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Inglewood Council Won’t Fill Interim Seat

Times Staff Writer

The Inglewood City Council will hold a new election in the 4th Council District on Sept. 16, but has refused to let former Councilwoman Lorraine M. Johnson have the seat back in the interim.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge earlier this month ordered the new election -- which will be the fifth balloting for the seat since November -- after ruling that a run-off candidate did not qualify because he did not live in the district.

In the April 1 primary, Johnson, who was appointed by the council last year, then elected in February, finished third. The top vote-getters, community activist Mike Stevens and labor leader Ralph Franklin, were in the runoff.

Franklin won and was seated until the judge overturned the election and ordered a new one. Stevens has filed a notice that he intends to appeal.

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Johnson’s attorneys contend that she’s entitled to hold the now-vacant office until the new election.

City Atty. Emmerline Foote concurred, citing the city charter and case law in advising the council at its regular meeting Tuesday night.

But the three remaining council members all said they believed the judge had left it up to the council to decide, and they said it would be unfair to give one of the two contestants the perceived edge of incumbency. Mayor Roosevelt F. Dorn, a retired judge, urged the council to seat Johnson, which he said the charter required.

Johnson said she was considering whether to ask the court to intervene once again.

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“All I can say is, what a difference a year makes,” Johnson told the council after its 3-1 vote to leave the seat vacant. She was making an allusion to her appointment after Councilman Lawrence Kirkley resigned.


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