Update: Thursday, Nov. 8, comments from Roger Wykle.
There will be a couple new faces on the Moraga Town Council, including that of Roger N. Wykle, the top vote-getter in Tuesday's election.
Wykle with 3,599 votes finished more than 500 votes ahead of the second-place finisher, incumbent (Mayor) Mike Metcalf. Finishing third and gaining a seat was Phillip Arth with 2,986 votes. Finishing out of the running was incumbent Karen Mendonca with 2,235 and Seth Freeman with 1,898.
"Overall, it was a very positive experience," said Wykle in a telephone interview Thursday about his first occasion of seeking elective office. "I definitely had a great team of supporters and campaign committee. There were a lot of moving parts."
Wykle had an Election Night get-together for supporters. The first returns came in at 8:30 with a handful of precincts counted. "As the engineer, I was saying, 'Hang on,'" said Wykle.
Asked at what point he felt his message was getting through to voters, Wykle chuckled and answered that was at 11:35 p.m. Election Night. Then, nine of nine Moraga precincts were reporting. It was clear Wykle was the top vote-getter.
Wykle in campaign appearances advocated the preservation of open space in Moraga through upholding and defending the town's general plan. He has served on the planning commission for nearly three years.
Wykle and fellow newcomer Phil Arth are due to take office at a meeting on Wednesday, Dec 12.
Contra Costa County's number-crunching elections website shows that Wykle led in eight of nine precincts — finishing second in the smallest precinct with 27 total votes in Precinct 9739 (I think it's a precinct for absentee ballots, but I was unable to confirm that). See chart that accompanies story.
Wykle, a retired Coast Guard commander, serves on the Moraga Planning Commission.
In the goals on his campaign website, Wykle says he will:
- Preserve Moraga’s open space, ridgelines and semi-rural character.
- Exercise fiscal responsibility.
- Support our schools and youth/recreational programs, and strengthen cooperation between the Town, the School District, and Saint Mary’s College.
- Act to revitalize Moraga Center and support locally owned businesses.
- Encourage and listen to public input.
- Strengthen our General Plan to better reflect community priorities.
Arth, a member of the town's Audit and Finance Committee, cites his decades-long experience as a Certified Public Accountant in bringing heightened fiscal discipline and awareness to the town council. he advocates arriving at a financial consensus to improve town roads — a goal that got a boost Tuesday with the voters' approval with a 70.07 percent yes vote of Measure K, a 1 percent sales tax targeted for town roads.
"I don't think I ever had a time when I felt confident I had the votes," Arth wrote in an email. "The competition was impressive, and I was just dedicated to seeing the process to a conclusion that represented by best effort."
Mendonca encountered a local campaign targeting her as an individual, citing her positions on the Rancho Laguna Park issue. It included lawn signs and a StopMendonca website.
In an email Wednesday, Mendonca stated: "Although the weeks preceding the election were most disconcerting as to their constant and targeted negativity, I did not think that most Moraga citizens would be deceived by this approach. When I saw the first set of preliminary returns last evening, I knew that my assessment was incorrect and that the very personal and targeted visual and verbal assaults had taken the ultimate toll on this re-election campaign effort."