Garden Grove Mayor Jonathan H. Cannon, who almost two years ago switched to the Republican Party, has resigned the city post he has held since 1980 to accept an appointment by the governor as a new West Municipal Court judge.
Cannon, who presided at a city-sponsored Korean export seminar on Wednesday, said he accepted Gov. George Deukmejian's appointment last week. His resignation is effective Friday. The 40-year-old mayor, one of Orange County's most articulate community leaders, said he will be sworn in Friday but will not assume his duties on the bench until Aug. 10.
"This is a great honor. I'm very happy to have been selected," he said.
Cannon, who grew up in Long Beach, was first elected to the Garden Grove City Council in 1978 and was elected mayor in March, 1980. He subsequently won reelection in 1982, 1984 and 1986 as one of California's few directly elected mayors.
During his tenure, Cannon led a pro-development council that embarked on many projects to upgrade sagging areas of the city. The major developments included building a huge auto center on Trask Avenue and completing the Princess Alicante, a 17-story, 400-room luxury hotel on Harbor Boulevard.
The City Council is close to approving a redevelopment plan to upgrade a two-mile strip of businesses on Garden Grove Boulevard, the city's main commercial artery.
Although highly successful in all five races he ran in Garden Grove, Cannon lost a bid in June, 1984, for a Superior Court judgeship.
In November, 1985, he switched to the Republican Party, saying his philosophy differed dramatically from that of the "leftists" he said controlled the Democratic Party.
In a recent interview, he acknowledged that it is almost impossible for anyone with political goals to succeed in Orange County as a Democrat.
The City Council has 30 days to decide whether to appoint a replacement for Cannon or call a special election to choose his successor.
Cannon has been president of the Orange County division of the League of California Cities. He is also a member of the West Regional Council of the United Way of Orange County and a member of the Orange County Girl Scout Nominating Committee.
He was also honored by the American Society for Public Administration as the 1984 Outstanding Public Official.