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Valente Again Rejected in Bid to Become Mayor

April 04, 1991|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

La Canada Flintridge City Councilman Chris Valente has been rebuffed a second time in his bid to become mayor.

The three-member majority of the council Monday reelected Jack Hastings to the largely ceremonial position and replaced Valente as mayor pro tem with Councilwoman Joan Feehan.

An earlier council in 1982 had adopted a policy calling for the rotation of the position. The policy, which also limited council members to serving only one year as mayor in a four-year term, was rescinded last year when Valente was due to become the next mayor.

Valente has reacted angrily to the repeated rejections. On Monday, he accused Hastings of violating state open-meeting laws by conspiring privately to prevent Valente's election. Hastings denied the charges.

Valente had supported an opposing slate of candidates in last year's election when Hastings, Feehan and Councilman Jim Edwards emerged the winners. Valente and Councilman Ed Phelps were elected in 1988, defeating Hastings' bid for election after he had been appointed to an open seat in 1985.

Valente said in an interview Tuesday that he expects never to serve as mayor unless the election is opened to voters.

"This is a mockery against democracy," said Valente, who teaches U. S. government classes at a private boys high school.

"It's not important that I be mayor," Valente said. "It's the system that I worry about and the ethics involved."

Hastings said he met privately with Valente last week "to advise him that he wouldn't be mayor." He said Valente was disappointed and angry. "He really felt he should be mayor, but I told him he did not have the support or trust of the majority of the council."

Edwards, who nominated Hastings for reelection, said the former commissioner and veteran council member had "done an excellent job this last year. He pulled a fractional council into a very workable organization."

Feehan said she supported Hastings because "I couldn't think of a better person on the council to be mayor."

Phelps, who was nominated for mayor by Valente on Monday and lost, called the squabbling "kind of sad" and "frankly embarrassing."

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