Election Roundup

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Published on June 04, 2008 with No Comments

Bay City News

June 4, 2008

While much election activity in the Bay Area was overshadowed by developments on the national political stage Tuesday as Barack Obama effectively clinched the Democratic nomination for president, local players still found time to revel in their primary victories.

Assemblyman Mark Leno is now well-positioned to assume state Sen. Carole Migden’s seat after the November election; former Berkeley Mayor Loni Hancock won the Democratic nomination in an East Bay state Senate district race; and San Mateo County Supervisor Jerry Hill won a tight primary contest, edging out Millbrae Mayor Gina Papan for the Democratic nomination to replace

Gene Mullin in Assembly District 19.

Voters decided on a smattering of measures throughout the Bay Area, giving a nod to a long-sought mixed-use development in southeastern San Francisco, shooting down a measure that would have limited growth in Napa County, and deciding numerous tax issues intended to assist cash-strapped school districts.

Leno Wins Democratic Primary for District 3 State Senate Seat

Voters in San Francisco and in parts of the North Bay and Peninsula weighed in on three local Congressional races in the Tuesday primary — one for state Senate and two for Assembly.

State Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, emerged victorious in the Democratic primary race for the District 3 Senate seat, beating incumbent Sen. Carole Migden and former North Bay Assemblyman Joe Nation.

According to unofficial results from the California Secretary of State, Leno received 43 percent of the total vote, while Nation received 29.3 percent and Migden 27.7 percent.

Business consultant Sashi McEntee ran unopposed in the Republican primary.

District 3 includes Marin County and parts of southern Sonoma County and eastern and northern San Francisco.

In the District 12 Assembly race, Democratic incumbent Fiona Ma will be challenged in November by Republican Conchita Applegate. Both ran unopposed in Tuesday’s primary election.

District 12 includes parts of western San Francisco and northern San Mateo County.

San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano ran unopposed in the Democratic primary to fill the District 13 Assembly seat vacated by Mark Leno, who is ending his second term.

Republican businesswoman Harmeet Dhillon also ran unopposed in the Republican primary for District 13, which includes parts of eastern and northern San Francisco.

Hancock and Skinner Win Legislative Races

Former Berkeley Mayor Loni Hancock and former Berkeley City Councilwoman Nancy Skinner won closely watched East Bay state legislative races in Tuesday’s election.

Hancock, who was mayor of Berkeley from 1986 to 1994, served on the City Council from 1971 to 1979 and currently serves in the state Assembly, defeated Wilma Chan in the race for the Democratic nomination to represent state Senate District 9.

Chan a former Assemblywoman — including two years as majority leader – has also served on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the Oakland school board.

Hancock beat Chan by a margin of 56.5 percent to 43.5 percent.

The Democratic nominee is considered to be a shoo-in to win the election in November because Democrats outnumber Republicans by a large percentage in the East Bay.

The Republican nomination was won by Claudia Bermudez, who was unopposed. The winner of the District 9 race will replace state Senate President Don Perata, D-Oakland, who was prevented from seeking re-election because of term limits.

The district runs from Richmond south to the Oakland-San Leandro border and east beyond Livermore.

In the race for the District 14 state Assembly seat currently held by Hancock, Skinner came in first in a field of four candidates.

Skinner, who served on the Berkeley City Council from 1984 to 1992 and has been an East Bay Regional Park District board member the last two years, had 46.8 percent. Richmond City Councilman Tony Thurmond garnered 24.5 percent, current Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington had 16.4 percent and Dr. Phil Polakoff received 12.3 percent.

No Republicans are seeking to represent District 14, which stretches from Richmond to Lafayette.

Jackie Speier Wins Nomination for Newly Acquired Congressional Seat

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, kept herself in the running to fill her new seat in Congress permanently with a landslide victory Tuesday night as the Democratic nominee to represent 12th Congressional District.

Speier received 91.6 percent of the vote from Democrats, according to complete unofficial results from the San Mateo County Elections Office.

