Bay Area election results roundup

November 4, 2009 12:01:30 PM PST
Lt. Gov. John Garamendi comfortably defeated his four opponents in a special general election Tuesday for an open U.S. Congress seat in the East Bay, according to complete unofficial election results.

Garamendi, a Democrat, beat Republican David Harmer and three other candidates in the race for California's 10th Congressional District, which includes much of Contra Costa County, as well as parts of Alameda, Solano and Sacramento counties.

The election will fill the seat vacated by Democrat Ellen Tauscher, who was nominated in March for a State Department position that she accepted in June.

Garamendi received about 53 percent of the vote, compared to nearly 43 percent for Harmer, according to the unofficial final vote count of the secretary of state's office.

Garamendi said he's "excited about the reality of going back to Washington and working on issues," particularly health care. A vote on a health care reform bill in Congress could take place as soon as this weekend, he said.

Garamendi said he had talked to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, about being sworn in as soon as Thursday so he can participate in that vote. He said he will likely be flying to Washington today to prepare for the swearing-in.

Garamendi will serve the rest of Tauscher's term, which ends in January 2011.

Jeremy Cloward of the Green Party, Mary C. McIlroy of the Peace and Freedom Party, and Jerry Denham of the American Independent Party received the remaining 4 percent of the votes.

Garamendi had a built-in advantage heading into the election in the heavily Democratic district.

In September's primary election, the six Democratic candidates received a total of 69,130 votes, compared to 37,040 for the six Republican candidates.

Turnout for the race was "a little higher than expected" in Contra Costa County, which makes up nearly 69 percent of the district, according to Steve Weir, the county's clerk-recorder.

Weir said turnout in Contra Costa County should end up being just under 40 percent of the county's total registered voters, higher than the 32 percent that voted in the special primary election on Sept. 1.

Pending an informal certification of the election by Secretary of State Debra Bowen today, and confirmation that he will be sworn in on Thursday, Garamendi said he intends to resign his seat as lieutenant governor Thursday morning.

Garamendi has served as a state legislator, state insurance commissioner, and Deputy Secretary of the Interior under President Clinton.

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Voters in Walnut Creek appear to have overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that will make way for developers to build a Neiman Marcus store in the city's downtown Broadway Plaza area, according to complete unofficial election results.

Measure I amends the city's general plan and zoning ordinance to allow the two-story department store to be built on the corner of South Main Street and Mount Diablo Boulevard.

A development agreement that was part of the measure requires the developer to provide street and intersection improvements and financial contributions toward parking and transportation improvements, but allows the developer to meet the city's parking requirements with an employee-only parking lot while doubling the square footage currently permitted for the site.

Proponents of the measure claim that the new store will bring additional sales tax revenue to the city, improve parking and safety for drivers and pedestrians in the downtown area and create new jobs in the community.

Opponents argued that the new store would exacerbate traffic and parking problems in the already congested downtown area.

More than 71 percent of voters approved the measure, which required a majority vote to pass.

Walnut Creek voters also appear to have passed a parcel tax measure to help fund the Walnut Creek School District. Measure H, which required a two-thirds approval, appears to have won more than 75 percent of the vote. The measure will impose an $82 annual parcel tax beginning in 2010. The measure, which has no expiration date, replaces an existing $82 parcel tax, which expires at the end of June 2011.

Voters in the Acalanes Union High School District also approved a similar replacement parcel tax measure.

Measure G appears to have won nearly 74 percent voter approval.

The measure, which also required two-thirds approval, replaces an existing $189 annual parcel tax set to expire at the end of June 2011 with a new $189 annual parcel tax that has no expiration date.

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San Francisco voters Tuesday approved four of five ballot measures, refusing only to enact legislation allowing billboards along a section of Market Street, according to preliminary election results.

It was an atypically sparse ballot for San Francisco voters, and elections officials completed their initial vote tally just after 10 p.m. A total of 69,733 ballots were cast, according to the Elections Department.

