Following a historic election year and crowded City Council race, Dublin's next mayor and two council members said they are ready to lead Dublin through the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery in just a matter of weeks.
After serving one term on the council, Melissa Hernandez is Dublin's new mayor-elect, earning 49.87% of total votes -- 13,572 to date -- to maintain her first place since Nov. 3 over fellow Councilman Arun Goel, according to the latest results from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters' Office.
The election totals reported by county officials thus far represent the vast majority of eligible ballots cast, and though a small number of ballots remain to be processed countywide, the margins appear too significant for any trailing Dublin candidates to overcome.
In a statement posted on social media, Hernandez -- who is set to be sworn in at the Dec. 15 council meeting along with newly elected council members Sherry Hu and Michael McCorriston -- thanked "every Dublin voter who cast a ballot and participated in this historic election."
"Although remaining ballots that are received by mail will continue to be counted, I am truly humbled and grateful that the current results show I have been chosen by you to be your next mayor," Hernandez said.
"I am ready to lead Dublin through our recovery and I pledge to continue to put your interests first, and to empower the community in working together to address the challenges ahead," Hernandez added. "I greatly value the conversations and work we have done thus far, and I look forward to collaborating with you on Dublin's future."
Hernandez, like Goel, opted to run for mayor instead of seeking re-election to a second term on council this fall. The councilwoman had campaigned for Alameda County Board of Supervisors at the beginning of 2020, finishing in third place in the March primary election and narrowly missing out on a spot in the two-candidate runoff Nov. 3 -- an election ultimately won by outgoing Dublin Mayor David Haubert.
In the mayoral election, Goel received 39.83% of ballots cast (10,839) in the three-candidate race. First-time candidate Regina Pangelinan received 10.01% of the vote (2,724), while 81 voters -- 0.3% -- opted for write-in candidates.
Goel, whose time on the council will end next month, did not respond to request for comment as of press time. He also ran for mayor two years ago, from a safe seat on the council, but lost to Haubert.
Among the nine candidates who campaigned for two open seats on the City Council, newcomer Hu took the most votes for a total 12,321 (26.32%).
According to city officials, Hu has received more votes than any candidate ever to run for Dublin City Council.
"However, this year, we had the highest voter registration in Dublin ever, too (34,631)," officials said. "In 2018, a non-presidential year, we had about 28,000 registered voters, and Jean Josey received 9,181 votes. It was a higher percentage of votes cast (about 32%), but there were fewer people running against her."
The revelation was openly welcomed by Hu, who told the Weekly, "On the Election Night, when we found that I received the most votes among the nine candidates, my team and I were thrilled," adding she was "very grateful for the trust and support of the Dublin residents."
"I want to let residents know that I will always listen to them and be accessible to them," said Hu, an engineer by trade who was running for city office for the first time. "My future work priority will be to ensure smart and sustainable growth, provide public safety and security, help local businesses, bring high paying jobs and support high-quality education."
Hu also said she will "work with the leaders, functional experts, and community to find win-win solutions for the problems."
With 7,555 votes (16.14%), McCorriston pulled ahead of the other seven candidates to win the second seat on the council.
"The recent spike in COVID-19 cases will likely result in a more restrictive operating environment imposed by the county," said McCorriston, a finance professional who also serves as an alternate member on the city's Human Services Commission.
"My immediate priority will be to work with our local businesses and other civic leaders in the Tri-Valley to find safe, sustainable solutions to preserve our local economy, while also ensuring that sufficient services and programs are made available to residents during this difficult period," he added.
Also on the forefront of McCorriston's priority list "is to effectively address housing affordability in our city."
"We need to find strategic solutions that do not exacerbate our traffic problems or further tax our infrastructure," McCorriston said. "As Dublin will soon reach its buildout capacity, it is imperative that development efforts going forward create long-term benefits to our community, while considering the preservation of open space and natural resources."
The other council race finishers were Planning Commission alternate Dawn Plants in third place at 12.86%, followed by Sri Muppidi at 12.45%, former planning commissioner Samir Qureshi at 10.82%, Kashef Qaadri at 7.33%, Human Services Commissioner Shawn Costello at 5.4%, Razi Hasni at 4.82%, and Lucrecia Deleon at 3.60%. Less than a quarter-percent of voters chose to write in a different candidate.