By CATHY BUSSEWITZ
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Mayor Pam Stafford and Rohnert Park Chamber of Commerce chaiman Amy Ahanotu were elected to the Rohnert Park City Council on Tuesday.
With all precincts reporting, Stafford captured 27 percent of the vote while Ahanotu held 24 percent of the vote.
Trailing were John Borba, an attorney who ran unsuccessfully for a seat in 2004 and 2008, with 22 percent, and former city manager Carl Leivo, who had 16 percent of the vote.
Leivo was the top spender in the race, with campaign expenditures of $22,310 by late October. The other leading spender, Stafford, spent $11,876.
Other contenders were Jack Rosevear, a retired fire commander, with 6 percent and Roger L. Schwanke, a retired police officer, with 5 percent.
The two winners in the race will inherit a full slate of challenges, including a $2.5 million general fund deficit. That shortfall remains even though Rohnert Park voters passed a half-cent sales tax in June and the city made $2.7 in budget cuts and over the past 16 months.
Stafford touted the city’s savings as an accomplishment in her campaign. Leivo promised that his experience as city manager could help restore the city’s fiscal health, and he touted his experience as a financial researcher.
Meanwhile, Ahanotu and Borba, both of whom serve on the Rohnert Park Planning Commission, focused on economic development.
The election was hard-fought, and both Stafford and Leivo were the targets of independent political committees in the campaign, which spent at least $50,000 in their attempts to steer the vote.
In the weeks before the election, a campaign mailer linked Leivo to Karl Rove, the polarizing former adviser to President George W. Bush. At the time, Leivo said he thought the negative ad would backfire.
An attack ad against Stafford focused on her support of a $1 billion housing and commercial development on the city’s southeast side. Stafford was unphased and said the mailers mischaracterized her record.
The city’s public safety officers union spent $20,000 supporting Leivo and Borba.