With about a third of voters casting ballots on Tuesday, the election of two supervisors for the governing board of Calaveras County has not yet been decided.
The top two candidates in District 3 and District 5 are headed to a runoff in the November election.
In District 3, early returns boosted the confidence of Merita Callaway, who held the seat or nearly two decades before being ousted by Michael Oliviera in 2014.
But she ended up short with 1,082 votes – 47 percent – to Oliviera’s 649 or 28 percent. Ed Langan garnered 547 votes of 24 percent.
Callaway, a former manager for PG&E, was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1993 and served until 2014 when voters chose Oliviera in an environment she calls “throw the bums out.”
She said she has routinely been called by District 3 constituents seeking help on various issues, from junked cars to pot abatement.
“I think there's a vacuum. I should not be getting phone calls or people stopping me three and a half years later,” she said.
Initially she worked to find someone else – someone younger – to run against Oliviera but it was not yet the time for those she approached and decided to have another run.
“I like the job,” she said. “Eighty percent of it was working with individuals” to help them solve problems.
Oliveira, a retired police officer and corporate safety officer, ran on increasing public safety and promoting commerce, especially in the Highway 4 corridor.
area, institute programs for our youth to get them to stay in CC and also for seniors
He was the only supervisor to vote against the ordinance that opened the county to widespread cannabis cultivation because he did not believe it had the necessary enforcement powers.
But once the ordinance passed, he believed voters should have a say on the issue.
“I tried 4 times to put it on the ballot and was unsuccessful with even getting a second,” he said. “This should be decided by the people.”
In an interview last week, he said he wanted another term because he wasn’t done.
“I need four more years to get done fixing things. At least. I’m the only one that's seen the true realism with a vision to see how we are going to survive the next four years and at least make it prosperous.”
Callaway sees cannabis as a major issue as well and believes it’s been mismanaged.
She said she believes it should be regulated because it is legal in the state.
The district includes Douglas Flat, Murphys, Brice Station, Forest Meadows, Hathaway Pines, Avery, Arnold, White Pines, Dorrington, Camp Connell, Cottage Springs, Skyhigh, Tamarack, Sherman Acres and part of Vallecito.
In District 5, a runoff between incumbent Clyde Clapp and Benjamin Stopper will take place in November.
Clapp could not be reached for comment.
Stopper, a waste-water treatment plant operator, said in an interview last week that he wanted to run because he believes Clapp has not represented the working class during a long tenure.
He said he’d like to see more commercial and industrial development,
He said the original pot ordinance was too lax, but the ban is overbearing.
“We provided those people a business license and we took their money,” he said. “I think there could have been a more compromise decision.
District 5 includes Milton, Jenny Lind and Rancho Calaveras.