There are two spots available in the November election for Poway City Council. One seat is currently held by Jim Cunningham and the other is open due to Councilmember Merrilee Boyack’s decision to not seek reelection.
Cunnigham has shown himself as a capable member of the Council. I believe he will win reelection easily. That leaves Boyack’s seat, with three trying to fill the position, Steve Vaus, Jeff Mangum and Gary Vineyard.
Of the four candidates including the incumbent, Vineyard is the only one NOT living in the northern section of Poway called “Green Valley.” This area has the distinction of being where the influence is in Poway due to its relative wealth.
In past elections there have been comments that the power of Poway lies in this northern section and that the southern area of Poway is not well represented on the Council. This could be an advantage for Vineyard, with the other candidates splitting the Green Valley vote, but I don’t think his residence will help him in this race based on the qualifications of the other candidates.
Vineyard, the owner of two area businesses and a former police officer, has sought a seat on the Council three times. He has been active with the Elks and Kiwanis, however, he lacks the community involvement of Vaus and Mangum.
Mangum is a successful lawyer and has lived in the area for 23 years. He served on the Board of Education of Poway Unified School District for 16 years before retiring, but his involvement in the current school bond fiasco could spell defeat in this election. However, he did much good while on the board, a big plus, but this bond mess, no matter how hard the board tries to pass the blame on to others, could come back and bite him.
Vaus has been active in the community and he led the successful 2010 recall of Councilmember Betty Rexford. His involvement in her recall could be a plus and a minus. A plus that he was an active leader in the recall, a minus that he did state he wouldn’t run for her seat, and ended up running when his favored candidate dropped out. (Reminds me of Sean Connery’s statement when he returned to film another James Bond movie: “Never again.”)
Yet, Vaus’ consistent involvement in the community over the last decade is a real positive. He also has the endorsements of retiring Councilmember Boyack along with her colleague Dave Grosch, another big plus.
How do I handicap the race? Jim Cunningham wins reelection (get ready for him running for Mayor in 2 years). The race for the second seat will be close, but Steve Vaus will be the victor over Jeff Mangum. While Mangum is a leader, I believe his defeat will be the result of the backlash from the Poway Unified bond troubles. Gary Vineyard will finish a distant fourth.
Assuming I’m right, Poway will have, once again, elected two well qualified and capable members to the Poway City Council. Powegians tend to do well with their Council selections.