News

Slim margins in challenge for East Palo Alto City Council seats

Early election results show incumbents, newcomer hold top 3 spots

As of Nov. 11, candidates Lisa Gauthier, Carlos Romero and Antonio Lopez are the three top-vote getters in the race for East Palo Alto City Council. Photos by Magali Gauthier.

UPDATE: As of Nov. 18, at 4:30 p.m., first-time challenger and doctoral student Antonio Lopez maintained his lead against Webster Lincoln, a data scientist and another newcomer to the East Palo Alto City Council race, with 67 votes. Lincoln had initially been in the lead for the third council seat, though with shrinking margins as small as four votes, before he was overtaken by Lopez on Nov. 11. Lisa Gauthier keeps her first-place finish with 3,298 votes and Carlos Romero still stands in second place with 3,201 votes. Results will be updated on Friday, Nov. 20, at 4:30 p.m.

Candidates Lisa Gauthier, Carlos Romero and Webster Lincoln have taken the lead in the race for three open seats on the East Palo Alto City Council, according to unofficial results from the San Mateo County Elections Office.

The Elections Office is reporting 5,576 votes have been counted for the council race as of 4:30 p.m., Thursday. (For the overall county, 65.1% of submitted ballots have been counted.)

East Palo Alto City Clerk Walfred Solorzano said Wednesday that around 8,000 votes are expected to be counted after seeing a record voter turnout, with 5,400 ballots cast by Tuesday morning and a surge of last-minute voters coming in later that evening.

In a race with seven candidates — three incumbents and four challengers — election results are showing a distribution of votes among the candidate. None has received more than 20% of the total votes.

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So far, incumbent Lisa Gauthier sits at the top with 2,290 votes, followed by former vice mayor Carlos Romero, who has 2,121 votes, then newcomer Lincoln, with 2,058, and newcomer Antonio Lopez, the 26-year-old doctoral student who hoped to mobilize youth voters this election cycle, with 1,931 votes.

Seeing the initial results, Lincoln said in an interview with this news organization that he believes the city of East Palo Alto made the right choice.

As a newcomer to the race, Lincoln has a long list of issues, from restorative justice to police reform, that he hopes to home in on during his four-year term. But right now, his immediate focus, should the final vote count cement his spot on the council, would be to address the impacts the coronavirus has had on the city.

"The most important thing is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure there's protections in place so residents are not displaced and the essential needs are taken care of," Lincoln said. "There's a lot of things we want to do but we have to take care of this pandemic."

Similarly, Gauthier said there are a lot of issues to address in the city, from housing to the East Palo Alto Sanitary District. But right now, the longtime East Palo Alto resident and mother of three said she's focused more on family matters with a new grandson from her daughter now in the picture.

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"I left the campaign trail as of Sunday to be with my daughter," Gauthier said.

The incumbent also said she did not want to call a race prematurely in a council election that can be decided with less than 200 votes, especially since they'll be spread out amongst six other candidates.

Lopez, who is increasingly closing the gap between him and Lincoln with just 127 votes, also said in an interview that he was campaigning until the polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, which could impact the final results. Still to be counted are conditional voter registration or provisional ballots.

Romero, an affordable housing consultant, said that he believes people turned out for him because of his nearly four-decade track record in the city, first serving on the Rent Stabilization Board in 1984 and later joining the council in 2008.

But like Gauthier, the former vice mayor agreed that anything can happen to the results in the next few days.

"In the last 2016 election, I was in fourth place, trailing Lisa by about 257 votes, but ultimately ended in first with over 250 votes of Larry Moody," Romero said. He also added that the "past is not the prologue" and 2020 is an anomaly, considering all the ways COVID-19 could have affected voter behaviors.

The lone incumbent who sits below Lopez in the results is Larry Moody, the former mayor and vice mayor who is seeking a third term on the council.

"I haven't taken it all in yet," Moody said. "This might be the first time on Nov. 3 that I went to bed not certain that I was going to be reelected."

Out of all the candidates taking the lead, the longtime East Palo Alto resident said he was a bit surprised to see Lincoln at the top of the results.

"I wish I could say I know him, but I don't," he said. "I've never met him and I think many in the community felt that way."

This election, a record 11,748 people are registered to vote in East Palo Alto. Though it doesn't necessarily translate to the number of people who participated in the council election, more votes are expected to come through in a race that is showing very tight margins.

The total voter count for this year's election is also expected to surpass the turnout of the 2016 election, when 6,965 out of 10,221 registered voters cast ballots, according to statewide data analyzed by the Bay Area Equity Atlas.

This story will be updated as more results come in.

