Election Day has passed, but many races in the state have yet to be officially decided due to the number of mail-in and absentee ballots that have yet to be counted. Among those races is the election for the three open seats on the San Fernando City Council.
There are five candidates for the City Council that residents had the option to vote for: current Mayor Mary Mendoza, Councilmember Sylvia Ballin, former Mayor Joel Fajardo, educator/counselor Mary Solorio or attorney Victoria Garcia.
By press time, the three leaders in the race are Fajardo, Mendoza and Solorio with an approximate 65 percent of the votes counted so far. Ballin currently trails behind Solorio by only 14 votes.
The San Fernando Valley Sun/el Sol newspaper reached out to each candidate on Election Day to hear their final thoughts on their respective campaigns. Their responses are listed in alphabetical order. Garcia did not respond by press time.
Ballin, who has been on the City Council since 2012, said that this latest campaign was far superior to previous ones due to her experience and knowledge on how to run a campaign, such as prepping early.
Although she said she felt good going into the election, win or lose, she did express disappointment due to what she called falsehoods being spread throughout the campaign.
“I think there’s been some pettiness in the election,” Ballin said. “It wasn’t a good clean campaign. Supporters of other candidates have just been shallow, very petty, and that’s disappointing, but not unexpected.”
Although the final results won’t be known for a few days, Ballin exuded an air of confidence, saying that her mind is already on the next election.
“I can’t see that I’m not going to win the election. It’s just not something that I see happening.”
Fajardo also expressed confidence going into the election. According to him, he knocked on 4,250 doors this election and connected with about 1,500 people personally.
“I love talking to the residents of San Fernando. Every time I go door knocking, I learn something new,” Fajardo said. “People educate me on issues that need to be fixed and ways that we can improve our city, for me that [leaves] a lasting impression.”
Fajardo said that he anticipates the vote count to go on for some time if the gap between third and fourth place is less than 200 votes (which it currently is), but that he’ll wait patiently for the results.
Still, he felt assured of his chances of winning going into the night.
“The percentage of people who say they will vote for me is higher in this election than in any previous election, but of course, we need to wait and see who turns out to vote. I’m really optimistic,” Fajardo said.
Mendoza, who first came onto the City Council in 2020, said she was proud of the work her campaign has done in this election. Although she said she wasn’t able to put into words exactly how she was feeling, she expressed how glad she was to run as a candidate.
“Win or lose, I’m just so grateful to have had this opportunity to run as a candidate for the City of San Fernando,” Mendoza said. “It’s given me opportunities to meet so many people and learn a little bit from everyone.”
As she waits to hear the results, Mendoza said she’ll continue to do her work on the City Council. Either way, she’s optimistic about her chances of winning.
“I feel good about my campaign, and I feel that I’m going to win. I feel the support of the residents and I feel a lot of support from businesses as well,” Mendoza said.
Solorio is a newcomer to the election scene. Although she isn’t as well known as some of her opponents, she said that her campaign has received a lot of positive feedback and that she’s proud of the work her team has done to engage the community.
“I didn’t have name recognition and [it’s] my first time running, [but] with the support of the community and my committee, we’ve definitely made a huge impact,” Solorio said.
Win or lose, Solorio is grateful for the experience and said her favorite part of the election was canvassing and speaking to people personally. Solorio said she feels excited and proud of the work she and her team have accomplished in the last few months.
“Win or lose, I’m still part of this community and will continue to be a part of it. … If I do win, then at that point, [I’ll] work together with the new city council to make sure that we’re making the best decisions moving forward,” Solorio said.