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Council race taking shape

Two incumbents and four potential challengers pull papers for March city election.

November 24, 2010|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

Schools booster Charlie Kamar, anti-sewers activist Robert Richter, former Planning Commission member James K. Hill and Planning Commissioner Michael Davitt have each pulled nomination papers for the three seats at stake in the March 8 City Council election, making for a potentially crowded field of candidates that includes incumbents Laura Olhasso and Mayor Donald Voss.

These council hopefuls and any others who might emerge have until Dec. 15 to file their nominations and officially begin what promises to be a colorful local election season. Veteran Councilman Greg Brown has announced that he will not run for reelection. If Brown had chosen to run, candidates would have to file nomination papers by Dec. 10.

Voss, first elected in 2006, and Olhasso, on the council since 2003, say their records as city leaders position them to face any number of challenges that lie ahead for La Cañada Flintridge.

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"The challenges include, first and foremost, the potential extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway, which will require a lot of attention from council members. Our [city's] financial condition is very strong, but we do still have to be concerned about state services and the state budget to the extent it affects residents in La Cañada Flintridge," Voss said.

Richter, an outspoken critic of the way city officials have handled the sewer installation process, ran an unsuccessful bid for council two years ago. Hill says he wants to make City Hall more responsive to residents' concerns. Both candidates argue that the five-member council needs fresh perspectives.

Davitt, who Brown has endorsed to succeed him, has said he would focus on enhancing the city's fiscal security and continuing "responsible growth" policies.

Kamar was traveling and could not be reached for comment. He owns the La Cañada Union 76 Station at Foothill Boulevard and Alta Canyada Road, which has frequently contributed a share of its profits to the La Cañada Educational Foundation.

At this point in political preseason, that leaves Richter and Hill taking the shots.

"I don't come forward with an agenda of 'Elect me and I'll do exactly X, Y and Z,'" said Hill, 60, who was on the Planning Commission from 2006 until earlier this year. "I just feel the time has come for some new blood in there and people who really want to help the community and aren't in there for their own agendas or feeding their own egos. We the people haven't had proper representation for years, and that needs to change."

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