By Galen Patterson
The preliminary numbers are in for 2018’s election of Arcadia’s City Council.
In District 2, incumbent candidate Tom Beck is leading against former councilman Bob Harbicht. At 8:54 p.m. on Tuesday, Beck held 982 votes while Harbicht stands at 875, a difference of 107.
Over in District 5, incumbent candidate Roger Chandler is barely ahead of first-time candidate and former school teacher Joyce Platt. In third place at last check was first-time candidate and self-funded pharmacist Jolly Wu. At 8:54 p.m. on Tuesday, Chandler had 704 votes, Platt held 659 votes and Wu had 264 votes.
However, the election is not yet over. Mailed ballots sent by Arcadians are still being accepted and counted, so long as they contain a postage stamp prior to April 10 and are received by April 13. The City Clerk’s office estimates around 500 votes have still not been counted, including expected mail-in ballots.
The elections in both districts are somewhat close. Seats on the council can be won or lost at this point in time, based on the number of estimated un-counted votes.
At the City Council Chambers on election night, candidate Jolly Wu is among the last to leave. She slowly finds her way out of the building, moving methodically on crutches rather than her wheelchair and surrounded by a cadre of loyal supporters, including former Mayor Gail Marshall. Wu and her entourage stayed until the very end and left with smiles on their faces. They stop for a quick photo opportunity with Arcadia Weekly and disappear into the warm April night, possibly beaten, but not defeated.
At Paco’s Mexican Restaurant in District 2, Councilman Tom Beck and his supporters are celebrating with an abundance of food and drinks. The supporters are celebrating a reasonably attainable victory, backed by fresh evidence of the vote count, while Beck celebrates the end of the campaign. “I’m just so happy this is over,” he tells a supporter.
The atmosphere of Paco’s patio is jovial. Under the palapas and Christmas lights, Beck supporters openly express their feelings on the election and the candidate they chose to represent. An elderly gentleman clutches a beer while taking pictures on a digital camera, and another man has had nametags of expected guests stuck to the back of his shirt.
Arcadia resident Jack Lynch has lived in the city since his parents built a house in Arcadia in 1951. “There certainly isn’t any misstatement in saying the city has just gone two different ways,” says Lynch when asked about the election. Lynch came out to support Tom Beck in person because he says Beck will listen and “make a good, logical decision,” says Lynch.
The man with the nametags stuck to him is Jim Tanner. Tanner lives in District 3 and was disappointed when his district had a representative appointed. “Even if it was a losing decision, I would have still liked to have a decision,” he says.
When asked what Councilman Beck would like to accomplish this term, he smiled and said “I’d like to get rid of districts.”