School board members from the North Coast anxiously watched the election ticker, hoping for good news on Measure Z a bond granting $2.9 million for new facilities in Cayucos. Across the Santa Lucia Mountains, education officials and administrators in the Paso Robles School District hoped for a little reprieve as voters weighed in, again, on a bond measure to upgrade the community's oversaturated high school.
Both bids secured the required 55 percent to earn passage, with Cayucos coming in at 63 percent and Paso sneaking in with 59 percent. The win raised more elation in Paso, where recent bond measures have gone down as frequently as new development projects have gone up.
Another failure on the $20-million loan would have marked the sixth straight loss a state of affairs, administrators professed, that led to a dire situation on one of the county's largest campuses.
"Everyone was really pleased," Paso Robles assistant superintendent Gary Hoskins said of the successful bond. "We've been having to move classes out of classrooms because the roof was leaking."
On the mayoral scene, Morro Bay incumbent Janice Peters pulled in 41 percent of the vote to beat out challengers Jeff Odell and Ken Vesterfelt. Paso Robles also retained its chief with Frank Mecham landing a convincing 80-20 victory over city councilman Fred Strong.
Mary Ann Reiss held her Pismo Beach seat by a large margin. She defeated Lucia Mar school board member Erik Howell by a solid 13 points.
Also in the South County, Grover Beach did not elect its mayor for the last time. Incumbent John Shoals and newcomer Bill Nicolls joined a council that floats its mayor from the board. However, 76 percent of Grover voters stated the public should make that decision, leaving Atascadero as the only county municipality that elects its mayor in such a way.
Two often-heated community service districts saw some overturn. Incumbent Chuck Cesena held his spot in Los Osos, but Steve Senet lost his seat in a five-candidate bottleneck for three casting calls on the Central Coast's favorite public stage.
With the sewer project out of CSD hands and a hefty bankruptcy to deal with, Los Osos voters gravitated toward the more mild-mannered candidates.
Engineer Joe Sparks led the way with 17.3 percent of the vote, followed by Cesena (16.4) and community activist Maria Kelly (15.6).
Voters in California Valley deflected recall bids against CSD board members Tammy Forrest, William Rahner, and Tom Ortega, but removed director Prince Frazier by a 72-28 margin. Ruth Legaspi will fill the void.
Finally, voters in Grover Beach, San Luis Obispo, and Morro Bay approved half-cent sales tax increases. A similar push in Pismo Beach fell less than 100 votes short.