Election Round Up - NBC Bay Area

Election Round Up

San Francisco has the attention of most voters, but there was other races around the Bay Area that matter.



    Ranked Choice Voting Leaves No Clear Winner in Top Races

    The Mayor, District Attorney and Sheriff's races not decided tonight. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011)

    San Francisco interim Mayor Ed Lee is leading the mayor's race  after all of the first-place votes were counted Tuesday night, but he did not  reach the 50 percent mark, so the city's ranked-choice voting system will  decide the race.

        Lee received about 31 percent of the vote, while Supervisor John  Avalos had about 19 percent, City Attorney Dennis Herrera had about 11  percent, and Board of Supervisors David Chiu had about 9 percent, according  to complete unofficial election results.     San Francisco's ranked-choice system allows voters to rank up to  three candidates. If no one reaches a majority, candidates with the lowest  vote totals are eliminated and their second- and third-place votes are  reassigned until someone gets to at least 50 percent.
        Tony Winnicker, spokesman for Lee's campaign, said "we're going to  respect the ranked-choice process and make sure every vote is counted, but  every sign points to an insurmountable lead."
        Winnicker said Lee and the campaign are feeling "very confident  and very good."
        Also pleased with Tuesday night's numbers was Avalos' campaign,  spokeswoman Erica Fox said.
        "We're excited," Fox said. "It was great to see the numbers go up  each time more votes are counted, and we expect to see those numbers continue  to climb as we go through the process of ranked-choice."
        David Latterman, a University of San Francisco lecturer on  politics, said Lee's lead will be hard to overcome.
        "I don't see how any single candidate will be able to overtake  him," Latterman said. "But never say never in this business, and I learned  this last year."
        He is referring to the 2010 mayor's race across the Bay in  Oakland, where former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata had 35  percent of the vote on election night compared to 24 percent for then-City  Councilwoman Jean Quan.
        However, after several rounds of ranked-choice voting, Quan  overtook Perata to become mayor.
        Lee, who was appointed interim mayor in January when Gavin Newsom  was elected lieutenant governor, has been the perceived frontrunner in the  race ever since he announced his candidacy in August after initially pledging  not to run.
        Turnout was low for the election, with less than 31 percent of the  city's 464,000-plus registered voters filling out ballots.
        The city's Department of Elections will release updated results in  the race at 4 p.m. today.
        Veteran City Councilman Alan Nagy will be Newark's first new mayor  in 33 years, easily winning a three-candidate contest to replace David Smith,  who announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election.
        Nagy received 46.2 percent of the vote, City Councilwoman Ana  Apodaca received 32.5 percent and school board member Ray Rodriguez got 21.4  percent.
        Nagy, 70, has served on the City Council since 1980, which was two  years after Smith was first elected.
        He says financial stability, public safety and quality of life are  the issues he will stress as mayor.
        Longtime Newark resident and business owner Maria "Sucy" Collazo  topped the five-candidate race for two seats on the City Council, getting  32.9 percent of the vote, and incumbent Luis Freitas kept his post by  finishing a close second with 32.3 percent.
        Mike Bucci finished third with 15.4 percent, Jack Dane was fourth  with 10.6 percent, and Richard Bensco was fifth with 8.7 percent.
        Newark voters narrowly approved Measure G, a $63 million bond  measure to upgrade the city's aging schools.
        The measure got 55.8 percent of the vote, just above the 55  percent total needed for approval, according to unofficial numbers.
        In Livermore, City Councilman John Marchand was the top  vote-getter, with 47.8 percent of the vote, compared to 46 percent for  community activist Barbara Hickman.
        But the race is too close to call because Marchand only leads  Hickman by 225 votes and Alameda County Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald  said about 1,000 mail-in ballot still have to be counted.
        College student Minuete McKernan finished a distant third with 6.2  percent of the vote.
        Livermore parks district board member Laureen Turner and former  Fire Chief Stu Gary were elected to the City Council, with 28 percent and  26.5 percent of the vote, respectively.
        Air Force veteran and credit union marketing officer Bobby Burger  finished third with 23.2 percent and outgoing Mayor Marshall Kamena finished  fourth with 22.2 percent.
        In Emeryville, University of California at Berkeley lecturer and  first-time candidate Jacqueline Asher topped a five-candidate field running  for three seats with 27 percent of the vote.
        Incumbents Nora Davis and Ruth Atkin were re-elected with 25.3  percent and 25 percent, respectively.
