CHINO - Incumbent Dennis R. Yates held an early lead for mayor over challenger Lee McGroarty, according to a 2 a.m. update from the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters.

From the beginning, the mayoral race in this city has been fierce.

The candidates, current Mayor Dennis Yates and his opponent Lee McGroarty don't see eye to eye on many city issues, except for public safety.

If reelected this will be Yates third, four-year term as mayor. In 2004 Yates ran again a woman named Laura De La Cruz and in 2008 he ran unopposed.

Leading up to the General Election these two men traded jabs during a Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce debate.

Yates referred to his challenger as "young" and someone who "lacks experience." While McGroarty embraces his youth and new ideas to a council that has been in office for decades.

Yates during that debate also focused on what he and the council have successfully completed in the city. McGroarty questioned those projects and offered some of his own suggestions.

It's McGroarty's youth that won Mary Ann Padilla over.

"He's a younger man and he has fresher ideas," she said.

For Lynn Love however, "the city is doing great."

Also last month, McGroarty went on record during a City Council meeting saying the mayor and council members violated a number of city's codes of conduct.

McGroarty's alleged allegations:

-in 2004 Yates requested two positions for the South Coast Air Quality Management District and instead of opening it up to the public he appointed Councilman Earl Elrod and Councilwoman Eunice Ulloa's husband, Robert.


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-Councilman Elrod serves as a high-ranking official with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and his wife Sondra Elrod is hired as the agency's spokeswoman.

-Sondra Elrod received "thousands of dollars as a paid fundraiser for numerous elected officials."

-the City Council hasn't done their "due diligence" in reporting "these incomes on various state filing forms as outlined in the Code of Conduct."

-the council normally requests City Attorney Jimmy Gutierrez to do these investigations, however because he has contributed a campaign donation to Yates, Ulloa and Elrod, "another conflict exists and renders him unable to show impartially."

Yates called the accusations made against him and other council members political mudslinging.

At the Oct. 16 City Council meeting Gutierrez went over McGroarty's allegations point by point refuting each item, supporting each item with law, the code of conduct. He also stated he could not refer the allegations to the district attorney's office when there was no merit.

"Everyone has baggage and (McGroarty) does too, but we're keeping it positive about the community and the concerns of the community and what has to be done to weather through this recession and my campaign is staying positive," Yates said in a previous article.

Also in a previous article McGroarty said the city attorney is supposed to be a watchdog for the people, not a watchdog for the council.

"Even if I'm not elected, I guarantee I will pursue this as a citizen. But as mayor I will put an end to all of this and will ask for an outside investigation," he said.

Only one of these men can be voted into the council by residents today

Read the candidate biographies here.