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Two new voices appear poised to join Nevada City Council

John Orona
Staff Writer

If the six-person race for three seats on the Nevada City Council can be taken as a temperature check on the state of the council’s performance, results remain inconclusive.

Initial vote tallies have political newcomers Doug Fleming and Daniela Fernandez joining incumbent mayor Reinette Senum on the Nevada City Council in July, but whether that means residents wanted change or more of the same is up for debate.

With 37% percent of votes tallied, Fleming received 505 votes, followed by 411 votes for Fernandez, and 335 votes for Senum. Election officials will release certified results within 30 days following the election.

Election results remain incomplete and unofficial.

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“Everybody’s excited here, but I won’t buy it until somebody tells me all the votes have been counted,” Fleming said.

While this race is Fleming’s first venture into electoral politics, he said he thinks his previous experience on boards and leadership ability helped propel him to an apparent win.

“People wanted an adult in the room, and I don’t say that disparagingly toward anyone else on the council at all,” Fleming said Tuesday. “The discord with the council was fresh in everybody’s mind. The people I talked to, they wanted change, they wanted civility, they wanted people to get back to the business of the city.”

Both Fernandez and Fleming agreed that most candidates shared a similar vision for addressing policy issues like affordable housing, energy independence and fire safety. The initial election results represent Nevada City residents calling for a change in approach, even if it’s a nuanced difference.

“I don’t know if it’s a different vision. I think it’s a broader perspective,” Fernandez said. “The issues are the same. We’re bringing broader and more diverse voices. I think people are excited for the prospect of newness in government.”

According to Fernandez, her campaign focused on engaging constituents not typically associated with the Nevada City electorate, which may have made the difference.

“Let’s talk about how exciting it is that this could be the most diverse City Council Nevada City has ever had,” Fernandez said. “Nevada City is ready for diversity, not only diversity in race but in sexuality, in age and life experience.”

While the election appears headed toward bringing in new faces, and denying incumbent council member David Parker another term, it also has apparently returned Senum to city leadership following a close call with a potential censure vote last year. That vote stemmed from comments she made that some members felt did not reflect well on the council.

Candidate vote totals as of Wednesday evening are as follows: Fleming, 505; Fernandez, 411; Senum, 335; Lorraine Reich, 252; Parker, 248; Rick Ewald, 190.

In the Nevada City Council race, 441 ballots were undervoted, meaning they were received without a selection for that race.

“Thank you to the community for the support because I learned a lot by talking to business owners, community leaders, residents across the town,” Fleming said. “I learned everything about this town. I thought I knew a little, but I didn’t know anything. I know what people feel like and I want to thank them for letting me in to their lives and saying this is what we want different, this is what we want you to do.”

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email jorona@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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