Dozens of political candidates arrived at the starting gate Friday, ready to race toward November, when municipal offices in cities throughout Orange County will be filled at the polls.
From Anaheim to San Clemente, candidates scurried to meet a 5 p.m. filing deadline to launch campaigns for city council, city attorney and other local offices--while, at the last minute, two officials decided unexpectedly to withdraw from public life. Yorba Linda Mayor Michael Beverage, who was acquitted Tuesday by a North Orange County Municipal Court judge on a charge of molesting his stepson, said he needed to "redirect his energies to his family, friends and business."
And Costa Mesa Mayor Norma Hertzog, who was seen by a vocal group of homeowners as too pro-development and consequently would have faced a tough challenge in November from slow-growth candidates, just let the clock run out without filing for reelection. The two-term incumbent, who was expected to seek a third term, could not be reached for comment Friday.
Costa Mesa and Newport Beach are expected to have two of the more spirited contests in the months ahead, as citizens who favor slower-paced growth gear up to try to wrest political control from the pro-development council majorities in both cities.
Other highlights of the upcoming fall races include the contest for mayor of Anaheim, Orange County's largest city.
With Mayor Donald R. Roth running for county supervisor against Orange Mayor James H. Beam, two current councilmen, Mayor Pro Tem Irv Pickler and Councilman Ben Bay, are vying to take his place.
Pickler's term on the council ends this year, so he would have to win reelection as a councilman to serve as mayor. If Roth loses the race for supervisor, he will return to complete two more years of a term as council member.
Besides Pickler's, two other council seats are up for election this year--those held by E. Llewellyn Overholt Jr. and Miriam Kaywood. Among the candidates are former Anaheim police officer Fred Hunter, who ran unsuccessfully for the council in 1982; Bill Ehrle, who has a public relations firm; Louis Pradetto, a student at Cal State Fullerton.
Also running are Jerry Cook, who works in real estate investments, is a wholesale distributor and works as a service representative for Pacific Bell; Tony Mangiamelli, a paralegal; Charlene La Claire, who runs her own business-consulting firm; Luisalene Dunleavy, retired; Gustave Bode, retired; Melvin Aaguilar, an independent businessman; Frank Monnig, a businessman, and Manuel Hernandez, who did not list an occupation when filing with the city clerk.
On the same ballot, voters will be asked to choose if they want "safe and sane" fireworks to be sold in the city.
Three incumbents, the widow of a former city councilman and one other candidate will be facing off for the three seats open in the November election.
Diana Cooper, whose husband, Sam, served on the council between 1972 and 1985, will be challenging incumbents Gene Leyton, a business executive, and Clarice Blamer and Carrey Nelson, who are both retired.
Also running is businessman Richard E. LeClaire.
Eight candidates have filed so far to grab the council seats being vacated by Norma Hertzog and Arlene Schaefer, another pro-development incumbent who earlier this year said she would step down in November.
Among the candidates are Orville Amburgey, a businessman; Peter Buffa, a businessman, and Joseph Erickson, a slow-growth advocate and Costa Mesa planning commissioner.
Also running are Robert Hanson, a retiree; Charlene Johnson, a local businesswoman; Brian Theriot, a small-business owner; Michael Nutter, an attorney, and Douglas Yates.
Only three candidates filed for three seats that are up for election on the five-member City Council. They are businesswoman Margaret Arnold and Councilmen John Kanel and William Davis.
The two incumbents whose council seats are up for election have filed to run again. They are Mayor A. B. (Buck) Catlin, who has served on the council since 1982, and first-term Councilwoman Molly McClanahan. Also running are David Cohen and his brother, Joseph Cohen; Jerry Conrey and Vic Victoria, according to the city clerk's office.
Mayor Jonathon Cannon filed Friday in an attempt to capture his fourth consecutive term as mayor of Orange County's fourth-largest city. He has only one challenger, real estate saleswoman Karen T. Moreland.
