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Incumbents retain La Canada Flintridge City Council seats

March 04, 2009

Mayor Steve Del Guercio and Councilmember Dave Spence were returned to their seats by La Canada Flintridge voters Tuesday, soundly beating challengers Robert Richter and Vance Haemmerle.

Two seats were open on the five-seat council, which has been criticized by one of the challengers for its handling of the sewers master plan as it relates to Flintridge area properties. Clearly the majority of the voters sided with the incumbents, choosing to stick with the status quo.

A total of 3,009 votes were cast, including absentee ballots. Del Guercio captured the most votes, 1,613, with Spence not far behind, with 1,548 La Canada voters supporting him.

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Coming in third was retired JPL employee Robert Richter, who mounted a door-to-door campaign and was the candidate who asserted the lack of engineering background among council members had prevented sound decisions about the sewer projects. Richter was given the nod by 1,255 voters.

Just 15 votes separated Richter from candidate Vance Haemmerle, a current JPL employee. Haemmerle on Monday night during a City Council meeting, publicly expressed his dismay that the previously impartial LCF Chamber of Commerce had made the decision to endorse candidates prior to co-sponsoring the recent candidates' forum, without advising the forum's co-sponsoring organizations of  those endorsements. In doing so, Haemmerle  said, the Chamber gave up its non-political nature and should be kept at an arm's length from city affairs.  On Tuesday, Haemmerle garnered 1,240 votes.

Unlike previous City Council election nights, very few people turned out at City Hall Tuesday evening to watch the votes counted by election officials. Candidates Spence and Del Guercio were said to be waiting out the results at Taylor's steakhouse with friends and campaign supporters.

A complete election report will appear in the March 5 edition of the Valley Sun.

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