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DeHart, White lead council race

Jerry Brown wins governor race; Prop to legalize marijuana fails

DeHart, White lead council race

Young supporters Cole Hacker, Hunter Arellano, Brock Arellano, Tori White, and Drew White stand alongside Turlock City Council candidate Forrest White at his election night party at El Rosal on Tue...

POSTED November 2, 2010 11:00 p.m.

At 10:01 p.m. Tuesday night, with 66 percent of Turlock voting precincts reporting, the race to fill two vacant Turlock City Council seats remained too close to call.

Covenant Village Director of Marketing Bill DeHart sat atop the early returns on the strength of a “common-sense governance” platform and the most expensive campaign of the six candidates. DeHart held 18.78 percent of the vote – 2,164 ballots cast in his favor – at the Journal’s deadline, but could not be reached for comment.

Former Turlock Recreation Manager and retired San Joaquin County Fair CEO Forrest White would earn the other open seat, should results continue in the same fashion. White was just a tick behind DeHart at the Journal’s deadline, with 18.53 percent of the vote and 2,135 ballots in his favor.

White, watching the returns at an election party at Turlock’s El Rosal restaurant with supporters, didn’t want to “count his chickens” before the final results came in, but was pleased with the early returns.

“It’s a nice feeling, it’s a culmination of a lot of work,” White said, thanking the efforts of those who walked neighborhoods to reach voters, contributed to his campaign, and voted for him. “… It’s an honor and I appreciate everyone who had faith in me.”

White said he looks forward to working on the business of Turlock – with the support of a unified council – should the votes pan out. His first order of business would be the City of Turlock budget, currently operating at a $2.7 million deficit, even though a new budget won’t be passed until June 2011.

“You can’t wait until March and April and May,” White said. “I think as soon as the first of the year is over you have to start looking at it.”

Timm LaVelle, a businessman and former Turlock Unified School District trustee, sat just behind White in third place at the Journal’s deadline. LaVelle held 17.22 percent of the vote with 1,984 ballots in his favor, just 151 votes out of second place and a seat on the council.

“We’ve been here before,” said LaVelle, who has election night experience from his prior TUSD races. “It’s too early; it’s just too early to tell.”

With a higher than expected turnout at Turlock polling places, approaching the level of the 2008 presidential election according to some poll workers, the results could yet swing in LaVelle’s favor.

Regardless of the final outcome, however, two new faces will sit on the Turlock City Council, as both Councilmen Ted Howze and Kurt Spycher opted not to seek reelection. And that’s what really matters, according to LaVelle.

“The important thing is that change has come to the council,” LaVelle said.

At the Journal’s deadline, owner David “DJ” Fransen trailed in fourth, with 14.86 percent of the vote, followed by agribusinessman and recent CSU Stanislaus graduate Jeremy Rocha, with 13.01 percent of the vote, deceased county prosecutor Shawn Barlow, with 9.48 percent of the vote, and businessman Pat Noda, with 7.69 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Turlock Mayor John Lazar, who ran unopposed, received 95 percent of the vote to retain his seat.

In state contests, Democrat Jerry Brown leads Republican Meg Whitman in the race for Governor by four percentage points.

Propositions 20, 22, 25, and 26 appear to have passed, granting redistricting powers to a commission, preventing the state from seizing some local funds, changing the vote required to pass a state budget to 50 percent from two-thirds, and requiring a two-thirds vote to approve new fees, respectively. All other propositions appear to have failed, including Prop 19, the effort to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in California.

For complete results, see the Saturday issue of the Turlock Journal.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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