Senum, Bergman, McKay, Locke win
A large crowd at the Stonehouse Restaurant broke into cheers Tuesday night when it was announced that Reinette Senum, Robert Bergman and incumbent David McKay had grabbed large leads in the Nevada City council race.
When the results were final, Senum received 611 votes (31 percent), McKay 555 (28 percent) and Bergman 547 (27 percent). Gene Downing, the fourth candidate for the three open spots, had 277 votes (14 percent).
In the city clerk’s race, former City Treasurer Niel Locke beat longtime City Councilman Steve Cottrell. Locke had 440 votes, or 58 percent of the vote, and Cottrell had 314 votes, or 42 percent.
The results were announced at a victory party organized by the Senum campaign. Bergman and McKay were also at the event on the second floor of the restaurant in downtown Nevada City.
Mayor Sally Harris, who did not seek re-election, was there as well as former Mayor Conley Weaver, former City Manager Mark Miller, business owners and other officials.
The crowd began gathering around 7 p.m. and enjoyed music from the band Inya Eeya before Senum’s announcement, which lead to a round of congratulations for all the candidates.
Bergman, a Nevada City planning commissioner and real estate attorney, was expected to battle Downing for the third and final spot on the council. When told he was one of the evening’s leaders, the first-time candidate said he looks forward to getting to work.
“I’m really excited to be on the council. I’m sure a lot of progress can be made with the new council,” he said.
Bergman, 60, had 27 percent of the vote. He said “customer service” will be one of his goals as well as “revisiting some of the ordinances and making them applicable to the time and sensible to the community.”
Senum, who many thought was a lock to win a city council seat, had 30 percent of the votes. In between numerous hugs from supporters and friends, the 42-year-old said she believes Nevada City wants to embrace change.
“I’m thrilled and I’m honored,” she said. “This indicates the desire of the community to bring new energy here.”
Senum said she is considering organizing a “community congress” to help set goals for the next four years for Nevada City, as well as seeking an energy audit of all city buildings.
McKay, who was elected to his third term, said he’s looking forward to working with his new fellow council members. “This is what Nevada City needs to go forward in the 21st century,” said McKay, 57. “It’s a great slate.”
Downing was unavailable for comment on Tuesday night. The former city councilman and city treasurer said he wasn’t planning any campaign activities on election night.
Tuesday night’s winners will be sworn in sometime in early July. They will join Barbara Coffman, who was elected to the council in 2006, and Harris, who did not run for re-election but was recently appointed as an interim city council member.
She will fill that position until a special election is held on Nov. 3 to select a replacement to finish the final 19 months of the term of Sheila Stein, who quit the council unexpectedly less than half-way into her first term.
The city clerk’s race, meanwhile, featured candidates with two distinct views on the role of the city clerk.
Locke said in his campaign that he wanted to see the city clerk’s office take on a more meaningful role and to be a “counterbalance” to the city council.
Cottrell, whose fourth term as a city council member ends in July, has said the office has outlived its usefulness after recent changes at City Hall and that the position should be appointed rather than elected.
The winner will finish the term of Cathy Wilcox-Barnes, who resigned earlier this year. The term ends in 2010.
Neither candidate was available for comment on Tuesday night.
To contact Staff Writer Pat Butler, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4239.
Nevada City council
n Reinette Senum 31%
n David McKay 28%
n Robert Bergman 27%
n Gene Downing 14%
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