Pacificans voiced their opinions on city council elections, school board choices and a high school bond measure. Here is a rundown from the Nov. 3 election, the results of which were not available until after last week’s print deadline. Note: These results are considered “semi-official” until they are certified.
On Monday, it appeared that Tygarjas Twyrls Bigstyck would prevail in the hotly contested Pacifica City Council race with 38 percent of the vote in the three-person race.
For the first time, Pacificans voted by district this year. Mayor Deirdre Martin, a supporter of environmental causes and social justice issues, decided not to run for reelection. That opened up a seat in District 4. Marj Davis, Mike Cohen and Bigstyck ran to fill her seat.
Bigstyck is a member of the Planning Commission, where he has frequently been an advocate for more housing, including affordable housing. While he suspended his involvement during the election, he serves as vice president for the Pacifica Resource Center board and works as a supervisor at a Pacifica grocery store. He was a member of the city’s rent advisory task force. A lifelong Pacifican, he’d like to get the seawall built, fix roads and attract businesses.
“I am honored to be allowed to serve this community, listen to every voice, and strike a balance that will enhance the quality of life for all of Pacifica. The challenges are laid out before us, but I’m optimistic that given the ability and the heart of this community, we will meet the economic needs created by COVID and get Pacifica back to its full height before we know it. Now that I’m elected, I’m ready to get the seawall built, ensuring the safety of our neighborhoods, and seeing the plans to see Palmetto through to a proper Main Street come to fruition. Most of all, I’m looking forward to tackling every challenge Pacifica has in front of it with an even hand and a voice that speaks on behalf of all of our community. Thank you for this honor,” said Bigstyck.
Mike Cohen, a software engineer, trailed Bigstyck by under 100 votes at 36 percent. He ran for office opposed to overnight RV parking, a ban that was recently passed. Cohen wants fire breaks cleared and a plan to reopen small businesses after COVID-19.
Marj Davis is active in Pacifica’s Environmental Family, Pacifica Gardens and is taking a leave of absence from the Pacifica Resource Center board. She enjoys hiking, gardening, biking and birding. She has a degree in business management with training in nonprofit
management and bookkeeping. She works in the field of engineered systems sales as part of a food industry team.
Meanwhile, in District 1, the Fairmont-Westview area, two candidates vied for one seat, with incumbent Sue Vaterlaus just eking out apparent victory on Monday with 52 percent of the vote.
Vaterlaus is a realtor who has served on many city committees including the Planning Commission and the Economic Development Committee. She took the lead for her fellow council members to adopt the city ordinance to ban RV overnight parking. She is also outspoken on improving infrastructure and for more housing, including affordable housing, as a long-term goal.
“For the city of Pacifica, I would love to see a new sea wall built for the protection of our coast, infrastructure, homes and businesses. I would like to see us finish our Local Coastal Plan, Sharp Park Specific Plan and the General Plan. I have always said that I want Pacifica to be a destination so that people stop here, play here, stay here and shop here,” Vaterlaus said.
On Monday, Mayra Espinosa was trailing by just over 100 votes. Espinosa, a real estate agent and Skyline College instructor, said she wants to be the voice of District 1 on City Council to bring balance, trust, transparency, fairness and more resources to the neighborhood. She would advocate for COVID-19 testing and work to improve streets and make the neighborhood more beautiful, while helping small businesses. Espinosa also said she would seek investments and promote innovative housing solutions and traffic safety improvements.
Jared Steele ran for a seat against two opponents on the Pacifica School District board of trustees. By Monday morning, with 48 percent of the vote, he had an 18 percentage point lead against the nearest competitor, Marissa Arena, at 30 percent of the vote. The winner will occupy the seat for a short term after it was vacated by trustee Kathy Shiokari last December.
Steele, a teacher, said he was a product of both local school districts, and has seen areas of strengths and weaknesses. He would consider it a priority to deal with the fallout from the isolation of the pandemic’s virtual classes.
“I am beyond grateful and excited to be working for a district that I was a student in not so long ago, and I’m eager to give back to the community that gave so much to me as a student,” Steele said.
On the Jefferson Union High School District board, Andrew Lie and Kalimah Salahuddin each ran unopposed for another four-year term. Kai Doggett and Lynda Brocchini ran unopposed for another term on the Pacifica School District board.
The Jefferson Union High School District bond measure passed by 64.06 percent. It extends the current tax rate that will generate $163 million to be used on district facilities. The bond measure required a 55 percent majority of voters to pass.
“Passing Measure Z is a huge success for our students, teachers, and community. It will generate $163 million that can be used to further improve our district facilities, without increasing taxes,” said the incoming JUHSD Superintendent, Toni Presta. “We are so grateful to our community for supporting education.”
Sarah Wright contributed to this story.