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Bell Mayor Recovering From Stroke

March 18, 1993|DUKE HELFAND

BELL — Mayor Jay Price remains hospitalized in fair condition after a stroke he suffered last mo we Relatives said that Price, 78, the oldest member of the City Council and the rglongest-standing elected official in Los Angeles County, is improving.

"His vital signs are all good and his blood pressure going into surgery was near perfect," said his son, John. "At the present time, things are fairly positive. It will take some time for him to be weaned off the medications. It's going to be gradual, but we're very upbeat."

Price was hospitalized Feb. 16 at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Bellflower for treatment of a right-foot infection, which family members said was caused by circulatory problems related to diabetes. Surgeons amputated two of Price's toes Feb. 23, and the other toes were removed a week later.

Although the surgeries were successful, Price suffered a stroke March 12, the day he was moved to Alamitos Belmont Rehabilitation Hospital in Long Beach. Doctors said the stroke was unrelated to the surgeries.

Price was readmitted to the Bellflower hospital the next day. John Price said his father is conscious and his eyes are open but that he is unable to speak.

Although Jay Price has diabetes, relatives said he was in good health until the onset of the toe infection about two days before he was hospitalized. But some City Council colleagues and city workers said Price had neglected his health after the death of his wife, Gertrude, last June.

"His wife kept him on the right track when she was alive. She was really good about that," said Hazel Collet, the City Council's secretary for the last 18 years. "Mr. Price even told me, 'When I get out of the hospital, I'll have to be more careful about what I eat. I have not been watching it like I should have.' "

A native of Los Angeles who was raised in Pomona, Jay Price moved to Bell in 1938 and was elected to the council in 1958. Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, who served 40 years in his post, is the only elected official in the county to serve a longer consecutive period.

Jay Price, a Compton College graduate, also served 19 years on the Southern California Rapid Transit District board of directors. He is a former officer of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

John Price, who lives with his father, said the two had been planning a trip to Northern California later this year.

"We just came back from a big train trip to visit my sister in Salem at Christmastime and we were planning more trips later this year to visit his brother in Paradise, (Calif.)," John Price said. "Now it will just have to be a little later in the year. The recovery process is going to be awhile."

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