By Neil Farrell
The numbers have changed but, with one exception, the results of the Nov. 6 Election have not changed since early results were released on Election Night.
The tallies as of Nov. 14, showed that out of the 172,544 registered voters in San Luis Obispo County, 119,063 had actually voted, a 69% turnout, according to results posted by the County Elections Office.
In a city-by-city comparison, all of the Cities within this newspaper’s readership area also had good turnouts.
The North Coast communities of Morro Bay, Los Osos and Cambria, which all had great turnouts.
In Morro Bay there were 7,540 registered voters and 5,557 voted, for a 73% turnout.
Los Osos had 9,911 registered and 7,440 voted for 74% turnout.
And Cambria, where there are 4,250 registered voters, 3,405 voted, for a whopping 80% turnout.
SLO had 29,436 registered and 19,533 voted for a 66% turnout.
In South County, Grover Beach had 7,440 registered and 4,719 voted, for a 63% turnout.
Arroyo Grande had 12,461 registered and 9,124 voted for a 73% turnout.
Not all votes had been counted by deadline and the County Clerk’s Office estimates it will have final tallies by the end of November. Here’s a breakdown on local voting by region.
Morro Bay’s Mayoral race finished close but there was no cigar for John Weiss, who is behind Dr. John Headding 2,719 votes (52%) to 2,512 (48%). Weiss has already conceded but there are still votes to count and the gap may narrow or widen. But a 207-vote lead seems insurmountable. In the race for two city council seats, Dawn Addis leads with 2,873 votes (30%) and Jeff Heller is second with 2,092 (22%). But former Councilwoman Betty Winholtz has made it close, garnering 2,043 votes (21%). Jan Goldman (1,715, 18%) and Jesse Barron (653, 8%) are out of the running. Heller, who ran as a bloc along with Winholtz and Weiss, is just 49 votes ahead, so this race is close enough to possibly change with the final tally. In Los Osos, which had two open seats on the Community Services District up for election, incumbent Chuck Cesena easily won another 4-year term garnering 3,546 votes (34%). Second place is Matthew Fourcroy with 2,951 votes (28.2%) with Stephen Best third with 2,884 (27.6%). Craig Baltimore got 1,066 votes (10%). And in the other CSD race, Chris Womack didn’t face election for her
seat because no one challenged her. However, the County Clerk has admitted there was a mistake made nullifying her walkover win. For more on this, see story Page 23.
The San Luis Coastal School District had two open seats and one of them saw the only change from the Election Day results. Marilyn Rodger won another term with 15,269 votes (30%) and Evelyn Frame has overtaken incumbent Jim Quesenberry with 14,336 (28%) to 13,960 (27%). The fourth candidate, Victoria Dandurand, got 8,129 votes (16%). Quesenberry had been ahead after the polls closed but Frame has inched ahead of him as the votes are tallied. The Cayucos Elementary School District Board had three seats open. Peter Schuler got the most votes with 861 (32%); Chris Castillo got 719 votes (27%); and the third seat went to Steve Geil with 707 votes (26%). Fred Beyerlein got 416 votes (15%) to finish out of the running. The Cambria CSD had two seats open and Cindy Steidel was the top vote getter with 1,778 (31%). The second seat went to Donn Howell with 1,528 votes (27%). Third was Aaron Wharton with 1,362 (24%); Dennis Perry got 1,009 votes (18%); and Stephen Kniffen got 27 votes (.004%). The Cambria Healthcare District had three seats to fill and Laurie Mileur leads with 2,459 (32%); and second is Bill Rice with 2,095 votes (27%). The third winner was Iggy Fedoroff with 1,768 votes (23%). Fourth was Bob Putney with 1,404 votes (18%).
In the races to fill seats on the Lucia Mar School District: Area 1, saw Chad Robertson leading with 14,100 votes (31%); Stacy Meko a distant second with 9,455 votes (21%); and Michael Sullivan in third with 4,696 votes (10%). In the Area 3 race, Vern Dahl leads with 16,331 votes (63%) over Andrea Vergne with 9,508 votes (37%). In the Arroyo Grande Mayor’s race, Councilwoman Caren Ray holds a commanding lead over Mayor Jim Hill 4,588 (53%) to 3,047 votes (47%). In the race for two Council seats, Jimmy Paulding leads with 3,915 votes (35%), with Keith Storton is second with 2,233 (30%). Also-rans were Coleen Kubel with 2,233 votes (15%); John Mack with 1,758 (12%); and Terry Fowler with 1,040 (7%). In the Grover Beach the Mayor’s race, Jeff Lee leads with 2,217 votes (51%); Debbie Peterson is second with 1,566 (36%); and Liz Doukas got 548 votes (13%). Grover Beach voters also picked two council people with Mariam Shah leading with 2,588 votes (40%), and Barbara Nicolls second with 2,146 (33%). A distant third was Robert Robert with 1,724 votes (27%). Pismo Beach didn’t hold any elections this year, as no one stepped up to challenge Mayor Ed Waage, nor incumbent Councilwoman, Mary Ann Reiss or Sheila Blake and so each were automatically appointed to new terms — two years for Waage and 4-years each for Reiss and Blake.
