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Lo Makes Bid for City Council

Longtime community volunteer Calvin Lo has announced that he will be a candidate for a seat on the San Marino City Council at the Nov. 8 election.

Lo joins Steven Jones and incumbent Gretchen Shepherd Romey on the ballot as the initial three candidates vying for the three open seats on the council.

The terms of Mayor Susan Jakubowski and council members Shepherd Romey and Ken Ude are ending in December. Jakubowski and Ude will not be defending their seats.

Council members Steve Talt and Dr. Steven Huang are currently serving their second terms, which will end in December 2024, placing them in the next election cycle.

Things could get interesting if there are three or fewer candidates by the end of the nomination period, which will extend until Aug. 17 because only one incumbent filed by Aug. 12. If that happens, the city council will have three options; do nothing and let the election proceed as normal; appoint the nominated candidates to City Council and cancel the election for candidates; or appoint eligible electors to City Council for offices that do not have a nominated candidate and cancel the election for candidates. The eligible elector must be a resident and registered to vote in San Marino.

At press time, however, this seems like an unlikely scenario for the city. As recently as Tuesday, two additional residents had scheduled appointments with the city clerk to pull papers: Su Viswanathan and Grant Fujiwara. It remains to be seen if additional candidates will toss their hats into the ring before next Wednesday’s deadline, but a competitive election for City Council now seems all but assured.

The San Marino School Board will have four seats on the ballot as the terms of Shelley Ryan and C. Joseph Chang will be finished. But that number was doubled in 2021, when both Corey Barberie and Julie Chan Lin resigned, replaced ultimately by Michael Killackey and Jeanie Caldwell. Under state law, an appointed candidate serving in a vacated seat may only serve until the next regularly scheduled election. Jane Chon, who was elected in November 2020, is currently serving the second year of her four-year term.

Incumbents Shelley Ryan and C. Joseph Chang last week told the Tribune that they plan to defend their seats on the Board at the Nov. 8 election. School Board President Caldwell said she will not be defending her seat while Michael Killackey has indicated he will decide at a later date if he is going to run.

Jim Barger, who sought one of two open seats that were up for appointment in 2021, has also confirmed that his name will be on the ballot in November.

Chang has served five terms on the board and Ryan has served three.

Nomination papers were available on Monday, July 18, and the deadline to submit a declaration of candidacy will be Friday, Aug. 12. As with the City Council election, if incumbents fail to file a declaration of candidacy by that deadline, it will be extended to Wednesday, Aug. 17.

Also on the Nov. 8 ballot will be a proposed vacancy tax that — if passed — will generate approximately $4.7 million to be used for public safety services (including police, fire protection and code enforcement), maintenance of school facilities and school staffing. The tax will require a two-thirds majority vote to pass and will charge those who have lived on their properties for less than 120 days per year at a rate of $10,000 per parcel.

Potential City Council candidates are encouraged to email cityclerk@cityofsanmarino.org, and those interested in running for a School Board seat may contact Jennifer De La Torre at jdelatorre@smusd.us.


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