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Elections to be held in dozens of Southland cities

Voters will pick officials and decide ballot measures. School board races may affect the L.A. mayor's attempt to influence the district.

March 04, 2007|Ashley Surdin | Times Staff Writer

Voters in 38 Los Angeles County cities and one in Riverside County head to the polls Tuesday to select city government and school officials or decide ballot measures.

The outcome of school board races in the Los Angeles area could alter the ability of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to influence the direction of the Los Angeles Unified School District, because he is backing several candidates.

In the San Gabriel Valley, a Pasadena ballot measure would increase a parcel tax for libraries, and the school district in San Marino hopes to increase a parcel tax to pay salaries for some teachers and other employees.

Here are a few election highlights from around the region:



Husband and wife Phil and Carolyn Berlin hope to be among the top four finishers who will face off in an April 10 runoff for two open City Council seats. There are five other candidates in the race.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday March 06, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 70 words Type of Material: Correction
Burbank election: An article in Sunday's California section about municipal elections stated that Burbank voters would cast ballots in a City Council race today. That election occurred Feb. 27. A runoff set for April 10 will see husband and wife Phil and Carolyn Berlin and two other candidates compete for two council seats. Some Burbank voters, however, will cast ballots today in four Los Angeles Community College District trustee races.

Detractors say the two probably would agree on everything, stifling honest debate over issues that affect all of Burbank's 104,000 residents. The Berlins say electing them would shake up the current 4-1 voting pattern on the council.



Residents will vote in two City Council races, but talk around town continues to be about the effort to eventually recall Mayor Jim Dear, accused by critics of siding with developers who want to build an apartment complex.

Last month, a leader in the recall effort, former Carson mayor Vera Robles Dewitt, was charged with misdemeanor battery after bopping Carson Commissioner Jan Schaefer -- who supports Dear -- in the head with a sheaf of papers during a televised City Council meeting Feb. 6. A copy of the videotape can been seen at by typing "Carson council" in the search window.



Voters will decide whether to extend Measure A until 2019. The utility tax is a 6% levy on residents' water, telephone, gas, trash and electricity bills.

The tax, which generates $5.5 million each year, would pay for general city services, such as the Fire and Police departments.



In July, Mayor Pro Tem Gary Bosworth, who had been on the council for years, died. Then Councilwoman Mary Stephens took over as mayor pro tem. Now six candidates are seeking Stephens' seat, which was filled on a temporary basis after Bosworth's death.

Voters in the Riverside County city also will be asked if they want to stop electing the mayor directly and instead vote for five council members who would take turns filling the post based on seniority.



The City Council races are a low-key affair, with five of seven incumbents running unopposed or against write-in candidates.

The one race for an open seat is in the 7th District in the northeast San Fernando Valley. It pits Assemblyman Richard Alarcon -- who is trying to return to the job he held from 1993 to early 1999 -- against real estate official Monica Rodriguez, business owner Oscar Mendoza and retired administrative assistant Margie Carranza.



A new city library could depend on Measure L. The parcel tax would cost owners of single-family homes $62 annually and generate $15.5 million over the next 30 years.

If Measure L passes, city spokesman Richard Singer said, construction of the library would begin as early as late summer or early fall.



For the first time in nearly two decades, City Clerk David Barron won't oversee the City Council election. That's because he is running for one of the three open spots.

"He has turned over his keys and everything," said Deputy City Clerk Cindy Truong, who is in charge of this year's balloting.

Barron isn't the only current official running for the council. Second-term City Treasurer Mitchell Ing also is a candidate, as is incumbent Benjamin "Frank" Venti. Ten others also are seeking a seat.



Prepare for a long ballot in this city of 140,000-plus residents. There are multiple races this year: for the mayor's seat, four council districts and three school board seats. Voters will choose from among 24 candidates.

After plowing through those races, voters also will have to decide the fate of Measure C, a parcel tax to benefit the library. The $4.25 increase on the existing $26.30 tax would boost the library's yearly take to $2 million.



Fifteen teachers, a librarian, a counselor and two computer technicians currently paid by the San Marino Unified School District will depend on Measure R for money to continue funding their positions. The $295-per-parcel tax would yield $1.5 million annually.

Voters also will select two City Council members from a field of six candidates.


Times staff writers Tami Abdollah, Tony Barboza, Angie Green and Adrian G. Uribarri contributed to this report.

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