|Posted by Anne Siren on March 19, 2013 at 12:20 AM|
By Judy Vik
Oakland Park – Voters in this city chose two political newcomers over two former commissioners in Tuesday’s municipal election.
In the race for Seat 1, Sara Guevrekian received 898 votes to 809 for Steve Arnst.
In the contest for Seat 5, Tim Lonergan beat Layne Dallett Walls. Lonergan had 1,027 votes and Walls had 754.
Voter turnout was 7.7 percent in Oakland Park and 8.14 percent in Broward County.
The winners will be sworn in at the start of the commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20.
Guevrekian, 46, has been active as an organizer and officer of the Royal Palm Isles Neighborhood Group and as a community volunteer and activist. She is employed as administrator for Commercial Metal Building Service.
During the campaign, she said she would bring a “new, fresh energy” to the dais.
“Now the real work begins. I’m happy to put my best foot forward for the betterment of the city of Oakland Park,” Guevrekian said. She has the same goals she has always had as Jane Q. Citizen, “to be an advocate for people who call Oakland Park home and for the community of Oakland Park.”
Lonergan, 51, is a project manager for United Health Care. He has volunteered for many city organizations and worked to rid the city of snipe signs.
“I’m thrilled to death to be elected to Seat 5 for the City Commission,” Lonergan said. “I owe it all to the volunteers who supported me. We worked hard and got the message out that we need to take Oakland Park successfully into the future. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work and make Oakland Park a better place for everyone.”
Lonergan said he faced “kind of an uphill battle, since my opponent had previous experience. Overall, the people want fresh ideas and new energy. I offer that. I’m so proud to be able to serve all the residents of Oakland Park.”
Asked what issues he wants to tackle soon, he said he is concerned with home break-ins going on throughout the city. “I want to focus on crime and work with Chief (Al) Hubrig from BSO and make sure we’re on track to reduce crime statistics throughout the city. It’s important that residents feel safe in Oakland Park. It’s a great city, and we have the potential to become even better.”
Voters approved all six proposed charter amendments. One calls for moving the municipal election from March to November. Another eliminates numbered, individual seats. Instead, candidates would run as a group with the top two or three winning election.
Guevrekian said she is eager to see how the move to November elections will affect future elections. “I’m certain there will be an increase in turnout, and that’s a good thing for the city.”
Lonergan said he was happy to see all the amendments pass. With the move of the election to November, the money spent on March elections can be used in better places, he said.