Turn out low in many areas
By Elsa Maxey
Of the 305,762 registered voters in Fort Bend County, Elections Administrator John Oldham said, “we really had 292,042 registered voters in the county that had something to vote on.” He said in some precincts voting stayed in the single digits and “it shows a lack of interest.” Voter turnout in the River Park area recently annexed by Sugar Land, “was slightly over 20 percent,” according to Oldham, and “ a 15 percent is always considered a good turnout.” Saturday’s election numbers show that overall a total of 16,771 votes were cast. That’s less than six percent.
There will be a runoff election in Sugar Land next month since candidates in two of the races did not earn a majority vote. On June 11, Amy Mitchell and Howard Paul will vie for the District 3 seat and the voters will decide who will replace term limited Councilman Russell Jones. Jim Hoelker was also in that race. Voting results show Paul with 651 votes or 44 percent, Mitchell 430 votes or 29 percent, and Hoelker 411 votes or 28 percent. Early voting for the runoff election starts on Tuesday, May 31 and runs through the following Tuesday, June 7 at two locations – the First Colony Conference Center and Sugar Land City Hall.
In the District 4 race, Harish Jajoo and Farha Ahmed will be in next month’s runoff race. The winner will replace term-limited councilman Michael Schiff. Frank Yonish, who was a council member in Missouri City about ten years ago, also ran for this office.
The results of the race show Jajoo with 1,153 votes or 42 percent, Ahmed 952 votes or 35 percent, and Yonish at 629 or 23 percent.
Council seat winners in Sugar Land include District 1 incumbent Donald Smithers, who received more votes than his challenger Diana Miller, and will serve another term. Smithers garnered 506 votes or 53 percent and Miller earned 441 votes or 47 percent.
The District 2 council position to be vacated by Don Olson, who did not seek re-election, will soon be occupied by Bridget Yeung, who ran unopposed.
District A incumbent Bobby Marshall was re-elected and won the post for the second time sought by Rodney Griffin. Griffin came in very close to Marshall’s total in 2009. This go-round, Marshall received 274 votes or 53 percent and Griffin earned 241, a 33 vote difference, according to the numbers reported.
Replacing council incumbent Brett Kolaja, who did not seek re-election, Floyd Emery won the District D council seat against Noel Pinnock. Emery earned 923 votes or 72 percent and Pinnock 367 votes or 28 percent. District B Councilman Don Smith and District C Councilman Robin, who did not draw opponents were declared winners prior to the election.
Two aldermen seats on the Meadows Place ballot resulted in wins for Place 4 incumbent Terry Henley, who ran unopposed, and John Whiteman, who received 263 votes and will be replacing Place 5 incumbent Rick Staigle, who received 211 votes.
On the heels of some beautification awards by the Rosenberg Image Committee to improve the city image and its perception, Vincent Morales was elected Mayor of the City of Rosenberg. This was one of the most talked about races in Fort Bend County this election run for several reasons. Morales, who will have become the first Hispanic mayor of Rosenberg once he is sworn in, was also running against a formidable candidate, Susan Euton, a Position 1 at large city council incumbent since 2009. Euton received 755 votes or 44 percent compared to Morales’ 962 votes or 56 percent of the vote.
The first Hispanic mayor in Rosenberg was Lupe Uresti, who served as mayor between 1992 – 1995. Spanish surnamed Vincent Morales’ background is Italian.
Morales will be replacing Mayor Joe Gurecky, Rosenberg’s longest tenured mayor having served 12 years in office. Other Rosenberg results include wins by Cynthia McConathy for the At-Large Position 2, and incumbents Joe Segura of District 2, and Dwayne Griger of District 3; incumbents Juan Salazar of District 1 and Tom Suter of District 4 ran opposed and were elected to office.
There will be a runoff election next month in this city for the Position 1 seat between William T. “Bill” Benton and James Urbish resulting from a three-way race that also included Laurie Orsak Cook.
The Fort Bend Independent School District’s results show Position 1 incumbent, Susan Hohnbaum, keeping her seat; she ran against Wade Watassek. Another incumbent , Position 4 Trustee Daniel Menendez, will be replaced by the winner of the trustee seat, Bruce Albright, in what was a four-man race that also included Rodrigo Carreon and Kevin Daniels. Position 5 seat, vacated by incumbent Laurie Caldwell, will go to Patsy Taylor. She won against Jonita Reynolds by only 52 votes.
Stafford Municipal School District trustees Rodney Butler and Cindy Hoelscher were reelected for another three more years. Arturo Jackson also ran for office and garnered 30 percent of the votes.
The Lamar Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees will see one incumbent coming back and two new ones sitting on the board. District 4 incumbent Julie Thompson won against Jamie Dozier by a wide margin.
Replacing incumbent Jack Christiana, who did not seek re-election for the District 5 board seat, is Dar Hakimzadeh. He successfully ran against Robert “Bob” Thomas, Lynn Franklin and Steve Ginsberg. Rhonda Zacharias will be the new trustee for District 7. She earned the majority votes over incumbent Richard McCarter and Gary Gates, Jr.
Sugar Land Charter Amendments
Not all Sugar Land’s proposed charter amendment changes were approved by voters. Two of them, propositions 3 and 6 relating to reducing the number of voters to call a vote in a referendum to 10 percent and reducing the number of voters to require a council member or mayor recall to 20 percent, respectively, failed.
Bond Referendums – Fort Bend WCID No. 2 and Stafford MSD
The Fort Bend County Water Control & Improvement District No. 2 bond referendum passed as did all four SMSD bond propositions.
For complete results of the May 14 election, check the Fort Bend County’s website for Elections Administration’s Cumulative Report. At this point, the results listed in the Cumulative Report are unofficial until the votes are canvassed by the appropriate governing authorities.
As for the races, take a moment and “be sure and thank those people who have had the guts to run,” is what Bev Carter said in an editorial about today’s trying economic times for cities and school districts. “It’s a thankless job to be on either” and “anyone who wants to meet that challenge deserves our respect and gratitude.”