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Shake-up in Colusa
The fallout from the Jan McClintock-Mark Mayuga political debacle has apparently claimed two incumbents in the Colusa City Council race.
Early returns show challengers Greg Ponicano and Marilyn Acree will claim seats on the council, while embattled Councilwoman Kay Hosmer and Mayor Pat Landreth seemed destined for defeat.
Only Councilman Kirk Kelleher, riding a wave of popularity for his vocal criticism of McClintock and Mayuga, was given four more years.
Kelleher could not be reached for comment.
With nine of 18 precincts counted and a lot of mail-in ballots that were dropped off at polling sites to be counted today, the final numbers are not in.
However, it is clear that the only thing to be settled for Kelleher and challenger Greg Ponciano is who will be the top vote-getter, with Ponciano holding a slight edge.
Ponciano said he was motivated by the Mayuga situation, but said that was not his primary motivation, and he does not believe it is the overriding motivation of the voters.
"Yes, the Mayuga deal came into play as far as motivation, but this is something that I have been conte plating for a long time," Ponciano said.
"I didn't run against anybody in this election, and I have tried to make that very clear," Ponciano said. "I ran for this town because I love it."
Acree was a distant third, but had a comfortable gap to Landreth behind her.
Acree joined the race later than the other challengers, but also raised concerns about the administration and whether the council was asking enough questions or the right ones.
She gained support with her attention-to-detail work on the Utility Committee, and later for heading up the Christmas Tyme in Colusa committee.
But she thinks the city residents were simply looking for a change.
"That is what it appears," said Acree, who was cautious with just nine of 18 precincts in the county counted.
"But if this holds up, obviously I'm thrilled."
Christopher Fantl was fifth in the early vote and Hosmer, who was the target of a specific campaign to vote her out, was a distant sixth.
There is little doubt that the McClintock-Mayuga drama, which came to the forefront when Kelleher and the consultant exchanged harsh words during a closed session in January.
By April, there was a constant clamor for an end to Mayuga's contract, but Landreth continued his support of the policy in a 3-2 vote.
It was not until later in the summer that Landreth, who admitted he was slow to see some problems he realized later, changed his position.
With that shift of power, McClintock was shown the door and Mayuga's contract was terminated shortly after that.
While Tuesday night's election may represent the turning of the page for the city, the new council faces some very big decisions in the next couple of months.
Among the first will be whether to continue with the current recruiting process of a new city manager, or to start all over again.
Ponciano and Kelleher have made it clear they are not excited about hiring another city manager if it is going to be the same situation as before, and they could get support from Councilman Tom Reische, who has made it equally clear he is open to new ideas.
Down the road, the council will also have come to terms with what are some very pronounced differences in what role a council member should play.
Ponciano believes the council should be leading the parade; Kelleher prefers setting the running order then get out of the way.
Acree is also a hands-on proponent, and perhaps more than the others, favors a strong city manager position. She would have support from Councilwoman Donna Critchfield.
Also on the new council's frontburner will be the mid-year budget review, and what is expected to be a lag in revenue and a serious cutback in reserves.
The election is not official until the county completes its canvass and the Board of Supervisors certify the results.