Chapman, 19, scores upset in Altadena [Town Council] race

By Gretchen Hoffman, Pasadena Star-News, 6/5/2005

ALTADENA -- Nineteen-year-old Justin Chapman ended Mike Manning's 10-year incumbency Saturday in one of two contested races for the Altadena Town Council.

Chapman, a Pasadena City College student and freelance reporter for the Pasadena Weekly, received 42 votes to Manning's 25. Manning, 57, has been on the Town Council since 1995 and serves as vice chairman.

In the other contested race, incumbent Billy Nwoye held onto his seat with 101 votes, compared to challenger C.R. Tillman's 23. Tillman was recalled from the Town Council by a special election in 2001.

Nine candidates were competing for seven two-year seats in Saturday's election. Eight seats were technically available, but there was no candidate in one of the tracts. Three incumbents did not run for re-election.

Also elected in uncontested races were William Jones, a management analyst for the Los Angeles City Fire Department, 2ith 24 votes; incumbent Steve Lamb, an architectural designer, with 15; incumbent Michele Zack, a writer, with 18; incumbent Ken Balder, a Realtor, with 40; and Lorie Judson, an associate professor at Cal State Los Angeles, with 11.

Twenty-eight people living in a northeast Altadena census tract with no candidate running for the open seat cast votes in support of the Town Council.

The Town Council serves as an advisory body to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which oversees unincorporated Altadena. It consists of 16 representatives and eight alternates who are selected by residents of eight census tracts.

Nwoye credits his landslide victory in part to residents' satisfaction with positive changes under way in his southwest Altadena tract. His campaign platform centered around beautification, education, security and traffic.

"A lot is happening in Altadena," said Nwoye, who has lived in Altadena for 10 years. "There's a new energy. They're happy that the blight is going away. They want clean streets, they want to reduce traffic, and they're happy that the crime is going down."

With 327 valid votes cast, the turnout was 13-percent higher than in last year's election. In that electin's two contested races, incumbents Bobby Thompson and Jacquie Fennessy were victorious, with 61 and 35 votes, respectively.

The comparatively high turnout, especially Nwoye's 101 votes, was because of two factors, election chairman Jamie Bissner said.

"No. 1 was Justin getting out there and putting out fliers and making himself known to the community," Bissner said. "No. 2 was when C.R. entered the race, that caused Billy to redouble his efforts. They just got the word out that there was an election going on and people ought to vote."

"We had a good election," Bissner said. "It was very successful from an Altadena standpoint."

Gretchen Hoffman can be reached at (626) 578-6300 ext. 4494, or by email at