A recall effort in bankrupt San Bernardino ousted a number of elected officials Tuesday, including a longtime city councilwoman who, despite facing the music in her own district, managed to be the top vote-getter in the citywide race to be mayor, according to unofficial election results.
That councilwoman, Wendy McCammack, led the pack of 10 candidates running for mayor with just under 25% of the 11,161 votes cast in the race. She heads to a February runoff with Carey Davis, an accountant and political newcomer.
McCammack, a member of the council for 13 years, has disputed critics who say that she contributed to the city's decline. She has portrayed herself as a voice of opposition during her time on the council and is advocating a crackdown on code enforcement and deadbeat landlords and ensuring the city delivers services to property owners.
But in McCammack's district, 57% of the 2,200 residents who voted decided in favor of recalling her.
Hard times in San Bernardino have driven voter discontent. The city of about 213,000 fell into bankruptcy, struggling with costly pension obligations as its tax base evaporated. Crime has risen, and businesses have fled.
The recall effort ousted others from office Tuesday.
Nearly 60% of voters supported the recall of City Atty. James Penman, who has held the office since 1987. Gary Saenz won 56% of the vote to replace him.
And Robert Jenkins -- the councilman charged with more than 30 felony and misdemeanor counts related to allegedly posting ads on Craigslist for sex partners and directing them to a former partner and another man -- also lost his seat. He fell to Benito Barrios, who received 55% of the vote.
A third council member, John Valdivia, held onto his seat, with 62% of voters in his ward rejecting the recall. In the two other council races, the incumbents — Virginia Marquez and Fred Shorett — held their seats.