        However, veteran City Councilman Ken Bukowski, who was fined by  the state for misusing campaign funds, finished out of the money in fourth  place with only 13.2 percent of the vote. Commercial real estate attorney  Michael Webber finished fifth with 9.5 percent.
        Emeryville voters also overwhelmingly rejected a measure supported  by Bukowski, Measure F, which would have called for the city to contract out  for legal services instead of having a city attorney.
        The City Council's four other members all opposed the measure and  it lost by a margin of 65.3 percent opposed and 34.7 percent in favor.
        However, Emeryville voters approved two measures that will  slightly increase the city's revenues from business license fees.
        Measure C, which will increase the tax rate from 0.08 percent of  gross receipts to 0.10 percent, won with 81 percent in favor and 19 percent  against.
        The measure also will require Pixar Studios to once again pay the  tax, which it had stopped doing after Disney acquired it in 2006.
        Measure D, which will increase the annual cap on the business tax  from $117,000 to $300,000, was approved by a margin of 79.4 percent to 20.6  percent.
        Voters in San Ramon Tuesday chose two newcomers as the city's new  mayor and city council member, as well as one incumbent to fill another  vacant council seat.
        Small business owner Bill Clarkson, 59, defeated Carol Rowley, an  educator who has worked as a teacher and principal at Country Club Elementary  School. She has been on the San Ramon City Council for eight years.
        Clarkson emphasized bringing new ideas and a fresh vision to the  city's leadership during his campaign, and in his candidate statement, said  "city government should spend more time talking with residents than it  currently does."
        He received 57 percent of the vote compared to Rowley's 42  percent, according to complete unofficial election figures.
        Another newcomer, medical director Phil O'Loane, 53, won a San  Ramon City Council seat with 33 percent of the vote. In his candidate  statement, the longtime San Ramon resident said he would prioritize public  safety if elected.
        San Ramon City Councilman Scott Perkins, the only incumbent in the  race, secured his spot on the council with 38.5 percent voter support  Tuesday. Currently serving his eighth year on the council, Perkins emphasized  his background as a financial manager with experience overseeing budgets up  to $130 million.
        O'Loane and Clarkson won out over current San Ramon Mayor H. Abram  Wilson, who has served as mayor since 2002 and on the City Council since  1999.
        Sunnyvale voters elected three new council members and one  incumbent and passed one of two measures, according to preliminary election  results Tuesday night.
        Pat Meyering, an attorney and college instructor, defeated Bo  Chang, 41, a small business owner, by 1,054 votes with 54 percent of the  vote, according to unofficial figures.
        In a narrower race, Jim Davis, 59, a public safety officer, beat  opponents Jack Walker, an engineering project manager and former council  member, and Steve Hoffman, 47, a chief executive officer, with 38 percent of  the vote.
        In another neck-and-neck race, Tara Martin-Milius, a teacher,  bested Fred Fowler, 54, a corporate vice president and former mayor, and  Maria Alice Pan, a community volunteer, with 46 percent of the vote.
        Incumbent Councilman David Whittum, 50, was re-elected with 10,  974 votes.
        Measure B, which will amend the city charter to delete the current  automatic 5 percent annual cost-of-living increase in council salaries and  reduce future council compensation increases, passed by a landslide 89  percent of the vote.
        Defeated, however, was Measure B, a proposed charter amendment  that would change Sunnyvale's method of choosing a mayor to a direct election  by voters instead of the current method where the city council selects one of  its members by majority vote as mayor for a two-year term.
        Incumbent city council members were re-elected in seven out of  nine council races in San Mateo County cities on Tuesday, according to  unofficial results from the elections division.
        San Carlos City Councilman Randy Royce, who was first elected in  2007, lost his re-election bid for one of two available seats on the  five-member council, garnering 31 percent of the vote, according to  unofficial results.
        San Carlos School District board member Mark Olbert and 30-year  resident Ron Collins were elected with 35 percent and 34 percent of the vote,  respectively.
        Brisbane Mayor Cyril Bologoff also failed to win re-election to  either of two open seats in his city, according to preliminary numbers.
        Challenger Ray Miller was elected with 40 percent of the vote, and  Terry O'Connell won the second open seat with 33 percent.
        Belmont City Councilwoman Christine Wozniak narrowly won  re-election to the five-member council in her city, winning just 14 more  votes than her closest challenger, Eric Reed, according to complete  unofficial results.
        Belmont incumbent David Braunstein easily won re-election with 36  percent of the vote.
        In Redwood City, four incumbent City Council members -- Rosanne  Foust, Ian Bain, Barbara Pierce and Alicia Aguirre -- were re-elected to four  open seats on the seven-member council.
