Alhambrans voted for change in 2020, ousting three incumbent school board members and the City’s current mayor and overwhelmingly passing two government reform measures.
By Melissa Michelson
One might view the election results as a rebuke of the status quo, or old guard, as Alhambra enters a new decade amidst a pandemic, an extreme shortage of affordable housing, an increasing low-income population, and a more civically engaged electorate.
Measure G, which would have removed the Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD) from the Alhambra City Charter and paved the way for AUSD to convert to by-district elections passed by 69%. However, the results appear to be irrelevant since Measure G was not placed on all of the ballots in the area that the city’s school district encompasses, which is required. It is not yet clear how the City and AUSD will amend this matter.
Measure V, an election and campaign finance reform bill, also passed by 76%. Among other mandates, it limits campaign contributions to Alhambra City Council candidates to $250 per donor per election, prohibits developers from directly donating to City Council races, implements by-district voting for City Council elections, and mandates the City of Alhambra publish all local campaign finance reports on the City’s website.
In the City Council, two seats were up for grabs. Alhambrans chose Sasha Renee Peréz, a self-proclaimed progressive, native Alhambran and newcomer to Alhambra politics over police sergeant David Mejia (incumbent) and city commissioner Karsen Luthi. Sasha received 58% of the vote.
The other seat went to City Council incumbent Jeff Maloney, who will be entering his second term in office. He received 66% of the vote. His opponent was Design Review Board Chairwoman, Chris Olson, who adhered to a campaign promise to not accept campaign contributions over $250 per donor.
The three incumbents on the Alhambra Unified School Board lost their seats and will be replaced by Ken Tang, Kaysa Moreno, and Marcia Wilson. The latter won her seat by a scant 1.6%, or 701 votes. Although votes are still being counted, Marcia Wilson has gradually increased her lead with every update. Her opponent, Wing Ho, publicly conceded the race on social media late last week.
The new Alhambra City Council will be sworn in on December 14. Because outgoing Councilman David Mejia was fulfilling his rotating term as Alhambra Mayor, Sasha Renee Peréz will assume office as the City’s Mayor when sworn in on the 14th. At 28, Peréz will be Alhambra’s youngest city councilperson and will be the City’s youngest ever mayor.
- Alhambra Votes for Change - November 8, 2020
- Alhambra Planning Commission Rejects “The Villages,” Proposal Headed to City Council - November 3, 2020
- Alhambra’s “Villages” Developers Have the Floor for the Second Time - October 17, 2020