The Rodney King verdict and the civil unrest that followed have prompted suggestions and reflections from Southeast-area political candidates from all backgrounds and parties. Here are a few comments and ideas:
* Tom Poe, a candidate in the 38th Congressional District stretching from Downey into Long Beach, said in a recent press statement that illegal immigration has "caused pressures on the region that (contributed) to the civil unrest." The field supervisor to Los Angeles County Supervisor Deane Dana called for reductions in the number of immigrants legally admitted to the United States and a law requiring new immigrants to attend intensive English courses for up to one year.
* "This is a reflection of the disorder created in our society by greed and dishonesty at the highest levels," said Garry Martino Hamud, an attorney running in the 39th Congressional District, which includes La Mirada, Cerritos, Whittier and Artesia. "They have looted our nation's corporations, our savings and loans, and now our banks and pension funds are in peril. The time has come to put people first, with genuine justice for all."
* Fred Baisley, a nurse who is running for the 56th Assembly District that includes Bellflower, Downey, Cerritos and Artesia, lamented the fact that gun sales countywide have skyrocketed in the last two weeks. Baisley's platform includes an excise tax on all guns and bullets, plus a proposal that would require all gun owners to take classes on how to handle guns every two years.
"We are walking down the wrong road if we accept guns as the answer," Baisley said. "We are in for pretty bad times if we have to use guns against our neighbors."
* Several candidates supported by retiring Rep. Mervyn M. Dymally (D-Compton) have drafted a 10-point plan to rebuild riot-torn areas in Compton and Lynwood. Lynwood Councilman Paul Richards, a candidate in the 25th Senate District race; Lynwood Councilwoman Evelyn Wells, a candidate in the 52nd Assembly District race; Carson Councilwoman Juanita McDonald, who is running the 55th Assembly District race, and Compton Unified School District Trustee Lynn Dymally, a candidate in the 37th Congressional District race, are among several elected officials who have created the Coalition for Reconstruction. The 10-point plan calls, among other things, for gaining more federal and state money to rebuild, for rallying grass-roots support and for identifying companies that will help rebuild.
Polling at home--Long Beach City Councilman Tom Clark and his runoff opponent, Charles (Jerry) G. Westlund, are feuding with each other again, this time over the selection of a polling place for the June 2 election.
Clark accused Westlund of "illegally attempting to influence and intimidate voters" by having his Marita Street home declared a polling place in one of the 4th District precincts. "Westlund deceitfully withheld the fact that he was a candidate," Clark said in a press release last week.
Westlund's reply: "All lies."
Unable to find a public spot to set up voting machines in Westlund's precinct, the county registrar's office contacted residents, including Westlund. Westlund remembers being approached in February; the registrar's office says it was March.
Whenever it was, Westlund says he told the registrar's staff that he was a candidate in the April 12 city primary. "The deputy registrar walked past Westlund signs in the yard, Westlund signs tacked on the fence and Westlund signs stacked on the garage floor," he says. "They knew I was a candidate. No one was misled."
Westlund says he assumed that he was going to win the primary and would no longer be a candidate in June. When he and Clark were forced into a runoff, Westlund says, his wife called the registrar's office to inform officials, and a few days later the polling place was changed to a Dayman Street address.
Marcia Ventura, a spokeswoman for the registrar, said there is no record of when the office first learned that Westlund was to be a candidate in the June election.
In the meantime, however, sample county ballots had been printed up with Westlund's address as the voting station. Postcards listing a new polling place will be mailed eight days before the balloting to the 392 precinct voters. Ventura said the cost of the corrections was "minimal."
Candidate Forums--The League of Women Voters of Downey will hold a forum for candidates for Downey City Council; Apollo Center Auditorium, 12458 Rives Ave., Downey; 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday; information: (310) 862-3970 (free). . . . The Whittier League of Women Voters will sponsor a forum for candidates in the 58th Assembly District at 7:30 p.m. May 28 in the Wesley Lounge of the Whittier United Methodist Church, 13222 E. Bailey St. Seven candidates are running the district which includes Santa Fe Springs, Norwalk, Pico Rivera and Montebello.