City Council Candidates Present Varied Opinions on Development

Nuts-and-bolts municipal issues, including aging infrastructure and economic development, dominate the campaigns of four candidates seeking three seats on the City Council.

Councilwoman Alice Jempsa, one of three incumbents seeking reelection, said she wants a major overhaul of roads, curbs, gutters, sidewalks and a program to plant trees. To help pay for those improvements, she said the city should continue pressing the state to return property tax revenue it has seized over the years from local budgets.

Councilwoman Marilynn M. Poe, who wants to continue her monthly coffee meetings with residents, said she favors further economic development that will attract businesses.

Councilman Robert P. Wahlstrom said he plans to maintain the city's "high level of service." He backs existing programs and staffing in both the police and parks and recreation departments. He echoes Poe's and Jempsa's support for economic development by luring tax-generating businesses.

Arthur DeBolt, the only candidate not on the council, said he disagrees with city's methods for economic development. He said he wants the city to represent residents first, and not become tangled in real estate development deals. He opposed the city's decision two years ago to buy an old post office on Pine Avenue for redevelopment.

If elected, he said he would encourage the council to get more involved with development issues affecting the Los Alamitos Unified School District. He opposes the planned relocation of the California High School of the Arts from Los Alamitos High to a site on Bloomfield Street.


Los Alamitos City Council

Here are the four candidates for the three seats at stake in the election:

Arthur DeBolt

Age: 50

Occupation: Real estate broker

Background: Board president of Rossmoor/Los Alamitos Area Sewer District; past president of Seal Beach Swim Club; past president of the Optimist Club in North Long Beach; bachelor's degree in business from Arizona State University

Issues: Says City Council should better reflect the opinions of residents on school board issues, namely the planned relocation of the Orange County High School of the Arts to Bloomfield Street; maintain identity and character of the city and avoid "jumping into the real estate development business"; direct city staff to be friendlier


Alice Jempsa


Age: Declined to state

Occupation: Educator

Background: Three terms on the City Council; 38 years as a public educator, including assignments as a teacher, principal and assistant principal; bachelor's degree from University of Minnesota, school administration credential from Cal State Long Beach and master's degree from Pepperdine University

Issues: Recover funds state has taken from city's budget;

improve safety on residential roads and increase traffic flow in the business district; revamp aging infrastructure, including curbs, gutters, sidewalks and landscaping


Marilynn M. Poe


Age: 57

Occupation: City Council member

Background: Service with Parks and Recreation Commission, PTA, Los Alamitos High School Football Foundation, Los Alamitos Museum, and Los Alamitos Girls Softball

Issues: Provide "strict police services"; pursue economic development; continue monthly coffee meetings with constituents


Robert P. Wahlstrom


Age: 65

Occupation: Purchasing director for a national restaurant company

Background: Only original member remaining on Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors; bachelor's degree in management from Roosevelt University (Chicago)

Issues: Economic development; continue effectiveness of police department; maintain parks and recreation program

Source: Individual candidates; Researched by JOHN CANALIS / For The Times

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