City council photo for PV races

In early election returns Wednesday, Nov. 4 these were the leaders in each city council race. For Palos Verdes Estates: Jim Roos and Dawn Murdock; for Rolling Hills Estates: Debby Stegura, Frank Zerunyan and Velveth Schmitz; for Rolling Hills: Bea Hieringer, Jeff Pieper and Arun Bhumitra in a close race.

After the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office updated election results on Wednesday, Nov. 4, candidates who were initially ahead in the Peninsula city council races retained their leads.

The county released its semi-official results — with vote-by-mail ballots that arrived before Election Day and those cast at vote centers — shortly after 2 a.m. Wednesday.

The county must still count some ballots, including provisional ones and vote-by-mail ones that arrived after election day. And official results likely won’t come for weeks.

Palos Verdes Estates City Council

Jim Roos and Dawn Murdock were the top vote-getters for two Palos Verdes Estates City Council seats. Roos had 28% of the vote and Murdock had 27%.

Roos is a technology executive and planning commissioner with the city. Murdock is a management consultant and a member of PVE Pension Ad Hoc Committee.

The remaining three candidates were incumbent Sanford Davidson with 19%, Gayne Brenneman with 15% and Bill Sewell with 11%.

Roos said Tuesday evening that he will be honored to serve the residents of Palos Verdes Estates.

"My highest priority remains to make sure that we are able to keep our PV police department and secondly, making sure that we remain on a stable financial footing," Roos said.

Roos said he and his family watched the election results with a small "COVID-pod" of friends and took phone calls from supporters during the evening.

He added that the pandemic made campaigning easier for him.

"With everyone used to using Zoom, it was easy to gather people for meetings and virtual coffees," he said. "It’s never quite the same when you can’t meet in person, and the events weren’t catered, but technology did allow me to reach out to a lot of people."

Davidson, who along with Roos had the endorsement of the Palos Verdes Police Officer’s Association, is an eye surgeon who also services on the CA Cities Local Control organization.

Other candidates include Brenneman, a physician and interviewer for USC Medical School Admissions and Sewell is a former U.S. Intelligence officer who has worked with Volunteers in Police Service.

Rolling Hills Estates City Council

Debby Stegura looks to join incumbents Frank Zerunyan and Velveth Schmitz on the Rolling Hills Estates City Council after the early morning vote count Wednesday.

Stegura had 19.5% of the vote; Zerunyan had 18.3% and Schmitz had 18.2%. The remaining candidates — Bridget Carman, Bruce Steckel, Timothy Buresh and Jeff Romanelli — all showed percentages between 10-11.7%.

Stegura said Tuesday evening there is a lot up in the air with the coronavirus pandemic, but while the city has been weathering the storm budget-wise with a small surplus at the end of last fiscal year, "there's no guarantee in the future."

"We're hoping that with continued conservative management that we'll be able to weather this," Stegura said. "We haven't had to furlough anybody... I think we're pretty much holding things together. So there's going to be a period of uncertainty.. we're just going to have to put our heads together."

Stegura said it was daunting to run a campaign "pandemic or not."

"I largely ignored advice I got from seasoned campaigners and walked many neighborhoods to meet voters and find out what was on their minds," she said. "I dropped about 300 walk pieces in neighborhoods around my own. But we also held many Zoom 'coffees' where I outlined my vision for RHE and answered questions."

Stegura added she held a Zoom "thank you" about 8:30 p.m. for her campaign volunteers and family.

"Which is no small feat since one of my three children lives in NYC and another lives in England," Stegura said. "She got up at 4:30 a.m. GMT to join. As we were logging on, first results came in because I kept getting text message after text message. It was very exciting and humbling."

Stegura is a retired lawyer and a former trustee on the Palos Verdes Library Board. Incumbent Zerunyan, who has served on Rolling Hills Estates City Council for 17 years, is a USC professor of public policy. Incumbent Schmitz has a background in finance and is board chair for the Roessler Chadwick Foundation.

Buresh is a civil engineer with experience in public works programs; Carman, a businesswoman, has been on the City’s planning commission; Romanelli, a retired Boeing Company engineer, is on the Rolling Hills Estates Parks and Activities Commission; Steckel is a retired bank executive and president of Strawberry Lane for 18 years.

Rolling Hills City Council

Incumbents Bea Dieringer and Jeff Pieper are hanging on in a tight race for two City of Rolling Hills council seats over challenger Arun Bhumitra.

As of Wednesday morning, Dieringer had 35% of the vote and Pieper had 34%. Bhumitra had 31% of the vote.

On Wednesday morning, Dieringer thanked her campaign volunteers and residents for their vote and said she will continue to have an open door policy.

"I really like to hear for them so I can best represent them," Dieringer said. "I need to know where they stand on issues so I want to be open lines of communication between me and them."

Dieringer said her main goal is to keep the community safe from crime, but also be prepared as possible from the threat of wildfires.

Dieringer said it was a bit of a challenge campaigning during COVID-19.

"I still went door to door to almost every house in Rolling Hills...When I went I had to wear a mask and for the most part that was fine," Dieringer said.

Dieringer is a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney and the first vice president of the League of California Cities Women’s Caucus. Pieper is the owner of a marketing communications firm and chairman of the City View Committee.

Bhumitra is a mechanical engineer who helped produce a Community Wildfire Protection Plan in conjunction with the Fire Department and Sheriff’s Department.

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