San Carlos councilmen Bob Grassilli and Matt Grocott, both longtime incumbents who shared mayoral duties this year, and the city’s economic commission chair Cameron Johnson secured seats on the council.
The three beat out appointed interim Councilwoman Karen Clapper, former mayor Inge Tiegel Doherty and former planning commissioner Michael Corral, who actively sought out no endorsements or donations.
Grassilli was the top vote-getter with 2,570 votes or 25.42 percent, followed by Johnson with 2,392 or 23.66 percent and Grocott who secured 2,121 votes or 20.98 percent.
The three grabbed the top spots from the first reporting of ballots and never shifted during the evening.
“I think it shows that honestly I try to work with everybody. I got endorsements, walked 2,500 houses and tried to reach out to everybody and tried to listen to all sides,” Grassilli said.
Grocott, a home and landscape architect who served as mayor in 2005 and 2012, a term he split with Grassilli, campaigned on the need for employee retirement benefit reform and open labor negotiations. Grocott felt that platform along with his prior council record combined helped convince voters to keep him in office. That said, as election results came in, Grocott said the anticipation never gets old or easier.
“It’s always butterflies,” he said.
But now he said it’s time to knuckle down and get to work.
Grassilli, an eight-year councilman, also took aim at city finances and suggested reviewing utility rates like garbage.
Johnson, head of the Economic Development Advisory Commission, said he ran to bring a younger, tech-savvy perspective.
“I definitely think San Carlos is about raising families and I definitely think people thought having a representative on the council that is a father with young children resonated,” Johnson said. “In the end, it’s really just about the broad message.”
Both incumbents said they look forward to working with Johnson and Grassilli jokingly gave him a bit of advice — “a lot of what we do is common sense.”
San Carlos leaders, in particular Grassilli as the mayor, received widespread attention at the tail end of the campaign season when the city declared a state of emergency because of internal Pacific Gas and Electric emails questioning safety of a key pipeline.
The race also had the shadow of the controversial Transit Village project proposed around the existing train station. The City Council is in the midst of considering the development — a reason the candidates’ position on the project was front and center — but leaves uncertain if the current or future makeup will take the critical vote.
When appointed to finish out the remaining term of the resigned mayor, Clapper promised not to run in the election but said she changed her mind at the urging of residents and the desire to maintain continuity.
Tiegel Doherty, a change management consultant who served on the council from 2001 to 2007, said she was ready for a return to council now that her children are grown.
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