A good night for incumbents

One of four S’side City Council challengers leads in early returns

Left to right: Spencer Martin, Francisco Guerrero, Theresa Hancock and Dean Broersma

Left to right: Spencer Martin, Francisco Guerrero, Theresa Hancock and Dean Broersma

Three of four Sunnyside City Council officeholders appear on track to keep their council seats for the next four years following the first General Election returns released last night.

The only one of the four challengers on top as of last night’s count was Spencer Martin with a 490-to-335 vote lead over Don Vlieger for the Sunnyside City Council, District 3 seat.

As of Tuesday night’s count, District 4 councilman Francisco Guerrero is cruising to the largest margin of victory in the four council races with a 606-to-128 advantage over write-in challenger Ardell “Mac” McNearney, who took the one-sided loss in stride.

“I think I’ll just be me and let it go,” he laughed. “I didn’t really think people knew me that well and it’s fine,” he added of the loss. “I’m not really tore up about it.”

Guerrero, appointed to the council post earlier this year, says his background in financing may have been a factor in Sunnysiders voting for him. His goal for the next four years, he added, “…is to get us in a good solid foundation and the reserves that we need. We need to get our general fund healthy.”

In the District 1 city council race, incumbent Theresa Hancock staked out a 465-to-347 vote advantage over challenger Robert Perales according to Tuesday’s first count.

“I felt the community backed me like never before, offering their help and time,” said Hancock.

It’s a far different situation than her last run four years ago, in which Hancock trailed challenger Jason Raines by a single vote before rallying for a win.

“I think it was the negative campaigning,” she said of her improved election night showing this time. “We’re all neighbors and friends and I don’t think people liked it.”

Hancock added, “The community knows better than to think I don’t like the police.”

While noting the importance of police and emergency services, Hancock says her goal moving forward is for the city to have financial stability and economic development.

Her challenger, Robert Perales, was one of four candidates backed by Parkland Homes owner Wayne Overland in a series of newsletters that portrayed some candidates, including Hancock, as “hating” the police.

Perales says he’s not sure if the newsletters hurt or hindered his campaign. But he is sure that he will try again for Sunnyside City Council.

“I think it’s safe to say congratulations to Theresa but I will give it another shot,” he said.

Perales says he is pleased to garner 42 percent of the vote against Hancock, noting he is a first-time candidate against a two-time incumbent.

His focus throughout the campaign was public safety, especially police funding.

“There’s is a segment of the voting population that thinks emergency services should be maintained,” he said. “Hopefully the percentage (of votes) is close enough for her to understand that as well.”

The fourth Sunnyside City Council race on yesterday’s ballot was for the District 2 seat held by appointee Dean Broersma. As of last night, he led challenger Sam Ramirez by a vote count of 533-to-288.

The Yakima County Elections Department will release updated ballot counts every day at 4:30 p.m. The election will be certified on Tuesday, Nov. 26.


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ssoverlord 4 years, 6 months ago

President Reagan would say it's morning in America, and after the election it looks like the sun will shine little brighter in Sunnyside now that our long local nightmare, Don Vlieger, is about to defeated. May the city be ever so fortunate to never have to endure his brand of the politics of personal destruction again. I can only imagine that Deputy Chief Schenk must have been dusting off his resume` on Wednesday knowing that his shift is about to come to an end as well.

I would think that the City Council would ask Vlieger at the next meeting to step down and allow Mr. Martin to be seated so that he can participate in the budget. After all that is what he and Mike Farmer tried to do in 2009.

Pray that we never have to hear from Wayne Overland again too, who has tried for several years for the city to take over Parkland Mobile Homes so that he can save and spend his money in California and Canada.

As for Vlieger, I am sure there would be no shortage of volunteers who would help him pack up the basement living quarters at the B&B, into his Montana licensed trailer, and unceremoniously escort him out of town, to go back to one of his many other "residences" he owns, that is if he didn't all ready bail out in the early morning hours following the election results.


ssoverlord 4 years, 6 months ago

Lets take a trip down memory lane and tick off a few of Don's dubious achievements as published in the DSN in no particular order: 1) Feb 23, 2005 - Community residents not enamored with idea of privatizing water, sewer systems. 2) May 16, 2005 - Vlieger steps down from council 3) Nov. 23, 2004 - Councilman proposes individual water meters for mobile homes Excerpt: "He also is seeking to have the ordinance allow for existing mobile home park owners to switch over to individual metering, if they so request." Excerpt: "Mayor Ed Prilucik pointed out that he personally would have a problem with city meters being set up in a private development, noting that underground infrastructure would have to be brought up to code and the city would have to be given easements, or right-of-ways into each park."

4) Aug. 23, 2011 - Council divided on $49,000 police department review Excerpt: "Vlieger said he feels the spending of $49,000 in public funds for a study and review of the police department's performance and management practices is a waste of money." 5) Nov 10, 2009 - Vlieger edges Stone for city council seat Excerpt: "Vlieger said he wanted local police to add K-9 units .." 6) Feb 9, 2010 - City Council shows interest in K-9 program here Excerpt: "Vlieger liked the idea so much he said he would like to see two or three K-9s if the first one worked out." 7) Nov 1, 2013 - Sunnyside police crunch the numbers Excerpt: "Sunnyside’s K-9 unit will be disbanded early next year, said Schenck...".


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