Her closest contender was San Francisco resident Michelle McMurry, who received 3.83 percent of the vote.

Two other Democratic candidates, Robert Barrows and Frank Henry Wade, each received less than 3 percent of the vote.

Speier took office after a special election on April 8 to determine who would fill the seat that was left vacant by the passing of Congressman Tom Lantos, who died Feb. 11 due to complications from esophageal cancer. Lantos had announced that he would be stepping down from Congress on Jan. 2., and endorsed Speier before his death.

In November Speier will face Republican businessman Greg Conlon, who received 64 percent of the Republican vote Tuesday night, according to unofficial final results. Green party nominee Barry Hermanson and Libertarian nominee Kevin Dempsey Peterson both ran unopposed within their parties and will also be on the November ballot.

Hill Wins Democratic Nomination to Replace Mullin

San Mateo County Supervisor Jerry Hill has won the Democratic nomination to represent state Assembly District 19 when termed-out Assemblyman Gene Mullin vacates his seat.

Hill was running against Millbrae Mayor Gina Papan, daughter of the late Assemblyman Lou Papan, and educator and consumer advocate Richard Holober.

Hill garnered 37.2 percent of the Democratic vote compared to Papan’s 35.5 percent and Holober’s 27.3 percent, according to the county’s unofficial election results.

The victory all but ensures that Hill will assume Mullin’s post in November in the heavily Democratic district.

His Republican opponent will be Catherine Brinkman, former chair of the California Young Republicans, who won 75.8 percent of the Republican vote over her opponent Elsie Hernandez-Gufler.

Libertarian Brian Perry, who ran unopposed for his party’s nomination, will also be on the ballot.

No candidates from other parties filed in the race.

Voters Pass Education, Retirement, Bayview Development Propositions

San Francisco voters considered eight local propositions in Tuesday’s primary election, approving a parcel tax to improve public education, as well as reform of the city’s retirement benefits program, and one of two development proposals for one of the city’s most neglected neighborhoods.

The vote totals were unofficial tallies announced by the San Francisco Elections Department late Tuesday.

By a narrow margin, voters approved Proposition A, a $198 annual parcel tax to raise funds for the San Francisco Unified School District. The parcel tax will last 20 years, and the funding will go toward salary increases and training for teachers, enhancing student programs and technology.

The proposition was placed on the ballot by the San Francisco Board of Education, and would bring in an estimated $28 million in revenues each year.

It required a two-thirds majority for passage and voters appear to have approved it by 69.8 percent.

Proposition B, approved by 73.6 percent of voters, will amend city law to increase the number of years of work required for some city employees to receive retirement health benefits, and set up a separate retiree health care trust fund. The proposition was intended to begin to address the city’s future retirement benefits liability for its 25,000-member workforce, estimated at about $4 billion.

Propositions F and G presented alternate proposals for the development of Candlestick Point and the Hunters Point Shipyard, low-income areas in the city’s Bayview District. In 2007 the city outlined a plan to revitalize the area by building thousands of new housing units — at least 25 percent of them affordable housing — as well as public parks, commercial space and a possible site for a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers.

Proposition F, endorsed by Supervisor Chris Daly, would have required any housing developments built in the area to have at least 50 percent of the units be affordable housing, and that preference for that housing be given to families of low or moderate income.

Proposition F was defeated by voters Tuesday, with 62 percent voting against, while Proposition G was approved by 61.3 percent of voters.

Proposition G will make it city policy to encourage the timely development of Candlestick Point and the Hunters Point Shipyard to include: 300 acres of public parks and open space; between 8,500 and 10,000 new homes or rental units; available commercial, scientific and industrial space; and a possible site for a new 49ers stadium.

The measure received support from Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who represents the Bayview District, Mayor Gavin Newsom and developer Lennar Corp.

Proponents claimed the measure would contribute to the toxic cleanup of the Shipyard while creating jobs and affordable housing for residents.

