Eastwood Wins Election
CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. (AP) _ Voters in this tourist village made Clint Eastwood’s day Tuesday, turning out in heavy numbers to give the Hollywood tough guy a landslide victory in a mayoral election.
In complete but unofficial results, Eastwood had 2,166 votes, or 72.2 percent, to 799 votes, or 26.6 percent, for two-time incumbent Charlotte Townsend. Two other candidates had a total of 37 votes, or 1.2 percent.
Eastwood, veteran of more than 40 movies and one of the world’s top box- office draws, said his victory ″ranks solidly″ with his successes in acting and directing.
″It’s a hit movie at the moment,″ he said to a room packed with voters and reporters from 130 news organizations from around the world.
Business was brisk at all four polling places in the one-square-mile community, with 72.5 percent of the 4,142 registered voters turning out. City clerk Jeanne Brehmer said that in her five years on the job, voter turnout has not exceeded 30 percent.
Townsend conceded the election less than 90 minutes after the polls closed, saying, ″This whole campaign has been totally out of focus and so abnormal.″
When asked whether she thought Eastwood would be a good mayor, she said, ″I don’t know the gentleman, I truly hope so.″
The 55-year-old Eastwood, best known for his spaghetti Westerns and detective films like ″Dirty Harry,″ was making his first try for office.
His opponents included Townsend, a 61-year-old retired librarian, and Timothy Grady, a 27-year-old dishwasher who said he wanted to tear up some streets in favor of horse trails. Businessman Paul Laub, who quit and threw his support behind Eastwood, received four votes in absentee balloting.
Eastwood takes over the $200-a-month, two-year job on April 15. ″It’s surprising and yet it’s not surprising,″ he said of his victory. ″I knew there was a lot of dissatisfaction.″
He has taken more than a year off from his acting and directing career and promised voters he would make the mayor’s job his top priority.
Eastwood chided the horde of 400 reporters from around the country, Europe and Japan who have descended on Carmel.
″What do you all care about this?″ he said. ″You’ll all be gone after tomorrow.″
Eastwood kissed babies and hugged grandmothers, but declined to sign autographs for any of the thousands of tourists who came to Carmel during the campaign.
Instead, he concentrated on key local concerns, including traffic congestion, parking, water shortages and a lack of public toilets.
He critized the ″negativity″ of Townsend and the five-member city council she headed, saying they abused their power and failed to work with the business community to solve civic problems.
The mayor’s job is to preside over monthly meetings of the city council and other meetings which can be called with 24 hours notice. The mayor has no other official powers except to represent the city at various events.
A city administrator is appointed by the council and has hiring and firing powers over city employees.
Carmel, 120 miles south of San Francisco, draws thousands of tourists on weekends with its rows of small shops, art galleries and low-key style. There are no traffic lights or neon signs, and residents have long been fighting to keep development under control.
During the campaign, however, the city was awash in Eastwood souvenir items, including T-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, picture books and coffee mugs.
Townsend angered Eastwood when the city council first vetoed his plans to build a small office complex next to the Hogs Breath Inn of which he is part- owner.
She warned residents that a victory by the actor would bring more unwanted tourism, and claimed he was a pawn of developers. Eastwood denied that he favored growth in Carmel, saying instead that he wanted to return ″courtesy″ to local government and work out differences between the business and residential communities.