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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK : Vons Chief Skips Political Race--for Now

December 06, 1990|JAMES RAINEY and VICKI TORRES

The More Candidate: The public knows him as a pitchman for fresh meat and quality produce, urging consumers to use double coupons and search his stores for "more buys."

But some Republican activists thought that William S. Davila, president of the Vons supermarket chain, might do as good a job selling himself--as a candidate for the 1st District seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

There was plenty of gossip in GOP circles last week about the possibility of drafting Davila, who lives in Arcadia, to fill the post being vacated by retiring Supervisor Pete Schabarum. But when filing for the Jan. 22 special election closed at the end of the week, Davila was not among the race's nine candidates.

Davila, 59, said he heard the rumors too, but that party officials never formally approached him to discuss the possibility of his candidacy. And even if they had, he said, he would have left them disappointed.

"I don't have any time at this point" to run for office, Davila said. "I'm too involved in my work at Vons."

Davila, who is planning to retire in early 1992, said he might be more amenable to a political career once he leaves Vons.

"I could become interested in it later," Davila said. "I would like to talk to somebody about it. . . . I just might do it."

Davila and other Vons officials denied rumors earlier this year that he is being pushed out of his job. They insisted that Davila, who spent nearly 40 years working his way up from floor sweeper to the executive suite, is retiring voluntarily and wants to expand his role in Los Angeles' Latino community.

He said he has not focused his aspirations on a particular political post.

Davila backers, who asked to remain anonymous, said their man could have made a strong supervisorial candidate for several reasons: His commercials for Vons make him highly recognizable to voters; he is Latino in a district that was drawn in a federal voting rights case to include a majority of Latino registered voters; and his business connections would make him a potent fund-raiser.

Only one Republican, former Schabarum aide Sarah Flores, is among the four major candidates for supervisor in the officially nonpartisan race.

State Sen. Charles M. Calderon (D-Whittier), Los Angeles City Councilwoman Gloria Molina, state Sen. Art Torres (D-Los Angeles) and five less-known candidates also filed to represent the district, which stretches from El Sereno and Lincoln Heights east to Irwindale and La Puente and southeast to Santa Fe Springs.

If none of the candidates receives more than 50% of the vote in the Jan. 22 election, the two top finishers will meet in a Feb. 19 runoff.

'Tis the Season: While the holiday season and shopping occupy many people, the political season is under way in Pasadena, where three candidates are vying for the District 1 seat held by departing City Director John Crowley.

A candidates forum is scheduled at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Jackie Robinson Center, 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave. Candidates Nick Conway, a management consultant; Millie Lee, operator of a drug recovery house, and Isaac Richard, a real estate consultant, will face questions from the public and the Black Male Forum, sponsor of the event.

Stephen Mack, former head of the Pasadena NAACP, has withdrawn from the race for health reasons.

On Sunday, District 6 Director Kathryn Nack will hold a $35-a-person fund-raiser at the Bellefontaine Street home of supporter Judy Morse. Nack, a former Pasadena Unified School District board member who has drawn no opponents, was elected to the city board in 1987, upsetting incumbent William Cathey.

Also facing reelection are District 2 Director Rick Cole and District 4 Director William Paparian. So far, neither has drawn opposition. The election is March 5.

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