Replay of Cultural Center Vote Is Deja Vu but May Speed Lease

Times Staff Writer

The long-running dispute over the September election of directors for the Angels Gate Cultural Center in San Pedro was settled this week with a new vote--and the results were the same as before.

Anne Alberts, the only losing candidate both times, garnered 22 of 94 possible votes. In September, Alberts received 12 of 124 votes. Both she and board President George Beck said they were not surprised by the outcome of Monday's election, in which 16 candidates ran for 15 seats. Beck, with 89 votes, received the next-lowest total.

"I was hoping to win," said Alberts. "It would have been delightful, but I wasn't entirely surprised."

Alberts and another member of the cultural center challenged the September ballot, saying that it was structured to ensure the reelection of all incumbents and that a note had been sent to some members encouraging them to vote for candidates other than Alberts. City officials subsequently refused to sign a three-year lease with the cultural center, saying the election dispute needed to be resolved first.

Legal Advice

In December, Deputy City Atty. Mark Brown advised Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores that until the election issue was settled, "the city cannot be certain who is authorized to represent and act on behalf of" the cultural center.

Brown's legal opinion suggested that signing the lease agreement should be delayed until after June 15, if no legal action had been filed against the center; or until a final judgment was entered in any such legal action, or until the disputed election was "otherwise finally resolved."

Although Monday's election appears to satisfy those conditions and clear the way for the lease to be signed, Alberts said she intends to press forward with a lawsuit against the center and the city. Flores aide Mario Juravich said a lawsuit could further delay the signing of the lease, although he said the election had removed the major obstacle.

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