Opponents asserted the measure promises but does not ensure such goals, and that Lennar, an out-of-state developer, has been given a sweetheart deal on the project and intends to build luxury high-rise condominiums in the area.

Lennar recently announced an agreement with the San Francisco Labor Council whereby the developer would commit to making about 32 percent of an estimated 10,000 planned housing units in the development affordable.

San Francisco voters also approved four other propositions on the ballot.

Proposition C, approved by 56.9 percent, will broaden the city’s law disallowing city employees convicted of crimes involving “moral turpitude” from receiving any retirement benefits.

Proposition D, approved by 58.8 percent, will toughen a city law that already requires diversity and equal representation on city boards and commissions, and add a requirement that diversity data on such appointments be tracked and analyzed every two years.

Proposition E, approved by 52.7 percent, will change city law regarding the mayor’s appointment of the five-member San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which oversees the city’s utilities and energy and water supplies. It will require a majority of the Board of Supervisors to approve the mayor’s Public Utilities Commission appointments, and will also add specific qualifications for Public Utilities Commission appointments.

Proposition H, approved by 66.6 percent, will make it illegal for elected city officials, candidates and political committees they oversee to ask for or accept campaign contributions from contractors with pending or recently approved contracts before that person or committee.

Incumbents Win Re-Election in City Council Races

Despite their city’s crime and budget problems, Oakland voters chose the status quo over change in Tuesday’s election, re-electing all four incumbents who were on the ballot.

The only newcomer on next year’s City Council will be the at-large representative, as incumbent Henry Chang, who has been on the council since 1994, chose not to seek re-election.

There will be a runoff in November because none of the five candidates for the at-large seat won 50 percent of the vote.

Squaring off in November will be Rebecca Kaplan, a civil rights attorney who formerly served on the AC Transit District’s board and Kerry Hamill, an Oakland school board member and BART manager. Kaplan won 39.3 percent of the vote and Hamill got 21.6 percent.

Attorney and AC Transit board member Clinton Killian finished third with 19.6 percent, retired U.S. Postal Service contractor Frank Rose finished fourth with 11.2 percent, and retired software designer Charles Pine finished fifth with 7.6 percent.

In District 1, Jane Brunner, who has been on the City Council since 1997, easily beat community activist and anti-crime crusader Patrick McCullough.

In District 3, Nancy Nadel, who has also served on the council since 1997, got 51.6 percent of the vote in a three-way race and won’t have to face a runoff in November.

Sean Sullivan, the director of development and community relations for Covenant House California, finished second with 27 percent and attorney and former Oakland school board member Greg Hodge finished third with 20.7 percent.

Ignacio De La Fuente, who was first elected to the Oakland City Council in 1992 and has served as its president for nine years, got 53.8 percent in a four-way race for the District 5 seat and also will serve another four years.

Realtor Mario Juarez finished second with 33 percent, businesswoman Beverly Blythe finished third with 7.7 percent and community development specialist David Wofford finished fourth with 5.1 percent.

In District 7, Larry Reid, who has been on the City Council since 1997 and previously served as chief of staff for former Mayor Elihu Harris, defeated challenger Clifford Gilmore, the executive director of the Oakland Coalition of Congregations, by a comfortable margin of 62.7 percent to 36.8 percent.

In San Leandro, two incumbents won re-election to the City Council but there will be runoff in November for the third seat that was on the ballot.

The closest race came in District 2, where Linda Perry got 42 percent of the vote but will face a runoff with Ursula Reed, who finished second with 30.1 percent. Charles Gilcrest finished third with 27.3 percent.

In District 4, incumbent Joyce Starosciak won re-election with 62.6 percent of the vote. Paul Gonzales finished second with 18.6 percent and frequent candidate Lou Filipovich finished third with 18.2 percent.

In District 6, incumbent Jim Prola got 57.5 percent to win re-election without a runoff. Estelle Clemons finished second with 17.8 percent, followed by Mark Tichy with 9.5 percent, Hermy Almonte with 8.5 percent and Wafaa Sabri Aborashed with 6.2 percent.

