The voters have made their choice.
In the most hotly-contested contest in Tuolumne County, Paolo Maffei defeated Don Ratzlaff for the District 2 Supervisor´s seat.
Maffei had 2,155 votes, or about 60 percent, to Ratzlaff´s 1,436 votes, or 40 percent.
Throughout the campaign, Ratzlaff, the incumbent, portrayed Maffei as a one-issue, no-growth candidate too allied with environmental groups like the Sierra Club, Audubon Society and Native Plant Society.
Maffei claimed Ratzlaff was beholden to developers and had ignored the wishes of the people during the public debate over the Mountain Springs housing development. In fact, Maffei said it was Ratzlaff´s rudeness chairing those meetings that made him decide to run in the first place.
After his victory, Maffei said with his and Jim Peterson´s election – both on smart growth platforms – there is a clear mandate to change the political climate of Tuolumne County.
In the race for the Tuolumne County District Three Supervisor´s seat, Jim Peterson defeated Jerry Morrow by an almost two-to-one margin with 2,230 votes to Morrow´s 1,118 votes.
Peterson, a Twain Harte lawyer, campaigned on a platform of smart growth and fiscal responsibility. He stressed his education and experience in Tuolumne County organizations compared to Morrow´s as well.
The low-key race to replace Laurie Sylwester never got nasty like the District Two race between Don Ratzlaff and Paolo Maffei, and the candidates stuck to the issues.
Morrow´s campaign centered around bringing more county services to District Three residents: more road maintenance, an ambulance stationed in the high country, hiking and bike paths. He championed bringing jobs to Tuolumne County so young people could find work without leaving the area.
Both Peterson and Maffei were endorsed by the citizen´s group Voter´s Choice.
In other Tuolumne County races, Yosemite Community College District Trustee Incumbent Joe Mitchell outpolled first-time challenger Donald Stone 9,717 to 5,369.
Stone didn´t attend most of the candidates debates and forums before the election.
Two school bonds were also on the ballot.
In Groveland, Measure A, a $5.75 million bond to construct and equip gymnasiums at both Tioga High School and Don Pedro High School and pay for improvements and new school facilities at Tenaya Elementary School, lost by a vote of 1,172 votes against to 1,144 votes for the bond. It needed 55 percent to pass.
But voters in Soulsbyville approved Measure B, a $1.5 million bond issue to build a new gym and make improvements at Soulsbyville Elementary School. The vote was 1,087 for the bond, to 526 against. The bond will raise property taxes on Soulsbyville area homes $45 to $60 a year.