City staff will take orders from some familiar faces in January after the four open seats in the City Council race were taken largely by current or former council members on Tuesday night.
When the results were tallied, incumbent Laura Macias received 10,580 votes, followed by Mayor Tom Means with 9,148. Former council member Mike Kasperzak received 8,276 votes, while longtime city commissioner John Inks received 8,187.
Inks and Kasperzak will replace termed-out members Matt Pear and Nick Galiotto. The change will likely maintain the current balance on the council, which gives only three of seven votes to more aggressive advocates of housing growth.
Kasperzak returns after eight years on the council from 1998 to 2006. As the city faces budget cuts, he campaigned as the only candidate with city budgeting experience during hard times.
"It seemed people were more concerned with experience this time around rather than shaking things up," Kasperzak said. "Re-electing two incumbents, bringing me back, John [Inks has been a commissioner for a long time now -- it's kind of telling. It speaks a little bit to the times."
Frontrunner Laura Macias was ecstatic as the results were posted throughout the night. But Barack Obama's win of the U.S. presidency was the only thing anyone wanted to talk about, even Macias.
"This is amazing," she said, repeating a sentiment heard throughout the night. After Obama's acceptance speech, her 50 or so guests erupted into loud applause.
"I never thought that in my lifetime there would be a black president," said Vice Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga.
Perhaps the biggest local upset Tuesday night was that of longtime Human Relations Commission member Alicia Crank, who came in seventh place. As she watched the results at her party at Don Giovanni's restaurant, she said she had knots in her stomach all day wondering how she would fair. She ranked worse than she did when she ran in 2006, even after starting her campaign early this time, raising a respectable $10,735, and being the only candidate endorsed by the Police Officers' Association.
Among the challengers, John McAlister, a 50-year resident of Mountain View, came closest to taking the fourth seat from fellow planning commissioner Inks. He lost by 3 percentage points and about 2,000 votes.
"It's surprising how well he did as a newcomer" to City Hall politics, Kasperzak said.
Another newcomer, Chris Clark, came in only a few hundred votes behind McAlister. The 25-year-old high tech executive had wooed voters with his articulate remarks and passion for environmental sustainability. He funded his campaign largely with contributions from colleagues and a $9,000 personal loan. Clark said he has applied to be on the Planning Commission, a common stepping stone to winning a seat on the council.
Tracy Gordon and Downtown Committee member Diana Wang came in eighth and ninth place, respectively.
The latest records show that Kasperzak was the top campaign fundraiser, with $16,641, while Macias raised $14,976, Means $12,635 and Inks $10,666. No candidates appear to have violated the city's voluntary campaign spending cap of $19,000.