In Hayward, three incumbents won re-election to four-year terms.

In a seven-way race for four seats, Barbara Halliday led the way with 18.7 percent and was followed by fellow incumbents Bill Quirk with 16.1 percent and Olden Henson with 15 percent.

Francisco Zermeno was on his way to winning the fourth seat with 14.9 percent – but not far behind was Marvin Peixoto, who finished fifth with 14.6 percent, according to the unofficial results.

Lina Bennett finished sixth with 13.4 percent and Rob Simpson finished seventh with 7 percent.

In the race for a two-year term, Anna May, a former international model and businesswoman who is active in civic affairs, won with 58.7 percent of the vote, defeating retired 911 dispatcher Steve Bristow, who got 41 percent.

Three seats on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors were on the ballot, but only one was contested.

In District 4, incumbent Nate Miley, who has been on the board for eight years and previously served on the Oakland City Council, defeated small-business owner Steve White, who has never held political office, by a margin of 74.3 percent to 25.1 percent.

District 1 Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who has been on the board since 1997, and District 5 Supervisor Keith Carson, who has been on the board since 1992, were re-elected without opposition.

School Parcel Tax Appears to Fall Short, Utility Tax Extension Approved

Alameda County voters decided by a 64.8 percent to 35.1 percent margin Tuesday that residents in unincorporated areas will continue to pay a utility tax that raises millions of dollars a year for the county.

Although residents throughout the county voted on Measure F, only users in the county’s unincorporated areas pay the utility tax of 5.5 percent on electricity, natural gas and wire and cell telephones. The tax currently raises about $9.4 million a year.

Measure F will extend the tax and increase the levy to 6.5 percent, which is expected to bring in an additional $1.5 million to $2.5 million annually.

Proponents said that if Measure F had failed, it could have reduced law enforcement, library and community services in places such as Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Fairview, San Lorenzo and Sunol.

The measure only needed a simple majority for approval.

In semi-official returns, a temporary emergency four-year parcel tax in the city of Alameda school district appeared to fail by a narrow margin.

Measure H garnered 64.85 percent support, but fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for approval.

Alameda County elections officials weren’t available to comment early today on whether uncounted absentee ballots could change the outcome.

The goal of Measure H was to offset proposed state budget cuts and minimize school closures and cuts in programs such as music and athletics.

It would have levied an emergency tax of $120 per residential parcel and 15 cents per square foot for commercial and industrial parcels.

In the Hayward school district, Measure I, a $205 million school safety and construction bond measure, won by a margin of 71.9 percent to 28 percent. It only needed 55 percent to pass.

Proponents say the money will improve safety and learning by paying for constructing, furnishing and equipping school facilities and rehabilitating or replacing deteriorating schools.

Oakland voters approved Measure J, a telephone utility tax modernization measure, by a margin of 79 percent to 21 percent. It only needed a simple majority to pass.

Proponents say the measure won’t raise the tax rate and will simply modernize and continue the 40-year-old Oakland telephone utility users tax so that taxpayers are treated the same regardless of the technology they use.

The tax helps pay for municipal services such as police, fire, public works, parks and libraries.

No arguments against the measure were submitted.

Measure K in Union City, which asked voters if they wanted to approve an extension and enhancement of the special tax for public-safety services previously approved by voters in 2004, got 61.8 percent of the vote but fell short of the two-thirds majority needed for approval.

Proponents say the 2004 vote allowed the city to retain 12 police officers and keep all four fire stations open.

But proponents warned that the 2004 measure expires in 2009 and said the measure should be extended because it would have enabled the city to increase personnel in its police and fire departments, add new youth and gang-related intervention programs and improve emergency response in case of an earthquake.

Five School District Measures Pass Overwhelmingly

The five Santa Clara County school district measures on Tuesday’s ballot passed by wide margins.

