of the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
The election was forced because of the resignation of Leo King of Baldwin Park. Announcing he was moving to Oklahoma, King resigned effective Dec. 1, both as mayor of Baldwin Park and as a member of the air quality board.
King represented the 61 cities of the board's eastern region, which stretches from Long Beach to Pomona and as far north as Santa Clarita. A delegate from each of the cities will be allowed to cast one vote Jan. 4 during the election for King's successor at the district's headquarters in El Monte.
A complicated voting formula will determine the winner. To be elected, a candidate must receive votes from at least two-thirds, or 41, of the eastern region's cities, whose combined populations must represent at least two-thirds of the residents in the area.
Covina Councilman Henry M. Morgan and San Dimas Mayor Terry Dipple are the two San Gabriel Valley candidates. A third candidate from the valley, Duarte Councilman John Hitt, dropped out of the running.
Morgan, 62, retired two years ago after a 35-year career in marketing and management with IBM. He has served on the council since 1978 and has been active in regional governmental affairs. In October, he became a member of the Los Angeles County Regional Water Quality Control Board.
"I'm not a zealot for the environment," Morgan said, "but I certainly agree with everybody that the environment's something we've got to nurture.
"Clean air. You've got to do it," Morgan said.
Dipple, 36, was first elected to the San Dimas council more than 13 years ago. He runs his own planning, development and real estate investment consulting firm.
Dipple said he should be elected to fill King's post because he believes he is someone "who is going to be a fighter when it comes to the clean-air issue." Dipple said he can also take a realistic point of view, with an eye toward the best interests of business, industry and government.
"Clean air and the environment are going to be the issues in the 90s," Dipple said. "And you're not going to have businesses that want to be located in what's tabbed as the smoggiest basin in the country."
He cited his efforts in San Dimas to promote recycling and his fight against waste incinerators.
Besides Dipple and Morgan, Glendale Councilman Jerold F. Milner, Santa Clarita Mayor Janice H. Heidt and Long Beach Councilman Jeffrey A. Kellogg have declared themselves candidates.