        Foster City City Councilman Art Kiesel was re-elected to one of  three open seats on the five-member council, winning 21 percent of the vote,  according to preliminary results.
        Retired financial consultant Steve Okamoto and small business  owner Herb Perez were elected to the remaining two open seats, with 22 and 18  percent of the vote, respectively.
        Raymond Buenaventura was re-elected to his seat on the City  Council of Daly City, according to preliminary numbers.
        Burlingame Mayor Terry Nagel and City Councilman Jerry Deal were  re-elected to third and second terms, respectively.
        South San Francisco Mayor Kevin Mullin and incumbent City  Councilman Richard Garbarino were also re-elected, with each winning more  than 40 percent of the vote in their city.
        Millbrae Vice Mayor Marge Colapietro was elected to serve a second  term in one of three open council seats.
        Wayne Lee and Robert Gottschalk were elected to the two remaining  open posts, with Gottschalk edging out his closest competitor, Anne Oliva, by  just 16 votes, according to unofficial results.
        San Francisco's sheriff's race remains up in the air after the  initial round of ranked-choice voting in Tuesday's election, with Supervisor  Ross Mirkarimi holding a narrow lead over two challengers.
        Mirkarimi received about 38 percent of the first-place votes in  the election, compared to about 28 percent for former undersheriff Chris  Cunnie and 27 percent for sheriff's Capt. Paul Miyamoto, according to  complete unofficial election results.
        The candidates are running to become San Francisco's first new  sheriff in 32 years, replacing outgoing Sheriff Michael Hennessey, who  announced earlier this year that he was not running for re-election.
        Cunnie and Miyamoto have touted their law enforcement experience  in the race while Mirkarimi, who was elected to the Board of Supervisors in  2004, has the support of Hennessey, an outsider when he began overseeing the  department.
        David Latterman, a lecturer on politics for University of San  Francisco, said Mirkarimi is in good position to become sheriff after  Tuesday's first round of the ranked-choice voting process.
        San Francisco's system allows voters to rank up to three  candidates. If no one reaches a majority, candidates with the lowest  first-place vote totals are eliminated and their second- and third-place  votes are reassigned until someone gets to at least 50 percent.
        "It's going be hard to unseat (Mirkarimi), but it's possible if  every other candidate was adamant that no one else should vote for him,"  Latterman said.
        Whoever takes over as sheriff will have to deal with new state  legislation that went into effect last month moving certain offenders from  state to county jurisdiction.
        Under the new realignment law, people convicted in San Francisco  of nonviolent, non-serious offenses -- as well as adult parolees and juvenile  offenders -- are now being overseen by the county, an estimated additional  load of up to 700 offenders.
        The city's Department of Elections is expected to release updated  results in the race at 4 p.m. today.
        Six measures were decided by less than five percentage points, but  nine of the 12 ballot measures in San Mateo County passed, according to  unofficial results released Tuesday.
        Measure H, which would have provided county community colleges  with renovation funds, failed to get the necessary 55 percent of the vote to  pass, finishing with an unofficial count of 52.75 percent in the 440  precincts.
        If passed, it would provide $564 million in bonds to construct and  upgrade classrooms at the three county campuses -- College of San Mateo,  Canada College, and Skyline College -- by adding $12.90 annually to each  $100,000 in assessed properties, according to official estimates.
        Three of the four school district measures have initially passed  with the exception of Measure O, which would have given the San Bruno Unified  School District with $186 million in funds to help pay off district debts,  fund classroom projects and finance a new continuation school.
        Less than five percentage points decided the four school measures.
        Measure E's educational parcel tax was passed with just more than  the two-thirds vote needed. The funds will go to the San Bruno Elementary  School District.
        Measure N, the Millbrae School District bond measure, passed with  58 percent of the votes. Measure L, a Pacifica School District parcel tax,  also passed with 68.7 percent of the votes, just getting over the needed  two-thirds vote.
        Foster City and Redwood City each passed a transient occupancy  tax, Measure P and Measure I, respectively. Foster City will raise the tax on  hotel guests from 8 percent to 9.5 percent and Redwood City will add a 10  percent tax to hotel guests.
        A general plan and municipal code amendment, Measure G, in San  Mateo narrowly failed to pass, only earning 48 percent of the simple majority  needed to pass.
        Redwood City passed a new business license tax, Measure M, with 55  percent of the vote.
        Menlo Park passed a fire protection district appropriation limit,  Measure F, with 76.8 percent. Brisbane passed Measure J, imposing a new  business license tax, with a 77 percent approval.
