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Vaus, Cunningham Win Poway City Council Race

Businessman Steve Vaus and incumbent Jim Cunningham were elected Tuesday to four-year terms.

Updated at 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Steve Vaus and Jim Cunningham were elected Tuesday to the Poway City Council, with Jeff Mangum trailing the two frontrunners by around 10 percent and Gary Vineyard falling far behind.

The results with 100 percent of the precincts counted:

• Steve Vaus: 33.31 percent (8687)

• Jim Cunningham: 32.86 percent (8567).

• Jeff Mangum: 21.92 percent (5715).

• Gary Vineyard: 11.90 percent (3102).

Cunningham will begin a second term on the council, and Vaus earned a seat on the council after narrowly losing to Councilman John Mullin in 2010. Mangum was looking to return to Poway politics after a 16-year run on the Poway Unified School District’s Board of Education. Vineyard’s third attempt at being elected to the council fell short again.

Councilwoman Merrilee Boyack decided not to run for a third four-year term on the City Council and endorsed Vaus.

On the campaign trail, the candidates discussed familiar local topics such as city finances, traffic flow and encouraging business in Poway. Mangum faced questions about his tenure on the Poway Unified school board and a controversial bond that has generated much media attention. Mangum said he was able to win over skeptical voters once they learned the specifics of when the school board voted on the bond, five months after he left the board.

“When I had an opportunity to talk to people and to explain what had happened and why it happened, I think for the majority of those people they went away supporting me,” Mangum said Tuesday night. “The problem, of course, is that we just ran out of time and didn’t have the chance to have that conversation with every one of the voters in Poway.”

Cunningham said he was delighted that he is in position to serve on the council for four more years and is proud of his campaign, noting that he did not place one campaign sign in the public right-of-way or mail any negative fliers. He said he would bring the same passion and dedication to the council if re-elected, and welcomes new worthy projects in Poway.

“I think most people would say that when I embark on something I get it done,” Cunningham said Tuesday night. “And I’m looking forward to getting a lot more things done in the next four years, that’s for sure.”

Vaus credited his campaign’s success to its volunteers, who knocked on more than 6,000 doors and achieved all the objectives they set for themselves. His 103-vote loss in 2010 lit a fire in him that carried over into 2012.

“If I was going to run, the only way I was going to do it was to leave no stone unturned,” Vaus said. “We left nothing on the table. I was helped by the most incredible group of volunteers and we got out there and got it done.”

Vineyard’s campaign ran into problems with the city when signs he put up were deemed illegal by the city manager and taken down. Three signs would be put up next to each other, together spelling out “Vineyard” and appearing as if they were one huge sign.

Vineyard says City Manager Penny Riley acted outside her authority when she ordered the signs removed and is considering legal action. He said there’s no way to know if the struggle over his signs cost him votes, but it was a distraction as the race wound down.

After three failed attempts at getting on the Poway City Council, he’s not ruling out a fourth.

“Let me tell you this: I’m not throwing my signs away,” Vineyard said.

Poway Citizen November 07, 2012 at 07:02 PM
What a surprise!!!! The status quo and money has once again prevailed in Poway!
Babs November 08, 2012 at 02:22 AM
No time for complicacy. Who will the council appoint when Higginson retires? Anyone want to venture a candidate list? Now that we have an official all white male city council we must remain vigilant and involved in reviewing each and every action that "the city staff" brings to the council. Remember too that "the city staff" has a tremendous influence on what is presented and how it's presented. With the loss of a distaff member and the lack of minority representation on the city council it's a body that has to be scrutinized closely. Representative government does not mean the citizenry abdicates continual active participation. Just look at what the school board did to us because we didn't pay attention. Let's learn from our mistakes and not “pull a Poway.” Reposted with permission.
Babs November 08, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Truly Shameful One had great expectations that the Poway voters who when burned by the fiscal impropriety of a candidate would vote responsibly, if not for themselves, then at least for their children or grandchildren. Yet, here we are with one out of five Poway voters forgetting the past while ignoring the future. What does it take to shake the bushes of these stale minds to see the folly of such a vote? Thankfully, for the moment, those 20% were out voted, but the dregs remain. Maybe hope lives, but the result is truly shameful. Reposted with permission.

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