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LOCAL ELECTIONS : It's Old Faces, new Faces and Face-Offs : Ballots: The vacant Directors' District 1 seat will be decided by runoff. San Gabriel voters turn down a utility tax.

March 07, 1991|VICKI TORRES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Pasadena voters reelected three incumbent city directors, swept a minister into a school board seat and approved two ballot propositions.

But they may have sent 12-year school board incumbent Elbie J. Hickambottom into an April 16 runoff election. With 437 ballots waiting to be counted, he was just under the 50% plus one-vote mark needed to win the seat outright.

Definitely on the April 16 ballot will be a runoff between Isaac Richard and Nicholas T. Conway for the Board of Directors District 1 seat being vacated by John Crowley.

And, as expected, Proposition 2, to allow 71 homes in an unincorporated area north of Pasadena to withdraw from the Pasadena Unified School District and join San Marino Unified, received 90.6% approval.

Rosemead voters elected Planning Commissioner Margaret Clark to the City Council by a narrow margin.

Meanwhile, San Gabriel voters overwhelmingly rejected the city's proposed 5% utility tax.

In the individual races:

In Pasadena, voter turnout was low, 14.6% compared with 23% in the last directors' elections in March, 1989. But turnout was high in some precincts where races were hotly contested, such as in District 6, City Clerk Marvell Herren said.

In District 1, Richard hammered steadily on the idea that a black should represent the city's largest minority neighborhood, Northwest Pasadena, and earned 39.6% of the vote. He said whites in the district got his message that Northwest Pasadena has been ignored in the city's political structure.

Conway, a Linda Vista resident who finished second with 33% of the vote, said he got into the runoff with strong neighborhood association support. "My message has been and will always continue to be ethnicity, age, gender, partisan politics, geographic location have nothing to do with this election," he said. "It has to do with the issues and past performance on the issues."

Incumbent William Paparian, who ran unopposed for a second term in District 4, popped the champagne corks and began celebrating 15 minutes after the polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Kathryn Nack, 66, a former school board member who sought a second term on the city board, took an early lead against her opponent, Paul Hrabal, 24, a Republican Party activist. Nack, a Democrat, emerged with 65.3% of the District 6 vote. She said partisanship, which Hrabal stressed, worked against him in the nonpartisan race.

Hrabal spent most of Tuesday's election night at Pasadena's convention center, shaking his head as the results came in. "I thought it would be fairly close," he said, but added that Nack is a "tough, well-entrenched incumbent."

Hrabal said he will begin now to campaign for the 1995 election. "I'll be 28, and she can't say I'm too young," he said.

Cole, who was reelected with 67.8% of the vote to a third term in District 2, also said partisanship worked against his opponent, Ed Bryant, a Republican.

Cole's district is 63% Democratic. In addition, Cole, a Democrat, said he had the support of many Republicans. Although Bryant, a community activist for the past 25 years, was a "credible candidate," Cole said the issues Bryant brought up during the campaign were the same issues that Cole had fought for in his eight years on the board.

Pasadena school board incumbent Hickambottom, who has criticized the board for some of its closed-session decisions, said his outspokenness may have caused some voters to turn to his opponents. But he also said this was the first election in which he faced more than one opponent. E. Clark Coberly, a financial officer for two San Gabriel Valley companies, apparently squeaked ahead of third-place candidate Dan Wimberly by only 82 votes, a 0.6% margin, to put him in the runoff election.

But 437 absentee and provisional ballots will not be counted until Friday, city officials said, leaving that election in doubt.

George Van Alstine won with 58.1% of the vote in a three-person race for School Board Office No. 2. The pastor of Altadena Baptist Church and former chairman of Pasadena's Commission on Children and Youth, Van Alstine credited his past activism and name recognition for his victory.

Proposition 1, which will revamp the retirement system of the city's fire and police departments to make it conform to federal regulations, had no organized opposition and got 87.5% approval.

* In Rosemead, Clark, who was backed by three City Council members, won by 26 votes over school board member Joe Vasquez. They and Jean DeCocker were running for the seat of DeCocker's husband Robert, who died last fall. "I'm very happy," Clark said. "I had wonderful grass roots support from all areas of the city, from every ethnic background."

* Rejection of the utility tax in San Gabriel in a 16% turnout election was a disappointment to Mayor Sabino Cici. The tax would have brought $1.2 million annually--exactly the amount of this year's projected deficit--to the city, Cici said. "We will have to make serious cuts," he said.

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