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Longtime City Clerk Faces 3 Challengers


COMPTON — City Clerk Charles Davis knows that some people believe that he is arrogant and a bit intimidating. He will even admit that he is not the most humble of men.

But, he points out, it has not stopped voters from electing him to office five times in a row. The reason is simple, he said. He knows the job inside out, and often goes beyond the call of duty to make sure a person's problems are solved.

"We get the job done," Davis said. "We believe in serving the people."

Davis is running for his sixth term, and three challengers have stepped forward hoping to end his winning streak April 20.

Deborah Gayles, John Gomez and Veronica Spellman-Powell know they face a tough challenge. Davis has won each election with at least 65% of the vote.

Gayles, a full-time student of business administration at Cal State Los Angeles, has pledged to make City Hall more accessible. "What's going on?" reads her campaign mailer. She says she will create a one-stop shop where residents can easily find voting records, city plans, financial statements and other information.

Spellman-Powell, a secretary who says she has 17 years experience in office procedures and record keeping, is also calling for better communications with residents, including a newsletter that contains upcoming city events and City Council decisions. She also suggests that the city ask businesses, such as banks and check-cashing centers, to put up electronic marquees to provide up-to-the-minute information to residents.

Gomez could not be reached for comment.

At a recent forum, Davis pointed out that most information is accessible to anyone who comes to his office.

So far, the campaign has been low-budget. According to campaign disclosure statements as of March 7, Davis has loaned himself $1,030, Spellman-Powell loaned herself $937.30, and Gayles filed a statement declaring she would spend less than $1,000 during the campaign. Gomez has yet to file a campaign disclosure statement as required by state election codes.

Meanwhile, in the city attorney's race, attorney Frank Bazadier is making his third attempt to unseat Wesley Fenderson Jr., who is seeking a fourth term.

Bazadier is a legal adviser for the Compton branch of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and has more than 23 years of experience in civil and criminal cases. He said that if he is elected he will work to eliminate blight in neighborhoods through strong code enforcement.

He also said he would scrutinize every contract presented to him and would try to reduce the number of trains, including the Blue Line, through the city at certain hours. Residents have complained that the trains are noisy and dangerous.

Bazadier, whose huge billboards dot the city, said he has spent about $10,000 on the campaign.

Fenderson could not be reached for comment, but in his ballot statement, he takes credit for preparing ordinances to enforce the city's curfew, anti-loitering, anti-graffiti and affirmative action laws. He also says that his office authored the state's first narcotics nuisance abatement law, which he said closed drug houses in Compton.

As of Thursday, Fenderson had not filed a campaign disclosure statement as required by the state election code. The statements were due in mid-March.

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