Voters approved Proposition A -- establishing for the city a two-year budget cycle, instead of the current annual cycle, and adopting a five-year financial plan -- with nearly 69 percent of voters approving.

Proposition B, eliminating a city law requiring supervisors to have two aides, was approved by just over 52 percent of voters.

Proposition C, allowing the city to enter into a new naming rights agreement for Candlestick Park, received nearly 58 percent approval. Supporters said the measure could bring in about $1 million per year to San Francisco.

The measure also specifies that half of the revenue the city receives be used to fund recreation center directors.

Defeated was Proposition D, to create a Mid-Market Special Sign District on Market Street between Fifth and Seventh streets and allow outdoor general advertising signs. A portion of property owners' revenue would have gone to arts and cultural programs.

The measure would have permitted digital billboards and other signs, as large as 500 feet, on building rooftops and walls.

Supporters said revenue generated from the advertising could help clean up and revitalize the neighborhood, an area once known for its arts and theater venues, but which has struggled with crime, homelessness, drug use, graffiti and abandoned businesses.

But opposition groups protested that allowing massive advertisements was the wrong way to alleviate the neighborhood's problems.

Just over 54 percent of voters rejected the measure.

Proposition E, which more than 57 percent of voters approved, will ban an increase in advertising on street furniture such as Muni bus shelters, and prohibit new advertising on city-owned buildings.

In the only other items on the ballot, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, running unopposed, was easily reelected, as was Treasurer Jose Cisneros, who was also unopposed.

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All but one incumbent was elected in three city council races and one mayoral race in Solano County Tuesday, while voters in Vallejo also approved an updated utility users tax, according to complete unofficial election results.

Fairfield Mayor Harry Price won in his re-election bid, finishing with nearly 60 percent of the votes in the city. Ray Reyff finished second with nearly 11 percent of the vote, while none of the other four candidates reached double-digit percentages.

Teresa Courtemanche, the mother of slain Fairfield City Councilman Matt Garcia, was among seven candidates vying for two seats on the council this year, but fell short in her bid.

Fairfield Vice Mayor John Mraz and Councilwoman Catherine "Cat" McCoy were re-elected to the city council seats with 18.9 percent and 17.8 percent of the vote respectively.

Pam Bertani finished third with 17.1 percent of the vote and Courtemanche finished fourth with 16.8 percent, according to complete unofficial election results.

In Vallejo, Tom Bartee was the county's lone incumbent not to regain his city council seat. Bartee finished fourth behind incumbents Stephanie Gomes and Herminio Sunga and newcomer Johnathan Logan.

In Benicia, incumbents Mark Hughes and Alan Schwartzman were re-elected to the city council, each receiving about 32 percent of the vote. Dan Smith received 25 percent of the vote and Jubal Biggs received nearly 11 percent, according to the unofficial results.

Voters in Vallejo approved by a wider margin Measure U, an amendment to the existing utility users tax that was adopted in the city in 1969.

The existing 7.5 percent tax is on telecommunications, gas, electricity and video services. Measure U will reduce the 7.5 percent tax to 7.3 percent for all telecommunications and video services only.

It will also clarify what can and cannot be taxed, close unintended loopholes and ensure that users of similar services and equipment are treated the same regardless of the types of telecommunication services they use now and in the future.

More than 69 percent of voters approved the measure, which needed a majority to pass.

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Teacher Jennifer West was the leading vote-getter in a three-way contest for two seats on the Emeryville City Council in Tuesday's election but the race for second place was too close to call.

West had 707 votes, or 35.98 percent of the vote, and businessman Frank Flores led fellow businessman Kurt Brinkman by only four votes, 628 to 624, with some absentee results remaining to be counted by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office.

Flores received 31.96 percent of the vote and Brinkman had 31.76 percent.

West and the ultimate second-place finisher will replace incumbents Dick Kassis and John Fricke, who both chose not to seek re-election. Kassis currently serves as the city's mayor.

