A recount this week of the ballots cast in the April 16 municipal elections has confirmed that City Council candidate Jean Sanders made it into the June runoff by one vote.
Sanders was one of four candidates in the April election trying to oust incumbent Councilwoman Jane D. Robbins. Robbins garnered 38.1% of the vote, but it was not enough to avoid the June 4 runoff for the District 4 council seat.
In the April election, Sanders came in second with 19.9% of the vote, just three votes ahead of Richard Bonner, a beauty salon owner making his fifth bid for a council seat. Bonner demanded a recount and it was held Monday in Compton.
More than 6,000 ballots had to be counted by hand with representatives from both the Sanders and Bonner camps sitting in as monitors. The final vote was 1,253 to 1,252.
For Bonner, the recount was one more disappointing, narrow miss. In 1987 he missed winning a seat on the City Council by 37 votes.
Sanders, however, was elated and relieved by the results, saying that the past two weeks had been filled with tension and uncertainty. "I lost 10 pounds," she said. "My pastor told me last Sunday, 'Either the Father, the Son or the Holy Ghost will keep you ahead.' When the recount was over, my husband said, 'Call the pastor and tell him the Holy Ghost saved you.' "
Sanders, who is 45 and manages a cemetery in the city, is married to Compton's city treasurer, Wesley Sanders Jr. He is an elected city official.
"My work is cut out for me," Jean Sanders said. "Because . . . Jane (Robbins) still received 38% of the vote. If I can convince that other 60% that I'm the right, I'll be elected."
Sanders has said that Robbins, 71, lives in the past, that she is out of touch with the city today and, therefore, unable to help deal with problems such as unemployment and redevelopment.
"How does she know I'm out of touch," Robbins retorted. "She's never been there (at City Council meetings)."
Robbins is a retired school principal and the daughter of a longtime school superintendent in Compton.
It didn't matter to Robbins just who came out on top in this week's recount. Robbins said she is confident that she could have beaten either one. After all, she pointed out, she received more votes in the April 16 election than any of the 17 other candidates running for various municipal offices in Compton.
Two City Council districts will have runoff elections. In District 1, Omar Bradley, a Lynwood High School teacher, faces bakery owner Pedro Pallan, in the June runoff. Pallan is the first Latino to make it to a runoff in a Compton municipal election.