Inglewood residents’ desire for change has forced incumbents in the two City Council races into runoffs on June 11.
First-term Councilman Mike Stevens, who won 31.3 percent of ballots cast in the April 2 election, will face challenger George Dotson who captured 44.8 percent of votes.
In District 2, Councilwoman Judy Dunlap (32.9 percent of votes) will face Alex Padilla (48.5 percent of votes).
Dunlap is facing a runoff for the first time since she defeated former Councilman Anthony Scardenzan in 1993.
Padilla credits residents’ frustration with the status quo and lack of districtwide representation as two of the reasons why he was able to out-do the incumbent.
“I think some of the Hispanics felt disenfranchised. The current councilperson is not reaching out to them. She wasn’t visible and engaged with them, and they are very much ready for change. And the same is true throughout the district,” said Padilla, a 30-year resident of Inglewood, who is president of the city’s Citizen Police Oversight Commission.
Padilla believes that staying engaged with the community, knocking on doors, doing phone calls and meeting face to face with residents will help him keep the edge he currently has over Dunlap.
Dunlap didn’t respond to attempts to contact her.
In District 1, incumbent Stevens attributes his being in the runoff to the fact that many people felt he had the election locked up and consequently did not go out to the polls.
“Now I’m getting so many calls of support,” said Stevens, adding that he represents the changes residents want to see in the city.
Acknowledging that his opponent, Dotson, has raised more money, Stevens calls himself the “elected” candidate rather than the “anointed” one pushed by the big power brokers and corporations in Inglewood.
“That’s the difference between myself and Dotson, who is another one the powerbrokers want to anoint,” said Stevens, who knows that he has to use his “bullets” more carefully because of Dotson’s additional financial resources.
Although he didn’t want to reveal his exact campaign focus for fear it would be co-opted by his opponent, Stevens said residents want to see differences in their lives in Inglewood and they want someone who will fight for their interests and move the city forward while business owners want to participate in a big way in any economic development happening in the city.
Challenger Dotson believes that getting out the vote will be one of the keys to defeating the incumbent.
“We have to take a very focused approach to get our supporters to mail back their ballots and cast their votes.”
Dotson pegs the key issues in the district as residential sound insulation; public safety and hiring more police officers to facilitate this; developing a senior center in the district; street repairs and constructive youth activities.
Residents who did not vote in the general election do have an opportunity to participate in the runoff election. The last day to register is May 27.
In other election results, incumbent Arnold Butler ran unopposed for the Inglewood Board of Education.
He collected 4,504 of votes cast.
In Seat 2, Carliss Richardson-McGhee defeated Mariana Prado 77 to 22.9 percent to avoid a runoff. She will take a seat previously held by Alena C. Giardina who did not run for re-election.
LaDeirdre J. Wilson eased past Margaret Richards-Bowers 57 to 42.9 percent to win Board of Education Seat 3 outright. She will step into the spot previously held by Trina Williams who resigned in February.
The Inglewood Unified School Districts was taken over by the state in September 2012 and is currently run by State Administrator La Tanya Kirk-Carter. The elected board functions strictly in an advisory capacity.