Local California District Board Member Survives Recall

Linda Santos breathed a long and thankful sigh of relief late Tuesday when results of a recall attempt indicated she will keep keep her seat on the Oakdale Irrigation District board.

According to incomplete returns, "no" votes against the recall came to nearly 56 percent. If the trend holds as remaining ballots are counted in coming days, the balance of power on the deeply divided OID board soon could be thrown into doubt.

The other half of Tuesday's ballot - choosing Santos' successor - became moot in her apparent victory. If she had been recalled, Nate Ludlow - the only candidate to sign up - would have taken her spot.

Because Ludlow is aligned with the current board majority, his ascension would have assured that the old guard stays in power even after Gary Osmundson gives up his seat when he changes homes in a few weeks.

Instead, Santos' win on Tuesday is expected to neutralize the board's power struggle, as she and political ally Gail Altieri will be able to match votes with Steve Webb and Herman Doornenbal once Osmundson moves out of Division 5, forcing him to give up his seat. The power stalemate is likely to continue until the November ballot, when Osmundson's successor will be chosen; Webb and Doornenbal also are up then for re-election.

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