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Elections Southeast / Long Beach Municipal, Schools : Many Incumbents Have a Defeating Day : 24 Newcomers Gain Office in 16 Cities, as 10 Reelection Bids Fail

April 12, 1990

Voters changed the makeup of city councils throughout Southeast Los Angeles County, ousting 10 incumbents and selecting 24 newcomers Tuesday in 16 cities.

Political representation for Latinos, slow growth and campaign spending were some of the issues that contributed to the defeat of the incumbents.

South Gate will have three new members on its five-person council. The only

Artesia

Veteran incumbent Jim Van Horn was returned to office while Mary Alyce Soares, a savings and loan official who was born in Artesia, was elected for the first time to the five-member City Council.

Bell

Voters sent City Hall mixed messages by reelecting two incumbents who say they have run the city well, and electing the candidate who criticized the slow pace of redevelopment, an outdated sewer system and the city's financial condition.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday April 15, 1990 Home Edition Long Beach Part J Page 6 Column 3 Zones Desk 6 inches; 188 words Type of Material: Correction
Council elections--A large portion of the following story was inadvertently left out of Thursday's Long Beach section:
Voters changed the makeup of city councils throughout Southeast Los Angeles County, ousting 10 incumbents and selecting 24 newcomers Tuesday in 16 cities.
Political representation for Latinos, slow growth and campaign spending were some of the issues that contributed to the defeat of the incumbents.
South Gate will have three new members on its five-person council. The only incumbent who sought reelection was defeated.
Incumbents also lost in Huntington Park, Whittier, Hawaiian Gardens, Pico Rivera, Cudahy, Bellflower, Norwalk, Signal Hill and Paramount.
Only Commerce voters returned all incumbents to office in a contested race. Elections were previously canceled in La Mirada, Maywood and Santa Fe Springs after no candidates emerged to challenge incumbents for council and other elected offices.
The only ballot measure in the Southeast area was defeated. La Habra Heights voters rejected a measure that would have levied a fee to provide 24-hour paramedic service in the city.
Voter turnout was higher than usual in some cities. In Huntington Park, for example, 36% of the voters cast ballots, and Cerritos recorded a 33% turnout. In Lakewood, however, just 11% of the registered voters cast ballots.

George Bass, 59, a retired fire chief who has criticized Bell leaders for failing to revitalize the downtown, defeated Allen Caddy for one of the three spots on the City Council. Caddy was running on the same slate as incumbent Rolf Janssen, 34, who will begin his second term, and Jay Price, 75, who will begin his ninth consecutive term in office.

Bell Gardens

Incumbent Ronald Bird and federal employee Douglas O'Leary won an election in which one of the key issues was whether the all-Anglo City Council had been representing the Latino population, which has mushroomed the past few years and now makes up 75% of Bell Gardens' population.

Bird, 46, who was elected to his second term, and O'Leary, who will begin his first, successfully fended off a challenge from Latino candidates Josefina Macias and Rosa Hernandez, who were attempting to become the first Latinos to sit on the council. O'Leary took the seat of Mayor Roger McComas, who retired after 22 years in office.

O'Leary said the results show that a council member does not necessarily have to be Latino to represent Latinos. Both he and Bird said they represent the entire community.

Macias and Hernandez said Latinos are making their presence felt now and that this election helped them realize their potential.

Bellflower

The calm, quiet campaign belied a close race with a nail-biting vote count that at one point had all six candidates virtually even. In the end, the three open City Council seats were won by incumbent John Ansdell, who will be serving his third term; incumbent Bill Pendleton, elected to his second term, and newcomer Bob Stone, 43, an insurance salesman. Stone unseated Ken Cleveland, who has served on the council twice.

Stone attributed his victory in part to the strong support of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which has been trying to unionize some Bellflower employees for the last few months.

Cerritos

Candidate Charles J. Kim's high-spending campaign turned the election for three City Council seats into a late-night cliffhanger.

Kim, who raised $104,000 for his campaign, more than triple what any other candidate has raised in a Cerritos election, narrowly missed winning one of the seats in an election that featured a significant increase in absentee balloting. Kim received more votes in absentee balloting (1,135) than in the polling booth (802). A total of 2,260 absentee ballots were cast, three times the number in the 1988 council election, city officials said.

Incumbent Councilwoman Ann Joynt, a former teacher, received the most votes in the 13-way race. Her political ally, Planning Commissioner Sherman Kappe, came in second. Third place went to John Crawley, president of the Optimist Club and a senior financial analyst for the Atlantic Richfield Corp.

Kim's campaign left a bitter taste in the mouths of some locals, who had been highly critical of his spending and called him a carpetbagger because he moved to town only last year. His elaborate campaign, which featured a computerized voter registration and absentee ballot drive, cost about $54 for every vote that he received.

Cudahy

The accusations and finger-pointing in this election continued even after the results were announced. Incumbent Joseph Graffio, and candidates Alex Rodriguez and Jack Cluck handily won the three seats on the five-member Cudahy City Council, but most of the other candidates said they are planning to challenge the election.

"This was the filthiest race I've ever seen," said incumbent Bill Colon, who was unseated after four years on the council. "There is something wrong somewhere."

Colon said some residents were intimidated by the winning candidates' campaigning illegally at one of the city's polling places. Candidate Valerie Hansen said the race had been "stolen." Graffio, Cluck and Rodriguez denied the charges, saying they had run a clean races.

Rodriguez, 63, a retired refrigeration engineer, and Cluck, 70, president of a local senior citizens organization, were elected to their first terms. One of the three council seats on the ballot was vacated earlier this year when Tom Thurman resigned.

Hawaiian Gardens

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