It will be weeks before the votes are completely counted, but it appears Jim Hart will be the next sheriff of Santa Cruz County and Scotts Valley will pass a bond to pay for a new Middle School.
County Clerk Gail Pellerin said the final count will be ready by July 1 and an update of the count with vote-by-mail ballots would take place June 12. There are more than an estimated 11,500 ballots to be counted, including vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots, damaged ballots, and military and overseas ballots. Pellerin said she would release the actual number of ballots remaining to be counted on Friday.
But with more than 30,000 ballots already counted in the sheriff’s race and more than 3,000 tallied in regards to Measure A, some victories seem apparent.
With 20,140 votes, nearly triple that of Roger Wildey, Jim Hart’s victory in the sheriff’s race seems certain. Wildey, with 6,670 votes, is far behind in second place. Robert Pursley has just 3,854 votes or 12.5 percent.
Sponsored by the Scotts Valley Unified School District, Measure A needs 55 percent of the vote to pass. It faced no organized opposition and an argument against it was not even filed with Pellerin. With 71 percent support after the initial count, it seems certain to pass and SVUSD will issue $35 million in bonds to replace the town’s 70-year-old middle school.
“We’re thrilled,” said SVUSD board member Michael Schulman. “I’m really happy, but now my thoughts also turn to ‘uh-oh, now we’ve got to build a school.’”
Schulman said the board and district would full engage the community throughout the process.
“We expect to be under a lot of scrutiny,” he said.
And it appears the Board of County Supervisors will look the same next year as it has the past two. Two seats are up for grabs this year, but incumbents look like they will hold onto them. In District 3, Ryan Coonerty holds a large margin over Bob Lamonica, and in District 4, incumbent Greg Caput might not avoid a runoff, but has a big head start for November having got more than 45 percent of the vote so far. Meanwhile, both of his main challengers, former Watsonville Police Chief Terry Medina and Jimmy Dutra, a young man whose family is well known in the local agricultural industry, split the remaining vote fairly equally.
Other offices in the county will remain unchanged. Pellerin was actually one of several county officers that won reelection running unopposed and several are high-profile positions. County Superintendent of Schools Michael Watkins ran unopposed and so did District Attorney Bob Lee.
Mark Stone, State Assembly 29th District, did not run unopposed, but in this district it seems a Democrat running against a Republican might as well be. Stone had 73 percent of the early vote.
Finally, Measure F, which would reestablish a tax created in 1971 to pay for parks, but change it from $6.58 per residential unit to 8.50 per parcel, had 75 percent approval. It needs a two-thirds majority to pass.