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Carrillo's victory in supervisorial race leaves Calexico council facing uncertainty

March 07, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — The people have spoken, but what happens now?

David Ouzan and Alex Perrone soon will be sworn in as city councilman, possibly as soon as March. 19. The two will replace Javier Alatorre and Gilbert Grijalva.

Alatorre lost in his re-election bid and Grijalva lost in his bid for the Imperial Irrigation District board.

Before they are replaced the two will participate in a City Council meeting tonight and a Redevelopment Agency meeting Tuesday.

Depending on how long it takes county voting official Dolores Provencio to certify the election results, the two could serve another week after Tuesday's meeting.

Beyond that?

There is a possibility one of the men could return to the council later this year or early next year after Mayor Victor Carrillo vacates his seat to join the county Board of Supervisors.

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Since Carrillo probably will not be sworn onto the county board until next winter, it is possible he could step down after a November election for his city seat is certified.

"That would be the natural thing to do," he said Wednesday.

While it is just one of many options Carrillo is considering, he said a November election would provide a "fair and equal opportunity" for all candidates interested in the available seat.

"(Calexicans) voted for two positions, not necessarily for three," he said.

Mayor Pro Tem John Renison said Wednesday, "We need to start floating ideas and checking with the community and we need to hear from the rest of the council."

He's leaning toward a November election but he's keeping his options open.

"Right now we have to work on the budget. Then we can move on to bigger and better things. We'll cross that other bridge when we get to it. I think it's a little premature to discuss it at this juncture."

He favors waiting until this summer before any decision is made.

That said, Renison added, "Whoever runs for election in November, it's a one-shot deal. Can you imagine getting the consensus for an appointment?"

Lupita Rios can.

She said whoever took in the third most votes in Tuesday's election should be appointed to the council.

After preliminary tallies, Rios received the third most votes, 1,039, 15.17 percent.

"That doesn't mean I'm going to remain in third place," she said.

It's possible Alatorre could garner enough absentee votes to move slightly ahead.

According to the latest numbers, he is 25 votes behind with 1,014.

Rios is familiar with late changes in election results. She lost election to the City Council in 2000 after a late tally of absentee votes pushed Frank Montoya ahead. Rios had been leading after preliminary tabulations.

Furthermore, Rios said the prospect of another election is not that thrilling.

"I haven't even got over how tired I am. The thought of another …. that just makes me even more tired. Everybody was given an opportunity to do their campaigns. The people have spoken. They should respect that," Rios said.

Even if it means Alatorre is appointed?

"Definitely," she said.

Rios was asked if she'd consider running once more if the council decides to settle the matter in a November election, "I'm still keeping that open."

Meanwhile, Grijalva is mulling his post-election options.

He said the idea of a November election is something to be considered but, "honestly that's another expense we could do without."

City Clerk Lourdes Cordova said it would cost around $15,000 for Calexico voters to elect a city councilperson in November. A special election would cost even more.

Another idea? Grijalva said the council could consider appointing someone for just a short time to fill the rest of Carrillo's term.

If Carrillo vacated his seat right before he is sworn onto the county board, the council could appoint someone to serve the three months or so until the March election.

As to the possibility of running for election to the council in November, Grijalva said, "I'd have to think about it."

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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