Small number of ballots yet to be counted in El Dorado County
With approximately 2,220 ballots left to be counted it is increasingly certain that Sue Novasel and Kenny Curtzwiler will advance to the November general election in the race for El Dorado County District 5 supervisor.
The most recent results posted at the end of the business day Tuesday had Novasel still at the top with 2,454 votes (36.86 percent) and Curtzwiler close behind with 2,149 votes (32.28 percent). Jeffrey Spencer remained in third with 1,120 votes (16.82 percent) followed by former Supervisor Norma Santiago in fourth with 916 votes (13.76 percent).
Barring a drastic outcome while counting the final ballots — excluding minor variations, the results have held true since initial results were first reported early Wednesday morning after Election Day — the incumbent Novasel and challenger Curtzwiler appear headed to a rematch of the 2014 race, in which Novasel won with a comfortable margin.
Speaking the day after Election Day, Curtzwiler told the Tribune that he is looking forward to digging into the issues facing District 5 — which includes nearly all of the Tahoe Basin portion of the county.
“No we can talk a each individual chapter rather than the book.”
As for the most pressing issues facing the district, Curtzwiler stated Novasel’s recusal from participating in decisions on the Meyers Area Plan.
The California Fair Political Practices Commission, following a request from Novasel, offered an opinion suggesting she not participate in the process because of her “real property interest” within the plan area.
Curtzwiler raised the issue during the campaign leading up to the June 5 election. Novasel rebutted his argument, saying that any candidate who owned “real property” in the plan area, regardless of whether it’s commercial or residential, also would have to recuse themselves on this issue.
Novasel foresees the cannabis issue becoming a bigger issue in the community in the coming months. She said the county intends on putting a series of questions before voters in November that could, depending on how the vote goes, allow for cannabis businesses in unincorporated parts of the county.
The very first question would ask voters to approve taxation on cannabis. If the tax question is voted down then whole issue would be dead, explained Novasel, who has maintained her position that revenue must accompany any new cannabis businesses.
Clarifying the vacation home rental issue and distinguishing the county’s policies from the city of South Lake Tahoe’s policies also will be a key issue, she added.
Curtzwiler pointed to the 56-acre parcel, most of which is owned by the county and leased to the city, as another issue of importance. He said the deterioration of buildings such as the senior center and the lack of action, by either the county or the city, reflects a larger problem.
“What has actually been done for our community up here?” Curtzwiler asked.
Asked what kind of tone he would like to see in the campaign leading up to November, Curtzwiler said the tone leading up to June 5 was “too tame.”
“Everybody danced around the hard questions because nobody wanted to step on any toes but that is going to change,” he said.
Novasel said she looks forward to hard conversations on the issues, but hopes the debate will remain civil, as she said it did in 2014.
“I’m looking forward to those conversations,” she said. “Finding middle ground is my basis for being an elected official.”
In other contested county races:
Incumbent Vern Pierson appears to have clinched a victory over challenger Trish Kelliher, with 27,106 votes (56.2 percent) to 21,034 votes (43.61 percent).
Janelle K. Horne is in first with 19,1901 votes (41.24 percent). She appears to be heading for a runoff contest with Todd White, who is in second with 16,355 votes (35.15 percent). Dan Dellinger is in third with 10,900 votes (23.43 percent).
E. Coleman appears to have secured and election win over Anne Billingsley, with 24,288 votes (55.99 percent) to 18,940 votes (43.66 percent).
Incumbent Joe Harn is heading to a win over challenger Mike Owen, with 25,122 votes (52.11 percent) to 22,982 votes (47.68 percent).
Supervisor District 4
Incumbent Michael Ranalli’s lead dipped below 50 percent with 5,818 votes (49.62 percent). He likely will be heading to a runoff contest against Lori Parlin has 4,439 votes (37.86 percent). Bogdan Ambrozewicz is in third.