The complete count of the ballots cast in the Burbank Primary Nominating Election wrapped up late last night and there were some surprises. The process began at City Hall minutes after the election ballot deadline of 7 p.m. The precinct results started appearing on a monitor at City Hall and on the Burbank city website shortly after 8 p.m.
City Council race
Incumbent Emily Gabel-Luddy jumped out in front of the pack of city council candidates with the first precinct numbers and held onto the lead to the very end when all 29 precincts were reported. However, Gabel-Luddy managed only 41 percent of the vote and it appears she must now face three top vote getters in the general election on April 14, 2015.
As it stands now, Will Rogers landed in second with 34.97 percent; in third, Chris Rizzotti with 23.32 percent and Juan Guillen came in fourth with 22.8 percent. There are two open seats on the city council.
Gabel-Luddy has had to battle a pro-development image throughout the campaign because of her vigorous support of projects like the Talaria/Whole Foods venture in the Media District. Gabel-Luddy told reporters at City Hall, an incumbent “runs on” his or her record and “sometimes that’s difficult.” Gabel-Luddy added, “I’m very proud of my record.”
David Nos came in fifth with 21.18 percent, followed by Elise Stearns-Niesen who received 14.36 percent and Sharon Springer 12.79 percent.
School Board race
In the contest for three seats on the Burbank School Board, incumbent Roberta Reynolds had more success running on her record. Reynolds won 52.73 percent of the vote. Steve Ferguson followed with 50.16 percent. A candidate needs 50 percent plus one vote majority to win a seat in the primary. If these percentages hold through the final count, Reynolds and Ferguson win seats on the board.
Both came down to City Hall to meet the media. Reynolds said her showing in the primary indicates the voters appreciate the job she’s doing. Ferguson said he was “humbled” and felt “blessed” by the vote tally.
That would leave one open seat. At this point, Dr. Armond Aghakhanian and Greg Sousa will go head to head in the general election. Aghakhanian got 36.41 percent of the vote. The biggest surprise of the evening was Sousa getting 29. 97 percent. He ran on a platform of being a school district outsider and a parent. Also, Sousa ran his campaign, his first, on a bare-bones budget of no more than a thousand dollars.
Sousa, who watched all of the returns at City Hall, told reporters he was “pleased with the results ” and they show “one does not have to spend a lot of money” to win the support of voters in Burbank.
Not far behind Sousa, Vahe Hovanessian with 29.16 percent and rounding out the field Jesse “Tangk” Tangkhpanya with 18.54 percent.
There are still a few ballots, with signature issues or other problems, that need to be reviewed. City Clerk, Zizette Mullins, says the final count will be released on Friday, February 27. The total number of ballots returned — 10, 103 of the 61, 162 mailed out to eligible voters.