With county Registrars of Voters around the state reporting the lowest voter turnout in decades, San Diego County's ballots were jam-packed with five congressional districts, three state senate, and seven state Assembly seats up for grabs.
In local district elections for school boards, planning groups, hospital, fire, water, and special service districts, there were 85 races going on.
Thirteen cities elected city councilpersons. Nine — Carlsbad, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, National City, Poway, and Vista, also elected mayors. Encinitas elected its first-ever mayor — councilwoman Kristin Gaspar.
La Mesa voters replaced their six-term mayor Art Madrid in favor of councilman Mark Arapostathis. La Mesa voters also approved, by a two-to-one margin, Proposition K, that imposes term limits on future office holders.
In Escondido, councilwoman Olga Diaz, who has spoken out for the city’s large Hispanic community, was unable to defeat populist mayor Sam Abed.
Escondidans didn’t support Proposition H, the huge-money campaign of an L.A. developer’s attempt to override the city’s denial of his 430-home development on the old Escondido Country Club.
The developer had closed the club, killed the grass and trees, threatened lawsuits, and spread chicken manure in an attempt to thwart off opposing neighbors. His efforts came up short by about 3000 votes.
The three-to-two balance of power shifted in Oceanside as former city councilman Chuck Lowery ousted councilman Gary Felien.
Both La Mesa and Encinitas turned down the medical marijuana industry’s initiatives to allow for, and regulate, pot dispensaries in their cities.
National City voters taxed themselves an additional one-cent sales tax, which will add $400 to the price of a new $40,000 car purchased in the city’s “Mile of Cars.”
However, voters in the Cajon Valley, Escondido, Lakeside, Vallecitos, and Ramona school districts voted against school-bond debt.
In the Yuima Valley Water District, in Pauma Valley, only 34 votes were cast, 27 for Larry Villalobos. Assuming he voted for himself, candidate Douglas Anderson only needed 13 of his neighbors’ support to have turned the tally around.
I wonder what the issues were in the small desert community of Canebrake that ignited four candidates to run for seats in the Canebrake Water District? With 22 votes cast, candidate Skip McKeever trailed the other three, receiving only three votes.
Although three candidates were running for a seat on the Coachella Valley Water District, no one voted...at least not in San Diego County. A small portion of the Riverside County district extends into the very northeast corner of the Anza Borrego desert, which requires it be listed on our county’s ballots. So far, a desert hermit has yet to be found in the area that wants to participate in our democracy.
The only real nail-biter — with only 752 votes separating, is the 52st congressional seat race between current congressman Scott Peters and challenger Carl DeMaio. Neither candidate will declare victory soon, as the registrar, as of November 6, has 180,000 absentee and provisional ballots still to count.
With one-third of voters using mail-in ballots, the success of the program has seemingly overwhelmed the tally system. The registrar has until December 2 to complete the task, yet Carl DeMaio has already received his invitation to attend the freshman congressperson’s orientation in Washington DC next week.
One interesting election-coverage observation — on election night, after signing off their 11:00 p.m. newscast, KUSI ran its vote-tally news crawl throughout the early-morning hours showing gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari pulled off an upset. The tote showed him beating Jerry Brown by a .04 percentage point. Kashkari’s name even had a yellow check mark indicating he was the winner. The station mistakenly posted San Diego County’s vote results, not the statewide totals.