Incumbents Dominate In Most, But Not All, County Municipal Elections

(November 7)  Across the county in this year’s municipal elections, incumbents, with only a handful of exceptions, fared well, garnering reelection. The most notable exceptions in this regard were in three of the county’s smaller cities – Needles, Adelanto and Grand Terrace.
In Needles, all three of the incumbent council members seeking reelection, Terry Campbell, Linda Kidd, and Shawn Gudmundson were defeated by challengers Louise Evans, Robert Richardson and former mayor and councilman Jeff Williams. Incumbent mayor Edward Paget was unopposed.
In financially beleaguered Adelanto, incumbent mayor Cari Thomas was displaced by Rich Kerr and incumbent councilmen Steve Baisden and Charles Valvo were ousted by Charley Glasper, a former councilman, and John Woodard.
In Grand Terrace, mayor Walt Stanckiewitz was defeated by councilwoman Darcy McNaboe.
In Rialto, one of the incumbents, Lynn Hirtz, was displaced by former councilman Ed Scott. The other incumbent running, Joe Baca, Jr., was victorious.
In Twentynine Palms, Jim Harris, one of two incumbents vying for reelection with three positions up for grabs, lost. He was replaced by former councilman John Cole.
In Yucaipa, one incumbent, Tom Masner was displaced by challenger David Avila. The other incumbent in the race, Greg Bogh, retained his council seat.
In all of the other county cities where elections were held, incumbents were reelected.
On election night, the Sentinel was able to witness a display of the jubilation some of those victorious incumbents felt when it spoke with both Ontario Mayor Paul Leon and Ontario Councilman Jim Bowman at Leon’s victory reception at the Ontario Airport Hotel and with Ontario Councilman Alan Wapner at his victory celebration at the Green Tree Hotel.
“I’m just thrilled,” said Bowman. “As a lifelong resident of Ontario, I am proud that the people of Ontario have elected me to continue to serve them. It took a lot of hard work by all of my supporters for this victory tonight and I look forward to working as a team with my colleagues to continue to build Ontario, and maintain it as the leading city in the Inland Empire.”
Leon told the Sentinel, “Tonight’s results are a testimony to how well we have worked together as a team in looking after the affairs of the city. The residents have so overwhelmingly supported each of us – Jim, Alan and myself – that what I’d like to say is it feels more like a coronation than a race. It is only a real race when your competition is within sight or close behind you. The people of Ontario have shown a lot of faith in electing me for the fourth time to lead them as their mayor. I won’t let them down.”
Wapner said, “Basically, this shows that the community respects what has been done in their name by the council over the last several years and that they have faith we will continue in the best direction for the city of Ontario. Now that the campaign is over, I am happy that we can get back to work to regain the airport and ensure that our government is focused on what it should be, which is allowing our economic engine to create jobs.”

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