Opponent Goes to Court Over Councilman's Ballot Statement

Times Staff Writer

City Council candidate Kay Horrell, charging that allegations about her included in the city's sample ballot are "false and misleading," has asked a Torrance Superior Court judge to delete the statements before the pamphlet is printed next month.

In a complaint filed Monday, Horrell charged that a 200-word ballot statement written by Councilman Ray Amys, her opponent in the District 2 runoff, violates the Redondo Beach election code and would "materially and substantially mislead the voters."

The sample ballot, in addition to voter information and a list of candidates, includes statements written by each of the candidates in the May election.

Amys contends in his statement that Horrell, whom he never mentions by name but refers to only as his "opponent", favors "more density, condos, high rise, traffic congestion (and) parking problems" in the city. He also states that Horrell would encourage "tourist trap and carnival type development" along the city's harbor and pier areas.

"That too is understandable: Ray Amys' opponent is past president of the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce," Amys charges in the ballot statement. Horrell, a real estate broker, has served as a member of the Planning Commission and president of the city's Chamber of Commerce.

Randall C. Kimose, an attorney representing Horrell, originally sought to block publication of the sample ballot by requesting a temporary restraining order from Judge Morio L. Fukuto on Monday. Kimose, however, withdrew his request when city officials agreed to withhold publication of the ballot guide until after a court hearing Tuesday.

"We want truthful and accurate information," said Kimose, arguing that Amys' characterization of Horrell's positions on development is false. "He (Amys) is willing to say anything, truthful or not, to win an election. It looks like a desperate attempt by Mr. Amys to change the voters' opinion."

In a letter hand-delivered Monday to City Clerk John L. Oliver, Kimose demanded that Oliver delete the statements before 2 p.m. Monday or face court action. Kimose said that Amys had been asked to delete or modify the remarks, but he refused.

Provision of Law

Deputy City Clerk Linda Gregory said Wednesday that the city code provides for challenges to ballot statements, but that the city clerk's office does not censor the material. She said the ballot statements, which were submitted March 15, were available to the public for 10 days so that objections--such as Horrell's--could be brought before the courts.

Gregory said that the sample ballot was scheduled to be printed on April 8 and mailed to city residents on April 15. "We can wait longer, but legally we must mail them out 10 days before the election," she said.

Horrell finished ahead of harbor-area incumbent Amys in this month's four-person race for Amys' seat. Horrell garnered 36.6% of the vote compared to Amys' 31.7%. They will face each other again in the May 14 runoff election.

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