In the city's first municipal election in four years, two residents who ran unsuccessfully in the past will challenge an incumbent councilman and the mayor for their seats in the Nov. 3. election.
William J. Umbel, a letter carrier, and Marianne Stiles, an electronic data processor, are running at large for City Council along with Mayor Ronald Bates and Councilman Charles E. Sylvia.
Umbel and resident William Daniels sued the city to force an election on a proposed redevelopment project. In June, the voters rejected the project, and in July, the city deactivated its Redevelopment Agency.
Umbel, who said the city lost money in its redevelopment bid, said he is running because "the guys who hold the purse strings . . . are not good in handling money."
It will be Umbel's second try for a council seat. In 1978, he finished fifth. Stiles finished last in a field of four candidates four years ago.
The 1990 election was canceled when the incumbents were unopposed.
A major issue in this election is the widening of Katella Avenue and its potential impact on local businesses, particularly those at Katella Avenue and Los Alamitos Boulevard.
Umbel and Stiles oppose the project. Sylvia and Bates favor it.
Stiles, who considers herself a pro-business candidate, said the widening project would hurt businesses because with the increased traffic speed, customers would not want to stop and shop at local businesses.
But Bates said the city does not intend to turn Katella Avenue into a "super highway or freeway," contending that the 40-m.p.h. speed limit would still be enforced once Katella becomes a "super-street."
Sylvia also argues that the city needs the Measure M sales tax revenues, which will be used to finance the Katella Avenue improvements, for other city projects along the thoroughfare. If the city rejects the project, it will lose that money, he said.
Bates, a part-time consultant for the city of Anaheim, said the biggest challenge facing Los Alamitos is how to maintain services with dwindling resources.
"The key issue is how to maintain the viability of the city in the face of the continued raids by the state on city coffers," Bates said. "We need to create jobs and revitalize the economy."
Stiles said she believes the city should distribute services more equitably. More affluent neighborhoods, she contends, are better patrolled by police than poorer areas.
Gangs and drugs are also problems in the city, she said, although less so than in other cities.
"We are not crime-free. We have murders here," she said.
Stiles said she will work for more affordable and low-cost housing. Also, she would encourage the formation of focus groups to advise the city on community concerns.