Filing opens for March 8 ballot
Wes Woods II, Staff Writer
Created: 11/20/2010 10:56:20 PM PST

Claremont, La Verne and San Dimas could all have new city council members or mayors next year.

The four-week filing period for the March 8 election opened Monday, but while a number of candidates in the three cities have picked up nomination papers, no one has yet returned completed documents.

There is frustration and tea party activism locally, but it remains to be seen if the three cities will have high interest in the March 8 election, said Doug Johnson, a research fellow with Claremont McKenna College’s Rose Institute.

Voter frustrations and their emotions will remain high for the first part of the year, Johnson said.

“Then it’s perhaps the biggest question in politics today,” Johnson said. “How long will those voters stay fired up?”

Nomination papers must be returned to respective city clerk offices in the three cities by Dec.10. If an incumbent does not file, the filing period will be extended to Dec. 15.

The biggest turnover could be on the Claremont City Council as Mayor Linda Elderkin and Councilman Peter Yao will not return. Three council seats will be filled March 8.

Yao will not be allowed to run for re-election because he was appointed Thursday to be one of 14 commissioners who will redraw the borders of California’s Assembly, state Senate and congressional districts next year.

“It’s certainly a bittersweet moment,” Yao said on Thursday after learning of his appointment to the commission.

“I’ll have to give up my position on the City Council, where there are people I’ve worked with for a long period of time. I was intending to run for a third term. At this point, I’m kind of saddened by not being involved with that process.”

Elderkin said she was “not worn out or disillusioned” with politics, but wanted to spend more time with her husband, who could retire soon, as well as her grandchildren. She said she also would like to work on projects that she set aside since joining the council four years ago.

With Yao and Elderkin not running for re-election, there will likely be more candidates gunning for the available seats, Johnson said.

“With two vacancies, everyone that’s ever thought about running is likely to jump in,” he said.

These available seats make it harder for candidates to stand out, Johnson said.

“But they don’t have to stand out as much to win,” Johnson said. “It’s a flip of the coin if it makes it easier to win.”

Nomination papers have been picked up in Claremont by incumbent Councilman Sam Pedroza as well as Robin Haulman, Michael John Keenan, Lester “Ed” Leavell and Opanyi K. Nasiali, City Clerk Lynne Fryman said.

The race to be La Verne’s next mayor could also make for an interesting contest. Councilman Steven Johnson has picked up papers to run for mayor against incumbent Mayor Don Kendrick. Johnson did not pick up papers to run for a council seat.

“I don’t have a lot to say,” Johnson said about why he is challenging for mayor. “I appreciate the two terms I served on the council. Other than that, I don’t have a comment.”

Kendrick said he was surprised Johnson decided to run for mayor.

“I did not expect to have that,” Kendrick said. “There was some question about whether or not he would run at all, even for his council seat.”

Kendrick said he would “run a solid campaign no matter who the challenger is” and pointed to his experience in serving as a mayor for two years and a councilman for four years.

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