Michael J. Sorba and Ryan Hagen, Staff Writers
Posted: 11/03/2010 06:16:02 PM PDT
Anti-incumbent sentiments that reverberated across the nation on Election Day weren’t as strong locally, but still present as mayors and city council members in several cities across the region were unseated by challengers.
Budget deficits, high utility bills and joblessness weighed on the minds of voters as they headed to the polls Tuesday to decide on what course is best for their respective cities.
Mayor Charley Glasper was defeated by Councilwoman Cari Thomas by nearly six percentage points.
Steve Baisden, a warehouse manager and former councilman, and Charles S. Valvo, a retired aerospace coordinator, both garnered significantly more votes than incumbent councilmen Trinidad Perez and Gene M. Piehe.
Higher water rates that took effect July 1 resulted in some residents paying two to three more for water, which may have been a reason some voters decided to ouster incumbents.
Winning candidates took opposing sides on a golf course that stood at the center of the campaign for Apple Valley Town Council, according to Barb Stanton, the new mayor pro tempore. She is one of three fresh faces on the council.
High water rates were another focus of the election, Stanton said.
The city is locked in a court battle over water rights for a golf course in the city, which Stanton said cost the city almost $4 million in upkeep over the past 20 months.
“In my candidacy, I ran on the platform that government should get out of private industry,” Stanton said.
Despite some disagreement over the role the town should have in the golf course, Stanton said she looked forward to working with Curt Emick and Scott Nasif.
Voters re-elected incumbents Bob Botts and Debbie Franklin. Franklin led the field, garnering 24.71 percent of the vote. Botts, Banning’s current mayor, finished with 18.76 percent.
Botts said he was disappointed that some of the other Banning council candidates ran a negative campaign, and he’s glad to have the election over with. He said he plans to focus on economic development and bringing new businesses to the downtown area in his new term.
“I plan to work with the majority of the council to move Banning forward,” he said.
Incumbents successfully fought off their newcomers in the race for three available seats on the Beaumont City Council by late afternoon Wednesday.
Mayor Brian De Forge led the candidate field with 21.15 percent of the vote. Mayor Pro Tem Roger Berg had 15.60, said Councilman Paul St. Martin.
“I’m glad to serve our community for another four years,” Berg said.
Berg will focus on finishing commercial developments in town pushing residential developments and developing jobs, he said.
“I will build houses as long as people are willing to buy them because that creates jobs for people,” he said.
De Forge said he plans to focus on water issues in his next four years on the council.
Big Bear Lake
In this resort town of about 6,000 residents, councilmen Michael Karp and Darrell Mulvihill didn’t seek re-election, which paved the way for two new faces on the City Council dais: Retired public administrator David Caretto and business owner Jay Obernolte.
Of the three winners, Councilman Rick Herrick received the lowest number of votes, but easily won re-election over three other challengers.
“The two people coming in, they’re smart and very budget conscious, which is what we need,” Herrick said. “Keeping a balanced budget for the next few years is going to be critical until we get the economy going again.”
Incumbent Mayor Jim Hyatt led with 34.03 percent of the vote.
“It’s a good feeling to be re-elected in this trying time,” Hyatt said. “I worked hard (in my campaign) – possibly harder than I’ve ever worked to get elected before.”
Hyatt said he plans to push the city in the direction it was headed before the election.
“I just want to continue that good work,” he said.
Jeff Hewitt, with 24.57 percent, securing the council seat Ray Quinto left available when he did not seek re-election.
Mayor Kelly Chastain was defeated by challenger David Zamora, who garnered nearly 60 percent of the vote.
Zamora, a Colton Joint Unified School District Board of Education member, campaigned on a promise to propose lowering electric rates by at least 10 percent. Chastain and three other council members voted to raise those rates by over 17 percent in 2009.
“I feel extremely grateful to everyone who worked so hard on our campaign,” Zamora said. “I think the victory really belongs to them.”
District 1 Councilman David Toro soundly defeated challenger Kathy Jaramillo by gaining 71 percent of the vote.
A tight race in District 2 ended with Frank Gonzales on top when all precincts had reported Wednesday morning. His opponent, Tony Morales, trailed by just 36 votes. Incumbent Councilman Richard DeLaRosa didn’t seek re-election.
Kathi Payne, an elections analyst with the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters, said 53,000 mail ballots had yet to be counted Wednesday. It’s likely those results will be announced Friday, she said.
While Morales hopes remaining ballots will turn the race is his favor, he isn’t getting his hopes up.
“I know it’s probably unlikely to be enough,” he said.
