Councilmember Dan Miller is quoted in a recent article in the Monterey County Herald as saying, “I’ve lived in P.G. all my life and I don’t remember there ever being three candidates” for mayor. Miller is a candidate for mayor in the upcoming election, along with councilmember Rudy Fischer and incumbent mayor Bill Kampe.
Mr. Miller might have a short memory, said former mayor Dan Cort in a phone conversation Thurs., May 12. In November, 2006, Dan Cort ran for mayor against attorney Susan Goldbeck and the late Lee Yarborough. Of the three candidates Cort received 3,761 votes or 60.05 percent of the total, while Goldbeck got 1,332 votes or 21.27 percent and Yarborough garnered 1,147 vote or 18.31 percent.
Don Beals of the Pacific Grove heritage Society brought an article from the Pacific Grove Tribune, a newspaper which used to be housed where Cedar Street Times is now, to prove that there was at least one other election where three people vied for the mayor’s seat. In the article, dated Fri., April 14, 1933, the results of the race for mayor and city council were reported. Again, there was a three-way race. The winner, with 694 votes, was Sheldon L. Gilmer. He ran against a man name Brown whose first name is too difficult to read on the old sheets, but who won 641 votes. The third candidate in that election was the fabled Julia Platt, who was the incumbent at the time (serving from 4/13/31 to 1933), and only gained 312 votes in her re-election bid.
The hot issue at the time of the 1933 election was the disposition of a roque ball court at Jewell Park. The city council had been unable to decide on whether or not to build the court, so it was thrown to the public and the public voted in a landslide of 1220 to 295 to build the court. The vote unseated a councilmember named B. A. Lee who had vehemently opposed it, and in the ensuing vote got the least number of votes– 298 – of all the 11 people running at large.
Julia Platt was instrumental in writing the city charter, which was adopted in April, 1927. According to the charter, elected members of the city council and the mayor may ony serve 8 years consecutively. Mayors serve for two years and councilmembers serve for four years.
Julia Platt got her revenge: In 1935, when she died, she took advantage of a tradition in Pacific Grove which said that, should a mayor die, the sitting councilmembers would carry that mayor’s casket to its final resting place. Julia Platt requested that she be buried at sea, so several councimembers accompanied the body 12 miles out to sea in a bobbing boat. It didn’t matter then that there had been three candidates in her final race for office.