Two banquet tables were set up on either side of the foyer leading into Poway's city council chambers. Coffee, bottled water, and finger foods filled one table, while a large American flag cake sat centered on the other. Underneath the flag, written in blue icing: "Congratulations Councilmember Mullin."
Inside council chambers, minutes before the July 6 city council meeting, the atmosphere was celebratory. Poway resident and city council candidate John Mullin, a painting contractor, posed for pictures until Mayor Don Higginson called the meeting to order.
"We have the June 8, 2010 special municipal recall election results," said Higginson, introducing the first order of business. Poway's city clerk, Linda Troyan, took the microphone and announced John Mullin as the official winner in Poway's first-ever recall election. Mullin will replace 16-year councilmember Betty Rexford.
The recall election began in August of 2009, shortly after the City agreed to settle a lawsuit with one of the councilwoman's neighbors who alleged that Rexford abused her power by interfering with a construction project close to her home. On June 8, after a long campaign, the recall election passed with an overwhelming majority.
"The measure to recall councilmember Betty Rexford was approved with 9480 yes votes and 2656 no votes," said Troyan, who then read the results for Rexford's successor, released by the county's registrar of voters 20 minutes before the meeting.
Mullin won with 3152 votes, while Steve Vaus, who started the recall effort last year, placed second with 3049 votes.
After getting sworn in as a Poway councilmember, Mullin gave a short speech: "The campaign is over and I'm ready to turn this page in Poway's history. I'm optimistic that the team I'm joining tonight can return to its tradition of working together proactively," he said. "Now, let's get to work."
Mayor Higginson adjourned the meeting for a 10-minute recess to celebrate with cake and other goodies.
Mullin's celebration won't last long. His term ends in November.