This year's City Council race is being haunted by ghosts from the past as three candidates vie for two seats in the Nov. 3 election.
Councilman David John Shawver decided not to seek reelection, saying he is frustrated with the gridlocked council.
The council is often split in a 3-2 vote, with Shawver and Harry Dotson voting on one side of an issue and Mayor Sal Sapien and council members Joe Harris and Don Martinez voting on the other.
Former Mayor Edward L. Allen, who led an unsuccessful drive to recall Sapien in 1991, is supporting Sapien's opponents in the race, William H. Horton and Robert K. Hyun.
Allen, who was voted out of office in 1990, and Shawver and Dotson failed by only 35 votes to put the recall of Sapien on the ballot. They cited Sapien's support for the $5-million Civic Center, now under construction, as a major reason for the ouster effort.
"We could have used that money to help out businesses," Hyun said. He said the city should not spend such a large part of its redevelopment funds on the Civic Center project.
Horton also said he thinks the project is too expensive for the recession-struck city. "Everyone would like to have a nice, big, beautiful city hall, but not right now, in these times," he said.
Sapien said he thinks that the Civic Center will attract new business to Stanton.
Horton and Hyun agree on many details of their platforms and are putting up signs with both their names on them.
"I'm tired of seeing this one-man monopoly of the council," Allen said, arguing that Sapien pulls all the strings.
One controversial topic before the council this month has been the police services contract. The city contracts with the Sheriff's Department for law enforcement services. Last month Garden Grove officials submitted a proposal to Stanton stating that they could save the city $250,000 a year by providing police services.
However, Stanton City Manager Terry Matz told the council in a report that "comparison shopping will not have a positive impact on law enforcement services." He said the council should only ask for a formal proposal from Garden Grove if it is unsatisfied with the Sheriff's Department.
Hyun and Horton say they think that the city needs more police presence.
"The Sheriff's Department does a good job, but there's just not enough of them out there," Horton said.
He said he believes that the city should be open to other contracts. "They're going to have to compare what they're getting," he said.
Sapien said he wants to study the costs of sharing police services with other cities. He does not see the point in having another city police department try to provide services for Stanton, he said, adding that he is pleased with the resources the Sheriff's Department has available.
The candidates also disagree on the widening of Katella Avenue through the county's "super-street" project. In September, the Orange County Transportation Authority presented the plan to the City Council, which calls for widening the street and eliminating on-street parking.
Many residents from the Bradford Homes complex on Katella, however, complained at that meeting that they had bought their houses because on-street parking was available.