Dixon’s High Campaign Spending Loses One Contest, Wins Two

Money usually talks in politics – especially local – but not always, as Dixon’s contests this week showed.
The “YES on Measure N” side spent almost $52,000 to push the sales tax hike; versus Zero by opponents. Yet the measure, which required 66.6 percent to win ended up with almost that percentage against – 62.5 percent.
The Measure, which this newspaper opposed, would have imposed a half-percent sales tax for ten years – supposedly to be dedicated to “Transportation.” Obviously, the voters didn’t buy those claims.
But money did make an impact in the two City Council races.
Incumbent Ted Hickman was outspent more than five to one by challenger Jim Ernest. Jim Ernest had raised $10,937 as of October 20 – with much more likely since that date. In contract, Hickman raised and spent less than $2,000.
Hickman ran on his record of over 50 years of service to the community. Ernest ran on his three years as a Planning Commissioner – to which he was appointed by former Mayor Jack Batchelor; his 30 years as a Martial Arts instructor and business owner; and his promise to be respectful to everyone.
Besides his financial advantage, Ernest has taught hundreds of martial arts students over those years, and has a positive reputation with those students and their families. He announced his candidacy on a Facebook page set up by a Solano LGBT advocacy group – which endorses him as an ally. Ernest also had strong support from Dixon’s network of “insiders” – aka the local “swamp.”
With all that, Ernest garnered a highly impressive over 71% of the vote to Hickman’s less than 28% in the District 2 race.
In District 1, incumbent Scott Pederson also won, but with 45.48% of the vote, while out-spending his two opponents combined also by at least three to one. In that race challenger Mike Ceremello received 30.59% of the vote and James Ward, Jr garnered 22.95%.
Pederson ran on his record from his first term on the council, his business experience, and was also endorsed as “an ally” by the Solano LGBT Facebook page. The same network of local elites backed Pederson, as they did Ernest.
Once on the council, Ernest and Pederson – as well as the entire council – will face the daunting issues of upgrading the water system, possibly requiring more than tripling the water rates in half of Dixon; repairing and upgrading city streets – without the funds from the defeated half-cent sales tax; and deciding on the future of the Pardi Market site in the middle of downtown Dixon.
Ernest and Pederson will be sworn in after the election results are certified by the Solano County Board of Supervisors.

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