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Incumbents sweep Crescenta Valley Town Council election, newcomers chosen as alternates

Voting for six open seats on the Crescenta Valley Town Council wrapped Saturday, with three incumbents capturing the full-time posts and three newcomers chosen as alternates.

Of the approximately 567 votes cast, Michael Claessens received 23%, Sophal Ear garnered 20.2% and Desiree Rabinov, previously an alternate, got 16.4%. They will each serve three-year terms.

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Of the newcomers, Carin Hoffman received 16.4% of the votes, Donna Libra got 11% and Jeffrey Rodriguez received 7.2%. They will each serve one-year terms.

“They’ve got interesting ideas, and they’re energized,” Aram Ordubegian, a current council member and election commissioner, said of the incoming alternates. “That brings energy to the council.”

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One candidate, Charles Beatty, who served last year as an alternate, did not receive enough votes to return to the council.

All newly elected members will be sworn in Jan. 17 by L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. Council members advise Barger on various matters of local importance but do not have legislative power.

While the number of votes might not seem staggering, it was an unusually large turnout for the town council race, according to Ordubegian.

“It got to the point where we had to make sure we had enough ballots — which we did,” Ordubegian said.

Ordubegian attributed the high voter-participation level to a town-hall-style meeting candidates took part in Thursday, the evening before the polls opened. While the meetings are held every year, this year’s event was particularly well attended.

“It put [the election] in front of everyone’s mind,” Ordubegian said.

Approximately 70 people attended the meeting, including many residents who had not previously engaged with the council and had little to no knowledge of what it does or how it operates, according to Ordubegian.

Big-picture questions about the candidates’ experience and their vision for the council dominated the meeting, he added.

The candidates expressed varied goals in written statements they submitted before the election.

Rabinov, a transportation planning manager, said she wanted to see the council push for enhanced or new bus service “to address linking” northern parts of the Crescenta Valley, using funds from a Los Angeles County tax known as Measure M.

Both Ear, an associate professor at Occidental College, and Claessens, a retired attorney, discussed the need for responsible land use and planning.

“My goal is helping to maintain our sense of community while managing tremendous growth. I’m not beholden to developers,” Ear wrote.

Two fresh faces, Hoffman and Libra, both Realtors, said the council’s website could be improved.

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