Alpers, Stump win; Fesko, Peters to face runoff in November

Mono County voted in two new supervisors Tuesday night, with a third race that will also eventually bring a new supervisor to the table stuck in runoff mode.

Long Valley Fire Chief Fred Stump, running for elected office for the first time, will replace two-term District 2 incumbent Duane “Hap” Hazard. Tim Alpers, a two-time former Mono County supervisor and former owner of a successful aquaculture business, will replace two-term District 3 incumbent Vikki Bauer.

The two top vote getters for District 4, Tim Fesko and Bob Peters, will face each other in a runoff election in November. Neither Fesko, Peters or a third candidate, Jan Huggans, got the necessary 50 percent plus one needed to avoid a runoff.

District 4 did not have an incumbent since district’s supervisor, Tim Hansen, who lives in Lee Vining, was redistricted out of the district last year.

“I think there was some incumbent fatigue out there and Hap got caught up in it,” said Stump, who said Hazard had called him earlier Wednesday to congratulate him. But he also thinks some of his ideas resonated, like the fact that he is committed to taking a voluntary 10 percent cut to his pay and foregoing a vehicle allowance.

His criticism of how the county handled some at-will contracts might have also played a part, he said.
Hazard said he is disappointed but that the people have spoken and it’s time to move on.

“I’m extremely proud of the work I have done, Digital 395, the roads and mailboxes in Crowley Lake, all of this and I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said.

Tim Alpers, who took District 3 against incumbent Bauer with a large majority, said he believes the reason he won is that everyone is ready for a change.

He, like Stump, has been critical of some of the board’s fiscal decisions, believing them to be somewhat unresponsive to what he sees as a much tighter financial situation ahead.

“We are going to have to learn how to operate in a world of diminished resources,” he said.

Bauer, for her part, said she ran a good, positive campaign on her record and accomplished many projects, such as a big changes to the Reds Meadow and Yosemite busses, while still keeping the county in good financial standing.

Fesko and Peters will face each other again in November. Huggans, the third contender for District 4, garnered only 17.6 percent of the vote, leaving her out of the race.

Peters performed best in Mammoth, Fesko in North County, and both said they have work to do to reach out to the other’s constituents.

“I’m an alternative to the ‘good old boy club,’” said Fesko. “As the votes for Fred and Alpers show, this is an issue and I believe it gives me an edge in this race.
Peters said his record is already there for people to see and he believes he will win in November. He thinks voters will respond to his more measured approach to solving county problems in a collaborative way, and to his experience in tourism and marketing.

Statewide races and analysis
There must have been more pollen in the Sierra mountain air—something that inspired democracy. Half the eligible voters turned out in only four counties statewide and they were all in the high Sierra: Sierra County at 59 percent; Alpine at 59 percent; Amador at 51 percent; and Mono at 50 percent.

Within Mono County, Swall Meadows voters outdid them all, voting by mail at a whopping 77 percent. Mammoth precincts, on the other hand, voted at lower rates than the rest of the county.
The state average was, by contrast, a measly 24 percent.

In a trial of the new “Top Two” rule created by the new open primary rules in California, the recently forged Congressional District 8 saw a close contest where Republican Paul Cook won 16 percent of the vote. In Mono County, Democrat Jackie Conaway walked away with the top score at 22 percent, but that wasn’t good enough. Although she and Republican Phil Liberatore tied for third place throughout the District, neither will appear on the ballot—Republican Gregg Imus will, after racking up a second-place 15 percent of the District-wide vote.

A similar shakeup happened in the new Assembly District 5 contest, where the top vote-getter was Republican Rico Oller. In Mono County, Republican Frank Bigelow tied for second place with Democrat Tim Fitzgerald. In addition, Fitzgerald was the winning Democrat. However, Bigelow placed second District-wide, resulting in another Republican/Republican faceoff in November.

In terms of the presidential race, President Obama received 58 percent of the combined Obama/Romney vote statewide, compared to 42 percent for Mitt Romney, statewide. Mono County disagreed: 49 percent chose Obama and 51 percent for Romney.

Proposition 29, the proposed tax increase on cigarettes for cancer research, did not pass. More than half of Mono voters approved it, but more than half of Californians voted no.

Proposition 28, which will allow a person to serve 12 years either in the Assembly, state Senate or a combination of the two, passed with a margin of 61.4 percent. The previous law generally allowed people to serve three two-year terms in the Assembly and two four-year terms in the Senate.

Leslie Willoughby contributed to this report.