DANVILLE -- It was a crowded field and a sometimes contentious race for three open seats on the town council, but the two longtime incumbents won handily, and so did the one candidate who was their ally.
Councilman Mike Doyle won the most votes, followed closely by Mayor Newell Arnerich. Planning Commissioner Renee Morgan took the third available seat, beating out
Bob Nealis, Deanna Sullivan, Jim Jelincic and Lori Hock.
"I'm honored to be back on the council," Arnerich said. "I look forward to continuing on the path we've been on -- protecting open space and keeping Danville a great place to raise a family."
Doyle, who has been on the council for 21 years, said this campaign was the most difficult he had worked on and that he was subjected to name-calling and aspersions cast his way by opponents.
"The average citizen of Danville saw through it," Doyle said. "The people of Danville know what we've done for the last 20 years. We've kept it on the straight and narrow and kept a good fiscal policy. I'm the happiest person on God's green earth that Newell won and Renee won. We're going to keep this town fiscally sound, and that's why we won big."
Morgan, who served on the planning commission for eight years, will be the new face on the council. She will fill the seat vacated by former Mayor Candace Andersen who resigned in June to take a seat on the county board of supervisors.
"I'm very excited to work with the existing
The big issue during the campaign was a proposal for 70 new homes in Magee Ranch. A group called Save Our Creek, consisting of about 1,000 town residents, opposed Arnerich, Doyle and Morgan during the campaign, and supported Nealis and Jelincic, who opposed the housing project.
Arnerich, Doyle and Morgan have not come out against the proposal. Nothing has been decided on it while an environmental impact report is being reviewed.
Otherwise, there were no other major issues contested during the campaign. All the candidates agreed that the town is in good shape financially and has been well-managed. A large reserve fund got the town through the economic downturn that began in 2008 without cuts to staff and services.
Sales tax revenues have since recovered from lows in 2009 and this year hit an all-time high. Arnerich said property values in Danville are climbing again and building permits for remodels of homes are up.
"We're excited to have a new member of our council," Arnerich said. "We're in great financial shape. Danville residents want us to stay on the same course, manage our finances well, provide good services, keep the town looking good and protect open space."
Contact Jason Sweeney at 925-847-2123. Follow him at Twitter.com/Jason_Sweeney.