The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

By Tina Fisher Cunningham
Fisher Forde Media 

Aug. 9 deadline for City Council hopefuls

The Forde Files No. 173


August 4, 2018

Tina Fisher Cunningham

In the November City Council election, all Tehachapi registered voters will be able to vote for one at-large candidate (the unfinished term of Ed Grimes, Dist. 3) and the city treasurer. Voters in Districts 1, 4 and 5 also will vote for their district candidate for City Council. District 2 is not up for election.

As of Aug. 2, a total of 11 Tehachapi residents had requested nomination packets that must be submitted to qualify to run for the Tehachapi City Council on the Nov. 6 ballot. By the closing of City Hall on Aug. 2 (The Loop publication deadline), at-large candidate Michael R. Davies had turned in his completed packet to become the first official candidate in the City Council race.

The deadline to turn in the forms, which require 20 valid voter signatures and a sit-down review, is Thurs., Aug. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 115 S. Robinson St.

Three sitting councilpersons are running for re-election and have requested nomination packets – Phil Smith in District 1, Dennis Wahlstrom in District 4 and Susan Wiggins in District 5.

If they qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot, candidate nominees Bobby Fritz, Clete Heckathorn and Michael Gersten will challenge Phil Smith in District 1. Clint Davies, Joan V. Pogon-Cord and Socorro Schmidt have pulled packets to run in District 4 against Wahlstrom. As of Aug. 2, no nominees had applied for District 5, where councilperson Wiggins lives.

Michael R. Davies is running as an at-large candidate to fill the unfinished term of the late Ed Grimes, who was elected under the former at-large system and had 2 ½ years of his term (until 2020) to complete when he died. Grimes lived in what will be District 3 in the next election cycle.

Pete Graff also has requested a nomination packet to run for the Grimes at-large seat.

The only City Council seat that is not up for election in this cycle is that of Ken Hetge, who was elected at-large to a term ending in 2020. Hetge lives in District 2.

In November, all voters in the city may vote for the at-large candidate as well as a candidate from their district. In addition to those candidates, all voters in the city may vote for city treasurer. Current city treasurer Susan Showler has pulled nomination papers for that position. The City Council appointed Showler following the resignation of Jennie Burt.

Each district has approximately 700 registered voters. The district-based election system, which the City Council approved under threat of a financially ruinous lawsuit, is being phased in, with districts 1,4 and 5 on the ballot in 2018 and district 2 and 3 on the ballot in 2020.

Voters will not have to figure out all this on their own.

"The ballot each person receives will be specific to their district, " Tehachapi Senior Administrative Assistant Tori Marsh told Forde Files. As an example, a person who lives in District 5 will have only the candidates running for District 5 on the ballot, along with the at-large candidates and city treasurer.

"District 2 does not have a candidate until November 2020, so they will only vote for at-large and treasurer. A person doesn't have to know what district they are in when they go to vote. They will be given a ballot for their district when they check in (or mailed an absentee ballot). The voter guide will list all the candidates and what districts they are running for."


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