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Challengers sweep TUSD board race

Challengers sweep TUSD board race

Poll workers Barbara Aschwanden and Sharon Jensen keep busy at the Northside Assembly of God polling place – doing tasks such as disinfecting pens to prevent the spread of H1N1 flu – de...


POSTED November 3, 2009 10:47 p.m.
It’s out with the old and in with the new at the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees this Election Day.
Incumbents Timm La Velle, Felica Renshaw, and Tami Muniz all failed in their bids for reelection, coming up short to dairyman Josh Bernard, business owner Lori Crivelli, and fieldman Bob Weaver.
“I’m very happy about it,” said Weaver, who was celebrating at home with supporters. “I don’t even know when I would take office yet, but whenever they do it I’m ready.”
The Turlock Irrigation District Division 3 director seat, vacated by Michael Berryhill who has announced his intentions to run for the U.S. House of Representatives against Dennis Cardoza (D-Ca18) next year, will be filled by dairyman and agribusinessman Joe Alamo. Alamo defeated businessman Keith Silva by a four to one margin.
Agribusinessman Ron Macedo will replace TID Division 5 Director Randy Fiorini, who did not seek reelection. Macedo nearly doubled agri business advocate Pamela Sweeten’s vote count.
“I think it’s going to be quite an exciting time,” Macedo said as he watched the results come in at the Hilmar Cheese Company. “There are some big shoes to fill at TID.”
Macedo said he believed the new energy and enthusiasm brought to the board by himself, Alamo, and Hickman farmer Michael Frantz — appointed earlier Tuesday to replace deceased Division 1 Director Phillip Short — would be good for the board.
Two seats were available on the Denair Unified School District Board of Trustees. At the Journal’s deadline, with 81 percent of precincts reporting, they appear to be claimed by farmer Robert Hodges and incumbent Louisa Allen, with 245 and 235 votes respectively. Dairy farmer Ray Prock Jr. could yet claim a seat, trailing with a total of 211 votes. Incumbent Norma Cordova, technology consultant Denise M. Hurd, and educator Eric Andersen are each more than 35 percent behind the top three competitors.
“I really wanted to be elected because there are some things I feel like I want to finish out,” Allen said. “I am a little surprised at a couple of members, I thought perhaps that Denise Hurd would be higher than she is. I thought she might be the one to see the highest count.”
“I’m pretty excited,” Hodges said. “I’m ready to go, but we’ll see what happens.”
Incumbent Kevin Blount, veterinarian Rob Santos, and local businessman Anthony Avila will take the three vacant Chatom Union School District seats. Teacher Rodney “Skip” E. Machado was unsuccessful in his electoral bid.
The race for three Keyes Unified School District seats remained too close to call by the Journal’s deadline with 83 percent of precincts reporting. Incumbent Antonio Aguilar sat on top with 71 votes cast, businessman Jeff Reed held second with 62 votes, and school maintenance worker Jimmy Emmons Sr. claimed third with 61 votes. Incumbent Remona Rayburn and minister and businessman Christopher Reynolds sat tied for fourth at 52 votes. Carlos Jimenez had 46 votes, while Sophia Munoz-Jiminez had 36.
All of Tuesday’s elections were marred by extremely low voter turnout. Chatom Union School District top vote-getter Santos had just 222 votes with 89 percent of precincts counted. Silva gained just 705 votes in the TID Division 3 race, with 70 percent of precincts reporting. Poll workers at Turlock’s Northside Assembly of God polling place recorded just 46 ballots cast as of 5:30 p.m.
“I don’t even think that this measures up to the Presidential Election,” said poll worker Sandra Hill.
Many voters had stopped by to drop off vote by mail ballots, they noted, which were not included in the count of 46 ballots cast. About 50 percent of the precinct, or 700 voters, were vote by mail voters.
For first-time poll worker Maria Valdez, however, the glacial pace of incoming voters was almost appreciated.
“I learned a lot,” Valdez said. “I’m glad it’s been slow.”
For final election results, visit www.TurlockJournal.com.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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