Mayoral and council candidates agree that the City Council must present a united front to improve Azusa's declining image and attract new business. But when it comes to how to achieve that, they are worlds apart.
Councilmen John Dangleis, Anthony Naranjo and Stephen J. Alexander are running for mayor now that Eugene F. Moses has stepped down after 10 years to run for state Senate.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday April 8, 1994 Home Edition Metro Part B Page 3 Column 1 Metro Desk 2 inches; 42 words Type of Material: Correction
Election--A story in the April 7 San Gabriel Valley section incorrectly reported that Azusa mayoral candidate Tony Naranjo had not filed his final campaign contribution statement as required. Naranjo filed his final pre-election statement, covering the period Feb. 27 to March 26, on March 30.
Ten others, including two former councilmen, are battling for the council seats vacated by two of the mayoral contenders in Tuesday's election.
"We've got to change the city's image and be more receptive to investors. . . . The council has to stop looking like a bunch of bitching kids," said Dangleis, 62, who spent 14 years as a city administrator, first in Azusa and then in Carson, before becoming a councilman.
The city's image problem stems in part from such matters as poor air quality and old-fashioned architecture. It has been compounded by nearly a decade of political infighting among council members and a City Hall with a reputation for being less-than-receptive to business concerns. Together, these factors have deterred many businesses from locating in Azusa, a community of 41,000 residents.
Dangleis, a one-term councilman, said he would promote the city to investors through a public relations push and a more business-friendly City Hall. He said he would maintain control of the volatile council meetings, which he said have worsened the city's image, as have the council's attempts to close the Azusa Rock quarry.
The quarry has concerned environmentalists, who fear its operation may be damaging the mountainside where it is located.
Alexander sees the quarry at Fish Canyon as part of Azusa's poor image and would like to restrict its operation because of the dust it releases.
A 38-year-old attorney, Alexander said taxes and what he terms "redevelopment giveaways" are hurting the city. He opposes an assessment that was added to electric bills to pay for fire service.
The third mayoral candidate, Naranjo, 38, a two-term councilman who has attended council meetings since childhood, said he would encourage investment in the community through promoting youth and senior citizens' programs, adequately staffing the Police Department and making City Hall more fiscally responsible.
Naranjo has been the subject of two failed recalls because of his support of the Azusa Rock quarry and in this election is the only mayoral candidate to have received campaign contributions from its owners. The amount contributed by quarry owners is not known because Naranjo has not filed his final campaign contribution statement.
Dangleis, too, is haunted by his past. In 1987 he left the Carson administrator's post while under investigation by the district attorney's office for his role in awarding a $300,000-a-year insurance contract to an agency owned by a friend and business associate.
Before his contract expired, the council learned Dangleis had apparently not disclosed $1,200 in income from work he had done for the insurance company that got the city business. Dangleis denied any wrongdoing. The city put him on paid leave until his contract expired; the probe also was dropped at that time.
The council candidates are:
Don Flowers, 51, Planning Commission chairman and building contractor, who wants to attract new businesses and retain existing ones. He likes the idea of hiring a public relations firm to promote the city. He favors the quarry's continued operation and has accepted $510 in campaign contributions from its owners. No other council candidates have received money from the quarry.
Claro Perez, 46, who owns a cash register business, is campaigning for recreational programs for youth, health programs for seniors and job training to reduce unemployment. He said more after-school programs are needed to keep youth away from crime.
Romy Torres Pangilinan, did not return calls or provide a campaign statement.
Harry L. Stemrich, 62, a former councilman and retired businessman, said he would increase police presence on the streets by placing paid volunteers in police squad cars. He survived two recalls while in office for his support of the quarry and was a leader in the fight against malathion spraying.
Armando L. Camarena, 47, a former councilman and a national auction group executive, is a fiscal conservative who said he would use his negotiation experience to aid redevelopment deals. Camarena favors tighter regulation of the quarry and wants to see more Americans of Mexican descent on the council, in a city where 53% of the population is Latino.
Diane Moritz-Beebe, 31, a real estate appraiser, said teamwork and communication at City Hall must be improved. She wants Azusa city staff to treat residents with a customer-service approach. She said little can be done about the quarry.