Editor in Chief
After determining that no seats would be contested, the city of La Verne canceled its scheduled city council and mayoral elections that had been scheduled for March 8 of this year.
Charlie Rosales and incumbent Robert Rodriguez were the only candidates for the two open council seats, and Mayor Don Kendrick had no challengers for his position.
Initially council member Steven F. Johnson also had pulled nomination papers for mayor, but he never submitted them.
“It was a strategic move to pull papers for mayor,” Johnson said. “There was a tax change that was supposed to be on the ballot that I wanted to run in opposition to, but it was taken off before the nomination period ended.”
Johnson added that he did not find it necessary to run on a nonexistent platform and decided it was his time to step down from the council.
“I am happy to have served as a councilman for my two terms because I had promised that in my original campaign,” he said.
With no contested seats, the city’s decision to forego this year’s municipal election amounted to a more than $60,000 saving which helps with the serious financial decisions city officials must make.
“A lot of money was saved and now the energy used toward the election can be used elsewhere where it is needed more,” Kendrick said. “I would have been concerned with foregoing the election, but the quality of our newcomer, Charlie, is exceptional. He has been on the planning commission for eight years and he knows how the city works.”
In spite of the city saving money, some were disenchanted with the idea of calling off this year’s election.
“I believe in the democratic process and it was disappointing that no one filed to run for the council or for mayor,” Johnson said.
The cancelled election was the third in recent La Verne history with the others being December 1996 and March 2007.
“Of course, there are two obvious reasons for an election being called off: everything is going so well that nobody has a bad thought about the city government, or there is a great deal of apathy about the city and the way it is being run,” Joe Blackstock, history columnist for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, said. “A city like La Verne has few real issues – everything is built up and there are little plans for much in the way of change. The city had a guy stay as mayor for 25 years without any change,” Blackstock said. “He is a very fine person and leader but it’s hard to believe that somebody in all that time didn’t find something to complain about and seek a replacement.”
Rodriguez has been on the council since April 1982. Kendrick was first elected to the council in March 2005 and was elected mayor in March 2008.
Kendrick, Rodriguez and Rosales were sworn in on Monday evening.
Kristen Campbell can be reached at email@example.com.