Four people will vie for the other two council seats up for election, including incumbents Raymond C. Littrell, a real estate salesman, and Robert F. Dinsen, a retiree. Also running are Jay Reed, principal of Garden Grove High for 15 years and currently chairman of the education department at Azusa Pacific University, and Gerald S. Margolin, a city planning commissioner.
Twenty-one candidates--the most in any city in the county--will be vying for four City Council seats. Among them are four of the city's seven planning commissioners and the husband of a councilwoman whose term expires this fall.
City Atty. Gail Hutton, who is hoping to win a third term, faces one challenger--Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Ted Johnson.
The four council seats are up for grabs because incumbents Don MacAllister, Robert Mandic Jr., John Thomas and Ruth Bailey must step down after serving the city-mandated two-term limit.
Bailey's husband, Sherwood, a businessman and civil engineer, is among the crowded field of candidates, which also includes: Wesley Bannister, local business owner; Elaine Craft, community volunteer; Robert Crawfis, attorney; John Erskine, planning commissioner; George Hanna, toolmaker; Timothy Klink, businessman; LaVonne Lawlor, bookkeeper; Tom Livengood, planning commissioner; Virgil Lovelace, author.
Also running are Dan Mahaffey, businessman; Thomas Mays, business management specialist; Norma Vander Molen, community services commissioner; Anthony Passannante, pharmacist; Richard Rowe, planning commissioner; James Silva, economics educator; Jay Stout, accountant; Donald Troy, small businessman; John Valentino, retired; Grace Winchell, planning commissioner, and Henry Yee, certified public accountant.
So far, five candidates, including incumbents Dan Kenney and Robert Gentry, are making the run for three seats on the Laguna Beach council. However, the filing deadline has been extended to Wednesday since one incumbent, Councilwoman Bobbie Minkin, announced that she would not seek reelection.
The other three official candidates in the race are Lida Lenney, a teacher and writer; Rick Slater, a maintenance worker, and Maggie Meggs, a local newspaper columnist.
In a race for two seats on the City Council, incumbent Larry Herman will face Maxine Dillard, a businesswoman; Pat Fossen, a postal service accountant, and Eva Minor, a dental consultant.
Because Councilwoman Norma Seidel has not filed for reelection, the filing deadline has been extended to Wednesday.
Nine candidates will compete for four City Council seats in what is expected to be a lively race over the volatile issue of this resort city's future development.
Incumbent Don Strauss, who has been a strong advocate of restrained growth, and Eveyln Hart are seeking reelection. Among those seeking those seats and those vacated by Bill Agee and Jacqueline E. Heather are Allan Beek, a computer designer who is spearheading a citizens' drive to overturn the council's recent approval of the Newport Center expansion project, and Michael Lapin, an attorney who has been endorsed by County Supervisor Thomas F. Riley.
Also in the race are Pat Michaels, a broadcasting executive; James Person, a city planning commissioner and attorney; Philip Sansone, a retired marketing executive; Clarence Turner, a city planning commissioner, and Harmon Weston, a retired schoolteacher.
While council members run at large in Newport Beach, each member represents one of the city's seven districts. Filing closed Friday for candidates running in District 1 (the Balboa Peninsula) and District 3 (Newport Heights). It will close Wednesday for District 4, which includes the Mariners Mile, Dover Shores and Back Bay areas, and District 6, which includes old Corona del Mar.
Because two incumbents decided not to run for reelection, the filing deadline has been extended until Wednesday.
Mayor James H. Beam is running for the Orange County Board of Supervisors, and Councilman Jess F. Perez has decided to forego another run at his council seat to take a shot at the vacated mayor's post. Incumbent Don E. Smith, who had considered a run at the mayor's office, instead filed for reelection as a council member.
Perez's only opponent for mayor so far is banker Robert D. Hoyt. The council field so far includes Smith, retired businesswoman Lois Wells, businesswoman Joanne Coontz, Orange County Marshal Michael Carona, community college trustee Shirley Ralston, environmentalist Juan B. Nieblas, securities analyst Timothy Smith and businessman James H. Silva.
Three incumbents, two former council members and one newcomer will vie for two City Council seats.
