Heated local races culminate in failed propositions, close wins

By Claire Harlin

Candidates and their supporters were celebrating victories on Nov. 7, with most wins looking certain and a few extremely close, with about 475,000 absentee and provisional ballots left to be tallied countywide as of press time for this newspaper.

Soon after the polls closed, the Secretary of State’s office reported that about 52.6 percent of the county’s some 1.6 million voters cast ballots in the Nov. 6 elections — a much lower turnout than the 75 percent predicted by the registrar of voters.

But maybe the elections in Carmel Valley, Del Mar and Solana Beach, which were said to be some of the most heated political battles in the history of the communities, upped the turnout numbers at least for those areas. For example, close to 2,000 votes were already tallied on Del Mar’s Prop J, a controversial downtown revitalization plan for the city of 4,000, and that’s not including the more than 1,000 Del Mar residents who are registered as permanent absentee voters and may have voted that way.

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters said its staff is working day and night to get all ballots counted as soon as possible. There is a 28-day deadline to verify the votes, but representatives said they hope to get the results out sooner.

Here’s a round-up of elections affecting the local areas of Del Mar, Solana Beach and Carmel Valley:

PROP J

As of press time, 1,136 votes (or 58.2 percent) had been recorded against and 816 (or 41.8 percent) votes for the proposition, which would create new development standards for Del Mar — including roundabout traffic circles and raised building height limits.

More than 90 public meetings took place regarding the expansive, 500-page Village Specific Plan, which those on all sides of the debate knew would present an uphill battle.

SOLANA BEACH CITY COUNCIL

Incumbent Lesa Heebner led with 18.9 percent of votes in the race for Solana Beach City Council. She will retain her seat and be joined by new council members David Zito, a software architect, and Peter Zahn, a business attorney. Zito earned 18.5 percent and Zahn received 18 percent of the vote.

Trailing Zahn by about 200 votes was research scientist Vickie Driver, who got 16 percent of the vote. Daniel Powel and Paul Frankel both earned about 14 percent.

“I’m very happy,” said Heebner. “I ran a clean campaign, focusing on the issues and my vision for our city. I’m grateful to the voters of Solana Beach and look forward to getting back to work for them.”

SAN DIEGUITO UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD

Incumbents Joyce Dalessandro (31.30 percent) and Beth Hergesheimer (29.58 percent) were re-elected to the San Dieguito Union High School District board.

SOLANA BEACH SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD

Incumbent Richard Leib (38.93 percent) and Julie Union (36.52 percent) were elected to the Solana Beach School Board.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA REGULATION

Both Del Mar and Solana Beach voters rejected a medical marijuana ordinance that made it to the ballot through the petitioning efforts of a non-profit group advocating for safe and open access to medical cannabis.

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