Special Election Results Portend New Mayor And Three New SB Councilmembers

(February 5)  The city council in San Bernardino will undergo a significant change in compositi next month, following this week’s special election that saw a new mayor elected and the selection of a new 5th Ward councilman to replace the disgraced former holder of that post, who resigned last fall following his guilty plea to campaign fund misuse charges.
The lone official retained in Tuesday’s election was councilman Fred Shorett.
Of note was that former councilwoman Wendy McCammack, who was recalled from her 7th Ward office in November but was paradoxically the top vote getter in the same day’s 10-candidate race for mayor, lost this week, ensuring that three of the seven council members and the mayor who ruled the city last year will no longer be city office holders.
McCammack was defeated by Carey Davis, who was supported by soon outgoing mayor Patrick Morris, one of McCammack’s longstanding political rivals. McCammack, a 55-year-old Republican, had been in office 13 years. Morris, a former Superior Court judge and a Democrat, is now closing out eight years as mayor.
The city filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012, a result, Morris contended, of years of excessive spending at City Hall, which he said was a direct outgrowth of too-generous salaries and benefits provided to municipal employees, in particular firefighters and police officers. McCammack had steadfastly supported those pay and benefit increases and was in turn strongly supported by the police and fire unions.
The 61-year-old Davis, like Morris, sounded the drumbeat of financial austerity as the formula for the city to get back on its feet. The theme of his campaign was “fiscal sanity.”
Early on, the contest appeared to be a dead heat between the two finalist mayoral candidates, with a near 50-50 split in the absentee ballot count. Early returns from the polls on election Tuesday favored Davis slightly, giving him a 51%-49% lead. As the city’s final precincts reported, Davis’s lead widened. By 10:30 p.m., with all votes counted, Davis bested McCammack 6,211 votes or 56 percent to 4,811 votes or 44 percent.
Shorett dodged a wave of voter resentment over the city’s decline and declaration of bankruptcy, largely because of a political faux-pas by his opponent, Anthony Jones.
Jones appeared to be poised to make a strong challenge of Shorett, a Republican whose fiscally conservative principles put him in alignment with Morris with regard to holding the line on municipal employee salaries and benefits. After the 23-year-old Jones entered the race, the police union endorsed his candidacy in a display of opposition to Shorett.  The police union endorsement had the effect of boosting Jones above another declared candidate in the race, Kathy Pinegar, but Jones’ candidacy imploded when a rap video he had recorded, one that was characterized as advocating criminality, violence and disrespect toward women, began making the rounds. Before Jones’ electoral debacle concluded, the police union withdrew its endorsement, Shorett polled 1,529 votes or 48.22 percent to Jones 985 votes or 31.06 percent and Pinegar’s 657 votes or 20.72 percent in the November 5 election. Jones thus limped into this week’s run-off election as damaged political goods, and lost to Shorett  1,913 votes or 66.21 percent to 972.33 votes or 69 percent.
In the city’s Fifth Ward, four candidates vied to replace Chas Kelley, whose guilty plea to misuse of campaign funds ended his political career. Henry Nickel, with 886 votes or 38.49 percent, outdistanced Randy Wilson, with 691 votes or 30.02 percent, Larry Lee, who pulled in 459 votes or 19.94 percent and Karmel Roe, with 266 votes or 11.56 percent.
Voter turnout in the election was anemic. With 209,924 residents, the county seat is also San Bernardino County’s largest city population-wise. 77,588 of those residents are registered to vote. Only 11,175 actually participated in the election, with 8,031 or 10.35 percent of the city’s registered voters voting by mail, and 3,144 or 4.05 percent casting ballots at the polls.
Next month, those victorious in Tuesday’s election will be sworn into office, along with incumbent Virginia Marquez, who defeated challenger Casey Dailey on November 5 and Benito Barrios, who defeated incumbent Robert Jenkins.
James Mulvihill, who was chosen to replace McCammack upon her recall, has been in office for three months.

Leave a Reply