San Luis Obispo
In San Luis Obispo’s Mayoral race, Mayor Heidi Harmon won reelection with 11,705 votes (63%), over challenger T. Keith Gurnee with 6,456 (35%). Repeat candidate Don Hedrick got 453 votes (2%). Two seats for city council were contested with incumbent Carlyn Christianson leading the pack with 8,469 votes (27%), followed by Erica Stewart with 6,501 (21%). Also-rans were James Lopes with 5,395 votes (17%, Sarah Flickinger with 3,495 (11%), Abe Lincoln with 3,400 votes (11%, Bob Voglin with 1,852 (6%) and Jeff Specht with 1,762 votes (6%). Ballot Measures With regards to local measures on the ballot, Measure G, which would have banned fracking for oil in SLO County, lost handily, with 62,450 “No” votes (54%) to 52,797 “Yes” votes (46%). As for local issues, Morro Bay voters approved Measure D-18, which set a 10% tax on marijuana products. “Yes” votes totaled 3,744 (72%) and “No” votes were 1,404 (27%). The election marks the fourth time Morro Bay voters have come out strongly in favor of marijuana and would appear to clear the way for the City Manager to pick two companies to open dispensaries in town. However, the City’s ordinance as now written, will only allow two, medical marijuana stores but not so-called “recreational” pot outlets. And State law forbids taxing medicinal marijuana, so the City will have to amend its ordinance to allow recreational sales of the evil weed if it hopes to reap any tax benefits from Measure D-18. Pot tax measures were also approved in Atascadero (Meas. E-8), which passed 8,840 to 3,155 (74% to 26%); and also in SLO (Meas. F-18) with 14,714 to 3,630 votes (80% to 20%). Paso Robles also passed a pot tax ordinance (Meas. I-18) with 6,972 “Yes” votes and 3,362 “No” votes (67% to 32%). So now Paso Robles City Council, which had banned pot dispensaries, will also have to decide if it wants to change its ordinance as well. That might be a real possibility since Paso Robles voters rejected another tax hike. Meas. K-18, a half-cent sales tax increase, was rejected with 5,600 “No” votes and 4,812 “Yes” votes (54% to 46%). Grover Beach voters approved Meas. L-18, a hike in the transient occupancy taxes, with 3,450 “Yes” votes (77%) and 1,053 “No” votes (23%). Also in Grover Beach, voters approve Meas. M-18, a hike in the business taxes with 2,700 “Yes” votes (61%) and 1,744 “No” votes (39%). And a measure to increase the Cambria Community Health District assessments, Meas. C-18, which needed two-thirds approval to pass, fell well short. Some 2,043 voted “Yes” (58%) and 1,460 voted “No” (42%).
As for statewide offices, SLO County voters supported Governor-elect Gavin Newsome over challenger John Cox, 59,859 (51%) to 45,080 (48%). They chose Eleni Kounalakis over Ed Hernandez in the Lt. Governor’s race. The votes were 55,140 to 35,151 or 61% to 39%. SLO County voters chose Alex Padilla over Mark Meuser for Secretary of State, 62,227 (54%) to 31,189 (46%). Voters chose Betty Yee for State Controller, with Yee getting 63,904 votes (54%) to Konstantinos Roditis’ 51,199 votes (44%). In the State Treasurer race, Fiona Ma got 61,493 votes (54%) to Greg Conlon’s 52,810 (46%). Attorney General, Xavier Becerra got SLO County’s support with 60,647 votes (53%) to Steven Bailey’s 54,171 votes (47%). In the Insurance Commissioner race, Steve Poizner got 62,572 votes (58%) and Ricardo Lara got 46,029 votes (42%). Malia Cohen got SLO County’s nod for the Board of Equalization, with 58,872 votes (52%) to Mark Burns’ 53,520 votes (48%). Jordan Cunningham easily won re-election to the State Assembly for the 35th District. Cunningham got 53,558 votes (58%) and challenger, Bill Ostrander, got 51,383 (45%). And Marshall Tuck carried SLO County with 52,915 votes (54%) to Tony Thurmond’s 44,634 (46%) for the office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein may have easily won a fifth term to the U.S. Senate in statewide voting, but SLO County voters favored her opponent, Kevin DeLeon, who garnered 50,057 votes to Feinstein’s 49,311 (50.3% to 49.6%). Congressman Salud Carbajal also carried SLO County with 62,803 votes (54%) to challenger Justin Fareed’s 53,855 votes (46%) and won re-election. That was a change from 2-years ago when the same two faced off for the open seat left by the retired Lois Capps. Back then Fareed won SLO County and Carbajal took Santa Barbara County winning the over all vote as well. It was the third straight election Fareed has vied for the Congressional seat and lost. Four-years ago, Fareed was beaten out in the June Republican Primary by Chris Mitchum, who went on to lose to Capps in the 2014 General Election.
As to how SLO County voted with regards to some of the many Statewide ballot measures, local voters voted against Proposition 6, which would have repealed the gas taxes, 62,202 “No” votes and 52,390 “Yes” votes. SLO County voted for Prop. 7, the measure that would allow the State Legislature to do away with the annual “fall back” time change and use daylight savings time all the time. Prop. 7 merely gives the Legislature the authority to make the change. SLO County voters also rejected Prop. 10, which would have repealed a State law and granted cities and counties the authority to pass local rent control ordinances. “No” votes tallied 72,540 (64%) and “Yes” votes were 41,328 (36%). And Prop. 12, dealing with humane treatment of farm animals, wasn’t supported by the majority of SLO County voters either, with 57,118 “No” votes and 55,249 “Yes” votes.