COMPTON — Voters have declared they want change after participating in the city’s all vote-by-mail April primary election. Candidates who didn’t receive more than 50% of votes cast are heading to a June runoff.
Longtime city treasurer Douglas Sanders was soundly defeated and will end his nearly two decades in office June 30 after receiving 22% of votes cast. Residents place blame squarely on Sanders shoulders for nearly $4 million of taxpayer’s money that walked out of the finance office, during his time as treasurer council. Despite changes dictated by a state audit, voters decided now was the time to change direction.
The former deputy treasurer, Salvador Galvan, was arrested in 2017 for embezzling $3.7 million from the city. He was sentenced to 6 ½ years in federal prison after pleading guilty to theft.
Sanders could not be reached for comment on the election results.
Compton school board member Satra Zurita was the top vote getter in the treasurer’s race receiving 39% of the vote, closely followed by Brandon Mims who received 38%.
The crowded mayoral field was whittled down to two candidates. Councilwoman Emma Sharif and Christian Reynaga were the top two vote getters. Reynaga received 29% of the vote, while Sharif received 20%.
Reynaga benefited from the assistance of current Mayor Aja Brown, who has televised multiple public tirades against her council colleagues calling them “dysfunctional.” She also endorsed Reynaga and condemned Sharif, stating certain projects stalled due to her desire to be mayor.
Reynaga could become the city’s first Latino mayor when he faces Sharif in June. Neither Reynaga nor Sharif were available for comment.
District 2 voters sent a clear and loud message to embattled incumbent, Isaac Galvan, that his apathy towards city issues will no longer be tolerated.
“Galvan comes to council meetings and is always seen on his phone and during the pandemic has refused to turn on his camera,” said a longtime resident who asked not to be identified. “His office is non-responsive to our needs and we need a representative who cares about our concerns.”
Galvan made history in 2013 as the city’s first Latino councilman. Since then, he has gotten into a public fight, had his driver’s license suspended and had his home raided by the FBI in connection to an investigation emanating from the city of Baldwin Park. His opponents accuse him of showing up at official events under the influence of alcohol.
Community activist Andre “HubCityDre” Spicer was the top vote getter, receiving 35% of the vote, by campaigning on bringing more professionalism to the office.
Spicer had a few missteps while serving as a liaison for Councilwoman Michelle Chambers, which residents looked beyond to focus on his decade of community service to the residents, specifically the city’s youth.
“I’m excited to see the final numbers, but we are on our way,” Spicer said.
Galvan received 26% of the vote and will face Spicer in the June runoff.
District 3 Councilwoman Tana McCoy failed to capture the majority of votes despite new projects heading to her constituents. She ran a campaign highlighting successes of the current administration, however, former Compton firefighter Jonathan Bowers captured an impressive number of votes to force a June runoff.
“I truly appreciate the residents of the 3rd District for their support and would like to extend my congratulations to each person that ran for office,” McCoy said. “It shows your love and commitment for the community but don’t stop here, lets continue to work together to improve the great city of Compton.”
Alita Godwin received 53% of votes cast to deny challenger Lynn Boone an opportunity for a runoff.
City Attorney Damon Brown ran unopposed.
The county will certify the official election results after all votes have been tabulated that were sent through the mail.
As of press time, the county received roughly 5,300 votes out of 49,133 registered voters.
Last week’s preview of the election omitted the name of Anthony Perry among the candidates for mayor.
Perry finished in eighth place in the mayor’s race, receiving 158 votes, 2.95% of those cast.
2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood areas. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org