Precinct by Precinct, Wykle Was Moraga's Top Vote-getter

Update: A tour through the numbers, and a reflection on the campaign from ousted Council member Karen Mendonca.

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.

Wykle comments

"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 statement

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."

Karen Lewis November 08, 2012 at 04:11 AM
The effort to unseat Ms. Mendonca focused on a number of specific issues in which she was involved as a Mayor and Councilmember and were not personal assaults. It is unfortunate she has interpreted it as such. Many have been unsatisfied by her governance and felt it was both productive and necessary to make that information known, and to vote accordingly.
elaine November 08, 2012 at 05:07 AM
I voted for her just because of the negative signs, don't know who she is or what "position" she hs , just don't like negative campaining
Karen Lewis November 08, 2012 at 06:01 AM
I hope next time you will inform yourself before you vote.
William Carman November 08, 2012 at 06:51 AM
Roger, Congratulations on your victory. You won because many people came together in support of your principled leadership style, you listened to the people and they understood you care. I hope that your leadership will be based upon the principals you have gained from your lifetime of public service through the Coast Guard. May you rescue Moraga, and restore our trust in government. I believe this will be one of many steps leading Roger to greater things in this American democracy. To the person who put a rock in my window last night thank you, for the demonstration of what civility is not. Democracy is about talking over problems without getting violent. I am still proud I was a Roger Wykle supporter. I am proud to have worked with people who choose to educate the Moraga voters. Educated people voted, on the issues important to them and voted for either their favorite candidates, or their opinion of the lesser evil. I applaud all who ran, win or loose. . Karen served Moraga and deserves a thank you for the good she did do. Moraga is a community of volunteers, who risk their egos, and put their hearts into building a better community, and Karen did what she thought was best for Moraga, apparently Moraga residents wanted something different. Karen I thank you for listening to my concerns over the last four years. You put your heart into the job. Thank you for your service. Mike Metcalf, Phill Arth, congratulations!
Andrew November 08, 2012 at 04:06 PM
The jury will still be out on this new council until there are tangible developments for the public to see. You state that Moraga is a community of volunteers. Well, there should be a qualifier on that perspective. You can volunteer only if you are accepted into the same mindset of "the group". Intentions are well and fine, but hardly inclusive. This is evidenced by the current abuse situation confronting the MSD. This whole situation was a manifestation of the out-of-control aspirations of a few parents. Who than organized to create an after-school sports program at JM which allowed some hand-picked teachers to be above the law. Without checks and balances, this is the result. That brings us back to inclusiveness. In Moraga, it isn't what you know. It's who you know. And it's been that way for a long, long time. So we will see if there is some epiphany on this new council. I, for one, will be holding my breath waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
Chris Nicholson November 08, 2012 at 04:30 PM
This was obviously a holistic and principled election and a illustration of democracy at it's best. Those who cynically view this result as a single-issue campaign insult the newly-elected members. I'm sure the new council will win universal praise from the community----until the next time RLP hits the agenda. My lesson: never get between a man and his dog.
Brent Ainsworth November 08, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Congrats to Phil Arth!
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 08, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Ms Mendonca. I am not surprised by your sour grapes. The antipathy created around you as a candidate was not created out of whole cloth. And negative publicity historically backfires on the perps. There is much truth in the adage, "There's no such thing as bad publicity". The backlash was based on your behavior on the Council, reversal of positions, disrespectful treatment of legitimate input to the TC, and folks were tired of your recalcitrance and stubborn resistence to put an end to an essentially false cause that wasted 4 years of the Town Council's time and energy. Moraga's residents are knowledgeable and perceptive. It was a lack of leadership on your part, pure and simple.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 08, 2012 at 05:26 PM
