Two new people are poised to join the Tehachapi City Council, and with that change there could be some new decisions on topics ranging from infrastructure to use of funds and more.
The latest Kern County Elections Office results released Sunday night show that Michael Davies will serve two years for the short-term, district-at-large seat, after receiving more votes than Pete Graff. This seat opened following the death of Mayor Ed Grimes earlier this year.
“I feel very humble and very happy that everybody has supported me. I will do the best job I can for the citizens of Tehachapi,” said Michael Davies.
His challenger, Graff, declined to comment following the election.
The other new person on the council looks to be Joan Pogon-Cord, who will serve the regular term for district 4 if the results hold in her favor. She surpassed incumbent Dennis Wahlstrom and challenger Clint Davies, according to results available as of Sunday.
Additionally, City Council members Phil Smith, in district one, and Susan Wiggins, in district 5, were well on their way to re-election. Smith beat out Clete Heckathorn. Wiggins beat out Clint Beacom.
Wahlstrom, who lost his spot on the council, said he hopes new council members will listen and serve the residents of Tehachapi in their upcoming terms.
“Be honest with yourself and truly have the desire to represent the people,” he said. “Sometimes it is hard, but do it. It’s your opinion and it’s free.”
City council meetings could be improved in some ways, he said.
“I would like to see some more respect for the residents — they own the place,” Wahlstrom said. He added, “You can give people a little more time to talk at the podium and for the most part people have a concern and they want to address it.”
Wahlstrom added that the dynamics “will go back to status quo.” He added, “It’s easier for staff to do the thinking, but that’s not how it should be done. Council is elected to represent the people and I hope the city would remember that.”
Pogon-Cord could not be reached for comment.
In district five, both incumbent Wiggins and challenger Beacom commented after the election.
“I’m very grateful that the voters choose to support me and we are all looking forward to the future,” Wiggins said. She added, “We invite people to call city hall any time they have a question. I just want everyone to feel welcome at City Council meetings and come with legitimate questions.”
Beacom said, “I am waiting until Monday and see what happens. I’m proud of my campaign and I am impressed how it went.”
Tehachapi News called all candidates who were actively campaigning for comment after the election.
The two likely new City Council members are expected to be sworn in at the second City Council meeting of December, which is scheduled for Dec. 17. The county has 30 days to certify the election, said Ashley Whitmore, administrative and airport manager for the city of Tehachapi.