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In Some Towns, It's Hard to Find Candidates : North county: Residents of four unincorporated areas will elect volunteer governing councils Tuesday. Two others postponed votes due to lack of competitors.

November 06, 1994|PHIL SNEIDERMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Don't look for town council election results from Acton, Agua Dulce, Lake Los Angeles or Littlerock on television Tuesday night. In fact, don't even look for the races on the official county ballot.

These sparsely populated communities in north Los Angeles County are not incorporated cities, and their town council members are local volunteers, not seasoned politicians. To vote in these elections, residents must pick up ballots at advertised locations, usually close to official county voting booths.

Despite representing such remote areas, however, town council members say they serve an important role by advising county officials on development issues and safety concerns in their communities.

Greg Ferrier, a member of the Castaic Town Council, said county planners now routinely urge builders to run their proposals past a town council before they reach the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. "We do have some influence," Ferrier said.

Eleven unincorporated communities in the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys have town councils. The first, in Acton, was founded in 1989.

Six of the communities were originally scheduled to poll their residents Tuesday, but only four will, after two of the towns, Antelope Acres and Green Valley, postponed their elections for lack of candidates.

"We haven't had much response," said Roy Rizk, a member of the Green Valley Town Council. "At the next meeting we're going to look at what to do. We have to look at the bylaws and see if people can be appointed."

Residents in the four communities conducting elections Tuesday can vote during regular voting hours, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., at publicized locations. Most are near regular polling places. Only registered voters from the community can cast ballots for their town council.

Competition in these races varies.

Eight candidates will compete for four two-year terms Tuesday on the Acton Town Council. A ninth candidate--activist Charles Brink--was eliminated in a legal dispute that was recently decided in a Lancaster courtroom. Brink contends that he is a legal resident of Acton, but local opponents argued successfully that his true home is in the San Fernando Vallley.

On the ballot are Laurie Browning, Steve Browning, Victor W. Conklin, Tom Haile, Ruthanne Hileman, Richard Morris, Jeffrey C. Wadsworth and Gerry Williams. Morris and Williams are incumbents.

In nearby Agua Dulce, six candidates are running for three seats: Art Brewer, Nolan Henderson, James O'Keefe, Darrell Readmond, Al Shaver and Lianne Swanson. Henderson and Readmond are incumbents.

The key issue in the Acton and Agua Dulce races has been how to retain the communities' rural character and keep dense development out.

In contrast to these races, there is little competition for town council seats in Littlerock and Lake Los Angeles, two rural towns east of Palmdale.

In Lake Los Angeles, four candidates are running uncontested for four seats. They are incumbent Frank Donaldson, Robert Keys, Donald Blanton and Robert Jackson.

Last year, residents were also asked to consider a name change for the community, and Desert Buttes appeared to be the winner. But local leaders decided the vote was only advisory, and the name change has not been made official.

In Littlerock, two seats are at stake but only one candidate--Jason Zink--is on the ballot. Dennis Tetu, vice president of the Littlerock Town Council, said that if the election does not yield a write-in candidate, the council will probably appoint someone to the second seat.

Littlerock residents also will vote on a proposed Community Standards District, which would allow the county to impose strict development rules aimed at preserving the town's rural character.

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