Jeff Lee wins mayor in Grover Beach — Mariam Shah, Barbara Nicolls hold on to council seats

Jeff Lee maintained a healthy lead early Wednesday morning in the race for Grover Beach mayor over Debbie D. Peterson and Elizabeth “Liz” Doukas — making way for him to win his first term as mayor.

As of 12:43 a.m. with 100 percent of precincts reporting in addition to 2,007 mail-in ballots, Lee led with 51.5 percent of the vote, over Peterson with 35.7 percent and Doukas with 12.6 percent.

The three are competing to replace current mayor John Shoals, who is set to leave office after serving on the council for the past four years. (The city restricts the number of consecutive mayoral terms to two.)

Lee is a two-time City Council member, and Peterson is a current City Council member and former mayor, along with newcomer Doukas.

“I’m feeling really optimistic tonight,” Lee said Tuesday night at Station Grill in Grover Beach, where he was watching election results. “We’ve had a great campaign. We’ve had a lot of success and ... a lot of people saying ‘yes’ to the campaign, ‘yes’ to what we want to do in Grover Beach.”

Lee added that early election results are “showing that Grover Beach appreciates my positive campaign and is looking forward to our direction for the future.”

For the City Council, incumbents Mariam Shah and Barbara Nicolls held 39.5 percent and 33.4 percent of the vote respectively, with Robert Robert trailing behind with 26.8 percent. The three candidates are running for two seats.

On Tuesday night, Shah said she was “hopefully excited to get back to work.”

“Everyone that I’ve met along the campaign trail has just been so kind and supportive,” Shah said from her election night party at Station Grill.

Nicolls, at the same party as Shah and Lee, said she was happy for the end of the campaign and ready to get down to business.

“I’m pleased with the way things are going,” Nicolls said. “It is a vote of confidence in the current council.”

For more on the candidate’s platforms, check out our story: “From roads to cannabis, here’s where Grover Beach candidates stand on the issues.”

Meanwhile, Grover Beach’s transient occupancy tax measure was cruising toward approval as of 12:43 a.m. Wednesday, with 76.67 percent voting in favor and 23.3 percent against. The measure would increase the city’s transient occupancy tax — charged to hotels and other visitor accommodation businesses — from 10 percent to 20 percent. It’s expected to add $70,000 annually to the city’s coffers.

Grover Beach’s business tax was also looking likely, with 60.8 percent of voters for the tax and 39.2 percent against.

The business tax changes the business tax certificate rate from a flat fee of $55 to an amount between $60 and $950, based on building square footage. It would give the city about $90,000 annually.

The final election results will likely not be known for weeks, however, while the county elections office counts mail-in and provisional ballots.

This story will be updated as more ballots are counted, so check back with The Tribune regularly.

Asking the Tough Questions

This election matters. From local city council races to California’s ballot propositions, The Tribune is committed to providing the best political coverage on the Central Coast.

And after the ballots are counted, our reporters work to hold elected officials accountable and ask the tough questions you need answered.

Support local journalism: Sign up for a digital subscription to The Tribune today.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie
Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune