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December 3, 2022

General Election 2022: South Monterey County voters turn down tax measures

New councils, mayors and school board members elected to office

MONTEREY COUNTY — South Monterey County voters made their voices heard last Tuesday by deciding the fate of a few local measures, as well as choosing multiple candidates for city councils, school boards and other special districts in the area.

Monterey County Elections officials are continuing to tally ballots cast in the Nov. 8 California General Election, releasing the latest results on Friday. Voter turnout so far was reported at 34.92%, or 73,008 of 209,045 registered voters in the county.

Nearly 30,000 ballots, including an estimated 25,300 vote-by-mail and 4,626 provisional ballots, are still left to process in Monterey County. Elections officials have up to 30 days after Election Day to complete their tallying, and must report their final results to the Secretary of State by Dec. 9.

“The total unprocessed ballots continues to update as we receive vote-by-mail ballots in the mail that are postmarked by Election Day,” according to the Monterey County Elections website. “By law, ballots postmarked by Election Day, will be accepted until the seventh day after the election.”

Monterey County’s next report with updated results will be released by 5 p.m. today, Nov. 16.

Local Measures

Voters have rejected all three measures that would have impacted the South Monterey County region as of Friday’s results.

County of Monterey’s Measure Q is currently failing with 41,262 “no” votes, or 58.57%, to 29,188 “yes” votes, or 41.43%. The measure would create an annual special parcel tax of $49 on each parcel located within Monterey County in order to establish childcare in the county.

City of King’s Measure I, which would raise its local sales tax rate by half a percentage point to 1.5% with funds being used for general purposes, has not received enough support to pass. The latest report shows only 382 “yes” votes, or 47.81%, compared to 417 “no” votes, or 52.19%.

City of Gonzales’ Measure P is also falling flat, with 387 “no” votes, or 51.95%, to 358 “yes” votes, or 48.05%. The measure would extend the term of the existing 1% Gonzales Temporary Transactions and Use Tax by 20 years, from 2044 to 2064, with all funds dedicated exclusively to city programs, projects and initiatives.

All three measures require majority voter approval to pass.

City Councils and Mayors

King City was relatively quiet this election cycle, as current Councilmember Darlene Acosta and Mayor Mike LeBarre ran unopposed for city council seats in Districts 1 and 2, respectively. As of the latest results, Acosta received 169 votes and LeBarre had 98 votes in their respective districts.

Voters in Greenfield, which transitioned to district elections this year, have chosen a new mayor and two city councilmembers.

Current Councilmember Robert “Bob” White is in the lead to become the city’s next mayor, receiving 739 votes, or 67.18%, followed by Councilmember Yanely Martinez with 356 votes, or 32.36%, and write-in candidate Ivan Reyes with 5 votes, or 0.45%.

Greenfield City Council incumbents Drew Tipton and Angela Untalon are vying for a seat in District 1. Tipton is currently ahead with 125 votes, or 54.82%, to Untalon’s 103 votes, or 45.18%.

In City Council District 3, newcomer Rachel Ortiz is winning with 226 votes, or 95.76%, against write-in candidate Maria Alvarado, who has 10 votes, or 4.24%.

Soledad Mayor Anna Velazquez seems to be headed for another term, receiving 1,021 votes, or 63.18%, against new Councilmember Maria Corralejo, who has 595 votes, or 36.82%, according to Friday’s report.

Educator Fernando Cabrera has likely secured one of two seats on the Soledad City Council after earning 894 votes, or 37.08%. Alejandro Chavez and Marisela Lara, both incumbents, are competing to keep the other position, with Chavez currently leading with 822 votes, or 34.09%, to Lara’s 695 votes, or 28.83%.

Gonzales Mayor Jose Rios is likely to be re-elected, receiving 464 votes, or 65.08%, against special education director Alberto Jaramillo with 249 votes, or 34.92%.

Voters also decided on three members for Gonzales City Council, with incumbents Elizabeth Silva (436 votes, or 28.29%) and Lorraine Worthy (422 votes, or 27.38%) in the lead, followed by former mayor Maria Orozco (361 votes, or 23.43%). Public works supervisor Sean Schmidt is currently trailing with 322 votes, or 20.90%.

School Boards

San Ardo Union Elementary School District had three board member positions available, with the most votes currently going to incumbents Tiffini Moore (61 votes, or 32.75%) and Eugene Duggins (43 votes, or 22.87%). Incumbent Kaeda Barrios and teacher Alma Morfin Olivera are currently in a tie with 42 votes, or 22.34%, each.

In Greenfield, six candidates were vying for three seats on the Greenfield Union School District Board. As of Friday’s results, the top vote-getters were retired law enforcement officer Juergen Smith (662 votes, or 24.54%) and incumbents Denise Jaime (578 votes, or 21.42%) and David Kong (447, or 16.57%). Caregiver Beatriz Diaz (406 votes, or 15.05%), program coordinator/student Elizabeth DeJesus (366 votes, or 13.57%) and student Wilfredo Martinez (239 votes, or 8.86%) are currently behind.

One board member position was decided for Gonzales Unified School District, with incumbent Araceli Flores winning with 134 votes, or 61.75%, against retired police officer Patrick Askew with 83 votes, or 38.25%, for Trustee Area 2.

In Chualar, four candidates were running for two positions for the Chualar Union Elementary School District Board Member Trustee Area 3. Newcomer Domingo Rangel earned the most support with 71 votes, or 33.02%, followed by incumbent Esperanza “Hope” Rangel with 68 votes, or 31.63%. Educator Patricia Camacho and governing board member Rebecca Trujillo were trailing with 38 votes, or 17.67%, each.

Special Districts and Others 

Soledad Community Health Care District had two director positions up for election, with incumbent Anne Trebino (907 votes, or 41.61%) and high school teacher Michael “Max” Schell (808 votes, or 37.06%) winning over business owner Ileen Groves (465 votes, or 21.33%).

Monterey County voters also chose a new sheriff/coroner, following the retirement of current Sheriff Steve Bernal at the end of the year. Marina Police Chief Tina Nieto received 45,498 votes, or 66.87%, defeating Sheriff’s Captain Joe Moses with 22,537 votes, or 33.13%, to become the next leader of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.

In the U.S. Congress, Democratic candidate Zoe Lofgren (66,668 votes, or 66.7%) beat Republican challenger Peter Hernandez (33,234 votes, or 33.3%) for the Congressional District 18 seat. Democratic Rep. Jimmy Panetta (131,697 votes, or 69.3%) secured his Congressional District 19 seat from Republican candidate Jeff Gorman (58,471 votes, or 30.7%).

In the State Assembly, Democratic Assemblymember Robert Rivas (39,508 votes, or 64.5%) kept his District 29 seat from Republican challenger Stephanie Castro (21,778 votes, or 35.5%), and Democratic candidate Dawn Addis (77,259 votes, or 62.2%) won in District 30 against Republican candidate Vicki Nohrden (46,964 votes, or 37.8%).

For complete statewide election results, visit electionresults.sos.ca.gov.

Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.
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