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CITY HALL JOURNAL

LONG BEACH : Special Election Called to Resolve Council Race

October 13, 1994|DUKE HELFAND

The City Council this week ordered a special election Feb. 7 to resolve a chaotic council race in central Long Beach, where the apparent loser emerged with a two-vote victory after a recount.

Mike Donelon, a contractor who was declared the winner after the June recount, will face community activist Tonia Reyes Uranga.

Uranga, who appeared to win by 29 votes, challenged Donelon's narrow victory in court, contending that ballots were improperly counted, among other problems. Last week, a Superior Court judge ordered the city to hold a new election.

Uranga said she plans to launch a voter-registration drive as part of her new campaign.

"It's not about endorsements, but about how many people I can get to punch that hole beside my name," she said.

Donelon, who has stepped down from his council seat, said he also plans an aggressive campaign.

"It will be run fast and furious, much more organized than last time," said Donelon, who ran his last campaign from home but plans to open campaign headquarters in the district next month.

The 7th District Council seat will remain vacant until the February election. Mayor Beverly O'Neill is representing the district until then. However, O'Neill cannot vote on matters before the City Council because the mayor has no vote under the City Charter, officials said.

Meanwhile, the 7th District office at 2125 Santa Fe Ave. remains open for constituents Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons, said Jeanne Wagner, the district chief of staff.

"We are just going about our duties as we always have," said Wagner, who has been assigned temporarily to O'Neill's staff as a special assistant.

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