Paso Robles council race too close to call
November 7, 2012
Former councilman Steve Martin leads by a fairly comfortable margin over incumbents Fred Strong and Nick Gilman and challenger Jim Reed. Martin received 27.81 percent of the votes counted.
But, Reed only trails Strong by a total of 44 votes in the race for the second council seat. Strong has received 23.52 percent and Reed has received 23.21 percent. Gilman is in fourth place with 22.16 percent.
Mayor Duane Picanco will keep his seat on the council, as he garnered 85.67 percent of the vote. The ballot only included Picanco’s name in the mayor’s race, but write-in candidates amassed a total of more than 1,000 votes. Both former councilman Gary Nemeth and Paso Robles business owner Jeff Rougeot ran as write-in candidates for mayor.
Likewise, longtime Paso Robles resident Jerry Jones ran as a write-in for city council. Write-ins received 3.31 percent of the votes cast for council members.
While the election remains undecided, at least one incumbent will likely lose his seat in a year laden with controversy for the council. Following the $250,000 “retirement“ payout to former police chief Lisa Solomon-Chitty, the concerned citizens group Change Paso Robles Now emerged and encouraged new membership on the council. Change Paso Robles Now organized a forum that provide exposure to the new candidates.