SOMETIMES THE only surprise from the elections is that there are no surprises. This time there were some legitimate eyebrow-raisers.

While it was no shock that Barack Obama won a second term, and won California, did you know he carried San Bernardino County? He got 51 percent to Romney's 46 percent.

Remember that the next time you read those anti-Obama, "wake up, America" letters on our Opinion page. They don't reflect majority sentiment.

The surprise in Montclair was on the police and fire unions. Feeling abused by City Hall, they backed two challengers for City Council and really worked the vote, in what some voters said was the nastiest campaign they could remember.

The result? The two incumbents won handily. So that backfired. The outcome weakened the unions' hand rather than strengthen it.

Incidentally, one of the polling places in Montclair was the Bowlium bowling alley, making me strongly consider a move to south Montclair just for the voting privileges. Question: Do you need to rent special shoes to cast a ballot?

In local races, voters' thinking sometimes surpasseth all understanding. In 2008, incumbent Jason Anderson came in fourth for Ontario City Council for no readily discernible reason.

Lightning struck again Tuesday, when incumbent Sheila Mautz finished fourth. Yet a trend suggests itself: Anderson lost to Debra Dorst-Porada and Mautz to Paul Avila. In fact, the top three finishers this year were Porada (who won re-election), Avila and Ruben Valencia.

With Porada, Avila and Paul Leon on the dais, a majority of Ontario council members will have Latino surnames, probably a first.

Before they face voters again in 2014, look for incumbents Jim Bowman and Alan Wapner to change their names.

Avila, by the way, is a perennial candidate who ran a shoestring campaign. He's the Ontario-Montclair School Board member whose temper was the subject of an official investigation in 2008. (If every elected official with a temper was investigated we'd never hear the end of it.)

Avila's elevation to the City Council ought to liven up some awfully dull meetings. As a columnist, I couldn't have asked for a better choice. My thanks to voters.

Ditto in Upland, where Ray Musser was elected mayor on his third try. Four more years of the well-meaning but tongue-tied Musser? Somebody pinch me.

Musser got only 39 percent of the vote, the remainder split almost evenly between challengers Gino Filippi and Debbie Stone. Stone entered the race late and probably took votes away from Filippi, ensuring Musser's re-election.

Asked after Wednesday's special council meeting how he feels about having received voters' approval, Musser said: "I feel it's a God thing."

He continued: "It's probably the most challenging situation in Upland's history, and to be at the steering of the ship, I look to God for help."

He said something similar after maneuvering to become mayor in 2011 on a 3-1 vote, saying his appointment was "the Lord's will."

But the Lord helps those who help themselves, and Musser's camp distributed a devilish hit piece against Filippi that tried to tie him to former mayor John Pomierski and link them both to "drugs, crime and corruption. Just say no - no Gino."

For Upland council, newcomer Glenn Bozar topped a field of five candidates. Carol Timm came in second. I guess it wasn't time for Timm after all.

Rancho Cucamonga voters booted Chuck Buquet, a gabby appointee who had a habit of putting his foot in his mouth. He recently referred to one of his critics as "a despicable, disgusting, miserable old man."

In Buquet's defense, maybe he was trying to quote the line in "It's a Wonderful Life" when George Bailey called Mr. Potter "a warped, frustrated old man."

Finally, Pomona voters surprised us on several fronts. All five measures failed, including a charter revision that didn't cost anything.

But it's worth pointing out that Measure X, the library tax, garnered 60 percent of the vote. While that fell short of the 66.7 percent required, the result is a victory of sorts. 

The library has been marginalized and given just half of 1 percent of the city's $80 million budget. If three of five voters were willing to dig into their pockets for the library, that ought to persuade leaders that the library is more popular than they'd thought.

For the City Council, two of four incumbents lost, those being Danielle Soto and Steve Atchley, and a third, Paula Lantz, won by only 90 votes.

All three voted for the waste transfer station and were targeted by its opponents for defeat. Their support for checkpoints probably also played a role. Soto and Atchley were replaced by anti-transfer station candidates John Nolte and Debra Martin, respectively.

This campaign is credited in part to councilwoman and trash station foe Cristina Carrizosa, who also beat back Measure T, which would have required district candidates to run city-wide and which was aimed at kicking her out.

With Measure T's failure and two new council allies, Carrizosa is Pomona's kingmaker. She may be the shortest member of the council, but her political stature is towering.

Like Upland's Stone, Tomas Ursua was the spoiler in the Pomona mayor's race. He got 20 percent of the total. Without his presence in the three-man race, challenger Freddie Rodriguez, who got 31 percent to Elliott Rothman's 49 percent, might have won.

Rodriguez was against the transfer station but wasn't outspoken enough for opponents. Rothman, who had taken campaign contributions from the pro-transfer station folks, claimed he couldn't be impartial and sat out the vote. Thus he never took a position that could be used against him (while keeping the money and skipping some long meetings). He's a canny guy.

Given the change on the council, will the transfer station ever be built, even though it's been approved?

To return to the theme of this column: If it is, I'll be surprised.

David Allen writes Friday, Sunday and, unsurprisingly, Wednesday. Reach him at david.allen@inlandnewspapers.com or 909-483-9339, read his blog at dailybulletin.com/davidallenblog, check out facebook.com/davidallencolumnist and follow @davidallen909 on Twitter.