Scattini sworn in

New council member replaces Peggy Corrales after close election
Long familiar with the duties of elected office, Robert Scattini
was sworn in as the newest member of the Hollister City Council
New council member replaces Peggy Corrales after close election certified

Long familiar with the duties of elected office, Robert Scattini was sworn in as the newest member of the Hollister City Council Tuesday.

The 62-year-old Scattini has made his priorities clear: address the city’s sewer problems, hold staff accountable, fix the animal shelter and improve the council’s relationship with the Board of Supervisors, with whom he has a working relationship as the county Marshall.

Scattini came off in a low-key manner throughout the night and said little.

“It feels good,” he said. “I always though I was going to win, although I did have my doubts for awhile.”

Scattini won 482-462 and ousted District 2 incumbent Peggy Corrales, who had become increasingly unpopular for her votes in favor of the 677-home Award Homes development. A San Benito County resident since age 3, Scattini has worked in law enforcement for more than 40 years and has served as the elected county’s Marshal since 1988, a position he will retain.

The brief ceremony brought out optimism from the council members and political observers alike for a more cohesive governing body. Pauline Valdivia was sworn in for her second term, which means the board now has a slow-growth majority.

“As far as a change, I see a more of an influence and a willingness to work with the board,” said Councilman Brian Conroy.

But some county politicians are withholding optimism until they see results.

“It doesn’t matter who’s there until they make staff give them alternatives to all these projects instead of one-sided views,” said Supervisor Richard Scagliotti, who was on hand for Scattini’s swearing in, as was Supervisor Bob Cruz. “All the problems lie with the fact that this council has never been given the alternatives it should have been given. It doesn’t mean anything to us until council takes a majority vote to change some of the staff in this city.”

Many observers said privately the new council is now minus a major stumbling block to progress. The race between Scattini and Corrales was closely watched since Corrales seemed vulnerable to citizen discontent over the state-imposed sewer moratorium and wide-ranging frustration with her support for the Award Homes housing development.

Nash Road and Buena Vista Road bound the west-side district on the north and south and Line Street and Apricot Lane on the east and west. Early on election night, the largely Hispanic district seemed a shoe-in for Scattini, but the last count was 395-391.

His supporters tried remaining optimistic, but it was hardly a victory party at Paine’s Restaurant where they had gathered Election Night. The challenger Scattini hoped his narrow lead over incumbent Corrales would hold as the two awaited the results of provisional and absentee ballots – more than 2,000 had not been processed by the time Election Night was over. Political circles speculated whether Corrales might press for a recount, as she initially indicated was a possibility.

By week two, Scattini’s four-vote lead rose to 17. Apparently, Scattini picked up eight votes when some misplaced ballots were found in a box. Last night, Corrales publicly conceded defeat by accepting a clock and plaque from Mayor Tony LoBue, who said a few kind words.

“In the last two years, I not only gained a co-worker, but I gained a friend,” LoBue said. “Peggy has been there for the four years making tough decisions on tough issues.”

“I just want to thank everybody for being here and it shows that people are still interested in civic manners,” Corrales said.

City Treasurer Frank Felice was sworn for another term as well.

After the ceremony Scattini’s supporters again gathered at Paine’s Restaurant for a celebration, but not before hearing a few kind words from Conroy.

“While some did not win the election, they are by no means losers,” he said, in apparent reference to nemesis LoBue once publicly calling Paul Grannis, whom he defeated, “a loser.” “It takes someone special to throw their hat in the ring. Peggy, you’re a winner. Mr. Sumaya, Mr. Pfeifer you are winners. Mr. Grannis you’re a winner.

You will never win if you never try, so by running for office we all win.”

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