Culver City Observer -

Election Race Undecided

Sahli-Wells Re-elected, Small and Eriksson Appear Headed toward Victory


April 14, 2016

By Stephen Hadland

Observer Publisher

With over 1300 mail-in and provisional ballots yet to be counted, the city clerk has issued preliminary results but not a final vote total from the April 12 City Council election.

City Clerk Martin Cole convened an election canvassing committee on Thursday, made up of himself and three city staff members to begin processing the uncounted ballots in the Mike Balkman Council Chambers.

As required by state law, absentee ballots will be accepted until Monday, April 18, with a final unofficial total available the following day. Mail-in ballots must have been postmarked by April 12 to be considered. Once ballots are processed, they are scanned and sent to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder for signature verification.

With three seats open, Councilmember Meghan Sahli-Wells is well on her way to re-election with 2760 votes. Thomas Small is in second with 1769 votes and Goran Eriksson third with 1,645 votes.

Chasing Eriksson and running fourth in the vote tally is Daniel Lee, a political unknown in the city, with 1,422 votes. While technically possible for Lee to surpass Eriksson for the third seat, it is statistically unlikely.

The current vote totals are as follows:

Meghan Sahli-Wells 2760

Thomas Small 1769

Goran Eriksson 1645

Daniel Lee 1422

Scott Wyant 1279

Marcus Tiggs 1103

Jay Garacochea 574

The election produced a major surprise with little-known Small and Lee, being a virtual unknown in city politics, doing so well while Wyant, a current member of the planning commission, and Tiggs, a former planning commissioner and current chair for the Fiesta La Ballona Committee, trailing. Both were endorsed by the culver city Chamber of Commerce.

Political observers blame "last-minute" flyers dropped off at homes attacking pro-business candidates. The flyers attacked the chamber candidates with reports that the Marshall's Department stores shopping center in Fox Hills would be turned into a used car lot. In reality, sources at city hall have told the Observer that the new owners, who have recently purchased the property, have requested options for the city based on current zoning ordinances and that no plans have been submitted to demolish or rebuild the center.

Another factor appears to be the "coattails" of Sahli-Wells, according to political observers. The obvious slate being run was Sahli-Wells, Small and Lee. The group was largely held responsible for the election of Kelly Kent to the culver city Unified School District Board of Trustees last November.

The culver city Observer will post the unofficial totals on the website at as soon as they become available.


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