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Sonny Bono Elected Mayor Of Palm Springs

April 13, 1988 GMT

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) _ Sonny Bono, the singer turned restaurateur who rose to fame singing ″I’ve Got You Babe″ to ex-wife Cher, was elected mayor of this desert resort Tuesday.

The successful candidate walked into a crowd of 1,000 well-wishers at the posh Maxim’s Suite Hotel as the band played the theme from the movie ″Rocky.″

Putting his hand in the air, Bono said, ″Wow 3/8 I can’t believe it. The city goes back to the people. They made us too mad, gave us one too many kicks and that’s the last we’re going to take.

″It’s a wonderful American thing that just happened,″ he said.

″We think it’s great,″ said Jack Price, assistant manager at Bono’s namesake restaurant, where the champagne bottles were popping. ″We were behind him all the way.″

Bono easily won the seven-way race with 4,842 votes, while accountant Lloyd Maryanov was second with 2,498, city spokeswoman Julie Baumer said. Businesswoman Deyna Hodges had 1,934 votes and Vice Mayor Eli Birer, 1,140. Three other active candidates trailed far behind.

″This has just been a very active election. When you get that many people running there’s a lot of interest,″ said Patty Bode, assistant city clerk, who estimated turnout at 55 percent.

A heavy turnout also was expected in seaside Carmel, in Northern California, even though actor Clint Eastwood was not running for a second term as mayor because, he said, he was more concerned with bringing up his two teen-age children. Parking and traffic were the major issues in a six-way race won by Jean Grace, who was endorsed by the 57-year-old Eastwood.

Palm Springs officials said their 55 percent turnout, while higher than the average 30 percent to 40 percent, would not be a record.

There are about 18,000 registered voters in this city of 38,000, and usually 6,000 turn out on election day, said Mayor Frank Bogert, 76, who is retiring after serving two two-year terms.

Bono, 53, rose to fame as the furry-vested, bell-bottomed former hippie singing ″I’ve Got You Babe″ with Cher, who he correctly had predicted would win the Best Actress Oscar on Monday.

The new mayor will serve four years instead of two and be paid $15,000 a year.

Most of the candidates are promising to revitalize Palm Springs, which has lost much of its glamour and tourist business to such neighboring desert communities as Palm Desert, where Jim and Tammy Bakker are living, and Rancho Mirage, where Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra and Gerald Ford live.

Bono has been at the forefront of the revitalization movement, planning a celebrity-filled film festival, concerts, and a sporting event such as a marathon or triathalon to attract tourists and money if he is elected.

Bono has said he began coming to Palm Springs, 110 miles east of Los Angeles, 14 years ago to escape the big-city craziness of Los Angeles. He moved here four years ago and opened an Italian restaurant, called Bono.

After run-ins with city officials over the size of his restaurant sign and a retaining wall at the 1920s estate he is refurbishing, he decided to run for mayor.

″If they can do that to me, just imagine how the ordinary person is treated who wants to start a business,″ he said last week, referring to unnamed city officials. ″We’re trying to encourage business here, not chase it away. I have a big investment in this city. I don’t want to see it deteriorate or decline.″

Bono still dabbles in entertainment, appearing with Cher during a reunion on ″Late Night With David Letterman″ recently and co-starring in the film ″Hairspray.″

Bono and his fourth wife, Mary, 26, are expecting the couple’s first child this month.