Cyril Shah, left, and Jeff Harris, right, appear at a forum for the race for City Council District 3 seat in East Sacramento at the Clunie Community Center at McKinley Park on Oct. 1. City parks commissioner Harris topped flood control trustee Shah on Tuesday; Harris had 57 percent of the vote to Shah’s 43 percent. José Luis Villegas jvillegas@sacbee.com
Cyril Shah, left, and Jeff Harris, right, appear at a forum for the race for City Council District 3 seat in East Sacramento at the Clunie Community Center at McKinley Park on Oct. 1. City parks commissioner Harris topped flood control trustee Shah on Tuesday; Harris had 57 percent of the vote to Shah’s 43 percent. José Luis Villegas jvillegas@sacbee.com

Local Elections

Carr, Harris win in Sacramento City Council races

By Ryan Lillis

rlillis@sacbee.com

November 04, 2014 08:40 PM

SMUD board member Larry Carr won the four-way race for the open City Council District 8 seat in south Sacramento by a wide margin Tuesday.

With all precincts reporting, in the race for District 3 in East Sacramento and South Natomas, city parks commissioner Jeff Harris bested flood control trustee Cyril Shah. Harris had 57 percent of the vote to Shah’s 43 percent.

Harris and Shah emerged from a field of seven candidates in the June primary, with just 230 votes separating the two. The highly competitive race was expensive. Shah raised more than $300,000, roughly five times what Harris collected.

The candidates were seeking to represent a district with pockets of wealth and working-class neighborhoods.

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District 3 represents South Natomas, a middle-class neighborhood where residents’ chief concern is the completion of river levee improvements in the area. Until those levees are upgraded, no construction is permitted in the area and residents are required to pay higher flood insurance rates.

Gardenland/Northgate is also a working-class area, anchored by Northgate Boulevard. The street is a busy commercial hub, but some residents complain that high-quality shops have been scared away by an influx of homeless campers who frequent the area.

The district includes East Sacramento, the third major population center in the district. Harris is the past president of the River Park Neighborhood Association, and Shah led the East Sacramento Improvement Association.

Harris sought to use his experience on the city parks commission and as a neighborhood leader to connect with voters. He also talked frequently about his desire to address a homelessness problem he said is visible throughout the district.

Harris was supported by former Mayors Heather Fargo and Anne Rudin, the Democratic Party of Sacramento County and the local Sierra Club chapter.

Shah promoted his experience in flood control and his financial background. He is a trustee on the American River Flood Control District board and has been a financial adviser for 17 years. Shah also gathered the endorsements of many prominent political figures and interest groups, including the police and fire unions, the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce and five members of the City Council.

In south Sacramento, Carr was the heavy front-runner for the District 8 seat. He was recruited to run for the office by former Councilwoman Bonnie Pannell, who stepped down in June due to health issues. Pannell had served on the council for 16 years, and her late husband, Sam, held the office for six years before that.

Carr is the head of the Florin Road Partnership, a business advocacy group. He has sat on the SMUD board for 16 years but had already announced that he would not seek another term.

Facing Carr were Toni Colley-Perry, an education consultant and former Sacramento City Unified School District board candidate; Ronald Bell, a local pastor; and Ted Ware, a professional mediator.

All three rejected the notion that Carr was the chosen successor to Pannell, arguing that the area needed new ideas after 22 years of one family representing the district.

However, Carr secured the endorsement of most of the city’s notable politicians, labor unions and business groups. He also raised more than six times what the rest of the field brought in combined.

Call The Bee’s Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at www.sacbee.com/citybeat.