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Tuesday, Nov 13 2012 05:00 AM

Incumbents win big on Election Day

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Results of local races will be updated as they are available from the Kern County Clerk's Office.

UPDATED: Nov. 14, 9:49 a.m. -- Tehachapi's Election Day races didn't provide many surprises with the majority ofincumbents in local races holding onto their seats across the board.

However, there appears to be one upset, as the latest unofficial results from the Kern County Elections office on Monday, Nov. 12 at 4:15 p.m. showed Henrey Schaeffer (5,105) holding a 72-vote lead over the longest serving Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District director, Bill Steele (5,033).

Voters also retained incumbent director Dr. Sam Conklin (6,828 votes)l.

The latest election results also show Mayor Ed Grimes winning re-election with nearly 37 percent of the vote, with 1562 votes, while appointed incumbent Kim Nixon received 1051 votes.

"I am really appreciative of the people of Tehachapi," said Grimes. "They know we are going in the right direction, and they want to keep going in the right direction. I think their votes shows that."

Nixon said she was honored that voters put their confidence her.

"It is a humbling experience to first be appointed and now elected, as it shows the appreciation for the work I have done," she said, "I look forward to continuing to help develop the potential for small businesses owners and tourism for our community over my next term."

Tehachapi Unified School District Trustee Leonard Evansic (5,712 votes) retained the seat to which he was previously appointed, winning over challenger Steven Vogel (4,527 votes).

"I am humbled to be elected to serve another four years for the district," Evansic said. "I will continue to do the best job I can to guide our district's policies for improving the education we offer to our students."

Meanwhile, there were victories for incumbents in two seats at the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District, where incumbent director Jonathan Hall beat out Stanley Beckham with more than 55 percent of the vote, while fellow sitting director David Hadley collected nearly 53 percent of voter's approval to knock off challenger David Shaw.

"I want to thank the residents of Tehachapi that gave me their vote of confidence and re-electing me for four more years," Hadley said. "We have a lot of projects to do, including some we have had in the works for a while, and I look forward to getting them done."

Hall was equally honored to continue his service for another four-year term, saying, "It's not a glory job, it's stewardship."

Some of the most tightly contested races last Tuesday were the three local community service districts.

Bear Valley incumbent Rick Zanutto (1,276 votes) came away with another term as well as newly-elected Charlene LaClaire (1,195 votes).

Zanutto and LaClaire had been targeted by an anonymous negative campaign in the final weeks before voting, but emerged from it with victory. Zanutto is an incumbent and LaClaire has served as a member of the district's finance committee.

In Golden Hills, sitting director Kathy Cassil (1,465 votes) walked away with one of three seats with nearly 23 percent of the community's votes, as did incumbent Eldwin "Ed" Kennedy (1,069 votes), and new director Larry Barrett (1,017 votes) who edged out the next highest candidate by nearly 3 percent.

Stallion Springs was perhaps the closest race, as incumbents Dave Burt (731 votes) and Irene Gunshinan (716 votes), along with Clydell Lamkin (617 votes) walked away with the win.

As expected, both City Treasurer Julie Drimakis and City Clerk Laura Jenkins, who ran unopposed, won their respective elections.

The propositions

More than 170,000 people in Kern County cast a ballot on Election Day, and while many California voters approved Gov. Jerry Brown's initiative to raise sales tax by a quarter of a cent for four years starting Jan. 1, and for seven years levy higher income taxes on those earning $250,000 or more a year to fund public education, it was just the opposite here at home with over 60 percent voting against it.

The same went for a proposition to give insurance companies more latitude to set rates, with Kern County saying yes while statewide the answer was no.

There were several propositions Kern County voters did agree on with their neighbors.

The revision of the harshest three-strikes law in the nation, a measure to repeal the death penalty, the rejection of the labeling of genetically engineered foods, business tax for energy funding, the redistricting of the state senate and tougher punishments for human traffickers.

County voters also approved an initiative aimed at stopping the political influence of unions, and turned down an alternative education funding initiative, which also imitated the statewide result.

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