        Redwood City approved a charter amendment, Measure L, with a  convincing 61 percent vote.
        Measures F, J, L and M each needed a simple majority to pass.
        Voters in Contra Costa County appear to have approved two out of  three ballot measures put before them in Tuesday's election, according to  complete unofficial election results.
        Pittsburg voters approved two ballot measures meant to bring the  city more revenue and allow for additional development.
        Voters in Pittsburg overwhelmingly approved Measure H, which will  boost the city's hotel tax from 8 percent to up to 12 percent to help support  a range of municipal services, from police services and youth facilities to  parks and recreational services. The measure was approved by 78 percent of  voters.
        The tax will be paid by mostly out-of-town hotel guests staying in  Pittsburg and funneled into the city's general fund.
        Measure I also passed easily Tuesday, according to complete  unofficial numbers, with 78 percent of voters approving the measure, which  will extend the city's urban limit line and allow the city to develop 193  acres of unincorporated land straddling the Pittsburg-Antioch border.
        Under the measure, the city's general plan will be updated to  allow for high-density residential development on the 193 acres, lifting the  city's previous building limit of three housing units per acre in that area.
        Voters in Lafayette rejected Measure G, which would have collected  $89 yearly from each housing unit to complete a city project to revamp roads  and drains.
        Fifty-seven percent of voters backed the special parcel tax,  falling short of the two-thirds supermajority vote needed to pass, according  to unofficial numbers.
        Opponents of the measure have called it an attempt to tax  residents for services the city should already provide.
        San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon appears set to hold  onto his seat although he did not reach a majority in the initial round of  the ranked-choice voting process in Tuesday's election.
        Gascon had more than 42 percent of the votes, compared to about 23  percent for criminal justice scholar David Onek and 21 percent for Alameda  County prosecutor Sharmin Bock, according to complete unofficial election  results.
        Because Gascon did not reach 50 percent, the race will now be  decided by San Francisco's ranked-choice system, which allows voters to rank  up to three candidates.
        Candidates with the lowest vote totals are eliminated and their  second- and third-place votes are reassigned until someone gets to at least  50 percent.
        "We feel good about the numbers, but we'll wait until the final  returns come in," Gascon's campaign spokeswoman Maggie Muir said. "We never  take anything for granted."
        Gascon was previously San Francisco's police chief but has headed  the district attorney's office since January, when he was appointed by  then-Mayor Gavin Newsom after Kamala Harris was elected as the state's  attorney general.
        Gascon's opponents in the race have criticized him for his lack of  prosecutorial experience and perceived conflicts of interest in cases  involving the Police Department that he previously oversaw.
        The city's Department of Elections will release updated results in  the race at 4 p.m. today.
        Marin County voters returned eight incumbents to office in six  council races but denied San Rafael Vice Mayor Greg Brockbank's bid to be the  city's mayor, according to unofficial figures Tuesday night.
        Gary Phillips, 66, a partner in an accounting firm and a former  councilman, defeated Brockbank, 59, an attorney, by 1,125 votes with 56  percent of the vote, according to unofficial figures.
        Phillips will take the reins from Mayor Al Boro, who was first  elected mayor in 1991.
        San Rafael Councilman and attorney Damon Connolly was re-elected,  and Andrew McCullough, also an attorney, was elected to the other seat on the  city council. They defeated Samantha Sargent and Whitney Hoyt.
        Novato voters returned Mayor Madeline Kellner and Jeanne MacLeamy  to the City Council. Eric Lucan, a member of the Recreation, Cultural and  Community Services Commission, was elected to the third available seat on the  council. Four other candidates unsuccessfully vied for the three seats on the  council.
        Fourth place finisher Leslie Schwarze trailed Kellner by 86 votes,  according to unofficial figures.
        Mayor Alexandra Cock and Vice Mayor Bob Ravasio were re-elected to  the Corte Madera Town Council.
        Mayor Larry Bragman was re-elected and Ryan O'Neal was elected to  the Fairfax Town Council.
        Mayor Larry Chu was re-elected and Ann Morrison was elected to the  Larkspur City Council.
        Mayor Ford Greene was re-elected and Lori Lopin was elected to the  San Anselmo Town Council.
        All eight measures on the Marin County ballot appear to have  passed, according to unofficial election results late Tuesday night.
        The narrowest margin of victory belongs to Measure G, a 10-cent  per square foot tax hike for fire services in the Marinwood Community  Services District. It needs two-thirds approval and had 66.79 percent  approval.
