After a nearly five month-long campaign, Temple City voters ushered in two new faces and ousted the incumbents on Tuesday, March 3, 2009.
Planning Commissioner Vincent Yu and Parks and Recreation Commissioner Edward “Tom” Chavez were elected Tuesday evening. Yu received the most votes, at 1791, and Chavez was the runner-up, at 1395.
City Manager and City Attorney Charles R. Martin declared both Yu and Chavez winners after all the ballots from six precincts were counted.
There were six candidates running for two positions on the City Council. Yu and Chavez defeated Mayor Cathé Wilson, councilman Ken Gillanders, former councilman Chuck Souder, and redevelopment consultant Silenus Ong.
The counting process began with the vote-by-mail ballots. Yu began with an early lead at 698 votes. Chavez followed at 501 votes. Sounder, the third-place contender, received 458 votes.
Incumbents Gillanders and Wilson received around 300 votes each. Political newcomer Ong garnered 188.
Following Yu and Chavez, Souder came in third, Gillanders in fourth, Wilson in fifth, and Ong in last place.
Councilman-elect Yu is a member of the Temple City Planning commission. Yu plans to use his experience as an architect to design a vision for the city. A Temple City resident for eighteen years, Yu aims to hold town hall meetings and public hearings to listen to Temple City citizens and bring about “positive change.”
A professor at Pasadena City College, practicing attorney, and currently a member of the Temple City Parks and Recreation commission, Chavez hopes to incorporate transparency and prudent financing to promote community redevelopment. The councilman-elect also favors a non-smoking policy for Temple City parks.
“The voters in Temple City clearly spoke in favor of change” said Matthew Wong, founder of the Temple City Voice. “On March 17, when the City Council reorganizes, a new council majority will take over.”
Fifty-four year resident and long-time councilman Ken Gillanders has worked on increasing city funds and enforcing frugality. Mayor Cathé Wilson, another long-time resident and sixteen-year councilwoman, has sought to increase interaction with other cities and creating activities for Temple City youth. Both will give up their positions on Tuesday, March 17, 2009.
Yu and Chavez will join councilmembers Dave Capra, Fernando Vizcarra, and Judy Wong. The new City Council is expected to handle redevelopment, stimulate the local economy, appoint a new City Manager, and face the Piazza debacle.
Two vacancies will also need to be filled on the Planning commission and Parks and Recreation commission.
There are about 235 additional provisional and vote-by-mail left to be verified and counted. The results are unlikely to change the outcome of this election.
This article was written by Randy Shun. It was published in the Temple City Voice on March 6, 2009.