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Slim margins in challenge for East Palo Alto City Council seats

Early election results show incumbents, newcomer hold top 3 spots

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Nov 3, 2020, 11:26 pm
Updated: Wed, Nov 18, 2020, 4:59 pm

UPDATE: As of Nov. 18, at 4:30 p.m., first-time challenger and doctoral student Antonio Lopez maintained his lead against Webster Lincoln, a data scientist and another newcomer to the East Palo Alto City Council race, with 67 votes. Lincoln had initially been in the lead for the third council seat, though with shrinking margins as small as four votes, before he was overtaken by Lopez on Nov. 11. Lisa Gauthier keeps her first-place finish with 3,298 votes and Carlos Romero still stands in second place with 3,201 votes. Results will be updated on Friday, Nov. 20, at 4:30 p.m.

Candidates Lisa Gauthier, Carlos Romero and Webster Lincoln have taken the lead in the race for three open seats on the East Palo Alto City Council, according to unofficial results from the San Mateo County Elections Office.

The Elections Office is reporting 5,576 votes have been counted for the council race as of 4:30 p.m., Thursday. (For the overall county, 65.1% of submitted ballots have been counted.)

East Palo Alto City Clerk Walfred Solorzano said Wednesday that around 8,000 votes are expected to be counted after seeing a record voter turnout, with 5,400 ballots cast by Tuesday morning and a surge of last-minute voters coming in later that evening.

In a race with seven candidates — three incumbents and four challengers — election results are showing a distribution of votes among the candidate. None has received more than 20% of the total votes.

So far, incumbent Lisa Gauthier sits at the top with 2,290 votes, followed by former vice mayor Carlos Romero, who has 2,121 votes, then newcomer Lincoln, with 2,058, and newcomer Antonio Lopez, the 26-year-old doctoral student who hoped to mobilize youth voters this election cycle, with 1,931 votes.

Seeing the initial results, Lincoln said in an interview with this news organization that he believes the city of East Palo Alto made the right choice.

As a newcomer to the race, Lincoln has a long list of issues, from restorative justice to police reform, that he hopes to home in on during his four-year term. But right now, his immediate focus, should the final vote count cement his spot on the council, would be to address the impacts the coronavirus has had on the city.

"The most important thing is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure there's protections in place so residents are not displaced and the essential needs are taken care of," Lincoln said. "There's a lot of things we want to do but we have to take care of this pandemic."

Similarly, Gauthier said there are a lot of issues to address in the city, from housing to the East Palo Alto Sanitary District. But right now, the longtime East Palo Alto resident and mother of three said she's focused more on family matters with a new grandson from her daughter now in the picture.

"I left the campaign trail as of Sunday to be with my daughter," Gauthier said.

The incumbent also said she did not want to call a race prematurely in a council election that can be decided with less than 200 votes, especially since they'll be spread out amongst six other candidates.

Lopez, who is increasingly closing the gap between him and Lincoln with just 127 votes, also said in an interview that he was campaigning until the polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday, which could impact the final results. Still to be counted are conditional voter registration or provisional ballots.

Romero, an affordable housing consultant, said that he believes people turned out for him because of his nearly four-decade track record in the city, first serving on the Rent Stabilization Board in 1984 and later joining the council in 2008.

But like Gauthier, the former vice mayor agreed that anything can happen to the results in the next few days.

"In the last 2016 election, I was in fourth place, trailing Lisa by about 257 votes, but ultimately ended in first with over 250 votes of Larry Moody," Romero said. He also added that the "past is not the prologue" and 2020 is an anomaly, considering all the ways COVID-19 could have affected voter behaviors.

The lone incumbent who sits below Lopez in the results is Larry Moody, the former mayor and vice mayor who is seeking a third term on the council.

"I haven't taken it all in yet," Moody said. "This might be the first time on Nov. 3 that I went to bed not certain that I was going to be reelected."

Out of all the candidates taking the lead, the longtime East Palo Alto resident said he was a bit surprised to see Lincoln at the top of the results.

"I wish I could say I know him, but I don't," he said. "I've never met him and I think many in the community felt that way."

This election, a record 11,748 people are registered to vote in East Palo Alto. Though it doesn't necessarily translate to the number of people who participated in the council election, more votes are expected to come through in a race that is showing very tight margins.

The total voter count for this year's election is also expected to surpass the turnout of the 2016 election, when 6,965 out of 10,221 registered voters cast ballots, according to statewide data analyzed by the Bay Area Equity Atlas.

This story will be updated as more results come in.

