Oxnard final election results show Perello victorious in City Council race

a mere 10 votes separated him from challenger Steve Huber

By George Miller

PerelloPhotoAfter the better part of a month, while both contenders Steve Huber and incumbent Bert Perello waited on tenderhooks, were left in suspense, twisted in the wind, nailbited, agonized (did I omit any cliches?), Perello  finally won by a whisker- just 10 votes. Due to the closeness of the contest, a recount is not ruled out.

Three of the top four contenders were within 2% of each other.  Steve Huber, former USN Chief of Surface Naval Warfare Systems and now a businessman, with much support in the community, was a very worthy opponent. Aaron Starr, who lagged by a mere 2%, is Controller for the largest manufacturer in Ventura County, the world famous machine tool manufacturer Haas Automation, as well as Controller for the Haas Foundation, a charity.  Considering he was almost unknown in local political circles, that was an impressive result.  His $100,00 campaign war chest didn’t hurt, but wasn’t enough to overcome the lack of exposure and local civic activity. Well known public interest attorney and Mayor Pro-Tem Carmen Ramirez was the runaway winner, with 30% of the vote. Mayor Tim Flynn won re-election with nearly double the votes of challenger Councilman Bryan MacDonald. Second challenger Larry Stein garnered 2157 votes. 

VC election results.

 

Perello final

 

But, Councilman Bert Perello is in class by himself. A Post Office letter carrier, he has gone to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (dropped out) and  been highly engaged in the City for 18 years as a neighborhood council guy, even being the Chair of the citywide Inter- Neighborhood Council Forum. He was always outspoken while on the other side of the dais. But, he amped that up after winning his Council seat in a special election over a year ago. Perello carved out a niche for himself by becoming the most thorough analyzer and challenger of what was going on and attempting to root out corruption like it was a holy war. Some have said he was like a bull in a china shop initially, but he has refined his approach with experience.

Perello lost some of the union support he had the first time around, although one local union official told me he supported Perello, but was overruled by the national organization. Perello told me later that they went along with the Tri-County Labor decision, which was driven in part by Perello’s own words about the new firehouse #8 cost growth from $8 to $24 million, comments about the $6.7 million Limon killing settlement and a desire for police oversight.

1:30 POM update: We reached Councilman Perello just a while ago this afternoon as he was finishing his daily rounds. He exclaimed (about his 10 vote margin): “If you ever needed evidence that every vote counts, this is definitely it!” He said he had checked earlier that day, was told that results might be available at the end of the week and only found out about the final results just before a 5 O’clock meeting when Steve Huber called to congratulate him. Councilman Perello observed: “a lot of “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s about what we could have done differently went through my mind in the last few weeks.” But he said “none of that counts- only what we did does.”

Perello said that we have to manage our priorities within our resources and hold people accountable for what they do. He was always impressed how President Harry Truman said “The buck stops here.” But he lamented, “nobody seems to be held accountable, nobody pays the price. Instead people are promoted and/or retire intact.”  He said “people (officials) often seem afraid to ask questions, because they are embarrassed to sound stupid or ignorant (something which doesn’t inhibit him so much). Even worse, they seem to be afraid of what answers they might get. People seem most afraid of losing their jobs. No one should have to fear that for telling the truth.”  

He has the utmost respect for his opponent Steve Huber. He doesn’t know if Huber will demand a recount and what would happen if he did.

Disclosure statement: Citizensjournal.us endorsed Mr. Perelllo and Mr. Starr for this run, although we believe Mr. Huber and Mayor Pro-Tem Ramirez are also highly qualified.

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George Miller is Publisher of Citizensjournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.

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