For Five Straight Election Ontario Cycles, Leon, Wapner & Bowman Have Prevailed

Over the last 14 years, the quartet of Ontario Mayor Paul Leon and his colleagues Councilman Alan Wapner, Councilman Jim Bowman and Councilwoman Debra Dorst-Porada have evolved to become an uneasily aligned political establishment at what is the center of San Bernardino County’s financial universe. Ontario is the most economically sound of all 24 of San Bernardino County’s municipalities, with more than two-thirds of a billion dollars running through all of its funds annually, making it more than twice as wealthy as its nearest competitor among the county’s cities and incorporated towns. It boasts being host to the corporate headquarters of a number of companies, by which the city claims the sales tax those entities generate. It is the location of the Ontario Mills, which features more than 200 stores and is billed as California’s largest outlet and retail shopping destination. In 2015, it closed a deal with the City of Los Angeles to have the megalopolis return to Ontario control over Ontario Airport, which Los Angeles had operated since 1967 and owned since 1985. While Wapner and Leon have a somewhat testy personal relationship, they are intertwined politically as Wapner’s council election years are sequenced such that he has for five election cycles now run for reelection in the same years that Leon has run for reelection as mayor. Additionally, they have a common enemy in Ruben Valencia, who was first elected to the city council in 2016. In a previous run for the council in 2014, Valencia pitted himself against Wapner, earning his enmity. This year, Valencia ran a spirited campaign against Leon.
Running in the same election as Leon and Wapner is Councilman Jim Bowman. Thus, all three endorse one another, celebrating themselves as the three amigos whose steady hands have continued to guide San Bernardino County’s leading city.
In this year’s council race, Wapner proved to be the top vote-getter, with 7,688 voter endorsements or 28.23 percent. Bowman captured second place with 6,976 votes or 25.62 percent. Celina Lopez ran in third, with 5,131 votes or 18.84 percent. Aaron Bratton captured fourth place along with 3,302 votes or 12.12 percent. Michael Duenas was fifth, with 2,464 votes or 9.05 percent. Norberto Corona claimed 1,672 or 6.14 percent.
In the mayoral slugfest, Leon prevailed with 9,245 votes which was good for 55 percent. Valencia hauled in 5,785 votes, which accounted for 34.42 percent. Christian Garcia placed third with 1,779 votes or 10.58 percent.

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