A bid by Compton Mayor Eric Perrodin to earn a fourth consecutive term in office was rejected by city residents, and now voters will return to the polls on June 4 to choose between former mayor Omar Bradley and city redevelopment specialist Aja Brown.
According to unofficial results, Brown squeaked by the former Bradley with 27.8 percent of votes cast compared to 26.2 percent.
Perrodin trailed with 25 percent of ballots in a crowded field of 12 candidates that also included former city clerk Charles Davis and child actor Rodney Allen Rippy.
Brown said she was not surprised by the results and attributes her success to a campaign strategy that tapped into the community's desire for change. In order to win the runoff, Brown says, "we are going to continue to inform residents and focus on Compton's future."
She is not worried that the campaign might take a negative turn, as happened when Perrodin first defeated Bradley in 2001. Instead, Brown says she intends get out the message that she wants the city to have a strategy that can help it move forward. She also wants to bring resources back into Compton under a transparent leadership.
The April 16 election took place amid a number of key changes, including a different way of casting ballots. In 2012, residents approved a charter amendment that changed voting from at-large to by district-only voting for Council seats. Consequently, now instead of the entire city voting for all Council members, only the residents of a particular district cast ballots for candidates seeking Council office for that district. Additionally, this is the first election where residents will be subject to the new district lines completed on Oct. 1, 2012.
District 2 is the other race that will be subject to a runoff. In this race, incumbent Lillie Dobson (22.2 percent) will face Isaac Galvan (20.8 percent).
In other results, District 3 Council member Yvonne Arceneaux beat back four challengers to win 55.7 percent of votes and retain her seat. City Clerk Alita Godwin (51.7 percent) slipped by Compton School Board Trustee Satra Zurita (48.2 percent) to retain the post she has held since being appointed in 2004 and elected to the job in 2005.
City Attorney Craig J. Cornwell ran unopposed, and City Treasurer Douglas Sanders (52.2 percent) bested two challengers to retain his office.
Finally, Measure I, a citizen-inspired initiative addressing law enforcement in the Hub City won 60.3 percent of ballots.
Up until September 2000, Compton had its own dedicated police department. Then, Bradley, mayor at the time, led the charge to disband the police force and contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. That decision helped contribute to the ouster of Bradley by voters in 2001 in favor of Perrodin, a former Compton police officer.
An advisory vote called Measure D was placed on the ballot in 2004 by the City Council. It essentially asked citizens to say "yea" or "nay" to a proposal to bring back the Compton police department. It was defeated, and now Measure I, which was handily approved by voters, requires that law enforcement services in the city be provided by the sheriff's department "to the exclusion of any other law enforcement agency."