It’s time to hit the polls, people.
Months of campaign efforts come to an end today as local voters decide who will lead the city, and who will represent them in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. In addition to the candidates, there are 14 state and local ballot measures to approve or reject.
Candidates for Lemon Grove City Council were out early Tuesday for one last push to win votes. The busy intersection at Broadway and Lemon Grove Avenue proved to be a popular spot for making a final appeal as motorists beeped and honked in response.
Mark Gracyk, who said he had already voted by mail, hit the street with his supporters at 6:30 a.m. to wave signs near the Big Lemon. The first-time candidate was still at it as lunchtime approached.
Racquel Vasquez, also seeking one of two open seats on the City Council, campaigned just across the way, catching the eyes of commuters with signs and waves starting at 6:45 a.m. She cast her ballot at North Park Church just after noon.
George Gastil was also out on the corner with Vasquez seeking the support of voters. He is running for a second term on the council.
Business was brisk at polls, too. A steady stream of voters came in singles and pairs to the Lemon Grove Fire Department to cast their ballots over the course of about 30 minutes.
Ballot measures brought Monica Hurtado to the poll Tuesday. A resident for just over a year, Hurtado said the top issues locally were Propositions T and Q, the medical marijuana dispensary initiatives.
“I’ve been coming to Lemon Grove since I was about 15, and I’m now 35, so I see the culture changes, the congestion,” Hurtado said. “I don’t think that would bring anything positive to Lemon Grove.”
Hurtado, who works as a customer service representative, also feels strongly about Proposition 34, which seeks to repeal the death penalty.
“I don’t think we have the right to take life away. We don’t punish with the same type of crime that they committed,” she said. “We just don’t have that right.”
The mother of a 10-yar-old boy also thinks labeling genetically engineered foods is important.
“We should know what’s in it [food]. If we’re buying it, we should know what’s in it,” she said. “If I’m doing my homework and trying to feed my son the right stuff, which is important to me, I need to know what’s going in his body.”
Lemon Grove will vote for candidates to fill two open City Council seats, a mayor, one of California's two Senate seats, Congress, the state Senate and Assembly, 11 state propositions, and two local initiatives on whether to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city.
And, of course, voters will also choose a president.
Four years ago, nearly 77 percent of Lemon Grove’s registered voters turned out for the 2008 election that swept Barack Obama into the White House, casting some 9,604 ballots locally. Just over 58 percent of Lemon Grove voters cast their ballot for Obama, while nearly 40 percent chose the Republican challenger, John McCain.
Overall, in San Diego County in 2008, 54 percent of the 1.23 million votes cast were for Obama, while 44 percent were for McCain.
How will Lemon Grove vote today? Check Patch for ongoing coverage of all the races and propositions that affect the city. Below is a list of what we will be following throughout the day.
For more information about each candidate or proposition, click on the hyperlink.
Lemon Grove City Council: There are two seats open, and six candidates running.
- Racquel Vasquez
- George Gastil
- Mark Gracyk
- Lou Melendez
- Matt Mendoza
- Michael Richards
Mayor of Lemon Grove: Two candidates are running.
- Mary Teresa Sessom
- Teresa Rosiak
53rd Congressional District: There is one seat open, and two candidates running.
- Nick Popaditch
- Susan Davis
79th State Assembly: There is one seat open, and two candidates running.
- Shirley Weber
- Mary England
Grossmont Union High School District: There are two seats open, and six candidates running.
- Priscilla Schreiber
- Jim Stieringer
- Barbara Stevens
- Gary C. Woods
- Bill Weaver
- Zach Miller
Helix Water District
- Lori Kern
- Chuck Muse
Prop T: Lemon Grove Marijuana Dispensary Authorization Ordinance
Prop Q: Alternative Lemon Grove Medical Marijuana Regulatory Ordinance
Prop 30: Temporary Taxes to Fund Education
Prop 31: State Budget Process
Prop 33: Auto Insurance Rates
Prop 34: Death Penalty Repeal
Prop 36: Three Strikes Law
Prop 37: Genetically Modified Foods
Prop 39: Multistate Business Tax
Prop 40: Redistricting