Veteran Councilwoman Jane D. Robbins has been disqualified this week from seeking reelection, apparently clearing the way for a wide open race among four challengers in the Council's District 4.
"It increases my chances 100%," said Richard Bonner, a beauty salon owner who is running for the council seat in the April 16 election.
City Clerk Charles Davis ruled Monday that Robbins' name could not be placed on the ballot because she failed to gather 20 valid signatures--the minimum required under the city's Municipal Code--on her nomination petition. The nomination papers were turned in Saturday, the last day for candidates to file for two council seats and for the unexpired term of the late Mayor Walter Tucker, who died of cancer last fall.
Robbins, who has held the council seat for 15 years, said she has hired a lawyer, but declined further comment.
Davis said Robbins turned in 21 signatures on her petition, but two of the signatures were ruled invalid after they were compared with signature cards and voter records kept by the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters.
One signature was ruled invalid after the records indicated that the person was not registered to vote, the clerk said. In the second case, a woman who signed the petition also signed her husband's name, which is not acceptable, Davis said.
The clerk believes that his decision would be upheld in court because the city's code clearly establishes the minimum number of valid signatures required on a nominating petition.
"It's final as far as I'm concerned," Davis said.
Robbins, a retired school principal, won the seat in 1976 in a special election, and was subsequently elected to three terms.
In addition to Bonner, the other candidates in the District 4 race include Basil Kimbrew, a political consultant and a close ally of Councilwoman Patricia A. Moore, who is one of seven people seeking the mayor's job. The race for mayor is considered a special election.
Also running in District 4 are Jean Sanders, wife of city treasurer Wesley Sanders; and Ethel Young, who has been active in various community groups.
The other City Council race this year is in District 1, where six candidates are vying to succeed incumbent Maxcy D. Filer, who decided to run for mayor rather than seek reelection to his council seat.