Editorial: Midterm election post-mortem

Mercifully, it’s over. After months of rants, rallies, counter-rallies and downright weirdness, we can close the book on Tuesday’s election — but not before a post-mortem. Here, in no particular order, are some of our observations on Tuesday’s returns:

Best lesson:

Pouring $142 million of your personal fortune into your own campaign is no guarantee of success. This is still a democracy — not a plutocracy where the rich can buy their way into office.

Biggest relief:

The overwhelming defeat of SLO’s Measure H. A woefully misguided effort to stop the extension of Prado Road, the measure was vetoed by 80 percent of SLO voters.

Second biggest relief:

The acrimonious race for county sheriff is over, and we can look forward to the post Pat Hedges’ era.

Third biggest relief:

We will no longer hear the words “witches’ coven” and “Senate candidate” in the same discussion.

Most irrelevant local issue:

Ian Parkinson’s looks.

Sportsmanship award:

To sheriff’s candidate Joe Cortez. While we weren’t happy with all the mud that was slung during the sheriff’s race (see above), once the results were in, Cortez promptly pledged his support to Parkinson.

Most suspenseful cliffhanger:

A tie. SLO and Morro Bay mayoral races could go either way. In SLO, 204 votes separate front-runner and current Councilwoman Jan Marx from former Councilman Paul Brown; and in Morro Bay, only 89 votes separate former Mayor Bill Yates from Councilwoman Betty Winholtz. The race for SLO Council is awfully close as well, with Kathy Smith and Dan Carpenter running nearly neck-and-neck.

Best proof that every vote counts:

Unofficial results had only one vote separating the winning and losing candidates in the Shandon school board race. (Also qualifies in cliffhanger category.)

Most disturbing election trend:

Misleading mailers. Unscrupulous companies are making easy bucks by printing slate mailers that bear absolutely no relationship whatsoever to the truth.

Most inspirational award:

Atascadero voters overwhelmingly approved Measure I-10, a $117 million school bond. That’s remarkable even in the best of times, but it’s downright awe-inspiring in today’s lousy economy.

Biggest disappointment:

Defeat of state Proposition 21. A measly $18 added to our annual vehicle license fee would have guaranteed adequate funding for state parks. If more campgrounds close, don’t come whining to us.

Most satisfying rejection:

Defeat of state Proposition 23, which would have turned back the clock on California’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Congeniality award:

To county Supervisor Katcho Achadjian, who won the state Assembly race, and his opponent and Hilda Zacarias, who ran one of the cleanest campaigns we’ve seen in a long, long time.

Maverick’s medallion:

Goes to Morro Bay, where voters narrowly defeated a proposal to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

Welcome back awards:

To Bill Yates in Morro Bay (maybe); Kathy Smith in SLO (another maybe) and Mark Millis in Arroyo Grande (definitely). Millis, a former Arroyo Grande mayor, was the highest vote-getter in one of two Lucia Mar school board races. As cited above, Yates and Smith are leading, but the races are too close to call.

Welcome award:

To Paul Teixeira, who will take over for Katcho Achadjian on the county Board of Supervisors.

It’s about time award:

To the city of Atascadero, where voters overwhelmingly decided to elect their own mayor, becoming the final city in the county to take that step.

Biggest surprise:

A majority of SLO County voters supported the legalization of marijuana, bucking a statewide trend.

Biggest question mark:

Abel Maldonado’s next career move.