By Khalida Sarwari
Incumbent Mayor Darcy Paul and Councilwoman Savita Vaidhyanathan and newcomer Liang-Fang Chao maintained their lead for three open seats on the Cupertino City Council Thursday evening.
While 100 percent of precincts have reported, the race remains extremely close as thousands of ballots have yet to be counted. It may take days or weeks to determine an official tally.
Paul collected 17.71 percent of the tally, followed by Chao, who made a surprising comeback early Wednesday morning to secure 15.48 percent of the vote. Vaidhyanathan received 14.26 of the vote, but only 79 votes separate her from challenger Hung Wei.
The newly minted council members will oversee the development of the defunct Vallco Shopping Mall and the restructuring of the city’s outdated business tax which would draw $10 million from Apple, the city’s largest employer.
Chao, 54, an engineer and Cupertino Union School District board member, received 3,749 votes, according to unofficial figures. Chao wants to strengthen the city’s development standards, involve residents in the city’s decision-making process and provide incentives for work-study programs. She’d also like to boost the city’s shopping scene.
It appears voters have re-elected Paul for a second term with 4,290 votes. The 42-year-old attorney wants to expand the city’s library and park space and lead the charge in innovative public transit improvements.
From the Cupertino Hotel late Tuesday night where he watched the results pour in alongside supporters, Paul said he was feeling “cautiously optimistic,” but indicated that he isn’t attached to any particular outcome.
“I feel pretty good about it overall… and really where I’m at, no matter what happens I’m fine,” he said. “From a personal perspective, it’s something that I’m glad to do, but it’s not something that I need to do on any level.”
With 3,454 votes, Vaidhyanathan will have a chance to see the work through that she started on affordable housing and regional transportation in her first term — issues that along with the environment constitute the 54-year-old’s biggest priorities.
Measure CC, Fremont Union High School District’s $275 million bond measure, passed in a landslide. The measure aims to raise an estimated $17.5 million annually until 2050 at the projected rate of 1.6 cents for school upgrades including roof and window repairs, seismic upgrades, and site acquisitions.