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Council Candidates Stress Status Quo

September 26, 1998|DEBRA CANO

With two City Council members stepping down after each serving for eight years, four challengers and one incumbent seeking a third term have put in their bid for three seats.

Councilman Bob Bell, elected in 1990, wants to serve another four years and opposes term limits in this residential town of about 6,500 people. Voters on Nov. 3 will be asked whether to impose council term limits.

"You need that carry-over experience in cities our size," Bell said. "Our city is much too small to eliminate the possibility of volunteers serving."

Robert E. McGowan decided to withdraw from the council election for personal reasons, although his name will still appear on the ballot.

Councilmen Joseph S. Barsa and Barry L. Denes are not seeking reelection.

Keeping Villa Park's rural, quiet hometown atmosphere is a top priority for the candidates, who all said they want to serve in efforts to keep their community an attractive and safe place to live and raise a family.

"I love the city and I want to do everything I can to help it and keep it the way it is," said candidate William A. Dougherty, a resident since 1969, who ran for a council seat in 1996.

Dougherty favors no street lights, keeping half-acre lots and maintaining the city's one small shopping center.

Candidate Denise Bittel did not return repeated calls. But in her candidate statement, Bittel said her "strong commitment to the future of Villa Park has given me the desire to serve the citizens of this community."

Candidates agree there are no major issues facing the city, but if elected, they will work to keep crime down and ensure fiscal responsibility.

First-time candidate Russell Patterson said that if elected, he will make sure residents have a voice and that the city spends its funds wisely.

William P. Zakowicz Jr., also seeking a first term, said he is concerned about the growth and speed of traffic through neighborhoods. He also cited the need to control coyotes.

"We've had lots of pets killed by the coyotes," Zakowicz said. "While there has not been any attacks on children, the potential exists."

An experiment is underway to try to keep the coyotes away by lacing animal carcasses with a chemical intended to make the coyotes sick and thus leery of returning to neighborhoods for food.

Zakowicz said he would favor stronger action if the experiment fails to deter coyote attacks.

Councilman Bell, on the other hand, said he believes coyotes are a regional problem--not a campaign issue--and favors public education to solve it.


Villa Park City Council

(Candidates for three seats)

Bob Bell

Age: 64

Occupation: Real estate broker

Background: Incumbent, elected in 1990; served as mayor, mayor pro tem and on various council committees; charter member, Villa Park Volunteer Fire Department; former booster club president for baseball and football at Villa Park High School; former Little League coach; member, Villa Park picnic committee; graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with bachelor of science degree; resident since 1974.

Issues: To preserve Villa Park lifestyle, including improving and maintaining city beautification; to ensure fiscal responsibility by guarding the city's resources; to protect and maintain the city's inexpensive water supply.


Denise Bittel

Age: 38

Occupation: Legal administrator

Background: Degree in business administration from Cal Poly; instrumental in forming Orange Unified School District boundaries for Villa Park; former parent group president for Villa Park Elementary; board member, Orange Education Foundation; member, Villa Park picnic committee.

Issues: Is concerned about the influence of other cities and wants to protect the qualities of Villa Park for young families and upcoming generations.


William A. Dougherty

Age: 74

Occupation: Retired Marine colonel and semi-retired lawyer

Background: Graduate of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine; law degree from Cornell University; member, Republican Central Committee; former Marine

night-fighter pilot and veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam; longtime supporter of Villa Park Library. Resident since 1969. First ran for council in 1996.

Issues: To maintain Villa Park as Orange County's "hidden jewel" and to keep its status quo as a rural community; to keep traffic out of the city and maintain it as a crime-free community; to reinstitute music departments in schools, and to preserve the library branch.


Russell Patterson

Age: 53

Occupation: Contractor

Background: Business administration degree from Cal State Fullerton; graduate, Orange High School; business owner for 17 years; U.S. Army veteran; resident since 1987.

Issues: To listen and consider citizens' input before making decisions; to ensure the El Toro airport plan does not adversely affect Villa Park, especially regarding flight paths and noise; to maintain traditional Villa Park values and small-town atmosphere.


William P. Zakowicz Jr.

Age: 68

Occupation: Retired aerospace manager

Background: Master's degree in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, Pa.; Navy veteran of Korean War; supported activities of the Villa Park Women's League; served on the council's sign selection committee. Retired in 1997, resident since 1967.

Issues: To ensure a safe environment for residents, including children and their pets, and to find a solution to coyote problem; to ensure that the city remains beautiful and that property values are kept up through property owner maintenance; to ensure the city's fiscal health with adequate reserves to prevent tax increases.

Researched by DEBRA CANO / For The Times

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