Wide-Open Elections : 33 File as Candidates for 4 Council Vacancies

Times Staff Writer

Setting the stage for one of the largest, most wide open San Diego City Council elections ever, 33 persons filed candidacy petitions Friday in races for four council seats being vacated by incumbents this fall.

In the first official step for campaigns that in most cases began months ago, the 33 candidates filed their nominating petitions with the city clerk’s office, which over the next two weeks will check the documents to determine whether each candidate secured the 200 signatures of registered voters needed to qualify for the Sept. 15 primary ballot.

The top two vote-getters in each district primary will face each other in the November citywide general election.


Assuming that most of those who filed Friday qualify for the ballot, the size of the field in this year’s races will eclipse a 52-year-old record for total number of candidates in a four council-seat election, surpassing the 30 candidates who ran in 1935, according to city elections officer Jack Fishkin. San Diego’s overall record for total number of council candidates on a primary ballot is 41, which occurred in 1965 when five council seats were contested.

The 8th District race, for the seat now occupied by appointed incumbent Celia Ballesteros, failed to tie the record for most candidates in a single council district race, Fishkin said. Ten candidates filed papers to enter that contest, nearing the mark established in the 1965 8th District race won by Mike Schaefer.

No Incumbents Involved

The record number of candidates is attributable to another first established by this year’s election--notably, the fact that no incumbents are competing in any of the races. This will be the first San Diego city election, Fishkin said, in which four “open” council seats appear on the ballot--a political rarity that has acted as a magnet for would-be council members.

Ballesteros pledged not to run for the 8th District seat this fall as a condition of her appointment last December to succeed former Councilman Uvaldo Martinez following his resignation after pleading guilty to charges stemming from his misuse of a city-issued credit card. The other retiring council members, who cited a variety of personal and professional reasons for stepping down, are Bill Cleator in the 2nd District, William Jones in the 4th District and Mike Gotch in the 6th District.

Following is a list of the candidates who filed Friday:

- 2nd District: Kay Davis, 42, president of the San Diego city school board; Ron Roberts, 44, architect and former chairman of the San Diego Planning Commission; Byron Wear, 32, political consultant and businessman; Ron Schneider, 26, financial consultant; Loch David Crane, 38, teacher and magician; Raffi Simonian, 33, pharmacist; George Gormlie, 39, community clinic administrator.

- 4th District: Marla Marshall, 36, an accounts manager with a title company and former chief aide to San Diego City Councilwoman Gloria McColl; Wes Pratt, 36, now on leave from his job as executive assistant to San Diego County Supervisor Leon Williams; the Rev. George Stevens, 55, special assistant to Rep. Jim Bates (D-San Diego); De De McClure, 53, community activist; Warren Nielsen, 62, a design engineer and property manager; Gloria Tyler-Mallery, 38, the host of a gospel music radio show; Richard (Tip) Calvin Jr., 51, a former police officer and head of a printing and publishing firm, and Robert Maestas, 39, a U.S. Postal Service worker.


- 6th District: Bob Glaser, 32, a lawyer; Bruce Henderson, 44, a lawyer; Bob Ottilie, 32, a lawyer; Jim Ryan, 35, an executive search consultant and former aide to Rep. Bill Lowery (R-San Diego); Keith Behner, 39, an investment broker; Paul Johnsen, 40, a publisher; Mark Potocki, 35, a school teacher; and Robert McCullough, 35, an environmental design consultant.

- 8th District: Michael Aguirre, 37, a lawyer; Bob Filner, 44, a college teacher and former president of the San Diego city school board; Neil Good, 39, on leave from his position as administrative assistant to Supervisor Leon Williams; Gail MacLeod, 37, a land-use planner; Robert Castaneda, 34, a businessman; Jesse Macias, 39, a former television news reporter; Danny Martinez, 39, a businessman; Paul Clark, 48, a San Ysidro community activist; Ty Smith, 34, a former investment broker; and John Kelley, 68, a frequent candidate for numerous offices.

Filing for write-in candidates in the race opens Monday. Write-in candidates also must gather signatures of 200 registered voters in their districts to qualify.

Times staff writer Nancy Ray contributed to this story.