Comments

Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 4, 2020 at 11:21 am
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2020 at 11:21 am
4 people like this

Retention of Gauthier and Romero would be wise. Watching the posturing from some of the newcomers and their fan base has been both amusing and tiring. It’s obvious Lincoln has a lot to learn but even so his recent gaffes are interesting. As for the newcomers who don’t win, we hope they actually learn how civic processes work before they run again.


Respectfully Yours
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 12, 2020 at 1:53 am
Respectfully Yours, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 12, 2020 at 1:53 am
12 people like this

I wasn't going to comment on this post. That is not until I came across a few remarks, I thought unfair? Where Lincoln seems to be the only New Comer that has been alienated, with remarks of "gaffes"? Stating that he had a lot to learn. None of these kinds of remarks were made about the other Newcomers. I don't know where this is coming from. But it appears odd. Just because another Candidate proclaims that they don't know of someone, doesn’t mean that He isn’t known by Others. This just isn't fair.
When a few of the other Candidates (in this article) says things as being facts.
Frankly one side of the community never heard of Lopez, or Mendez?
Moody words of "I wish I could say I know him, but I don't," he said. "I've never met him and I think many in the community felt that way."
Lincoln posted photos of him on the “Little League” team? Wasn't Moody a Little league Couch at one time?
When its vastly noted in Social Media that Lincoln and his family were maligned daily. Because of His Family (not him) ran/operated the PAWD & EPASD for over 30yrs. Lincoln posted numerous pictures of himself and the Former Mayor Mouton, at his Parents Wedding.
I took this condemnation as an Act of "Sour Grapes." Politics.

Everyone noted that Lincoln (Out spent) all the Candidates. Necessary in gaining recognition, legally. I took those posters as an attempt in Shaving off Votes. After all this is Politics. They made light of his associations. One direct claim stooped as low, regarding Lincoln's Spouse from Columbia? Lincoln was accused of using Her to infiltrate a certain community. Like I mentioned I attributed all of this to them shaving off votes.
Just like I attributed the New Candidates and Incumbent Romero casting a "Tacos for Votes" event right outside a Big Church.
[Portion removed.]
The [portion removed] event may be the reason as to the "surge" in the "conditional voter registration & provisional ballots that were obtained outside the Church.
Romero started out late in campaigning. Then suddenly teamed up with Lopez & Julian Garcia and is spotted at the polling place [portion removed] Soliciting "Votes for Tacos".
It would seem after four-decades, that Romero would have known better. The event was well documented and photos exist.
By publicly advertising and offering incentives for would-be (hungry) voters to come to the polls, and electioneering at the event, I believe that their intent was not only to induce would-be voters to come to vote, but also influence the outcome of the election [portion removed.] Looking at the election results; Romero, Garcia and Lopez significantly outperformed at voting centers relative to other candidates on election night. [Portion removed.]
During these hard times. Any Food from any direction would be welcomed.

ELECTION DAY AND VOTING VIOLATIONS:
Receiving money, a gift, loan or any other valuable considerations for
Voting - Elections Code section 18521.


Rogue Dawg
Registered user
Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
on Nov 12, 2020 at 4:57 am
Rogue Dawg, Woodland Ave. area (East Palo Alto)
Registered user
on Nov 12, 2020 at 4:57 am
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


Mark Dinan
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 12, 2020 at 1:29 pm
Mark Dinan, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 12, 2020 at 1:29 pm
1 person likes this

Fascinating to see how the close the race is between Lopez and Lincoln. There will be a huge difference between the policy positions Lincoln Webster and Antonio Lopez. In EPA, literally "every vote counts!"


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 14, 2020 at 4:10 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 14, 2020 at 4:10 pm
Like this comment

Seems like there are some sore losers in the comments. It’s sad their candidate didn’t win, but now they’re slandering the vice mayor. Better watch out, slanderers, because you can’t prove your assertions and are publicly lying about an elected official.


Patient Observer
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 17, 2020 at 2:32 pm
Patient Observer, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 17, 2020 at 2:32 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 18, 2020 at 11:56 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 18, 2020 at 11:56 pm
Like this comment

It’ll be great to get this election wrapped up with Lopez on board. We look forward to seeing how Wallace Jones navigates a council and staff after lashing out at so many of them.


Patient Observer
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 19, 2020 at 5:29 am
Patient Observer, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 19, 2020 at 5:29 am
6 people like this

I don't see where there is any need in Mischaracterizing the Mayor?
As we all know, ALL meetings are recorded. And In your Own words.
"Better watch out, slanderers, because you can’t prove your assertions and
are publicly lying about an elected official."


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 19, 2020 at 11:46 am
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 19, 2020 at 11:46 am
Like this comment

Patient Observer your defense of the mayor doesn’t change what happened, just like lying about the vice mayor doesn’t change what happened.


