Precinct by Precinct, Wykle Was Moraga's Top Vote-getter

Update: A tour through the numbers, and a reflection on the campaign from ousted Council member Karen Mendonca.

Update: Thursday, Nov. 8, comments from Roger Wykle.

There will be a couple new faces on the Moraga Town Council, including that of  Roger N. Wykle, the top vote-getter in Tuesday's election.

Wykle with 3,599 votes finished more than 500 votes ahead of the second-place finisher, incumbent (Mayor) Mike Metcalf. Finishing third and gaining a seat was Phillip Arth with 2,986 votes. Finishing out of the running was incumbent Karen Mendonca with 2,235 and Seth Freeman with 1,898.

Wykle comments

"Overall, it was a very positive experience," said Wykle in a telephone interview Thursday about his first occasion of seeking elective office. "I definitely had a great team of supporters and campaign committee. There were a lot of moving parts."

Wykle had an Election Night get-together for supporters. The first returns came in at 8:30 with a handful of precincts counted. "As the engineer, I was saying, 'Hang on,'" said Wykle.

Asked at what point he felt his message was getting through to voters, Wykle chuckled and answered that was at 11:35 p.m. Election Night. Then, nine of nine Moraga precincts were reporting. It was clear Wykle was the top vote-getter.

Wykle in campaign appearances advocated the preservation of open space in Moraga through upholding and defending the town's general plan. He has served on the planning commission for nearly three years.

Wykle and fellow newcomer Phil Arth are due to take office at a meeting on Wednesday, Dec 12.

Contra Costa County's number-crunching elections website shows that Wykle led in eight of nine precincts — finishing second in the smallest precinct with 27 total votes  in Precinct 9739 (I think it's a precinct for absentee ballots, but I was unable to confirm that). See chart that accompanies story.

Wykle, a retired Coast Guard commander, serves on the Moraga Planning Commission.

In the goals on his campaign website, Wykle says he will:

  • Preserve Moraga’s open space, ridgelines and semi-rural character.
  • Exercise fiscal responsibility.
  • Support our schools and youth/recreational programs, and strengthen cooperation between the Town, the School District, and Saint Mary’s College.
  • Act to revitalize Moraga Center and support locally owned businesses.
  • Encourage and listen to public input.
  • Strengthen our General Plan to better reflect community priorities.

Arth, a member of the town's Audit and Finance Committee, cites his decades-long experience as a Certified Public Accountant in bringing heightened fiscal discipline and awareness to the town council. he advocates arriving at a financial consensus to improve town roads — a goal that got a boost Tuesday with the voters' approval with a 70.07 percent yes vote of Measure K, a 1 percent sales tax targeted for town roads.

"I don't think I ever had a time when I felt confident I had the votes," Arth wrote in an email. "The competition was impressive, and I was just dedicated to seeing the process to a conclusion that represented by best effort."

Mendonca statement

Mendonca encountered a local campaign targeting her as an individual, citing her positions on the Rancho Laguna Park issue. It included lawn signs and a StopMendonca website.

In an email Wednesday, Mendonca stated: "Although the weeks preceding the election were most disconcerting as to their constant and targeted negativity, I did not think that most Moraga citizens would be deceived by this approach. When I saw the first set of preliminary returns last evening, I knew that my assessment was incorrect and that the very personal and targeted visual and verbal assaults had taken the ultimate toll on this re-election campaign effort."

Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop November 09, 2012 at 09:57 PM
I recently authored a Patch Blog article covering Mendonca's duplicity which, when combined with broken campaign promises, served to alienated many of her now 'former' supporters. She essentially blamed everything and everybody for her loss, while accepting no personal responsibility for the systematic alienation of her support base. The irony is, of course, her devious, unscrupulous behavior was relatively transparent to those Moragans that followed the debacle, and her lack of civility throughout may well have fueled her demise. Arrogant and short-sighted, she continues to call it a 'smear campaign'. Hoisted, then, by her own petard, she will slink into anonymity. Seth Freeman, misunderstood and mis-characterized, would have been a fine choice and is gracious in defeat. I might suggest the new TC make use of his expertise in things fiscal by consulting him as an outside source of strategies and information as they settle in to do the appropriate work of governance facing them.
Chris Gerding November 10, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Richard Kline, I have not seen one candidate "trashed" throughout this entire election process. No one was " smeared", and the very idea that "dirty politics" was employed is laughable. Are you confusing Moraga CA with Cook County, IL? The very idea that negative messaging by itself amounts to a "smear campaign" indicates a major gap in understanding. If I say, " Don't vote for Kline" versus if I manufacture falsehoods about you having a drug problem, a felony conviction, etc and spread these lies among voters....do you honestly not differentiate between these scenarios and call them both "smear campaigns"?? Karen Mendonca is busy spinning her victimhood, hoping to confuse the public on this same point. She would have you believe that the mere act of posting a sign discouraging you from voting for her amounts to "smearing" her. She probably also believes that Letters to the Editor which express disagreement with her policies and plans are also "smears". This is all to deny credit to voters who, reading such signs, educate themselves and vote fully informed. Some "smear" that is, huh?
Karen Lewis November 10, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Thank you Chris. You made an important distinction in your second paragraph... and you are correct. I hope those put off by the signs will give that some thought..
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