In her ballot statement, West said her priorities are building a more livable community, more parks and open space, better pedestrian and bicycle access and strong support for the city's schools.

Flores said his priorities are smart and sustainable growth, increasing the quality of the city's schools and using tax and redevelopment money wisely and efficiently.

Brinkman said the most important things for him are the city's financial planning needs, aligning the city's planning and transportation needs and preserving and restoring its waterways.

Emeryville voters also approved Measure K, which will increase the business license on the city's lone card room, The Oaks, from 9 percent of gross receipts or $1,000 per table per month, whichever is greater, to 10 percent of gross receipts or $1,000 per table per month, whichever is greater.

All five members of the Emeryville City Council supported the measure, which won by a margin of 82.6 percent to 17.4 percent.

In their ballot argument in support of Measure K, they said it "increases an important revenue source to ensure that our city can maintain the high quality of public safety, maintain parks and greenways, street repair and emergency services."

They said the city has already been forced to lay off 8 percent of its workforce and reduce some services and "without this measure essential city services will be further cut."

No ballot argument against the measure was submitted.

In a three-way race for two seats on the Newark City Council, incumbents Ana Apodaca and Alan Nagy were re-elected and challenger Nadja Adolf finished a distant third.

Apodaca received 42.8 percent of the vote, Nagy got 42 percent of the vote and Adolf only received 14.3 percent.

Apodaca, who works in the community and government relations sector, said her priorities are fiscal responsibility, economic development, ensuring rapid response times by public safety agencies and maintaining a high quality of life for residents of all ages.

Nagy said public safety is his top priority and fiscal management and quality of life are also important.

Adolf said her priorities are reducing crime, balancing the city's budget without raising taxes and preserving the city's quality of life.

Newark Mayor David Smith was re-elected with 95.2 percent of the vote. Write-in candidates received 4.8 percent of the vote.

Newark voters were narrowly defeating Measure L, which would have established a 3.9 percent utility users tax for six years.

However, there were only 8 more "no" votes than "yes" votes so uncounted absentee ballots could change the outcome, as only a simple majority is needed for approval.

As of Tuesday night, 50.1 percent, or 2,068, of Newark's voters were against the measure and 49.9 percent, or 2,060, were in favor.

Supporters say the measure will raise enough money to prevent severe cuts to important city services.

Albany voters approved two school-related parcel taxes by well over the two-thirds margin needed for passage.

Measure I is a tax of $149 a year on residential units to help restore teacher positions and student services lost because of state budget cuts. The measure won by a margin of 75.8 percent to 24.2 percent.

Measure J is a tax of $555 a year on residential units to raise funds for programs such as school library and mental health services, science, technology, the arts, music courses and athletics. It won by a margin of 76.7 percent to 23.3 percent.

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Voters in Marin County Tuesday re-elected 10 of 14 incumbents seeking re-election to nine councils.

San Anselmo voters rejected re-election bids by Judy House, Ted Freeman and Peter Breen. Susan Brandborg lost re-election to the Fairfax Town Council.

Incumbents Carla Condon, 63, a retired business owner, and businessman Michael Lappert, 57, were re-elected to the Corte Madera Town Council. Diane Furst, 45, a stay-at-home mom, won the third available seat.

Condon led the pack with 1,379 votes. George Topor, 68, a retiree, finished fourth.

Fairfax voters denied Susan Brandborg, 65, a retired teacher, re-election to the Town Council. Environmental attorney and Mayor David Weinsoff, 51, was re-elected. Consultant Pam Hartwell-Herrero, also executive director of Sustainable Fairfax, and John Reed, 51, a member of the Fairfax General Plan Advisory Committee, were elected to the council.

Larkspur Mayor Daniel Hillmer, 54, a consultant and architect, and Councilwoman Joan Lundstrum, 74, were re-elected to the Larkspur City Council. Attorney Len Rifkind, 48, won the third seat.

