Dublin residents elected faces both old and new in last week's election.
While Mayor David Haubert won re-election comfortably and the two incumbents in the Dublin Unified school board race will serve another term, the City Council has two new representatives -- as was expected, since incumbent Councilman Abe Gupta chose not to seek re-election and Councilwoman Janine Thalblum, appointed to the seat in April after Vice Mayor Don Biddle's death, stuck to her promise not to seek a full four-year term in the November midterms.
Educator Jean Josey solidified one of those two City Council seats by finishing comfortably in first position at the polls while the race for the second seat remains still too close to call, as of Wednesday afternoon, with some vote-by-mail and provisional ballots still to count.
And although voters elected the incumbent candidates on the schools front, the Dublin Unified School District will still see a new figure on its board in coming weeks, due to the unexpected resignation from first-term Trustee Joe Giannini last month.
City of Dublin
For the mayoral seat, incumbent Haubert was challenged by Councilman Arun Goel, whose council seat was not up for election this year, as he was elected to his seat two years ago.
Haubert easily defeated Goel, with results at 58.54% of the vote for the incumbent to 40.74% for the challenger, as of Wednesday afternoon.
"I am humbled and honored to be re-elected and I would like to thank the people of Dublin who voted for me, especially my core group of volunteers and the many, many people who endorsed and supported my campaign," Haubert said. "This election shows that most people in Dublin feel we are on the right track and I will work hard to keep Dublin a great place to live, work and raise a family."
Haubert was elected to the Dublin City Council in 2012, and has served as mayor since 2014.
The election for the two City Council openings featured five candidates: Josey, customer service representative Shawn Costello, retired state accounting officer Jing Firmeza, project controls manager and Dubliners United's former leader Bobby Khullar, and Shawn Kumagai, a consultant and master chief petty officer in the Navy Reserve.
Though votes are still being counted, as of Wednesday afternoon, Josey was in the lead by a wide margin, earning 32.22%. In the No. 2 position Wednesday afternoon was Kumagai (20.98%), holding a 282-vote lead over Khullar (19.85%).
"I am humbled by the turnout and grateful to the Dublin voters who have placed their faith in me," Josey said. "Now that the results are in, it is my hope that Dubliners can come together in a positive and constructive way. I'm looking forward to getting down to work serving all of our residents."
Kumagai said that no matter the outcome, he's happy with the campaign he ran.
"While there are still votes to be counted, early indications are good," he said. "Regardless of the outcome, I know we ran a solid campaign. Together we contacted thousands of Dubliners to share our message of an inclusive Dublin that works for all Dubliners."
"We ran a positive, issues-oriented campaign that brought new ideas for the future of our city and I am truly grateful to everyone who pitched in to make this campaign a reality. I'm looking forward to getting to work for Dubliners," he added.
But Khullar still sees himself as very much in the race.
"We are monitoring the polls daily as Alameda County stated that it had record turnout and will be updating daily," Khullar said. "We are cautiously optimistic."
Education-wise, this year marked the first district-based election for the Dublin Unified School District.
To represent Area 2, which covers the northwestern portion of Dublin, incumbent Megan Rouse was challenged by parent Erin Herrera, while in Area 5, the central eastern sector of the city, incumbent Dan Cherrier faced off against retail manager Dominic Piegaro.
Both incumbents kept their posts, with Rouse earning 75.39% of the vote to Herrera's 23.90%, and Cherrier garnering 66.67% to Piegaro's 32.65%, as of Wednesday afternoon.
"I appreciate the opportunity to continue working on the school board to deal effectively with the rapid growth in student enrollment and to make sure the new high school meets the expectations of all Dublin residents," Cherrier said. "I believe my voting record on behalf of the community is what got me re-elected. We all want what is best for our students."
Said Rouse, "I'm honored and humbled by the responsibility that our community has entrusted in me by re-electing me to the Dublin school board. As great as Dublin schools are, I believe we can, and must, continue to improve our educational programs, recruit and retain the highest quality teachers and staff, communicate more collaboratively, and address our growth challenges in a fiscally responsible way. Advocating for Dublin students, parents, staff, and taxpayers on these matters is work of the best kind, and I'm excited to continue doing that work."
The school board was thrown a curveball a few weeks ago, however, when Trustee Giannini abruptly announced his resignation after just under two years on the board.
"It has become obvious that I am no longer able to meet the requirements necessary to fulfill my obligations as a school board trustee," he wrote in his resignation letter Oct. 22.
When speaking with the Weekly, he added that his primary reasons for resigning revolved around the time commitment and fractious Dublin politics creating a hostile work environment.
The school district has decided to make a provisional appointment to serve for the remainder of Giannini's elected term, which ends December 2020, as opposed to calling for a special election.
DUSD officials are currently accepting applications for the position. Prospective candidates must reside in Giannini's Area 4, a wide swath of land in the northeastern part of Dublin. Interested applicants can visit the interactive area map on the district's website, www.DublinUSD.org, to see if they are eligible.
Applications are available online at the district's website and should be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words "Board Vacancy" in the subject line, or hand-delivered to the district office, 7471 Larkdale Ave. The deadline to apply is Monday (Nov. 19) at 4 p.m.
The current timeline would have the provisional appointee seated by Dec. 4 or 11, with a final appointment deadline of Dec. 21. Within 30 days of the appointment, registered voters can file a petition for a special election with the county superintendent of schools, if they so wish.