A closer look at Inland Empire’s local election outcomes so far – San Bernardino Sun

There’s no single election in the Inland Empire that dominates the way that mayor of L.A. or sheriff of L.A. County does to our west. And among the plethora of smaller but consequential elections out here, many remain too close to call.

But it’s safe to say that Helen Tran is going to be San Bernardino’s mayor. As expected, Tran was running away with it against Jim Penman, 62% to 38%. He conceded Wednesday.

To his credit, the ex-city attorney — censured in 2001, recalled in 2013 — made a good showing. But how swift can you run when you’re toting political baggage?

In the aftermath of local elections, I like to point out results that strike me as interesting, significant or amusing, especially contests that otherwise might not get attention.

Some are outraged by the generous pay package for Superintendent James Hammond in the Ontario-Montclair School District, yet all three incumbents up for re-election — Elvia Rivas, Kris Brake and Sonia Alvarado — won. That’ll show ’em.

It’s too early to say, but the balance of power on the Chino Valley Unified school board may have tipped decisively toward Christian conservatism if Sonja Shaw unseats Christina Gagnier and Jon Monroe replaces the retiring Joe Shaffer, each aided by remarkable $50,000 contributions from one couple.

Shaw and Monroe seem likely to align with Andrew Cruz and James Na, who’ve never met a culture-war issue they didn’t want to push. Don Bridge may end up the sole holdover from the former pro-tolerance majority. Someone pray for him.

It might have been a bad night for Winn Williams, who’s been disruptive as a board member of the Chino Valley Independent Fire District. Former Chino Councilman Tom Haughey was persuaded to come out of retirement to challenge him. Williams decided to hedge his bets by also seeking a seat on the Inland Empire Utilities Agency.

As of deadline, Williams was behind for both seats. How can a man named Winn lose twice?

An alleged charter reform promoted by San Bernardino County, the main selling point of Measure D is giving the five supervisors back most of the salary, benefits and terms in office that were cut to almost nothing by the absurdly punitive, citizen-backed Measure K in 2020.

D was ahead, 59% to 41%, and I’ll admit I’m surprised. In 2020, voters wanted to punish supervisors. In 2022, voters wanted to reward supervisors. Voters, it seems, feel strongly both ways.

The name of a ministry in downtown San Bernardino seems to comment on Measure EE, the “fair share” funding measure by San Bernardino County that threatens secession from California. (Photo by David Allen, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

They certainly felt stronger about Measure D than about Measure EE, the “fair share” advisory measure that threatens secession from California. It has a slight majority, 51%.

As proponent Jeff Burum told my colleague Beau Yarbrough in amazement about EE’s early results: “49% of people voted against ‘fairness’!”

I’m hoping EE passes. For one thing, there are still plenty of jokes to be made about what statehood for San Bernardino County might mean.

Says reader Wendy Leung: “The San Bernardino kangaroo rat would look great on a state flag!”

I was following the Three Valleys Municipal Water District election with interest. It became a referendum on the hard-to-kill scheme to pump water from under the Mojave Desert to quench Southern California’s thirst, which the Claremont-based district has backed.

Incumbent Brian Bowcock found himself on the defensive against challenger Jeff Hanlon, with a second challenger entering the race in what struck observers as an attempt to (pardon the water pun) siphon support from Hanlon. Then came a mystifying pro-Bowcock mailer from erstwhile environmental champion Erin Brockovich. Say what?

Voters weren’t fooled, giving Hanlon 51% of the vote to Bowcock’s 34%. Yes, for Hanlon, it was raining votes.

Speaking of Claremont, incumbents Jed Leano, Ed Reece and Jennifer Stark were all returned to office. This came despite challengers in each district and, in a dose of weekly hilarity, what seemed like every living ex-council member weighing in via letters to the Claremont Courier.

In Rancho Cucamonga, Kristine Scott won re-election, and the seat opened by Sam Spagnolo’s death seems to have gone to newcomer Ashley Stickler, who was besting a field of six.

Voters in Ontario stood by incumbents Jim Bowman and Alan Wapner for council and Paul Leon for mayor, despite signs on seemingly every corner for Ruben Valencia, a councilman who wanted to unseat Leon.

Upland’s Janice Elliott appears to have been knocked off the City Council by James Breitling.

While a sales-tax hike, Measure Q, was ahead in Ontario, an identical sales tax in Upland, Measure L, was failing, hurt by prominent signs around town that blared: “No gas tax hike! No sales tax hike!”

Next time you’re passing through Upland, use your thumb and forefinger to form an L against your forehead, because L was for Loser.

In Fontana, Acquanetta Warren held off two challengers to stay mayor. Her 48% (and rising) total was less commanding than I’d have thought for the high-profile Warren. Maybe too few voters saw her star turn on TV’s “Undercover Boss.”

Out in Moreno Valley, Ulises Cabrera gave up his council seat to seek the open mayor’s job. His gamble appeared to be paying off: He was leading five other candidates. Not bad, given that he was censured by his colleagues one week prior.

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