Escondido, CA

Council will have conservative majority

It’s time to put on our big boy pants and declare the results of the local elections. This is, of course, why you pick up The Times-Advocate, right? For us to “call it.”

On Wednesday, with about 85% of the votes tabulated, it can be said with near certainty that the three elected members of the Escondido City Council will be Tina Inscoe in District 2 with 37.89% (6,547); Joe Garcia in District 3 with 39.07% (4,891) and Mike Morasco is District 4 with 47.61% (7,462.) None have an absolute majority, but Escondido elections do not require run-offs, so the candidate with a plurality wins. 

The results definitely give the council a conservative leaning, which will most prominently be displayed in the process over the coming months to pick a new city manager. Their pick will take the place of Jeff Epp, who has obligingly held down the job as interim city manager even though he officially retired at the beginning of summer. It was obvious that with a 2-2 split on the board it would be futile to begin the process of selecting Epp’s successor until after the results.

This is, without doubt, the most important thing that the council will do in the upcoming year since the city manager runs the city, implementing the policies adopted by the council majority. If past statements are indicators of future actions, these members are unlikely to take drastic actions to alter the structure of the police department.

The three will join Mayor Paul McNamara and Deputy Mayor Consuelo Martinez of District 1.

Commenting on the new council makeup, McNamara told The Times-Advocate: “First, while the final count is not done,  I would like offer my thanks to all of the candidates for stepping up and offering to serve our community.  Additionally, I know all of the candidates personally, and I have every expectation that no matter who are declared the final winners, we will all work for the betterment of the city and its residents.  Finally, the expected winners are of good heart and some will bring a fresh set of eyes to the challenges facing the city.  I think that is healthy and so I feel positive about the future of Escondido. We are fortunate at this level of government where we can leave partisan divides aside and make decisions that best serve our residents.”

City Council District No. 2

In this seat, vacated by the untimely death of John Masson, Tina Inscoe leads with 37.89%, (6,547) having widened slightly her lead over Vanessa Valenzuela with 34.29% (5,925) and Rick Paul with 27.82% (4,808.) 

Inscoe commented, “I am truly honored to have been chosen by the voters of Escondido District 2 to represent them on City Council.  I will  work hard on their behalf alongside the entire council to make us even prouder of our hometown.  I will work for a fair and transparent government that represents everyone.”

City Council District No. 3

Joe Garcia has maintained a commanding lead for first place to succeed Olga Diaz, and has added to his percentages since last week. He has 39.07% (4,891). Donald “Don” Greene, Diaz’s anointed successor, has 26.53% (3,322), with Dara Czerwonka, the choice of Mayor Paul McNamara, following with 25.41% (3,181) and Susan Reveles trailing with 8.99% (1,126.)

City Council District No. 4

The only incumbent in the city council election, Mike Morasco, added slightly to his lead at 47.61% (7,462), with Andres Yanez at 29.22% (4,579) and April Austin Pugh at 23.17% (3,631). 

Morasco commented, “Most importantly wanted to thank everyone who worked so diligently to make sure that we had another victory, not just in my district but across the board in all the city council districts. There was obviously a lot of interest in this election cycle and I think the citizens of Escondido made their point with not only across-the board-victories of the city council but school board and other local races. It is very encouraging and I look forward to serving with the new city council.” 

Palomar Health System board

Division No. 2

Theresa “Terry” Corrales was leading with 38.25% (10,345), closely followed by Vicki F. Grove with 35.07% (9,487) with incumbent Tom Kumura trailing with 26.68% (7,217.)

Division No. 6

Escondido resident Jeff Griffith won a blowout victory of 82.09% of the vote, trailed badly by Duncan Fane with 17.02%

Rincon Del Diablo Municipal Water District

The first contested election in this small water district that lies mostly within the City of Escondido has led to an upset, with newcomer Inki Kim Welch handily defeating longtime director Diane Towne with 54.01% (4,559) to 45.99% (3,882.) Welch won with a message that water rates shouldn’t be as high as they are.

San Diego Board of Supervisors

In District 3 of the Board of Supervisors, challenger Terra Lawson-Remer convincingly defeated  incumbent Kristin Diane Gaspar with 58.10% (174,421) compared to 41.90% (125,805.)

The composition of the new Board of Supervisors will be quite unrecognizable to those who spent the last two decades or so governed by the “Supervisors for Life” i.e. Dianne Jacob and Greg Cox. For the first time in . . . maybe ever, there will be a Democratic majority on the board. 

That will consist of Lawson-Remer, Nora Vargas in District 1, and current board member Nathan Fletcher in District 4. The Republicans on the board will be Jim Desmond (5th District) and whoever wins the District 2 seat, Steve Vaus or Joel Anderson, who the last time we looked, were separated by six votes!

The Board of Supervisors is technically and legally non-partisan, but nobody pays any attention to that. 

Palomar Community College Board

In the college district’s Area No. 2, which includes Escondido, Challenger Christian Garcia was in a commanding lead of 53.22% (23,940)  over incumbent Nina Deerfield, who had 46.78% (21,039).

Escondido Union School District board

In Trustee Area No. 3, Mark D. Olson is leading with 54.64% (7,070), with incumbent Joe Muga at 45.36% (5,869.)

Escondido Union High School District board

In Trustee Area No. 3,  incumbent Christi Knight had an insurmountable lead of  63.49% (8,078) to 36.51% (4,645) for Michelle Golding.

In Trustee Area No. 4, incumbent Dane M. White is leading with 70.85%. (9,351), with Eric Rodarte trailing with 19.88% (2,636) and Ogechi S. Okereke bringing up the rear with 9.59% (1,272).

50th Congressional District

Republican Darrell Issa has taken a convincing lead 53.73% (169,280) over Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar who has 46.27% (145,782.) Issa will be returned to the House of Representatives.  

75th Assembly District

Marie Waldron was leading her challenger Karen “Kate” Schwartz, who made a strong showing against the longtime Republican, who is the leader of the Minority Party in the Assembly.  On Wednesday Waldron had 53.00% (90,022) to Schwarz’s 47.00% (79,827.) 

Judge of the Superior Court

Tim Nader was leading Paul Starita by 53.11%  (707,573) to 46.89% (624,749.)

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