Kirk Uhler on Tuesday won his fifth term on the Placer County Board of Supervisors, despite vocal opposition to his record on development in the affluent community of Granite Bay.
Uhler received 60 percent of the vote, compared to 40 percent for political newcomer Victor Bekhet, a financial adviser who campaigned almost solely on the issue of development in Granite Bay and the support Uhler received from the real estate industry.
Bekhet fared better in Granite Bay, where he received 46 percent of the vote. About two-thirds of the 12,000 voters who participated in the election live in Roseville.
Uhler said he is pleased with the results and sees nothing in them indicating he should change his approach to the job.
“I’m going to continue to do what I’ve always done,” said Uhler, a fiscal conservative who has lobbied for lower fees for developers.
Uhler signaled his position on Granite Bay development when he voted for a project Tuesday night, along with the rest of the Board of Supervisors. The board approved a 72-unit housing development that required an amendment of the Granite Bay Community Plan because it increases the allowable number of units on the property.
Disagreements over the community plan were central to Bekhet’s campaign. Uhler called the plan outdated while Behket argued it should be kept intact.
Bekhet said he is satisfied with the election results, because he was able to raise awareness about development issues despite being new to politics and spending a fraction of what Uhler did on the campaign.
“We succeeded in unifying the community and making people aware of land-use issues in Granite Bay,” said Bekhet, 42.
While Uhler said he supports revision of the community plan, he also thinks Bekhet overstated how eager he is to adopt developers’ plans. He said he has a reasonable approach to construction, and Granite Bay has seen less growth than the rest of Placer County.
“If I were going to destroy Granite Bay, it would have happened a long time ago. I didn’t start this job yesterday,” said Uhler, who was first elected to the board when he was 25.
In addition to squabbles over development, the race also became personal. Uhler went after Bekhet for his management of a rental property, and one of Uhler’s campaign aides set up a website that called attention to Bekhet’s use of Arabic, a move Bekhet called racist.
Bekhet said it’s too early to say if he will try another run for office, but he promised to stay involved in development issues in Granite Bay.