Paso Robles voters tire of ‘status quo’


Challengers unseat three trustees in Paso school races

PASO ROBLES — As election night wore on it became clear voters were not happy with the “status quo” of the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees. Based on the results from Tuesday’s general election there will be at least two and in all likelihood three new faces on the governing board.

Paso Robles voters also said no, 54.11 percent, to a half-cent sales tax measure that would have gone to city road projects.

There were no major changes after the first report from the San Luis Obispo County elections was made public shortly after polls closed Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Whoever was on top in that report remained there throughout the night and into Wednesday.

The initial report included vote-by-mail ballots received prior to election day. Subsequent reports were issued throughout the evening and continued on Wednesday as more and more ballots were counted.

According to the final report issued Wednesday, PRJUSD challengers, Christopher Arend (22.33 percent) and Lance R. Gannon (16.26 percent) were in the top three in the race for the 4-year seat along with current PRJUSD trustee Tim Gearhart (18.70 percent). Not far behind were current trustees Matthew McClish (16.03 percent) and Field Gibson (14.34 percent). Only the top three win seats.

“I think what this shows is that especially in this type of local election incumbents will be elected unless problems arise, real tangible problems as we had here,” Arend said, referring to the district’s financial woes.

In the election for the sole 2-year PRJUSD seat, challenger Stephanie Ulibarri (73.44 percent) saw her sizable lead over current trustee Kathleen Yankee Hall (26.48) increase to an insurmountable advantage.

Arend and Ulibarri both believe voters upset with the recent budget troubles of the Paso Robles school district were clearly sending a message with this election. The school district saw its reserve fall below the state’s mandated 3 percent at the end of the 2017-18 fiscal year.

“Everyone who voted for a challenger was sending the message that they are dissatisfied with the current state of affairs in PRJUSD,” said Ulibarri. “It feels great to win the seat, but it feels even better to represent those who are tired of the status quo.”

The new PRJUSD board will be seated in early December. Arend and Ulibarri listed fixing the finances, funding the aquatics center, and improving district morale as priorities for trustees.

“Now our task is to solve the problems,” said Arend.

In the race for Paso Robles mayor, Steven Martin (54.09 percent) will retain his seat over Jim Reed (44.93 percent).

“It feels great that a strong majority of voters supported me for another term,” Martin said. “It makes me feel that they are confident we are on the right track and that city government is listening to and responding to our citizens’ concerns. It energizes me to work even harder for them in the future. I am very grateful.”

John Hamon will retain his seat and be joined by newcomer Maria Elena Garcia. Hamon was the leading vote-getter with 3,536 followed by Garcia with 3,091.

There are still some ballots to be counted. As of Wednesday morning, 81,663 ballots (47.33 percent of the registered voters) were cast in the county — 55,371 by mail and 26,292 going to the polls.

“We had nine-and-a-half trays of ballots arrive by mail this morning,” San Luis Obispo Clerk-Recorder Gong explained on Wednesday, which means the actual number of ballots cast won’t be known until they stop accepting late arrivals on Friday. “We have no way of knowing how many were dropped in the mail yesterday.”

Updates through Friday evening will start a tally of how many remain uncounted by precinct however some races can be called earlier.

The county has 21 days to count the remaining ballots and certify the election.

ATASCADERO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER (Vote for 4)

Candidate                      Votes          Pct.

DONN CLICKARD             6,602        25.09%

TAMI GUNTHER               5,895        22.40%

RAY M. BUBAN                5,789        22.00%

GEORGE R. SHOEMAKER  5,060       19.23%

BRET HEINEMANN           2,915       11.08%

Write-in                              54         0.21%

Precincts Reported: 23 of 23 (100.00%)

PASO ROBLES JOINT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER - 4 YEAR (Vote for 3)

Candidate                      Votes          Pct.

CHRISTOPHER AREND     5,797       22.33%

TIM GEARHART              4,856       18.70%

LANCE R. GANNON         4,328       16.67%

MATTHEW C. MCCLISH   4,163       16.03%

FIELD GIBSON               3,723       14.34%

RYAN WARD                   3,050      11.75%

Write-in                          47            0.18%

Precincts Reported: 23 of 23 (100.00%)

PASO ROBLES JOINT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER - 2 YEAR TERM (Vote for 1)

Candidate                        Votes        Pct.

