Olhasso, Voss and Davitt lead council race

La Cañada Flintridge City Council incumbents Laura Olhasso and Donald Voss, along with Planning Commissioner Michael Davitt, appeared poised for election victories after ballots were counted Tuesday night at City Hall, but there are still hundreds of votes left to count.

In the race for three open council seats, Olhasso leads the pack with 2,445 votes — 23.8% of those counted so far — followed by Voss with 2,034 (19.8%) and Davitt with 1,926 (18.8%).

Local businessman Charlie Kamar currently holds fourth place with 1,794 votes (17.5%), only 132 behind Davitt.

With 348 provisional and vote-by-mail ballots yet to be counted, it’s a margin small enough to leave Kamar some hope of victory.

“I feel great. It’s my first time running and I’m still knocking on the door,” Kamar said Wednesday.

The remaining votes — which include vote-by-mail ballots turned in at the polls on Election Day — will be counted Friday, said City Clerk Sylvia Baca.

There are 14,166 registered voters in La Cañada Flintridge, and 3,918 ballots containing up to three votes on each were counted Tuesday. Voter turnout so far stands at 27.6%, not counting the ballots that have yet to be certified and counted.

So far, attorney James Hill is holding on to fifth place with 759 votes (7.4%), followed by retired scientist Robert Richter with 722 votes (7%), and registered nurse Jacqueline Harris with 568 (5.5%).

Davitt, who entertained attendees of a campaign wrap party at Dish restaurant Tuesday night as votes were being counted, said he was proud of his campaign.

“We got our message out, and I’m very appreciative that our neighbors and friends have believed in what we said,” Davitt said of his strong showing in the preliminary vote tally.

Voss and Olhasso also had reason to smile.

That the strongest showing of support came for the two incumbent candidates, said Voss, “is a signal the residents of this city are happy with the direction the council has taken over the last four to eight years.”

Voss, Olhasso and Harris were at City Hall Tuesday to watch votes being counted, while Davitt received regular updates from his son Patrick Davitt, 18, who cast his first-ever ballot in an election for his father.

As precinct results rolled in Tuesday night, it appeared voter turnout was much greater by mail than at the polls. In the first precinct to report, one that covers the southern half of the Flintridge area, 631 votes were cast by mail but only 365 were made in person at polling places.

The high number of by-mail ballots — the first group to be counted — had also pushed incumbents and Davitt to early leads that Kamar only slowly started gaining on later that night. Of 5,733 votes cast by mail, Davitt got 1,061 (18.5%) and Kamar got 895 (15.6%).

Though less than pleased with how the count was shaking out, Harris said Tuesday that the campaign was worthwhile nonetheless.

“With seven people running, it’s a true election. I enjoyed going door-to-door and loved talking to people,” she said.

Campaign contributions to Voss, Olhasso, Davitt and Kamar totaled more than $60,000. Hill, Harris and Richter did not seek contributions.

Democratic state Assemblyman and former La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Anthony Portantino, who supported Olhasso, Voss and Davitt, also came to City Hall to watch votes being counted.

“I have respect for anybody who puts their name on a ballot, and we had a number of good people running. It’s healthy for the town to have this discussion, and thus far I’ve been pleased with the outcome,” Portantino said.

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