SAN FERNANDO – City Council members Nury Martinez, Julie Ruelas and Steven Veres retained their seats Tuesday in a hotly contested election that failed to draw many voters, according to final results. With all precincts reporting, Martinez unofficially garnered the most votes, followed by Ruelas and Veres. Among the challengers, Ruben Sandoval Jr. fared the best, followed by Danitza Pantoja and James L. Lawson. Veres said he was happy with the results, but disheartened with the low voter turnout, estimated to be about 22 percent. “It’s probably the lowest turnout we’ve had in eight or nine years,” Veres said. Martinez, a special assistant to state Sen. Alex Padilla, serves as mayor of the small but growing city, incorporated in 1911. Ruelas, a child-development professor at Mission College, has served on the council since 2003. Veres, an educator and district director for former state Assemblywoman Cindy Monta ez, has also served on the council since 2003. Lawson, a semiretired health care consultant, has served on numerous state and federal health commissions. Pantoja, a candidate in the 2005 election, is a part-time family counselor and behavioral therapist who has served in leadership roles on several city projects. Sandoval, a product-safety inspector, is a first-time candidate. email@example.com (818) 713-3329160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
A waitress who had told the jury in Phil Spector’s murder trial that he was fatherly and protective recounted Monday an incident in which the record producer suddenly appeared with a rifle or shotgun to escort her and a friend out of his mansion and said it was for protection. Kathy Sullivan testified she initially thought it was silly for him to escort them to a car with a gun, and that he looked like the cartoon character Elmer Fudd when he came downstairs with the weapon while wearing plaid. She said she had told investigators that “it was the funniest picture in the whole wide world” but also testified that once she and her friend drove away she remarked, “I’m so glad we’re out of there.” The surprise account by Sullivan, a server at one of Spector’s favorite restaurants, was allowed by Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler after a hearing in which she previewed the testimony and the prosecutor argued that it was markedly different than the image of a paternalistic Spector that had been left with the jury. “When’s the last time you heard of a father walking his daughter to the bus station with a shotgun in his hand?” Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson said to the judge. Defense attorney Roger Rosen argued that the incident was not relevant and was prejudicial. Jackson countered that it was evidence that Spector had immediate access to weapons at his home. Spector is accused of murdering actress Lana Clarkson in the foyer of his mansion. Clarkson died of a gunshot through the mouth in the early hours of Feb. 3, 2003. Spector’s defense claims she shot herself. Four other women have testified Spector threatened them with guns in the preceding years. Spector, 67, was a top music producer in the 1960s and ’70s. Clarkson was best known for a 1980s role in Roger Corman’s “Barbarian Queen.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!