Deluge in Carmel
Sweeping victories for Burnett, Talmage and Beach; Pepe still a council contender.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
New Carmel Mayor-Elect Jason Burnett was met with booming applause when he arrived at a packed Sunset Center lobby Tuesday night after the votes were tallied at City Hall.
The big election-night gathering was no surprise: With more than 50 percent voter turnout, Burnett won 74 percent of the vote – 1,057 to restaurateur Rich Pepe’s 364, by the unofficial count. In 2010, Mayor Sue McCloud beat Adam Moniz with 54 percent.
Burnett’s margin of victory is up 2 percentage points from his 2010 council race. “That means I won over some people in two years of work,” he says. “It says the community wants to go in the direction we laid out in our campaign.”
“Jason’s commitment to community is in his DNA,” says 26-year resident and community activist Carolyn Hardy, who had glued shiny studs to her Burnett, Talmage and Beach campaign buttons. “I think he loves solving problems.”
In the City Council race, incumbent Ken Talmage and architect Victoria Beach each took in more than 900 votes, nearly tripling the votes for their challengers, retired physician Tom Leverone and realtor Bob Profeta.
Talmage took no opportunity to gloat. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work,” he said after hearing the results.
Beach spoke about public process in her acceptance speech. “I hope you come back again to City Hall, and when you see us sitting there behind that formidable piece of furniture, you don’t see it as a divide, but as a drafting table,” she said.
The new council will appoint another new face to take Burnett’s vacant seat within 60 days. “What I’d like to do is have an open process where we solicit the community,” Burnett says.
Pepe says he’d be honored to be considered for the seat. Regardless, he says, he plans to keep pushing for the economic revitalization program laid out in his campaign.
Barbara Brooks, who served on City Council from 1990-94, expects the next highest vote-getter to be appointed to the vacant seat: “That’s been the tradition, and to buck that would be rather difficult,” she says.
In the council race, that could be Leverone, who claimed 320 votes in to the unofficial tally. But with Profeta at his heels with 315, the official results could make all the difference.