SAN RAMON -- In San Ramon's last odd-year City Council election Tuesday, Mayor Bill Clarkson and 16-year Councilman Dave Hudson found favor with the public once again, and newcomer Harry Sachs will join them on the dais Dec. 10.
With all the city's polling precincts counted, Clarkson had secured 94.3 percent of the vote, while write-in mayoral candidate and Parks Commissioner Bill Meine had less than 6 percent.
In the race for two council seats, including the one to be vacated by Councilman Jim Livingstone, planning commissioner and middle school history teacher Sachs led all candidates with 31.2 percent of the vote, while Hudson finished second with 29.2 percent. Not far behind was school volunteer Rene Matsumoto, with 26.9 percent, and litigation attorney Thomas von Thury, with 12.2 percent.
Voters also passed Measures D and E, which will save the city $142,000 per election by changing election years from odd to even. Clarkson's mayoral term will run for three years and council members will serve for five years, a year more than normal to accommodate the change.
Clarkson, who endorsed Sachs and Matsumoto, said he was pleased to get re-elected and see the election years change. His priorities this term include preserving open space, getting City Center up and running, improving the Iron Horse Trail and continuing to improve communication with residents.
"We are really blessed to have a city that is financially in really good shape and with our downtown finally coming online, it's good," Clarkson said.
Meine, a World War II veteran, entered the race last month primarily to right the wrongs he says are in the scaled-back City Hall City Center deal recently signed by the city and Sunset Development. He didn't respond to requests for comment Tuesday night.
Sachs spent election night having fun with 50 supporters at The Golden Skate roller rink. Asked of the win, he said, "I am really humbled that the voters would put their trust in me to do this job." Looking ahead, his priorities include the budget, raising awareness about Caltrans' Interstate 680 carpool ramps planned at Norris Canyon Road, a project he opposes, and adding more police officers to the force, something Hudson also wants to see.
Hudson, who was leading the campaign money race last month with more than $20,500, spent election night with 40 supporters at the Brass Door Restaurant and Steak House. He said getting re-elected is a sign he is doing a good job and his priorities this term include getting a new elementary school built in Dougherty Valley and securing more funding for city roads.
Matsumoto had worked on school bond and parcel tax campaigns, but wanted to bring a new perspective to the city council. She had light refreshments election night with more than 40 supporters at local auto repair spot Kevin & Connor's Shop. Following the loss, she hopes to join either the Planning Commission, Economic Development Advisory Committee or the Open Space Task Force if possible, she said.
"It's been a learning experience I will not forget," Matsumoto said. "Much learned. Friendships created. Memories gained. The 3,500 voters that voted for me, I will continue to be their voice no matter what."
During the campaign, von Thury said he opposed big development projects and aimed to preserve the quality of life in the city. He said the election results are a sign residents "don't like the town the way it is. They want it to grow and they want to see more development."
He was also disheartened by the low voter turnout, saying, "I don't think people take local issues serious enough. That's unfortunate because it has the most immediate effect on them."
Ashly McGlone covers San Ramon. Contact her at 510-293-2463. Follow her at Twitter.com/AshlyReports.