“Sierra Madre Election: Mixed Bag of Results” for Beacon Media Newspapers

April 2008

Residents and candidates had a late night Tuesday as results for Sierra Madre City Council, city clerk, treasurer and three measures were revealed at about 10:45 p.m.

Current City Council member John Buchanan was voted back to council with 1414 votes, the most of any candidate, and MaryAnn MacGillivray was elected to the second available council seat with 1236 votes 18 years after her first run for council.

“Here we go again,” said MacGillivray, who was present at City Hall during the results and said her main priority will be “finances”. “I’m looking forward to meeting the challenges presented to us.”

“I am heartened by the support I got,” said Buchanan. “MaryAnn and I have always had a good relationship and she’s a very smart person.”

The controversial Measures U and UA passed; U with 1645 yes votes and 983 no votes and UA had 1629 yes votes and 917 no votes, while Measure P was defeated with 537 yes votes to 1,971 no votes.

“I am proud of what we’ve done and how we’re behind our public safety,” said Buchanan. “I’m particularly happy that we solidified the paramedic program which was one of my chief causes during my first term.”

As for his new term, Buchanan said, “With Measure U being passed I think we have to turn our attention to some of the other financial concerns of the city. We’ve stabilized the city’s finances for some of the more immediate tasks and I hope we’ll be able to now carefully evaluate even more so the financial needs of the city.”

Buchanan was saddened that his “friend and colleague” Enid Joffe was not re-elected.

Joffe earned 1139 votes, only slightly ahead of Kevin Paschall who got 1134 votes and largely ahead of “Eagle” Bill Tice who earned 132 votes.

“Obviously I’m very deeply disappointed that I didn’t win,” said Joffe. “There were many reasons but I think one of the primary reasons was people were spreading mistruths about me. I am very proud that the Utility Users Tax passed and that was probably my biggest accomplishment—that after 10 years of acrimony I got the police to negotiate. I feel comfortable that I left a good legacy and left the city in better condition than I found it.”

Joffe now plans to focus more on her solar energy business and does not know yet if she will run for office in the future.

Also at City Hall, Paschall said, “From talking to residents I got a good feel for it” before the final results were tallied.

“It was a good experience, a lot of fun and I met a lot of nice people,” said Paschall, after his loss. “Hopefully with two slow growth councilman we’ll keep [growth] down.”

George Enyedi defeated Salvatore F. Tesoro III for city treasurer in a landslide, 2236 votes to 275. Neither could be reached for comment.

The closest race was between city clerk candidates Nancy Shollenberger, who has maintained the position for 20 years and newcomer Karma Bell, who has held various volunteer and leadership roles in the city.

Shollenberger was ahead on absentee voting, but Bell garnered more votes in the First Methodist Church and Congregational Church voting precincts, putting her in the lead for a short time, until Church of the Ascension’s results came in and the tally was Shollenberger with 1315 and Bell with 1296.

As Shollenberger announced the election results at City Hall—part of her elected duty—the few dozen people in their seats clapped, cheered loudly and rose to their feet as Shollenberger smiled about her victory.

“I am absolutely overwhelmed that I won,” said Shollenberger. “My heart was aching,” she said, referring to when Karma Bell was ahead. “I never want to go through this again.”

Bell, who was having a gathering at her home and watching the results on television did not concede since provisional ballots still need to be counted.

“I’m not going to concede because of the small percentage that’s there,” said Bell. “We’ll see how it plays out.”

Wednesday afternoon Shollenberger said that she had not won yet and that she had taken 29 provisional ballots to the Los Angeles Registrar to be checked, which usually takes a couple days, according to Shollenberger. After the ballots are confirmed Shollenberger will schedule a time for the ballots to be counted in City Hall.

“It’s a tight race and it can’t get much tighter than that,” said actor Kevin Dunn, who was also at City Hall Tuesday and helped bring in a box of ballots.

Dunn said he supported Shollenberger because of “her integrity and the fact that her opponent ran a disgraceful campaign based on things she knew to be untruthful.”

Bell mentioned during her campaign that the mistake on this year’s ballots was Shollenberger’s error and Shollenberger took responsibility and paid for corrections to be sent out.

“I would like to know what dirty things I did,” said Bell. “In that case it was her responsibility.”

Rumors also affected Bell’s campaign and she said maybe she should have addressed them.

“I have nothing to do with any of this no or yes on Measure V,” said Bell who also denied any connection with big developers and the impression that the city clerk has policy-making ability. “I simply want to do a job I am qualified for.”

Regardless of what the provisional ballots show Bell is not against running for city clerk in the future.

Shollenberger said the newly elected candidates will assume their roles within a couple weeks.


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