By Miriam Raftery
Photo,left: Stephen Houlahan
November 9, 2016 (Santee) – With 36% of precincts counted, Councilman John Minto,a retired police officer, is maintaining a 10 point lead over felow Councilman and realtor Rob McNellis in the race to become Santee’s next Mayor. Current Mayor Randy Voepel tonight won election handily to the State Assembly over Leo Hamel.
Though Santee’s Council has long been heavily influenced by developers and real estate interests, Stephen Houlahan, running on an environmental platform, appears likely to defeat two pro-development opponents.
Houlahan currently had 39% of the vote. Mason Herron, Assemblyman Brian Jones’ aide who attracted hefty contributions from developers and out-of-town donors, has 31%, while Dustin Trotter, a contractor, has 30%.
Houlahan led the successful campaign to stop the Quail Brush gas power plant near Mission Trails Regional Park and has pledged to end traffic gridlock in Santee. He was backed by Preserve Wild Santee, which has fought to protect open spaces and oppose sprawling development in the community.
If elected he will fill a vacancy left by the retirement of Councilman Jack Dale.