Monthly Archives: December 2011

    No real surprise here, Hardy Brown has had a running feud with City Attorney James F. Penman for a long time now.  Here is the pertinent part of the article:

    Now one of the candidates for city clerk was so closely aligned to another candidate (Jim Penman), that they even printed their names on the same yard signs. This candidates campaign literature was even paid for by Penman. Now I am not saying she would not be independent but the printed evidence gives the impression that she would owe her election to him. Even without that political baggage, she does not match her opponent’s qualifications when it comes to the position.

    Gigi Hanna is a trained Public Records Expert in city clerk duties and has the education to handle the job. If we want to continue a legacy of competent city clerks in the position; efficiently run the department; keep politics out of the office; be a friend to citizens; improve public access to government records through technology and have fair and accurate elections then join with me in voting for Gigi Hanna for City Clerk.

    When we last left off, Amelia Sanchez Lopez won a plurality of the votes cast on November 8, 2011, with Gigi Hanna coming in second.  That set up a run-off.  It is technically not a run-off, the November 8, 2011 election was a Primary Election, with the run-off being a General Election, which will be held on February 7, 2012.

    Here is the contact information for the two candidates:


    City of San Bernardino City Clerk

    Georgeann “Gigi” Hanna  FacebookWebsite, Phone Number 909-709-2019, Email.

    Amelia Sanchez Lopez:  WebsiteFacebook, Phone number  (909) 882-7085,  Email.


    As far as campaigning, there are Gigi Hanna signs around town, particularly billboards.  I saw one of her large, freestanding signs that had been battered by the recent wind storms on the west side of the 215.  Her Facebook page has been semi-active as well.

    Amelia Sanchez Lopez’s joint signs with City Attorney Jim Penman seem to have been taken down.  I would expect new signs to go up early next year.


    According to her Facebook page, Gigi Hanna had a “Kick-off to the Run-Off” at ASA Charter School on North E Street on December 8th, and a fundraiser/afternoon tea at the house of  Shab El Awar.


    Other than that not much to report.  Ms. Hanna’s brochure website has not yet been updated to reflect the 2012 General Election.  Amelia Sanchez Lopez’s website does not appear to have changed.

    I wrote a post on October 18, 2011 about the primacy effect, primarily the legal basis for randomized election ordering in California:

    The order of candidates on ballots is determined by a random drawing done  by  the California Secretary of State’s Office.  The drawing  for the November elections statewide was done on August 18, 2011.  The drawing determines who goes first, by surname, which continues if people have similar surnames, like Reiter and Reid.

    Why does it matter?  It takes any politics out of the order of candidates.  Why does that matter?  Because of a phenomenon called the primacy effect or ballot order effect.  The Secretary of State’s website claims: this “procedure was established by legislation passed in 1975 in response to court rulings declaring that standard alphabetical order or incumbent-first was unconstitutional since there is a 5% positional bias among undecided voters.”  The ruling that the Secretary of State’s website is referring to is Gould v. Grubb (1975) 14 Cal.3d 661.  The court found that “incumbent-first” and alphabetical order violated the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution’s equal protection clause.


    The ballot order of the San Bernardino City Unified School District candidates was:

    Anna M. Cox

    Willard A. Hughes

    Margaret B. Hill

    Mike Gallo

    Lynda K. Savage

    Damon L. Alexander

    Elsa Valdez

    Juan M. Lopez

    Henry William Nickel

    Gil Navarro

    Dan Deane

    Teresa Parra

    Sharon “Bobbie” Perong

    The final results were:

    San Bernardino City Unif School Dist Gov Brd Mbr
    200/200 100.00%
    Vote Count Percent
    ANNA M. COX 1,825 4.05%
    WILLARD A. HUGHES 533 1.18%
    MARGARET B. HILL 6,671 14.79%
    MIKE GALLO 4,647 10.31%
    LYNDA K. SAVAGE 5,482 12.16%
    DAMON L. ALEXANDER 3,243 7.19%
    ELSA VALDEZ 3,079 6.83%
    JUAN M. LOPEZ 3,581 7.94%
    HENRY WILLIAM NICKEL 1,594 3.53%
    GIL NAVARRO 2,400 5.32%
    DAN DEANE 3,068 6.80%
    TERESA PARRA 4,218 9.35%
    SHARON ”BOBBIE” PERONG 4,751 10.54%
    Total 45,092 100.00%


    Anna Cox and Willard A. Hughes ran similar campaigns, with no advertising, and little campaigning.  Yet, because she was listed first on the ballot, Anna Cox received 1,825 votes to Willard A. Hughes’ 533 votes. That suggests that since she was first on the ballot, that gave her an edge in votes over Willard Hughes among undecided voters.

    What happened in the 3rd Ward race?

    The incumbent certainly has the edge in this and in all races.  Since the year 2000, the incumbent has won all of the city-wide races (Mayor, City Attorney, City Clerk and City Treasurer). Since 2001, there have been 15 council elections in San Bernardino involving an incumbent.  Of those 15 elections, only four candidates have beaten incumbents: Virginia Marquez beat Esther Estrada by 30 votes in the 1st Ward in November 2009, Jason Desjardins beat Dennis Baxter by 80 votes in the 2nd Ward in November 2009, Chas Kelley beat Joe Suarez in the 5th Ward election in November 2003 in a landslide, and Rikke Van Johnson beat Betty Dean Anderson in the 6th Ward by 79 votes in the 6th Ward in the same election.

    Based on this data, I would give the edge to the incumbent, and I would be surprised if John Valdivia won.   I would expect the more affluent areas of the Third Ward (the area adjoining Cooley Ranch in Colton will provide most of the voters.   A key difference between the 1999 and 2003 races and today is vote by mail.  I would expect that the Mayor would be more popular in the Third Ward, so that the endorsement would prove valuable.  I would expect the impact of the fire union walking precincts in the Third Ward would have less impact than, say, in the Fifth Ward.  Crime is probably an important issue to residents of the Third Ward as it is city-wide, and I think the statistics are less important than how people feel about the issue.  I think John Valdivia’s endorsement by the POA can help him on that point.  The gradual decline in city services city-wide could have an impact on the race (for example, street lights and potholes not being repaired).  Both candidates have made jobs an issue, and the economy has hurt the Third Ward, particularly Hospitality Lane.

    In short, the biggest surprise for me on election day was not just that John Valdivia won, but the margin.  The lesson from the 3rd Ward is that if your constituents do not think you are doing a good job, or that if you do not reflect their ideology, you can be voted out, even if you are an incumbent.  Two things have been stated by various anonymous wags on the Internet.  One is that the election was decided by “low information voters.”  I think that the contrary is true, only motivated voters vote in municipal-only elections.   I think you see a consistency in the number of votes in the Third Ward from 1999 to 2011.  In 1999, there were 902 votes cast in total.  There were 915 cast in 2007.  There were 1,123 in 2011.  If anything, November 2006, when Tobin Brinker first won, there was a Congressional election (in a Democratic year in a Democratic ward).   Tobin Brinker recived 1,344 votes in that election.  The second whisper from the anonymous pundits  is that the infusion of money on behalf of John Valdivia bought the election. I don’t think that is true either.    If that were true, then Jan Misquez would have won in 2003.  The numbers suggest that John Valdivia ran a good campaign, including get out the vote, and more importantly, that Tobin Brinker lost 977 votes over five years.  That suggests a council person that was not meeting the needs of their ward, not a bought election nor low information voters.