So who's the new Mayor? Another negative move by Mendonca and Chew to rewrite a Moragan tradition of appointing the second most vote getter as VM. They passed it off to Harpham who apparently could not stand the heat and left the kitchen. Is Roger the Mayor by virtue of his best-in-class performance? Go Roger! Go Moraga!
Nice and Rough November 08, 2012 at 05:35 PM
My lesson: People in Moraga need their Valium dosages increased.
Douglas Home November 08, 2012 at 10:21 PM
Well, I guess in order to not offend any incumbent or launch a "vicious personal assault" we'll just have to post the signs as follows: DEFEAT...YOU KNOW WHO
Andrew November 08, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Next up in the cleaning house bullpen....Trotter and Chew
Andrew November 08, 2012 at 11:44 PM
I guess Karen Mendonca learned the first, second, and third lessons of politics. First, never underestimate the fickled nature of the electorate. Second, politics is a contact sport not a pillow fight. Third, incumbent losers are branded political pariahs.
Sonny November 08, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Congratulations to the New Council Members - Commander Wykle and Mr. Arth! Congratulations as well Mayor Metcalf. Thank you for your service Ms. Mendonca! And Mr. Freeman, thank you for your pursuit of this opportunity to serve. In this as in all pursuits, there is honor in defeat which is often complemented by magnanimity in victory. I believe Mr. Carman captured this spirit in his words, above when he said: "Moraga is a community of volunteers, who risk their egos, and put their hearts into building a better community...." Best wishes to all.
Richard Kline November 09, 2012 at 03:13 AM
I have a request of the single issue dog park enthusiasts. Please give Mr. Wykle and Arth a reasonable amount of time to orient themselves and connect with the broader population of Moraga before throwing down the "recall ____" fury. Your dog park candidate has run twice and lost twice. Part of that message is that outside of patch and mornings/evenings at RLP the voters of Moraga are not with you that dogs roaming free at RLP is akin our freedom of speech...there are bigger fish to fry right now.Trashing Karen Mendonca may have felt good and even been effective in her defeat but really didnt contribute to an honest debate for the greater good of Moraga. Best of luck to our council in the years ahead doing the entire towns business.
Nice and Rough November 09, 2012 at 12:40 PM
I hope the Council attracts a new pharmacy to town.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 09, 2012 at 09:57 PM
I recently authored a Patch Blog article covering Mendonca's duplicity which, when combined with broken campaign promises, served to alienated many of her now 'former' supporters. She essentially blamed everything and everybody for her loss, while accepting no personal responsibility for the systematic alienation of her support base. The irony is, of course, her devious, unscrupulous behavior was relatively transparent to those Moragans that followed the debacle, and her lack of civility throughout may well have fueled her demise. Arrogant and short-sighted, she continues to call it a 'smear campaign'. Hoisted, then, by her own petard, she will slink into anonymity. Seth Freeman, misunderstood and mis-characterized, would have been a fine choice and is gracious in defeat. I might suggest the new TC make use of his expertise in things fiscal by consulting him as an outside source of strategies and information as they settle in to do the appropriate work of governance facing them.
Chris Gerding November 10, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Richard Kline, I have not seen one candidate "trashed" throughout this entire election process. No one was " smeared", and the very idea that "dirty politics" was employed is laughable. Are you confusing Moraga CA with Cook County, IL? The very idea that negative messaging by itself amounts to a "smear campaign" indicates a major gap in understanding. If I say, " Don't vote for Kline" versus if I manufacture falsehoods about you having a drug problem, a felony conviction, etc and spread these lies among voters....do you honestly not differentiate between these scenarios and call them both "smear campaigns"?? Karen Mendonca is busy spinning her victimhood, hoping to confuse the public on this same point. She would have you believe that the mere act of posting a sign discouraging you from voting for her amounts to "smearing" her. She probably also believes that Letters to the Editor which express disagreement with her policies and plans are also "smears". This is all to deny credit to voters who, reading such signs, educate themselves and vote fully informed. Some "smear" that is, huh?
Karen Lewis November 10, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Thank you Chris. You made an important distinction in your second paragraph... and you are correct. I hope those put off by the signs will give that some thought..
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