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Stephan Castellanos holds on to Delta College Area 5 seat

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Steve Castellanos

Claudia Moreno

Catherine Stebbins

Teresa Brown

Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 10:18 pm | Updated: 2:11 pm, Mon Dec 3, 2012.

Trustee Stephan Castellanos has won the race for the Area 5 seat on the San Joaquin Delta College Board of Trustees.

In Area 2, Claudia Moreno defeated Elizabeth Yip Blanchard by 4,625 votes.

In Areas 1 and 6, incumbents Catherine Stebbins and Teresa Brown were re-elected.

“The point is trying to do the best we can for the students. Staying the course is the best way to do that,” said Castellanos.

Nine candidates were vying for seats on the board. Four seats were on the ballot, enough to replace more than half of the existing board. Trustees are elected at-large by citizens of five different counties.

After the first round of results from San Joaquin, Solano, Sacramento, Alameda and Calaveras counties, the incumbents were all leading.

Challenger Dave Tanner lost to incumbent Castellanos, both of Valley Springs, for the chance to represent Area 5.

That zone includes part of Lodi and stretches north into Sacramento County, eastward into Calaveras County and south to the Stanislaus County border.

With all precincts in all counties reporting, unofficial results show Castellanos received 96,489 votes (53.5 percent) and Tanner received 83,869 votes (46.5 percent).

Incumbent Catherine Stebbins won the race against LeJames Melton and Pablo Zapata, all of Stockton, for the seat to represent Area 1. That zone is a small section south of Stockton.

Stebbins had 76,512 votes (42.19 percent), Zapata had 56,724 votes (31.03 percent) and Melton had 48,569 votes (26.78 percent).

Two newcomers, Blanchard and Moreno, both of Stockton, competed for the Area 2 seat that includes much of central Stockton, with Moreno pulling out the win.

Moreno had 93,068 votes (51.27 percent) and Blanchard had 88,443 votes (48.73 percent).

Incumbent Brown won the seat serving Area 6 against challenger Jass Sangha, both of Tracy. That zone includes the southwest region of San Joaquin County and a section of Alameda County.

Sangha had 67,025 votes (37.68 percent) and Brown had 110,875 votes (62.32 percent).

Lodi Trustee Taj Kahn hoped the board would be refreshed with new members, and has supported the challengers throughout their campaigns.

“The current incumbents haven’t done such a hot job. Maybe we can get some new people on the board and change things,” he said. “These candidates have promised me they will be more in tune with the needs of Delta College and the students and where the college needs to be in 10 years.”

Four new candidates — Melton, Tanner, Moreno and Sangha — were endorsed by the Lodi Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber interviewed all the candidates running for the first time, but did not interview the three incumbents running to keep their seats.

In a Letter to the Editor published in the News-Sentinel in October, Chamber president and CEO Pat Patrick said actions of the incumbents over the last four years showed that they did not warrant further consideration.

Castellanos was surprised when the Lodi Chamber made their endorsements without talking with the incumbents. He says the Chamber was too eager for promises of a Lodi satellite campus the college cannot afford.

“There are other ways of serving these students than a Lodi campus. Extracting promises for things that cannot be delivered is kind of foolish,” he said. “The silver lining is that a lot of great work is going on right now to improve higher education. We can do better.”

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

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