District 4 Councilwoman Susan Oliva appears to have prevailed in another tight race, besting challenger Rosanne Ramos Reyes by 39 votes as of Wednesday.
Voters chose to stay the course, electing City Councilwoman Acquanetta Warren mayor by 40-point margin and filling the council with incumbent John Roberts and Michael Tahan, whom Warren endorsed.
Roberts said the results show people are happy with current development plans.
“I think primarily the people of Fontana are very happy with the way the city has progressed over the last 10 or 15 years, and my take on it from all the interactions I’ve had with people in community meeting I’ve attended is they want to stay the course and continue the progress we’ve had,” he said.
Warren’s promotion to mayor and the election of Councilwoman Janice Rutherford to county supervisor leaves two seats open for appointment.
The city’s handling of past scandals, particularly the redevelopment agency’s $4.6 million debt, dominated the campaigns for mayor and two City Council seats.
After campaigning together against what they said were abuses and oversights by former city employees, Walt Stanckiewitz and Bernardo Sandoval won handily in their respective races against opponents who put less emphasis on those issues.
“I think (the margin of victory) sends a message that what we were talking about resonated with the voters,” said Stanckiewitz, a City Council member who won 48 percent of the vote in a four-candidate field.
Sandoval won 36 percent of the vote to unseat incumbent Bea Cortes, who finished last among four candidates.
The trend was broken in the two-candidate contest to finish the term of Jim Miller, who resigned in March. Sylvia Robles, who loudly called to investigate and remedy past misuse, lost by 66 votes to Darcy McNaboe. McNaboe, a member of the Planning Commission and Chamber of Commerce board, focused her campaign on wisely using city volunteers but agreed that the vote indicated voters want transparency.
“It sounds like there are some things that the city needs to make sure we’re in compliance with,” McNaboe said, “and I look forward to seeing we’re there.”
Former City Manager Sam Racadio will be the only new face to join the City Council. He was the top vote winner, edging out incumbents Larry McCallon and Jody Scott, who both won re-election over four other candidates.
“I had a whole bunch of volunteers who helped and made it happen,” Racadio said. “I’m excited about working with the council. I think we’ll work together well.”
McCallon said he relied primarily on mailers to spread his campaign message.
“I think it’s important, as I campaigned, that we need to continue to market our commercial-industrial areas, increase our tax base, and provide jobs,” McCallon said.
Scott, a longtime councilwoman, said she’s happy to once again gain the approval of residents, but hasn’t been able to fully enjoy her victory because she’s been sick since Monday.
“I guess they know that if I say something I don’t flip flop,” Scott said. “I listen to the voice of the people.”
Early vote tallies were the forecast of final results in the race for the Redlands City Council, with Bob Gardner, Jon Harrison and Paul Foster holding the top three spots the entire night and into Wednesday morning when the last of the votes were counted.
Some said the fact Gardner, a newcomer to Redlands government, received the most votes and Planning Commission Chairman Paul Foster beat Mayor Pat Gilbreath by only 181 votes was somewhat of a surprise.
“Foster was viewed generally as an incumbent I think,” said councilman Pete Aguilar. “He’s on the Planning Commission and he was endorsed by a lot of community leaders and groups so he battled that incumbent issue … I think Gardner finishing first was more surprising to me than Foster finishing third.”
Gardner said the election was close and the three winners were each only separated by a few hundred votes.
“I don’t see it as one of us coming in first, one second and one third,” Gardner said. “I see it as three people who won.”
Debt combined with steep cuts to law enforcement cost incumbent JoAnn Almond her seat as challengers Jim Kennedy and Angela Valles gained entrance to the council.
Councilman Terry Caldwell dropped out of the race before the election.
“We definitely need to stop the hemorrhage at the city, the wasteful spending,” said Valles, director of finances for Victor Valley Waste Reclamation and president of the board at Victor Valley College. “Right now there’s a lot of unnecessary things that the citizens are spending money on (through taxes), while they’re cutting public safety to balance the budget.”
The city has eight unfilled officer positions and cut paramedics despite its high crime, Valles said.
Kennedy said he would like to fill those positions, too, but assurances from Captain Cliff Reynolds, the city’s top law enforcement officer, convinced him the city would be better off paying down its debt before filling the positions.
Tom Masner received 24.29 percent of the vote in Yucaipa. The councilman said he was surprised, amazed and grateful that voters sent him to the City Council dais for his fourth term.
“I am humbled at the people’s trust in me and their interest in me serving them,” Masner said Monday. “I think the people recognize that I am a conservative and I stick to conservative values.”
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