STEPHANIE ULIBARRI       7,538       73.44%

KATHLEEN YANKEE HALL   2,718      26.48%

Write-in                                  8        0.08%

Precincts Reported: 23 of 23 (100.00%)

SHANDON JOINT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER, TRUSTEE AREA NO. 2 (Vote for 3)

Candidate                                    Votes        Pct.

ROBERT VAN PARLET                    141            27.87%

JENNIFER MOE                             130            25.69%

NATALY RAMIREZ                         123            24.31%

HOLLY MARIE FURNESSOSORIO     112            22.13%

Precincts Reported: 3 of 3 (100.00%)

TEMPLETON UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER (Vote for 2)

Candidate                         Votes           Pct.

MATT VIERRA                    1,650         32.70%

JAN NIMICK                       1,263        25.03%

KATRINA V. MERSON          1,223        24.24%

BARBY LICHTI WUNSCH         901       17.86%

Write-in                                   9          0.18%

Precincts Reported: 9 of 9 (100.00%)

PLEASANT VALLEY JOINT UNION ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT GOVERNING BOARD MEMBER (Vote for 1)

Candidate                  Votes       Pct.

DORA DENNING          134       67.34%

REBECCA NEW              65       32.66%

Precincts Reported: 1 of 1 (100.00%)

CITY OF ATASCADERO COUNCILMEMBER (Vote for 2)

Candidate                  Votes        Pct.

HEATHER NEWSOM     4,528       35.23%

SUSAN FUNK              4,413       34.33%

MARK DARIZ              3,896       30.31%

Write-in                          16         0.12%

Precincts Reported: 16 of 16 (100.00%)

CITY OF EL PASO DE ROBLES MAYOR (Vote for 1)

Candidate                 Votes      Pct.

STEVEN W. MARTIN   3,889     54.90%

JIM REED                  3,183     44.93%

Write-in                         12       0.17%

Precincts Reported: 14 of 14 (100.00%)

CITY OF EL PASO DE ROBLES COUNCILMEMBER (Vote for 2)

Candidate                     Votes      Pct.

JOHN HAMON                3,536     30.45%

MARIA ELENA GARCIA    3,091     26.61%

MICHAEL RIVERA           2,535     21.83%

ANDY PEKEMA               2,441     21.02%

Write-in                             11       0.09%

Precincts Reported: 14 of 14 (100.00%)

SAN MIGUEL COMMUNITY SERVICES DISTRICT DIRECTOR (Vote for 2)

Candidate                    Votes    Pct.

ASHLEY SANGSTER       197     35.69%

HECTOR PALAFOX         175     31.70%

CESAR HERNANDEZ      170     30.80%

Write-in                         10       1.81%

Precincts Reported: 1 of 1 (100.00%)

LOCAL MEASURES OF INTEREST

G-18 COUNTY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO - FRACKING & OIL DRILLING BAN

       Votes       Pct.

NO   43,905    55.73%

YES  34,874    44.27%

Precincts Reported: 156 of 156 (100.00%)

E-18 CITY OF ATASCADERO CANNABIS BUSINESS TAX

          Votes     Pct.

YES    6,053     73.17%

NO     2,219    26.83%

Precincts Reported: 16 of 16 (100.00%)

H-18 CITY OF EL PASO DE ROBLES APPOINTMENT OF CITY CLERK

          Votes     Pct.

YES     3,615    53.65%

NO      3,123    46.35%

Precincts Reported: 14 of 14 (100.00%)

I-18 CITY OF EL PASO DE ROBLES CANNABIS BUSINESS TAX (Majority Vote) (Vote for 1)

         Votes       Pct.

YES    4,902      67.50%

NO     2,360      32.50%

Precincts Reported: 14 of 14 (100.00%)

J-18 CITY OF ATASCADERO MAYORAL TERM (Majority Vote) (Vote for 1)

        Votes        Pct.

NO    5,424       64.98%

YES   2,923       35.02%

Precincts Reported: 16 of 16 (100.00%)

K-18 CITY OF EL PASO DE ROBLES 1/2 CENT SALES TAX (Majority Vote) (Vote for 1)

Votes    Total       Pct.

NO        3,969     54.11%

YES       3,366     45.89%

Precincts Reported: 14 of 14 (100.00%)

N-18 CITY OF EL PASO DE ROBLES ADVISORY TAX MEASURE (Majority Vote) (Vote for 1)

          Votes     Pct.

YES     5,266    72.30%

NO      2,018    27.70%

Precincts Reported: 14 of 14 (100.00%)

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