Council Majority Holding on Narrowly in Costa Mesa

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Costa Mesa’s city council majority hangs in the balance, with the council minority expanded to two of five seats and Mayor Jim Righeimer, a council-majority member, narrowly holding on to his seat, according to the latest round of election results.

Additionally, a proposed city charter measure backed by the council majority lost, with 63 percent of voters opposing it.

School board member Katrina Foley – whose positions are often starkly different from Righeimer and the rest of the council majority – safely won a council seat, with 26.4 percent of the vote and all precincts reporting, according to the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

The top two vote-getters win seats on the council.

Righeimer is in second with 5,414 votes, or 20.4 percent.

That’s just 21 votes ahead of third place candidate Jay Humphrey, who stands at 5,393 votes or 20.4 percent.

Though all precincts are reporting, numerous additional ballots remain to be counted, explained Neal Kelly, the county’s registrar of voters.

Those include “vote-by-mail ballots dropped off at polling places, paper ballots cast at polling places, etc.,” and others, Kelley said via email.

Meanwhile, the council majority’s city charter proposal lost, with 63 percent of voters opposing it.

And an advisory measure asking whether toll lanes should be built on the 405 freeway won with nearly 54 percent of counted ballots.

Here are the raw results so far, as of midnight:

  • Katrina Foley – 6,667 votes (26.4 percent)

  • Jim Righeimer – 5,414 votes (21.4 percent)

  • Jay Humphrey – 5,393 votes (21.3 percent)

  • Lee Ramos – 3,734 (14.8 percent)

  • Tony Capitelli – 1,344 votes (5.3 percent)

  • Al Melone – 1,071 votes (4.2 percent)

  • Rita Louise Simpson – 867 votes (3.4 percent)

  • Christopher Scott Bunyan – 774 votes (3.1 percent)

Costa Mesa has experienced tense political confrontations in recent years, amid an effort by the council majority to outsource many of city services to the private sector.

If the charter had passed, it would have allow the city to outsource many more city services than currently allowed.

It would have also banned the city from requiring contractors to pay “prevailing wages,” which are often much higher than minimum wage, when working on public projects that are funded solely by the city.

And it would have required that voters give two-thirds approval before any increases to city employee pension or retiree benefits.

A previous charter measure by the council majority was rejected by voters in 2012.

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