11/4: SONOMA WEST TIMES & NEWS ARTICLE: City Council Results...
Challenger Diana Rich tops Sebastopol council race
In the Sebastopol City Council election, one incumbent has lost his seat to a newcomer with well-known community credentials while a second incumbent holds a narrow lead to return to office as the final votes are still being counted on the day following the Nov. 3 election.
With 100% of precincts reporting at noon on Nov. 4, Diana Rich leads with 2,095 (30.53%) votes, followed by Neysa Hinton with 1,753 (25.54%), Evaristo “Evert” Fernandez with 1,734 (25.27%), incumbent Michael Carnacchi with 687 (10.01%) and Vaughn Richard Higginbotham with 594 (8.66%).
Rich, a retired attorney and former executive director of the Sebastopol Community Cultural Center, was the top vote getter in the five-way race for two open four-year term council seats. Hinton, seeking her second term, was in second place, just 19 votes ahead of challenger Fernandez, leaving incumbent Carnacchi a distant fourth place finisher. Higginbotham, who did not mount an active campaign, finished fifth.
Incumbent Carnacchi also did not run a high-profile campaign, but did hope to win enough support for a second term. He eschewed raising any campaign funds, and aside from candidate forums, his only public comments were in support of urging all eligible voters to vote.
Hinton, an assisted living facility administrator and third generation Sonoma County native, was the top vote getter in the 2016 council race where no incumbents were on the ballot. She has served one-year terms as mayor and vice mayor.
Fernandez, a financial planner and Sebastopol native, is the current chair of the city’s Planning Commission where he has served for 10 years. He is bilingual.
Sebastopol voters joined a wave of increased participation with 6,863 votes tallied so far in the preliminary results. That total exceeds the 2016 council total by 34%. The two emerging winners from the Nov. 3 election will join incumbents Patrick Slayter, Una Glass and Sarah Glade Gurney on the five-seat council. Swearing-in ceremonies will be held in early December once the final vote totals are made official by the county’s Registrar of Voters office on or before Dec. 3.