The Paso Robles City Council will get some fresh blood in January, after challenger Jim Reed eked out a victory by a handful of votes. The race, where five candidates were running for two seats, stayed tight from the time ballots were cast to when results were certified.
Pamela Avila and Steve Gregory joined Reed in taking on incumbents John Hamon and Duane Picanco. Hamon cleared enough votes early on to stay ahead of the bunch and keep his seat, but Picanco—who is currently mayor, and was running to shift back into a council seat—was hanging on by his chinny-chin-chin as results were counted. Picanco was initially ahead by seven votes, and then Reed passed him up with a lead of less than 10 votes ending with 14 votes more than Picanco, making Reed the second councilmember-elect. Avila trailed Picanco by only six votes, with Gregory bringing up the rear.
Reed was in a neck-and-neck race in 2012, losing out to Councilmember Fred Strong by only 66 votes in that election. After running for mayor uncontested, Councilman Steve Martin, will appoint someone to fill his vacant seat.
The election results were certified by the County Clerk-Recorder’s Office on Nov. 19. Picanco could not be reached to see if he planned on demanding a recount.
All told, the final 2014 election tally for each candidate is as follows: Hamon, 2,881; Reed, 2,606; Picanco, 2,592; Avila, 2,586; Gregory, 2,374; and a total of 40 write-in votes
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay