Seaside Dems celebrate at the neighborhood taqueria; Monterey Repubs sip fine wine.

Enchiladas and Crab Cakes: Party Time: Seaside Mayor Ralph Rubio celebrates a win with granddaughter Jazmin Moore (left) and wife Gracie (right).— Jane Morba

Four generations of his family celebrated Seaside Mayor Ralph Rubio’s win at La Villa Taqueria on Tuesday night.

“My mother is here,” Rubio says, motioning to the buffet line leading to enchiladas and chile rellenos. “My brother is here, my daughter and three grandkids.”

A half dozen aunts sit at a corner window table. “And lots of cousins,” says Rubio’s wife, Gracie, who wears a “Re-elect Rubio” button on her blouse.

Gracie says she’s feeling much better than she did. “Yesterday was the most anxious day for me,” she says. “I don’t know why. But today, I feel good. Ralph has run a stand-up campaign. He’s mayor, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. Today is about enjoying the support of the community. What is going to be is going to be. And it’s going to be good.”

Around 8pm it looks like the crowd is going to get some early results.

“This is it,” says Gracie, clapping her hands. Instead, a TV reporter says polls are closing now, and that a Pacific Grove polling place ran out of paper.

“Give us some numbers,” Gracie yells at the big screen.

By 8:30pm, she and the crowd get their wish. Ralph Rubio reports that absentee ballots are in, and he’s beating challenger Paul Mugan 57 percent to 43 percent. As of late Tuesday night, Rubio had 59 percent of the vote.

City Council candidate Dennis Alexander, also at La Villa, is enjoying an early lead. Results show Alexander and incumbent Tom Mancini beating long-time City Councilman Darryl Choates in the race for the two council seats.

Alexander says he feels good about the numbers. “But I’m nervous,” says his mom, Rosalie, who is visiting from Wisconsin.

“I think these results say that people want someone new, who knows about law enforcement and is involved in the community,” says Alexander, a math teacher at Seaside High and a reserve police officer.

Rubio agrees. “I think voters see a need for some new blood,” he says. “And both Dennis and I ran positive campaigns. Hopefully, a positive race is still relevant these days.”

But sometimes, a negative campaign gets the job done just as well—almost.

In Monterey, at the county Republican Party’s party at the Marriott, early results show Hollister Republican businessman Ignacio Velazquez ahead of Salinas Mayor Anna Caballero in the race for the 28th Assembly District seat among Monterey County voters. Velazquez’s TV ads blamed Caballero for closing libraries and causing gang violence. They also accused Caballero, a defense attorney, of defending murderers and rapists.

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Paul Bruno, co-chair of the county Republican Party, says Velazquez deserves the job. “He’s a bright young guy with a great future in the area,” Bruno says. “A lot of people are upset with Anna’s leadership.”

But by the end of the night, Caballero leads the race with 56 percent of the vote.

Ferrante’s Bay View at the top of the Marriott is clearly the place to go for Monterey County Republicans on election night. Chuck Della Sala is there—already unofficially Monterey’s Mayor-elect (he leads challenger Mike Dawson with 65 percent of the vote). Sheriff Mike Kanalakis is in attendance, as are Supervisor Lou Calcagno and almost all of the candidates for the Airport District Board.

Scheid vineyard provides good wine. Crab cakes, pasta and breaded artichoke fritters with Gorgonzola cheese abound. Women wear cocktail dresses and men wear suits.

Earlier in the day, the Monterey City Council approved the purchase of Mohr Motors. It was the only remaining property in the “Priority A” phase of the city’s Window-on-the-Bay project. Della Sala, who sits on the council, says he’s proud of this accomplishment.

“My top priority is to complete the Window-on-the-Bay,” he says. And he’s pleased with his campaign. “We ran a positive campaign from start to finish,” he says. “It’s the Monterey way.” 

Number of poems received as part of the Steinbeck Chair 10,000 Poems Project. Over 50 percent were received in the last six weeks. Source: Lawson Fusao Inada, Steinbeck chair, Hartnell College and National Steinbeck Center.

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