The incumbents are Carolyn H. Davis, a realtor; April Ottavian, an elementary-school teacher, and Carol Downey, who was appointed after another member of the council resigned last November.
The two former council members in the race are Norman Z. Eckenrode, a businessman who served on the council from 1978 to 1984, and Betty Mead, who served from 1978 until she was recalled in 1982 "for failure to represent the citizens of Placentia." Also running is newcomer George E. Petzoldt, who listed his occupation as operations manager.
Since Councilman Richard Buck has not filed for reelection, the deadline for filing will be extended until Wednesday.
In the city clerk's race there is only one candidate, incumbent Edward M. Ponce.
Competing for the post of city treasurer is Rachelle (Shelle) Bilhartz, a homemaker and community volunteer, who will oppose incumbent Gary Richard Arnold, a businessman who was appointed in January 1986.
Ten candidates will be competing for three City Council seats.
Up for reelection to the five-member council are Kenneth E. Carr, a real estate salesman; G. Scott Diehl, a veterinarian, and Karoline Koester.
The list of seven challengers includes slow-growth advocates Brian J. Rice, a local dentist, and Thomas W. Lorch, an engineer. Another slow-growth advocate, insurance agent Charles Mitchell, will be making his fourth attempt to capture a council seat.
The other candidates are Alfred L. Dibella, a retired business executive; Maurice Hansen, a businessman; Robert Rusin, a security guard, and Holly A. Veale, a member of the city's Planning Commission.
Five candidates have filed to run against the three incumbent Santa Ana council members, including the son of the owner of Ace Muffler, who successfully stood off a city effort to demolish his small business, a Santa Ana High School teacher and a former councilman of Melvindale, Mich.
Miguel A. Pulido Jr. moved to Santa Ana from Fullerton in April, taking up residence in Ward 4 so he could qualify to run against Vice Mayor P. Lee Johnson. Tuesday, he formally announced his candidacy at the muffler shop. Also running against Johnson is banker Alberta Christy.
In Ward 2, incumbent Robert Luxembourger, a retired Orange County sheriff's captain, will run against Ron May, a native of Santa Ana who graduated from Santa Ana High and now teaches American history and political science there, and Zeke Hernandez, president of the local chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens.
In Ward 6, incumbent Dan Young will face George LaGiness, who served on the City Council in Melvindale, Mich., for seven years and says the experience will help him win over voters. LaGiness owns his own house painting business. Young, a developer, was an assistant to former Rep. Jerry Patterson before being elected to the council in 1983.
Among the candidates for three council seats that are up for election are incumbents Paul G. Varellen, a human resources administrator; Edward L. Allen, retired, and Martha V. Weishaupt, co-owner of Wilco and Associates.
Also running are Chris Chavez and John Parent.
Candidates have until next Wednesday to file for council races in the county's smallest city because one incumbent is not going to file for reelection.
Villa Park council members are limited to two 4-year terms so Councilwoman Carol H. Kawannami cannot run again. Two other incumbents, Mayor Wayne Silzel and Councilman James T. Fasbender, have filed for reelection. Also running is attorney Herbert Moss.
Mayor Elden F. Gillespie and Councilman Mel M. Jay are facing challenges in their races to retain seats on the City Council.
Gillespie, a chemical engineer who was first elected in 1977, is facing insurance agent Jules Kerker. Running against Jay will be Anita Huseth, a steel supplier who made an unsucessful bid for the council in 1984.
With Mayor Michael Beverage announcing he will not seek reelection, the filing deadline has been extended to Wednesday. The seats held by Beverage and Councilman Henry Wedaa are being contested.
At a news conference Friday, Beverage said: "At this point in my life, I need to redirect my energies and attention to my family, close friends and my small business. As time went on, the battle went on, certain things became more significant to me. Holding public office is important, but it doesn't replace your family and close friends."
Wedaa has served on the council since 1970. Roland Bigonger, the city's first mayor, is seeking to return to the council after a 14-year absence.
Times staff writers Juan Arancibia, Jody Becker and Andy Rose contributed to this story.