San Marino stays the course

Voters opted for stability in Tuesday’s election, returning City Councilmen Dennis Kneier and Eugene Sun to office and extending a public safety tax.

A term limit law that would cap lawmakers' service at two four-year terms before forcing them to take a hiatus of at least two years before running again also passed easily, garnering 76% of the vote.

Kneier was the top vote-getter in the city council race, earning 37% of the vote, while Sun got 36%. First-time candidate David Foley, a real estate manager, had 16% of the vote, and law firm staffer Stephanie Johnson garnered just under 12% of the vote.

Johnson said that despite losing the election, she would continue to be an active participant in city politics and has not discounted running again in the future.

“The election turn-out was low and the results conform to a historic trend that favors the status quo,” Johnson said. “My goal was to discuss the issues. I think I provided information about that to the electorate.”

There are 8,552 registered voters in San Marino, a city with a population of about 13,000 people. About 2,000 people appear to have voted in this election, but exact voter turnout figures were not available at presstime.

Voters approved Measure S, which extends a decades-old tax on property owners to support police and fire services, with 73% of the vote. The tax currently generates about $2.7 million a year, about 12% of the city's $22-million annual budget.

City Manager Matt Ballantyne said he held back on hiring a fire chief until the tax was approved because the fire and police department budgets rely heavily on it. Former Fire Chief Jim Anderson retired at the end of June.

Division Chiefs Rick Mayhew and Jim Frawley are contenders for the top position.

The only new face among elected officials in San Marino is Lisa Link, an attorney and schools volunteer who joined San Marino Unified School District President Chris Norgaard in winning a seat on the school board Tuesday. Link and Norgaard each earned 44% of the vote, with Link edging Norgaard by 26 votes. Businessman Scott Hu finished with 12%. Link replaces Karen Preston, who did not seek reelection.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated from a previous version.

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