Voters appear to have approved sales tax increases in the city of Tehachapi and unincorporated Kern County and a new 30-year lease between Adventist Health and the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District in Tuesday’s election.
But two tax increases in Bear Valley Springs Community Services District — one to fund police and the other to cover expenses related to the entrance gate — were rejected by a wide margin.
And countywide, more than 70 percent of voters supported term limits for members of the Board of Supervisors.
These and other results here about the outcome of the election are based upon unofficial final results published by the Kern County Elections Office at 2:14 a.m. on Nov. 9. It’s unknown at this time how many unprocessed ballots may need to be counted. Election results may change throughout the canvass period as vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots (including conditional voter registration provisional ballots), and other ballots are tallied. The election is expected to be certified on Dec. 16.
According to the California Secretary of State website, voter turnout throughout Kern County was only 13 percent for this election.
In local races, incumbent Robert W. Schultz prevailed with more than 50 percent of the vote in a three-way race for the Division 5 seat in the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District. Newcomer Delbert Jones captured more than 65 percent of the vote as one of two candidates for the Division 3 seat. Incumbent James Pack did not seek reelection.
Two Tehachapi women won seats on regional boards. Christina Scrivner took 56.99 percent of the vote for the Kern Community College District Board Trustee Area 2 seat and Lori Cisneros captured 59.65 percent of the vote for the Trustee Area 7 seat on the Kern County Board of Education.
For the Tehachapi school board, Cassandra Sweeney, Deborah Du-Sorenson, W. Wayne Cooper and Paul Kaminski appeared to be the winners in their respective trustee areas — although some races are very close. Results show that four candidates who made public their lack of continued interest in the school board seats still garnered a fair amount of votes. Of the slate of candidates recommended by an informal parent group, only Cooper is ahead in results released so far. However, Du-Sorenson is only four votes ahead of Dana Lee Christensen, so that could change. And Kaminski is only six votes ahead of Schulstad. Cooper is nine votes ahead of Lisa Lopez, who unofficially dropped out of the race.
Three local community services districts held elections. In Bear Valley, the top three candidates were Jerry Pittenger, Greva Frevert and Terry Eugene Quinn (the lone incumbent). In Golden Hills, Scott Wyatt captured one of two seats with more than 35 percent of the vote. The other seat appears to have gone to incumbent John C. Buckley. But the other incumbent, Marilyn White, is only 11 votes behind Buckley, so that makes it a very close race, which could change if there are a significant number of unprocessed ballots.
Tuesday’s election was the first in at least 20 years for Mountain Meadows. Sheridan Nicholas, Nathaniel Mitchell and Manuel W. Jaramillo won the three seats.
Ballot errors were previously reported for the healthcare district’s Measure X and the two Bear Valley CSD measures.
The Measure X error — the incorrect inclusion of the word “bonds” on the ballot — did not appear to have created a problem, perhaps because of a significant amount of outreach to let voters know about the error. Voters approved the new lease, which is not a bond.
But the ballot language for the two Bear Valley measures — which were rejected — incorrectly stated that the tax amounts were the minimum to be charged when they were actually the maximum to be charged.
The district has requested an investigation into how the error occurred.
The latest results are available online at kernvote.com. Here is a summary for local races and measures:
Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District
Division 3 – 2,006 votes total; Delbert Jones, 65.6%, Nathanael Benton Harbison, 34.40%.
Division 5 – 1,997 votes total; Robert W. Schultz, 50.08%, Joel Peel, 25.29%; Ben Dewell, 24.64%.
Tehachapi Unified School District, Board of Trustees
Trustee Area 2 – 262 votes total; Cassandra Sweeney, 46.18%, Cora Gutierrez, 29.01%, Ben Dewell, 24.81%.
Trustee Area 4 – 323 votes total; Deborah Du-Sorenson, 47.06%, Dana Lee Christensen, 45.82%, Erika Jole Gunn, 7.12%.
Trustee Area 5 – 232 votes total; W. Wayne Cooper, 34.91%, Lisa Lopez, 31.03%, Peter Franco, 18.10%, Nathanael Benton Harbison, 15.95%.
Trustee Area 6 – 198 votes total; Paul Kaminski, 47.47%, J. Jeff Schulstad, 44.44%, Angie Cortes, 8.08%
Kern Community College District Board
Trustee Area 2 – 9,743 votes total; Christina Scrivner, 56.99%, Jennifer Slayton, 43.01%.
Kern County Board of Education
Trustee Area 7 – 9,049 votes total; Lori Cisneros, 59.65%, Ernest M. Bell Jr., 40.35%.
Community Services Districts
Bear Valley (top three win the open seats) – 870 votes total; Jerry Pittenger, 23.91%, Geva Frevert, 23.45%, Terry Eugene Quinn, 21.72%, Martin Hernandez, 17.01%, Leana Mitchell, 13.91%.
Golden Hills (top two win the open seats) – 1,233 votes total; Scott Wyatt, 35.44%, John C. Buckley, 24.17%, Marilyn White, 23.28%, Connor Harris, 17.11%.
Mountain Meadows (top three win the open seats) – 59 votes total; Sheridan Nicholas, 30.51%, Nathaniel Mitchell, 27.12%, Manuel W. Jaramillo, 23.73%, James Faber, 18.64%.
There was no election in Stallion Springs because there was not more than one candidate for each of the open seats.
The measures that passed:
Measure J – Kern County Board of Supervisors term limits – 55,115 votes total; 70.55% yes, 29.45% no.
Measure K – Kern County unincorporated area sales tax increase – 19,408 votes total; 51.23% yes, 48.77% no.
Measure S – City of Tehachapi sales tax increase – 504 votes total; 54.17% yes, 45.83% no.
Measure X – Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District, Adventist Health’s new 30-year lease – 2,401 votes total; 72.68% yes, 27.32% no.
The measures that failed:
Measure V – Bear Valley Community Services District, gate operations tax – 390 votes total; 61.03% no, 38.97% yes.
Measure W – Bear Valley Community Services District, police services tax –394 votes total; 59.90% no; 40.10% yes.
Claudia Elliott is a freelance journalist and former editor of the Tehachapi News. She lives in Tehachapi and can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.