Parton Declares Himself Politically Sound After Win : Redondo Beach: The mayor’s victory comes six months after losing a race for state Assembly in which his religious beliefs were a campaign issue.


Fresh from a runoff victory, Redondo Beach Mayor Brad Parton said Wednesday that his reelection has shored up his once shaky standing in South Bay politics.

Parton’s political stock had been sliding since November, when he was defeated in a bitter battle for a state Assembly seat by Democrat Debra Bowen of Venice. In March, the 32-year-old conservative Republican failed to win more than 50% of the vote in the five-candidate mayoral primary and was forced into Tuesday’s runoff against former Councilman Ron Cawdrey.

But after emerging from Tuesday’s balloting with a solid eight-percentage-point margin of victory, Parton said his political career is on the rebound.


“I don’t want to say if I had lost that would have been it,” the incumbent said Wednesday. “But (the victory) shows I’m still electable. It gives me four years to concentrate on problems in Redondo Beach and to show people I’m a credible candidate.”

Parton said he will serve out his second term as mayor, which expires in 1996, before making any decisions about his political future.

The mayor, who got almost 53% of the vote, fared far better than another incumbent on the Redondo Beach ballot Tuesday, Councilman Terry Ward of District 4, who lost to newcomer Robert Pinzler and pronounced his political career over. In the race for the District 2 seat being vacated by Councilwoman Kay Horrell, gas utility manager Greg Hill handily defeated urban planner Rick Abelson, winning by more than 10 percentage points.

But most eyes were on the outcome of the mayor’s contest, in which expected budget shortfalls dominated the debate. Parton attributed his victory to his fiscal practices, which gave the city a $1.5-million surplus last year amid a recession. He said that although further reductions will be required, the budget can be balanced without a tax hike.

While the city struggles to remain solvent, Parton, an independent businessman, faces his own financial challenges. He has racked up plenty of debt--more than $57,000--in his two recent campaigns.

In analyzing Tuesday’s results, Parton said that unlike the state Assembly contest, voters were judging him on the issues, not his ties to fundamentalist Christian groups.


Admitting to strong religious beliefs often carries an unfair and negative connotation with the public, he said. Referring to the disastrous outcome of the recent standoff between the Branch Davidian religious sect and federal officials, Parton said, “People think of things like Waco, Tex., and obviously that’s not me.”

In District 4, Pinzler, a 43-year-old marketing consultant, said his win was largely the result of his focus on crime. He doggedly criticized Ward in the campaign for failing to keep a lid on local crime, and promised to have a police substation built near the Galleria at South Bay. Come budget-cutting time, he said Wednesday, he will seek to ensure that spending on the Police Department is “sacrosanct.”

“If nothing happens regarding crime and graffiti,” Pinzler said, “it will be my fault and the voters will have every right to say, ‘Get out.’ ”

Still smarting from what he called his opponent’s unfair attacks, Ward said: “It’ll be interesting now to sit and watch the crime statistics drop.”

In District 2, crime also figured prominently in campaign debate. Hill, a 34-year-old district manager at Southern California Gas Co., said he will work to restore public confidence in safety on and around the Redondo Pier. Hill wants to beef up the police presence on the pier and ensure that the substation there is properly staffed.

“There’s some problems on the pier,” Hill said. “Generally it’s safe down there, but the vast majority of the public doesn’t feel safe down there, so we need to change that right away.”


Fears that write-in candidates would prevent office-seekers from obtaining more than 50% of the vote, resulting in another round of runoffs, proved unfounded. Mayoral write-in candidate Chris Boyle and District 2 write-in Sal Princiotta both received less than 4% of the vote.