        Corte Madera voters handily approved Measure C, a continuation for  four years of a special $60 annual parcel tax for paramedic services. The  Town Council could increase the tax to $75 over the four years. It also  needed two-thirds approval and garnered 82 percent as of late Tuesday night.
        Mayor Alexander Cock and Council members Bob Ravasio, Carla Condon  and Diane Furst said the special tax has been overwhelmingly approved since  1983 and has given the town one of the best paramedic services and shortest  response times in Marin County.
        Without the tax, advanced life support services provided by the  town's fire department would be in jeopardy, supporters said.
        The tax increase over four years from $60 to $75 compares  favorably to paramedic taxes in Novato and San Rafael, town officials said.
        Fairfax voters approved Measure D, a half-cent sales tax to offset  state budget cuts and declining property tax revenue. The tax will expire in  2017.
        Measure D needed majority approval and received 64 percent.
        Proponents said the tax hike is needed because property tax  revenues are down and pension costs are rising.
        Town officials including Mayor Larry Bragman and Vice Mayor Pam  Hartwell-Herrero say the town has frozen salaries, increased pension cost  sharing by employees and implemented a two-tier system to reduce pension  benefits.
        Despite those efforts, town officials said the tax hike is needed  to balance the budget and avoid severe cuts in public safety and public works  services.
        Visitors as well as Fairfax residents will pay the sales tax hike,  officials said.
        Tax hike opponents claimed "unwarranted" pay raises were given to  the town manager and senior staff, and unsustainable lifetime health and  pension benefits costing taxpayers $980,000 were approved between 2006 and  2009.
        In the Larkspur-Corte Madera School District, 70 percent of voters  approved Measure A, a $26 million bond issue, and voters in the Tamalpais  Union High School District appear to have narrowly approved Measure B, a  renewal of a parcel tax for 10 years starting July 1.
        Measure B needs two-thirds of the vote and had 72 percent late  Tuesday night.
        Measure E, an increase in an annual paramedic special services tax  from $85 to $95 per parcel, had 75 percent approval, and Measure F, a similar  tax hike in the Santa Venetia-Bayside Acres Fire District, was leading with  73 percent approval. Both measures require two-thirds approval.
        Voters in the Inverness Public Utility District approved Measure  H, an increase in the appropriations limit to include all combined revenue  through fiscal year 2014-2015.
        It received 96 percent approval and required a majority vote.
        Solano County voters Tuesday appear to have elected mostly  incumbents and a few newcomers to various city councils and approved a local  measure that imposes a tax on marijuana businesses to provide for city  services while defeating a measure that would have raised a citywide sales  tax.
        In Fairfield, one newcomer and one incumbent appear to have been  chosen by a slim margin over incumbent candidate Rick Vaccaro, a former high  school principal and three-year councilman.
        Pam Bertani, 47, a patent attorney, won a City Council seat  Tuesday with 27 percent of the vote, according to complete unofficial  election results. Trailing just behind with 26.6 percent voter support,  56-year-old Fairfield Vice Mayor and retired policeman Chuck Timm was also  apparently elected Tuesday.
        Benicia voters Tuesday appear to have narrowly re-elected  incumbent Mayor Elizabeth Patterson with 50.9 percent of the vote, defeating  the city's current vice mayor, Alan Schwartzman, who received 48 percent of  voter support.
        Benicia City Councilman Tom Campbell handily secured his council  seat with 37 percent of the vote. Benicia voters also elected a newcomer to  the council, small business owner Christina Strawbridge, with 30.9 percent.
        Vallejo voters also chose an incumbent, re-electing Mayor Osby  Davis, who has served as mayor for four years. Davis received 51.5 percent of  the vote Tuesday compared to rival candidate Joanne Schivley, a three-term  councilwoman, who got 47 percent of votes.
        The mayor has said that despite reduced city services in Vallejo  because of the economic downturn, he has helped balance the city budget and  add to its reserve.
        In the Vallejo City Council race, voters appear to have re-elected  incumbent Erin Hannigan, who received just 14 votes more than newcomer Bob  Sampayan, a retired police officer who also earned a spot on the council,  according to unofficial figures.
        Voters appear to have chosen newcomer Robert McConnell, a  bankruptcy attorney, to fill the third open seat.
        Measure C, which will impose a tax on local marijuana businesses  to support a wide range of city services, apparently passed by a landslide in  Vallejo Tuesday with 76 percent of the vote, according to unofficial election  numbers.
        Vallejo voters appear to have rejected a second ballot measure by  just 64 votes. Measure B would have allowed the city to collect a 1 percent  sales tax to support a wide range of city services.