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Redevelopment Is Top Issue in Council Race

October 14, 1998|CHRISTINE CASTRO

Continuing redevelopment, establishing economic stability, reducing crime and encouraging community involvement--familiar issues in the city--mark the campaigns of six candidates seeking two City Council seats Nov. 3.

Four newcomers will challenge Mayor Dorothy Rush and Councilman G. Steve Simonian. They include Rose Espinoza, an electrical and mechanical computer assisted designer; Jephthah Holley, a bank teller; Lynton Hurdle, a business owner; and Merciline La Porte, a homemaker.

The top issue is proposed redevelopment of La Habra Boulevard, the topic of a four-year debate and several studies, including one by Cal Poly Pomona students, which business owners funded.

"We need to come to a conclusion on that and decide once and for all what we want to do," Hurdle said.

Holley and Rush shared his view. Hurdle said he envisions the street as a civic and cultural center, with businesses as secondary. But Espinoza and Simonian said the businesses play a vital role in the area.

Espinoza said she has been in contact with many business owners and, if elected, will continue to get their input on the street's redevelopment.

The city also should recruit new businesses, Simonian said.

La Porte stands against redevelopment.

"I don't think it's solving blight; it's creating it," she said, adding that the low-income areas are still troubled.

The city has done a good job fighting crime, Espinoza said, but there is more to be done, and it will take the whole community.

One way to increase community involvement is through televising City Council meetings, she said. La Porte agreed.

Holley said it is unlikely that community involvement will increase by much, if at all, just because residents can see a taped meeting.

But Rush is optimistic that community involvement will increase.

"I love La Habra," she said, "and I want other people to feel the same way."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

La Habra Council Candidates

Here are the candidates seeking two seats on the La Habra City Council in the Nov. 3 election:

Rose Espinoza

Age: 46

Occupation: Electrical/mechanical computer-assisted drafting designer

Background: Associate of arts degree in industrial drafting, Fullerton College; pursuing bachelor's degree in business administration, Cal State Fullerton; founder of Rosie's Garage, after-school tutoring program; member, La Habra Healthy Start Committee; resident for 46 years

Issues: Revitalizing La Habra Boulevard by working closely with the businesses; continuing to reduce crime in the neighborhoods; televise City Council meetings as a way to keep residents informed and involved

*

Jephthah Holley

Age: 21

Occupation: Bank teller

Background: High school diploma, Whittier Christian High School; resident for nine years

Issues: Redeveloping La Habra Boulevard; lowering the 6% utility tax; continuing to reduce crime by cooperating with the police chief and staff

*

Lynton Hurdle

Age: 42

Occupation: Business owner

Background: Bachelor's degree in health care management, and master's degree in health care administration, both at Loma Linda University; resident for two years

Issues: Improving public safety by keeping adult businesses out of the city; maintaining standards in economic development by limiting business growth; enhancing the community image

*

Merciline La Porte

Age: Older than 65

Occupation: Homemaker

Background: Two years of college; real estate agent for 30 years; volunteer, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church; member, Republican Women's Club; resident for more than 30 years

Issues: Repealing the utility tax; televising City Council meetings; leaving redevelopment up to individual business owners, such as those on La Habra Boulevard

*

Dorothy Rush

Age: 64

Occupation: Mayor, homemaker

Background: City Council member for four years; high school diploma, Pennsylvania High School; taught for 15 years; founder, WAVE (We're Against Violence Everywhere); involved in domestic violence outreach; resident for 33 years

Issues: Continuing city's redevelopment and economic development; maintaining a "people-friendly" City Council

*

G. Steve Simonian

Age: 53

Occupation: Retired Montebello police chief, incumbent

Background: Appointed to City Council in March; earned highest training certificate given by POST (Police Officers Standard of Training); police officer for more than 30 years; former member, Chamber of Commerce; resident for 28 years

Issues: Revitalizing La Habra Boulevard; continuing to recruit "quality" businesses; maintaining city's infrastructure

Source: Individual candidates

Los Angeles Times

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