In Mill Valley, incumbents Andrew Berman, 50, currently the city's mayor, and Shawn E. Marshall, 44, a business consultant, were re-elected to the City Council. They were challenged by George Gordon, 69, a financial investment advisor.

In Novato, Councilwoman Pat Eklund, 57, an environmental manager, was re-elected to the City Council. Businesswoman Denise Athas, 57, won the second available seat.

Incumbent San Anselmo Town Council members Peter Breen, 72, the town's mayor, vice-mayor Judy House, 62, and Ted Freeman, 74, lost their seats on the council.

Voters elected Kay Coleman, 58, a retired teacher; Jeff Kroot, an architect and former San Anselmo Council member; and attorney Tom McInerney, 46, a member of the Park and Recreation Commission.

San Rafael Vice Mayor Barbara Heller, 71, won re-election to the City Council. Mark Levine, 35, executive director of a nonprofit tsunami relief organization, won election to the second available seat. Carolyn Ford, 64, a small business owner, defeated realtor Rene De Bruyn, for election to the lone Sausalito City Council seat.

Tiburon Mayor Alice Fredericks, 69, won re-election to the Town Council. Voters also elected planning commissioners Jim Fraser, 63, and 48-year-old Emmett O'Donnell.

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Voters in Santa Clara County elected 11 city council members in three city council races in Santa Clara County Tuesday, according to complete unofficial election results.

Cupertino re-elected incumbent Orrin Mahoney to the City Council with 18 percent of the unofficial tally. Businessman Mark Santoro was also re-elected to the City Council with 16 percent of the vote. Barry Chang, another businessman, also won with nearly 16 percent of the vote.

In the race for five seats on the Palo Alto City Council, incumbent Larry Klein garnered nearly 13 percent of the vote, as did professional city and transportation planner Gail Price and businesswoman and consultant Karen Holman.

Nancy Shepherd, a managerial accountant, received nearly 11 percent of the vote and attorney Gregory Scharff won the fifth and final seat with 9.5 percent of the vote.

In Sunnyvale, Anthony Spitaleri, currently the city's mayor, was re-elected to the City Council with 54 percent of the vote. Vice Mayor Christopher Moylan was also re-elected to the City Council with 55 percent of the vote. James Griffith, an engineering manager, won the third seat on the council with 56 percent of the vote.

A total of 56,760 votes were tallied in Santa Clara County for the various measures and elections, according to the county's registrar of voters.

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Santa Clara County voters Tuesday approved an ordinance updating Cupertino's utility users tax to continue to fund city services, but rejected a measure to establish a business license tax in Palo Alto as well as two parcel taxes to improve schools.

Voters did not approve Palo Alto's business license tax, the most prominent measure on the ballot that would have required businesses located or conducted in Palo Alto to pay a tax to the city.

Measure A needed a majority vote to pass, and fell short with only 43.5 percent of voters approving it, according to complete unofficial election results.

The tax was estimated to generate nearly $3 million annually in local revenue and would have gone towards the city's general fund, supporting police and fire protection, senior and youth programs, street repairs, parks and recreation and library programs.

Under the tax, all businesses would have been charged $75 for the first employee, and certain businesses would have been charged $34 for each additional employee.

Measure B asked voters whether Cupertino's telephone utility users tax should be updated to continue to fund city services. The measure needed a majority vote to pass. About 75 percent of voters agreed that it should be updated.

Two parcel tax measures on the ballot were for the Santa Clara Unified School District and the Fremont Union High School District.

Santa Clara Unified School District's Measure C received 62.6 percent of the votes, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to authorize an annual $138 parcel tax to fund education programs.

Fremont Union High School District's Measure G, an ordinance that will replace an existing expiring parcel tax with the same annual $98 per year parcel tax to fund education, also fell short. The measure required a two-thirds majority to pass, but was only approved by about 59 percent of voters.

A total of 56,760 votes were tallied in Santa Clara County for the various measures and elections, according to the county's registrar of voters.