The Palo Alto Unified School District placed Measure A, an authorization to issue $378 million worth of bonds for a variety of district construction projects, including more classroom and lab space, passed with 77 percent of the vote. Fifty-five percent was needed to pass.

The district’s enrollment has grown by 25 percent since the last bond measure and supporters said the money is needed to reduce class sizes.

Measure B, which passed with 66 percent of the vote, allows the issuance of $198 million in bonds for the Fremont Union High School District. That measure also needed 55 percent support to pass.

The funds will be used to upgrade the district’s five schools and create a “Technology Fund” to allow the district to upgrade school computers and other technology. Supporters of the measure said the money is needed to keep the district’s national recognition for excellence.

The Mountain View-Whisman School District’s Measure C passed with 80 percent of the vote. Two-thirds approval was necessary for passage.

It is a continuation of a 2004 parcel tax with a $4 per month increase. The tax revenues will be

used to attract top teachers, keep class sizes small, and continue art and music programs.

Measure E, which will extend a $290 parcel tax in the Los Gatos Union School District for an additional six years, passed with 83 percent of the vote. The measure required a two-thirds vote. The revenue is expected to help keep the district’s science programs current, bring in high-quality teachers and keep class sizes down.

Alum Rock Union School District’s Measure G needed 55 percent support, and passed with 79 percent. The $179 million bond measure will help renovate and update the district’s schools.

Two City Council Seats Still up for Grabs, No Clear Winner in Dist. 8

Two of the three contested San Jose City Council district contests will head to a runoff while one district’s candidate won with an overwhelming majority.

The city of San Jose required candidates to win 50 percent plus one vote in Tuesday’s primary to win outright.

There were six candidates for District 2, with Ash Kalra garnering more than double the votes of the next-highest vote getter, but not enough for an outright win. Kalra finished with 41 percent of the vote.

The other candidates included Jacquelyn “Jackie” Adams with 20 percent, who dropped out of the race. Ram Singh came in with 19 percent, Ted Scarlett with 8 percent, Nicholas J. Rice-Sanchez with 7 percent, and Bui Thang with 6 percent.

Kalra is an attorney and law professor at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. He was an attorney with the public defender’s office, and has served on the San Jose Human Rights Commission. If elected, he plans to focus on public safety, economic development, and neighborhood services.

District 8’s contender list was packed with seven candidates, none coming away with a clear victory.

Two candidates, Rose Herrera and Pat Waite, ran neck and neck, finishing with 23 percent and 21 percent, respectively. The other candidates include Craig Mann with 14 percent and Minh Duong with 12 percent. Sylvia Alvarez, who dropped out of the race, finished with 10 percent, candidate Lan Nguyen with 10 percent, Van Le with 7 percent, and Galvin D. Jackson with 2 percent.

District 10 incumbent Nancy Pyle won easily over real estate developer Ashraf M., garnering 89 percent of the vote.

Two District Supe Seats Will Head to a Runoff

The two contested Santa Clara County district supervisor seats will head to a runoff election in November.

A third district on the ballot was the uncontested seat held by incumbent Liz Kniss of District 5.

District 3 voters gave George M. Shirakawa 36 percent of the vote. The next top vote-getter, Richard Hobbs, finished with 33 percent.

The other candidates included Patricia Martinez-Roach with 14 percent, Frank Chavez with 9 percent, Richard L. Lopez with 5 percent, and Andrew Abraham Diaz with 4 percent.

Shirakawa is a former San Jose City Council member and has served as vice mayor. He has also served as president of the East Side Union High School District.

In District 2, though Dave Cortese gathered a convincing 42 percent over contenders Otto Lee, who finished with 30 percent, and Jose “Joe” Esteves who tallied 28 percent, it wasn’t enough for an outright win.

Cortese is a current San Jose City Council member and vice mayor, and his term ends Dec. 31. He is also a trustee of the East Side Union High School District, president of the Association of Bay Area Governments, president of Santa Clara County Cities Association, and a member of the Valley Transportation Authority and Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

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