Pomona Election Hopefuls Agree on the Issues, Not the Answers

Times Staff Writer

The nine City Council candidates on the ballot here Tuesday agree on the issues: more jobs, less crime and better planning on how the city spends its money. But they don't agree on the solutions.

Take the race for mayor between incumbent G. Stanton Selby and his only challenger, Councilman Clay Bryant. Selby says the city's problems are "nothing critical." Bryant says there is serious mismanagement in the Police Department and lack of leadership in City Hall.

Meanwhile, one of the four candidates seeking Bryant's District 3 council seat, Tomas Ursua, 29, believes that the city is catering to big business while ignoring minorities and the poor. Two other candidates, John Perkins, 51, and Donna Smith, 30, contend that neither development nor social concerns should be ignored. The fourth candidate--Arthur W. Manning Jr., 32--says that an aggressive effort to attract businesses will provide more jobs and will help minorities and the poor.

District 2 Race

And finally, in the race for the District 2 council seat, incumbent Jay Gaulding, 67, faces two rivals with distinct agendas: challenger Joseph Lee Duncan, 60, wants to create more jobs, while Joe Smith, 43, wants to improve the quality of education.

Because each council race has more than two candidates, if no one gets more than 50% of the vote in one or the other, a runoff election will be held April 16.

In the mayor's race, Selby's campaign has had a simple theme: "Pomona is on the move."

"The most important issue is to keep things going ahead," said Selby, who has served on the City Council for the past eight years and is running for a second two-year term as mayor.

Pomona has several major redevelopment projects in the works, including three in the downtown area. Close to $500 million in mortgage revenue bonds has been issued on two projects in the Phillips Ranch area, city officials have said.

Bryant contends that the key to reducing Pomona's high crime rate--8,946 major crimes last year in a city of 104,900--is not more police, but better police management.

During his campaign, Bryant has continued to attack Police Chief Donald Burnett, saying the chief grossly mismanaged the Police Department and was not dealing effectively with complaints of police brutality.

Bryant first leveled charges against Burnett and the department after Bryant was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving last April. Charges were never filed in the case, and Bryant maintained that the arrest was a vendetta for his inquiries into brutality complaints.

Bryant's allegations led to an investigation by the FBI, which will not release its findings, and by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, which has not yet completed its probe.

Because Bryant had to vacate his council seat to run for mayor, either Ursua, Smith, Perkins or Manning will fill the post, regardless of the outcome in the mayoral race.

Ursua, an urban planner, said he would like to see big-money redevelopment projects diminished in favor of job programs and the creation of profit-making "cooperatives" for child care and housing.

Ursua said mothers would work together to help care for each other's children and home buyers would help build their houses under such cooperative arrangements.

Smith, a businesswoman, said she would handle redevelopment "with care," but believes it is important to the city's future. She said that as a member of the Pomona Parks and Recreation Commission she learned of a "tremendous resource" in the city's youth. She said that more youth programs could reduce crime and eventually poverty.

Perkins, an insurance agent, also pledged to be fiscally responsible. He said he had more experience in city government than other contenders for Bryant's seat.

Gained Insight

Perkins said his six years on the city's Community Life Commission, which advises the City Council on neighborhood and public safety issues, gave him insight into city problems. Perkins, who has been defeated twice in attempts to unseat Bryant, said he wants the city to add fire and police personnel and to exercise restraint in redevelopment projects.

Manning, a planning consultant, said continued redevelopment will attract big business and eventually bring more jobs and increase sales tax revenue.

He said the council should "become more progressive than reactionary."

Gaulding, like Selby, spoke of the city's bright future and defended it against criticism.

But Duncan, a real estate agent and the only black on the ballot, had criticism of his own. He called Pomona's 19% unemployment rate among blacks and Latinos "derogatory." The number is based on 1980 census figures.

Lost Twice Before

Duncan, who has run for City Council and lost twice before, said more jobs will reduce crime and create a solid tax base, and proposed the formation of a job opportunities board. The board, he said, would be a voluntary coalition of businessmen and civic leaders who would assure that unemployed residents are hired by new firms.

Duncan's campaign workers said they hoped an aggressive voter registration drive would rouse the city's 49% black and Latino population.

Joe Smith, a restaurant owner who is running for his first political office, said he strongly urges better education in Pomona, where many schools have had traditionally low test scores and grade-point averages. He said he would work for a better alliance between the council and the Pomona Unified School District.

"The lack of education and crime go hand in hand," Smith said. "We need better education to lower crime, raise the standard of living and lower the unemployment rate."

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