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San Mateo County voters elected mostly incumbents, along with some newcomers, to seats in various city councils Tuesday, in addition to electing a new mayor in San Bruno.

Jim Ruane, the Vice Mayor of San Bruno, was elected the city's mayor with 74 percent of the votes, according to complete unofficial election results.

Incumbents Warren Lieberman and Coralin Feierbach, as well as medical engineering manager Dave Warden, were elected to the Belmont City Council.

In Brisbane, incumbents W. Clarke Conway and A. Sepi Richardson, in addition to planning commissioner Cliff Lentz, won the city council race.

Burlingame Mayor Ann Keighran was elected to the City Council as well as another incumbent, Cathy Baylock. Business owner Michael Brownrigg was also elected to the council.

Incumbent Pam Frisella and real estate attorney Charlie Bronitsky appear to have been elected to the Foster City City Council.

Naomi Patridge, the sole incumbent who ran alongside seven candidates for a seat on the Half Moon Bay City Council, appears to have been re-elected, along with Rick Kowalczyk, a business consultant, and Allan Alifano, a local business owner.

In Millbrae, incumbent Gina Papan, as well as attorney Nadia Holober, appear to have won the two seats on that city council.

Incumbent Jeff Ira, and Jeff Gee, an architect, and John Seybert, a director of operations, appear to have won the Redwood City City Council race.

One incumbent, Brandt Grotte, was re-elected to San Mateo City Council, and deputy district attorney David Lim and retired police lieutenant Robert Ross were elected as well.

In South San Francisco, the three incumbents who ran, Pedro Gonzalez, Karyl Matsumoto and Mark Addiego, appear to have all been re-elected to the city council.

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Marin County voters Tuesday approved five of six local measures asking for money, according to unofficial final election results early this morning.

San Rafael voters rejected Measure G, an $88 million bond measure to upgrade and replace aging police and fire stations and to provide an earthquake-safe dispatch center. It required two-thirds approval but only received 60 percent of the vote.

City officials estimated the average tax rate required to fund the bond measure over all the years the bonds are outstanding is $41 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.

Voters in the Lagunitas School District approved Measure A, a $325 annual parcel tax for eight years to pay for basic education programs.

Proponents said those local funds comprise 15 percent of the district's budget and go toward art, music, science, smaller class sizes and library services among other programs.

Measure A includes a 6.5 percent annual cost of living adjustment and homeowners over age 65 by May 1 of any year in which the tax is assessed are exempt. The measure passed with 68 percent approval.

Voters in the Larkspur School District approved Measure B, a renewal of a $368 annual parcel tax for eight years for educational programs. The measure won 69 percent approval of the voters and required two-thirds approval.

There are separate parcel tax rates for non-residential properties that range between $368.88 and $20,000 depending on the size of the parcel.

Measure B also exempts seniors and includes a 5 percent annual adjustment. The revenue will be used to maintain small class sizes and reading, writing, math, science and other classes, and for instructional equipment in Corte Madera and Larkspur schools.

Mill Valley School District voters approved Measure C, a $59.8 million bond issue to reconstruct and modernize Mill Valley elementary and middle schools. It needed 55 percent approval and won 66 percent of the vote.

Nearly 63 percent of voters in the Shoreline Unified School District, which includes Bodega Bay in Sonoma County and in west Marin and Tomales, approved Measure D, a $9.29 million bond issue to seismically retrofit and upgrade schools and pay outstanding debt from past construction projects.

The measure, which needed 55 percent approval to pass, won approval of 72 percent of the voters in Marin County and 48 percent of the district's voters in Sonoma County.

San Anselmo voters passed Measure E, an ordinance establishing the maximum floor area and lot coverage for single-family properties, dubbed "McMansions", located 150 feet below sea level. It required a majority approval and got 53 percent of the vote.

