Mayoral candidate Jerry Goddard says he and incumbent Barbara Doerr aren't talking. That's news to Doerr, who says, "I didn't know we aren't talking."
The lack of communication has been typical of the campaign leading to Tuesday's municipal election, which has produced its share of heated and bitter rhetoric--but relatively little interaction between the two front-runners.
Still, the choice is crystal clear: In one corner stands Doerr, who urges strong restraints on new development in King Harbor and other areas of the city; in the other corner stands Goddard, a two-term councilman who extols the virtues of economic development while charging that Doerr has an anti-business attitude.
Important Council Elections
Also at stake Tuesday are three City Council seats--the vote on which could markedly change the body's complexion--two school board seats and a new, full-time city attorney post.
In two of the council races, incumbents are facing rigorous reelection battles.
North Redondo incumbent Archie Snow--a one-time council gadfly now running for a second term with an $11,000 campaign war chest filled largely by the city's leading business interests--faces political newcomers Steve Reiss and Carl Clark and one-time political ally Valerie Dombrowski.
City school board trustee Dombrowski and sales administrator Reiss, in particular, have said that if elected in District 4 they will stick to Snow's original campaign platform--questioning the need for further harbor-area development. Snow cites his accomplishments, including his part in winning federal money to develop the South Bay Galleria shopping mall now under construction. Clark, manager of materiel systems for TRW, says he would bring business and planning expertise to the council.
3 Challenge Amys
Harbor-area incumbent Ray Amys--often the only councilman to concur with Doerr on major issues--is also being challenged by three candidates. Longtime resident Rene Burke shares Amys' political philosophy but says he would provide better representation to District 2. Real estate broker Kay Horrell, who has been branded a pro-development candidate by Doerr forces, says she opposes negative thinking in government. Political novice Mark Keppler, 27, who distributes Racing Forms and works part time at the Redondo Fun Factory running bumper cars and other rides, says he would provide youthful leadership to the council. Amys says he has served the public by acting as a strong opponent of new harbor-area development.
Candidates vying to replace Goddard in South Redondo's District 1 are City Treasurer Alice De Long, attorney Kevin Stapleton and engineer John W. Chapman.
De Long, who has waged a relatively low-key campaign--spending less than $500--frequently sides with Doerr on major issues, including a proposed voter initiative to limit development at King Harbor.
Hotel Heads Contribute
Chapman, a neighbor of Goddard, has been painted by the Doerr forces as a candidate of the Goddard faction. Chapman denies it, although he was not helped by the latest round of campaign finance reports that showed out-of-town contributions of $1,000 from George Derenia, a Gardena-based contractor, and $500 from the heads of the Marina Plaza hotel and the Marina Beach hotel in Marina del Rey. Chapman, who says his planning background would serve the council well, said the contributors are longtime friends.
Stapleton, who has received $2,062 in contributions, is also trying to walk a tightrope--seeking support from all quarters while pledging allegiance to no particular faction. The president of the city's Crime Prevention Committee, Stapleton says his training as an attorney has provided him with negotiating skills that could come in handy when trying to bring the Doerr and Goddard factions together on major issues.
In the city attorney race, part-time City Atty. Gordon Phillips is battling newcomer Harlan Swain for the $63,286-a-year post.
Phillips, 27, cites his experience in office as the critical factor in his favor. Swain, an attorney for 10 years, counters that he has more expertise in criminal law that would help him better oversee the prosecutor's office.
Council Runoffs Likely
With candidates needing more than 50% of the vote to win, a May 14 runoff is likely for the council seats.
Not so, however, in the mayor's contest, where a third contender--airline pilot Gary Smith--has taken so low a profile that his candidacy appears virtually nonexistent.
Not that there has been that much opportunity for debate, anyway.
The main public forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Beach Cities, was sparsely attended and did not include face-to-face rebuttal. Furthermore, Goddard left shortly after making his opening statement, saying he had a previous commitment.
A second forum--for mayoral candidates only--was to have been sponsored by a local weekly newspaper but was canceled when Doerr said she would not show up. Doerr said later she would have participated if council candidates had also been invited. And, she said, "I can understand presidential debates but not mayoral debates."
Doerr Cites Aviation
Doerr, who has received about $7,000 in campaign contributions, says she has provided strong leadership by helping save part of the closed Aviation High School campus for recreation and by successfully opposing the widening of Flagler Lane into a major north-south traffic artery. Another accomplishment, she said, has been her efforts to open the city's political process to increased public input.
Goddard, who has taken in $16,586 in contributions, says he would provide stronger leadership than Doerr. The one-time Redondo Union High School principal, who now is a history teacher, a reserve deputy sheriff and a reserve naval officer, says he would help bring the community together and help ensure that positive business developments are facilitated.
The two major candidates also part company on another issue--campaign signs.
Two weeks ago, Goddard revealed that more than 60 of his large lawn signs across the city had been stolen.
Both Cite Sign Losses
"There is an organized effort to take those signs," he charged. "I obviously think it's someone with the other campaign."
Doerr disagrees and adds that she has also lost "a lot of signs."
"My feeling," said the mayor, "is because he has in the past been the principal of the high school and is now a teacher there, that there are a lot of kids that hate him and a lot of kids that love him. The ones that hate him are taking his signs; the ones who love him are taking ours."
In the school board contest, incumbent Rebecca Sargent and three newcomers are running for two seats on the Redondo Beach City School District Board of Trustees. The candidates making their first try for a seat are Howard M. Huizing, 65, a retired school principal; John W. Miller, 46, a plant maintenance manager, and Bart Swanson, 33, a plant security manager.
Issues in the low-key campaign have focused on the best way to manage the under-enrolled district's resources, which include closed campuses, so that quality education can be maintained.