Governor will appoint new county supervisor

Brian WilkinsonNovember 16, 2012 

The new District 1 representative to the Madera County Board of Supervisors will not be decided by a vote of the district's registered voters. The seat, left vacant with Frank Bigelow's election to the State 5th District Assembly seat on Nov. 6, will be filled by Gov. Jerry Brown according to California Government Code 25060.

Bigelow defeated Rico Oller of San Andreas in Calaveras County for the seat with 68,616 votes (52.7%) to Oller's 61,599 votes (47.3%).

Bigelow will officially resign from his county supervisor's position prior to the Dec. 3 assembly swearing in ceremony in Sacramento. He leaves the county with two years left on his term as District 1 supervisor.

Evan Westrup, spokesman for the governor's office, said there is no timeline for the governor to make the appointment, but he is certainly aware of the upcoming vacancy and will "move forward expeditiously to fill the seat."

On the night of the election, Bigelow stated that his seat would be filled by an appointment by the governor or by a special election if county supervisors decided to hold one. After checking with county counsel, Bigelow called the Star the next morning to clarify that his supervisor's seat would be filled by the governor's appointment and that the law did not allow for a special election.

Westrup explained that anyone within District 1 that is interested in being appointed to the board of supervisors can fill out and submit on line, as soon as possible, an "Application for Appointment" by clicking on "appointments" at the top of the page at

Those seeking the appointment must be a resident of the district.

"We will be seeking as broad and diverse panel of candidates as possible to select from," Westrup said.

District 1 covers parts in the valley from Firebaugh East Acres up to Madera Ranchos to the foothills including O'Neals and Raymond.

Svanda/Farinelli race

As of Tuesday, the outcome of the District 3 supervisor's race between Gary Svanda, 65, and Rick Farinelli, 61, was still not finalized and will not be until the Madera County Elections Division completes an extensive canvass of all the ballots. By law, the canvass has to be completed by Dec. 6.

Initial election night results showed Svanda with 2,790 votes and Farinelli with 2,782. The election night results did not include a large number of vote by mail ballots that were dropped off at polling locations as well as provisional ballots that require verification.

Svanda is a financial planner and has been on the city of Madera City Council for the past 10 years.

Farinelli is owner of Fiber Packaging Systems in Madera.

Svanda said during his campaign is top priorities were to stretch limited county resources while balancing the county budget. He would also like to seek more volunteers to help with neighborhood cleanups or graffiti removal which has worked well for the city of Madera. He also feels supervisors should be more proactive in improving air and water quality.

Farinelli has stated his priorities to be public safety, a leaner government and privatizing of some county services. He also advocates evening board meetings at least once a month to allow more people to attend. He says he has already started working with community groups on an outreach program to get youths out of gangs. He feels his 40 years of business experience would serve the county well.

Svanda or Farinelli will succeed Ronn Dominici who did not seek reelection after 12 years on the board.

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