San Anselmo voters, however, rejected Measure F, a 10 percent hotel user's tax measure. There is only one hotel in San Anselmo, the San Anselmo Inn. The measure needed a majority approval but 60 percent of the voters rejected the proposed tax on lodgers.

Voters in the Bolinas Community Public Utility District approved an advisory measure that bans camping year round on Bolinas Beach. It required the approval of the majority of the voters and received 55 percent support.

Bruce Bowser, former secretary for the Bolinas Beach Committee, said in the voter information literature that Bolinas is the only private beach that allows public camping and that "visitor" campers and the homeless are camping on the beaches.

Bowser said the current county ordinance prohibiting camping on weekends and holidays is ineffective and loosely enforced. He said the beach is being soiled with human waste and illegal fires are a beach hazard. Most weekend users of the beach are from outside Bolinas, Bowser said.

The District's appointed Beach Committee Chairwoman Magi Barror and others against Measure H said beach problems have already been reduced and there are fewer campers now because of the existing weekend ban. They said campers do not cause most of the beach problems and they are against further restrictions.

Fairfax voters passed Measure I, an ordinance renewing for five years a special, annual, municipal services tax of $125 per dwelling or business. It required two-thirds approval and received 72 percent support.

The money will be used to maintain around-the-clock staffing of the police and fire services, make public works safety improvements and for youth programs.

The tax was passed five years ago and currently generates $465,000 annually.

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All six measures that proposed an increase in transient occupancy taxes appear to have passed on the San Mateo County ballot for Tuesday's election, according to complete unofficial election results.

Measure F in San Bruno, Measure G in Brisbane, Measure H in Burlingame, Measure J in Millbrae, Measure M in San Mateo and Measure O in South San Francisco all called for an increase of 10 percent to 12 percent in the hotel transient occupancy tax.

Eleven of the other 13 measures on the ballot all passed, which included measures in Portola Valley, Atherton, San Carlos, Foster City and Redwood City.

Measure U in San Carlos, which would have increased the sales tax in the city, required a majority vote and appears to have lost with 56 percent voting no, according to complete unofficial election results.

The other measure that lost, Measure W in Foster City, would have increased the number of terms a city councilmember could serve. That measure received 66 percent voting no.

Measure I in Burlingame, Measure K in Millbrae and Measure V in San Carlos all call for certain positions to be appointed in those cities and each appear to have passed. Measures I and V were for the city clerk and Measure K was to make the city treasurer appointive.

Measure L in San Mateo, which called for a one-quarter cent increase in sales tax, appears to have passed with 60 percent of the vote.

In Portola Valley, three measures on the ballot, P, Q and R, all appear to have passed as well. Measure T in Atherton and Measures X and Y in Redwood City also appear to have passed.

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Incumbents David Hudson and Jim Livingstone appear to have been re-elected to the San Ramon City Council in the only race in Contra Costa County in Tuesday's election, according to unofficial election results.

Hudson received nearly 38 percent of the vote while Livingstone received just over 32 percent, beating out newcomers Jim Brady, who received 18 percent, and Doug Burr, who only received 11 percent.

Hudson has been on the city council since 1997 and served as mayor in 2001.

Livingstone has served on the city's planning commission and city council for 14 years.

City council terms last for four years.

Mayor Abram Wilson, who ran unopposed, was also re-elected for another two-year term.

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A bond measure was approved Tuesday for the Shoreline Unified School District despite the measure not even receiving a majority of votes in Sonoma County, which makes up a portion of the district, according to complete unofficial election results.

Nearly 63 percent of voters in the district, which includes Bodega Bay in Sonoma County and in west Marin and Tomales, approved Measure D, a $9.29 million bond issue to seismically retrofit and upgrade schools and pay outstanding debt from past construction projects.

The measure, which needed 55 percent approval to pass, won just 48 percent of the district's 487 voters in Sonoma County.

However, 72 percent of the district's 825 voters in Marin County approved the measure, ensuring that it passed by a comfortable margin, according to the unofficial results.


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