San Diego County welcomes five new mayors
On election day, 2014, the voters of five different San Diego County cities decided to hand the reins of power over to new mayors. Chula Vista, El Cajon, Encinitas, La Mesa and Poway all propelled first-time mayors into their city governments.
Moving from north to south in the county, in Poway, country-singer with a cowboy hat Steve Vaus, in only his second election, defeated incumbent Don Higginson by a count of 6,869 votes to 5,588. Vaus had won his previous election in Poway, to city councilman, in 2012, as a result of the recall vote on Councilwoman Betty Rexford.
Encinitas only recently changed it form of government to include a mayor voted on directly by the people. Kristen Gaspar becomes the city’s first mayor elected this way by a vote of 6,588 over nearest opponent Tony Kranz with 4,449 votes.
Over in La Mesa, one man, Art Madrid, has held the post of mayor for six consecutive terms, since 1990. Now, Mark Arapostathis, a graduate of the local Helix High School has defeated Madrid by a margin on 6,234 votes to 4,336. Over the past two decades, Dave Allan, a city councilman, Laura Lothian, a real estate agent, and Craig Maxwell, a bookstore proprietor challenged Mayor Madrid, but were not able to win an election from him. Arapostathis takes office after eight years in the La Mesa city council.
In El Cajon, former mayor Mark Lewis resigned a year ago. At the time, Bill Wells was appointed to serve out his term. Now, Wells has become mayor through his own election, gaining 8,783 votes to Allen Theweny’s 1,247.
And down in Chula Vista, mayor Cheryl Cox reached the term limits established in that city. City Councilwoman Mary Salas ran against Jerry Rindone and won by a tally of 14,941 votes to 13,760. She had served as a state assemblywoman from the 79th District, which includes Chula Vista, and then as a member of the city council there.