MENDOCINO Co., 10/12/22 — Fort Bragg citizens showed up in droves this year to run for four open seats on the city council. Nine people are running for three different four-year seats, including an incumbent running as write-in, and two names will appear on the ballot for an abbreviated two-year seat even though one of those candidates has dropped out of the race. The ballot will be crowded, and Fort Bragg residents can only vote for four candidates out of 11.
Registered voters will receive their ballots in the mail beginning Oct. 10. Voters will be asked to choose three candidates for the three open four-year seats on Fort Bragg’s city council and one candidate for the open two-year seat. The three candidates for the four-year seat with the most votes will be elected, as will the top vote-getter for the two-year-seat.
Fort Bragg City Council Incumbent Tess Albin-Smith filed as a write-in candidate for a four-year seat after missing the incumbent deadline to officially file, she told The Voice. Before filing as a write-in candidate, she filed to run for the two-year seat, which county election officials said was allowed under the elections code because she was not an incumbent for the two-year seat. The deadline to file for incumbents was Aug. 12.
Incumbent Lindy Peters first filed for the two-year seat, Fort Bragg City Clerk June Lemos told The Voice on Aug. 2. But in a candidates list released by the city on Aug. 17, Peters was listed as a candidate for the four-year seat. Albin-Smith said Peters resubmitted his paperwork for the four-year seat so as not to pit two incumbents against one another in direct competition.
After concerns from some Fort Bragg citizens about the legality of switching races, Albin-Smith decided to withdraw from the two-year term election and continue as a write-in, she told The Voice.
Peters is now listed on the city clerk’s website as running for the two-year term. Peters did not respond to requests for comment.
Peters was running against Fort Bragg business-owner Alberto Aldaco, but Aldaco has informally withdrawn from the race after bodycam footage surfaced showing a disrespectful interaction between himself and an officer of the Fort Bragg Police Department in which Aldaco can be seen urinating in public.
“That’s not a reflection of my character and I made a mistake,” Aldaco said when reached for comment Friday. “I’ve already spoken to that officer, one human to another, and I apologized.”
He attempted to formally withdraw from the race but missed the deadline to do so. The ballots had already been printed, and his name is on them. Aldaco told The Voice he has taken down campaign signs, and he just wants to be “invisible” for a while.
“I’ve been telling everybody just don’t waste your vote,” Aldaco said.
Fort Bragg police did not respond to a request for comment regarding the interaction.
Eligible voters have until Oct. 24 to register to vote in the Fort Bragg city council election. Fort Bragg residents can register to vote by visiting the city’s booth at the Wednesday farmer’s market, where Lemos will have registration forms.
Sample ballots were mailed out Sept. 29 and began arriving at registered voters’ homes last week; vote-by-mail ballots were mailed out October 11. The sample ballots contain candidate statements and information about measures on the ballot. For a full list of candidates, follow this link to the city’s election website.