Heavenly Blue
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 19, 2020 at 12:43 pm
Heavenly Blue, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 19, 2020 at 12:43 pm
6 people like this

"The Mayor of East Palo Alto NEIGHBORS" is petty and small. He continues to lash out against Wallace-Jones because he was accused of being not able to tolerate "Original Hue-Residents", and she did not defend him. He should learn that if he doesn’t want to be called an intolerant of "Original Hue-Residents", he should stop acting like one”


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 19, 2020 at 1:09 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 19, 2020 at 1:09 pm
Like this comment

Heavenly Blue and their buddies continue to complain while data show their candidate lost.


Heavenly Blue
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 20, 2020 at 12:18 am
Heavenly Blue, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 20, 2020 at 12:18 am
4 people like this

Now O.P.R. You have me thoroughly confused?
I referred to Your depiction of & the previous post of your mischaracterizing the Current Mayor and You "Deflect" by mentioning Buddies of a Candidate? This has everything to do with you "Slandering" Wallace Jones?
It sure sounds like the people that witness your comments of being bias, that your intentions must be true?


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 23, 2020 at 2:01 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 23, 2020 at 2:01 pm
Like this comment

No slander given that Wallace Jones publicly lashed out and accused staff of an underhanded scheme. She also lashed out at her fellow council members. If she can’t handle the pressure and workload she should resign.


Heavenly Blue
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 23, 2020 at 6:26 pm
Heavenly Blue, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 23, 2020 at 6:26 pm
4 people like this

I beg to differ. Your statement was meant to Slander. Then you ended your 2 Sentences with your True Wants and Desires aka: Intentions.
You're playing "High School Games".
I think that Mayor Wallace Jones handled herself properly. The Grace of a "Queen".
I saw the inner action. She had 3 vicious Council Members going at Her, as though she were a "Ping Pong Ball".
And They The Paddles!
ALL 3 that were involved, were Up for Reelection!
This happened prior to The Election Day. All 3 were putting on a Show. In order of Showing The Developers & Their Base How Big Bad, Tough and ready they were! Worthy of being on the Council. "Look at Me. I can Take Down the Mayor. Am For YOU!" Showing The Developers how HARD They could Fight For Them.
Trying to Force the Mayors Hand. She ended up doing a "John McCain" and did a Thumbs down!
This is what you are Angry about.
You want to Take OUT the Sanitation Dept.
You and They want EPASD out the way. Why? Interrupting the Developers perhaps.

The Council Members were attacking East Palo Alto Sanitation District. She as Mayor had to do her Due Diligence. If She said that the staff did not give her the information. That's what it is. She wanted Time.
They began to YELLING at Her!...Am Sorry, this was upsetting to us that watch the Fiasco!
Whats worse The One Council Person Misleading the Public by stating that He had Contacted Her of recent.

This still hasn't been proven, because He did not share any DATES with Her or the Public.
This was Notice by a Very Good Observer. You see you weren't the Only one that was watching. And its ALL on Tape...smh...How dare you!
And The Council Person that offer the information, has been proven not to be a great purveyor for the Truth.


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 23, 2020 at 6:31 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 23, 2020 at 6:31 pm
Like this comment

What a bizarre response. But hey, you do you, Heavenly Blue.


Heavenly Blue
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 23, 2020 at 6:46 pm
Heavenly Blue, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 23, 2020 at 6:46 pm
Like this comment

Just as Long as You can Do You. O.P.R.
Should I say "You definitely hit the Bizarre buttons"? You directly mislead.


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 23, 2020 at 7:18 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 23, 2020 at 7:18 pm
Like this comment

Sour grapes from you Heavenly Blue since your buddy lost. Maybe next time! He can run against Wallace Jones. That’ll give him time to move back into town.


Heavenly Blue
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 24, 2020 at 2:40 am
Heavenly Blue, East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 24, 2020 at 2:40 am
Like this comment

Wow, you assume a lot?
Figures. While you spend a lot of Time peeking through other Folks Windows.
While you are at it. Why don't you look into the Home that SOLD over on Pulgas.
Too Bad it only had One Bathroom.
Oh, since you are seeking Someone to Run against The Incumbent. I don't see why
You shouldn't give it a shot.......AGAIN


Optimist Pessimist Realist
Registered user
East Palo Alto
on Nov 25, 2020 at 2:57 pm
Optimist Pessimist Realist , East Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 25, 2020 at 2:57 pm
Like this comment

Give what a shot again? Unfortunately, your post doesn’t make much sense. Almost time for turkey sandwiches!


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