La Puente’s Solis wins council seat by 6 votes

By Steve Scauzillo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune

LA PUENTE >> It’s official.

John Solis will be installed as the newest member of the City Council on Tuesday.

In the seesaw battle for the third city council seat, Solis edged out incumbent Councilman Charles Klinakis by six votes.

Solis, who was trailing by 25 votes after the first count on election night, April 12, pulled ahead after more than 300 provisional ballots were counted the following week. A turn-around put him up by eight votes. By Friday, after nine more provisional ballots were tallied, his lead slipped. But Solis held on.

The question of a recount — rumored to be possible, even probable over the weekend — was answered on Monday. Klinakis decided not to challenge the results.

“After reviewing all the options, I feel it is best for the city and myself to put closure to this election and move forward,” Klinakis said on Monday.

The one-term councilman said he had been thinking about asking for a recount but decided the stability of the city comes first. “Sometimes you just have to move on,” he said.

Solis, 51, who is not new to the City Council, having served from 2000-2012, said on Monday he received a call from Klinakis saying he would not challenge the results.

“I want to thank everybody for wanting me to come back and for believing in me,” Solis said on Monday, crediting his late surge to his walking the district until 4 a.m. the day and night before Election Day.

At Tuesday’s 7 p.m. City Council meeting, Solis will take the oath of office after a four-year absence. Easily re-elected were: Mayor Dan Holloway, 1,194 votes and Councilwoman Violeta Lewis, 1,146 votes. The City Council will select a new mayor and vice mayor as well.

Klinakis said he was disappointed by the number of negative mailers attacking him. But he said he accomplished what he set out to do during the past four years.

He was proud of the way the City Council stabilized a city that was marked by a revolving door of administrators. He said his management skills helped install a new city manager, David Carmany, who has been on the job for 2 1/2 years.

He said he would devote more time to his construction business, and also take more vacations. In the four years he has served on the City Council, he has not been back to his cabin in Alaska. “My wife said my first chore will be to shoot up to Alaska and catch her some halibut,” he said Monday.

“Four years later, I leave the city 1,000 percent better off then when I got here,” Klinakis said. “We have staff, procedures in place to help the city move forward.”

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About Steve Scauzillo

I love journalism. I've been working in journalism for 32 years. I love communicating and now, that includes writing about environment, transportation and the foothill/Puente Hills communities of Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Walnut and Diamond Bar. I write a couple of columns, one on fridays in Opinion and the other, The Green Way, in the main news section. Send me ideas for stories. Or comments. I was opinion page editor for 12 years so I enjoy a good opinion now and then.