The Campaign Column: A post-election wrap-up

The Campaign Column: A post-election wrap-up

Michele Ellson

Image from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters website.

The November 2014 election is (finally!) over, but we’ve still got a few post-election items to share. Here’s our brief wrap of Election 2014.

Precinct patterns: The Alameda County Registrar of Voters recently released vote breakdowns by precinct, setting off a frenzy among City Hall watchers eager to divine more detail regarding the motives of voters who told incumbents to hit the road. The general consensus regarding the mayor’s race (confirmed by our own read of the numbers) is that Mayor-elect Trish Spencer prevailed on Bay Farm and in the middle of the Island, while outgoing Mayor Marie Gilmore took the East End and West End.

In an e-mail regarding the results, outgoing school board member and numbers junkie Mike McMahon listed two precincts near the planned Del Monte development and three Bay Farm Island precincts – including the ones that hold the Harbor Bay Club and the Chuck Corica Golf Complex – as the ones where Spencer’s margin was the largest, while Gilmore’s support was heaviest in the precinct that holds the Bayport housing development, another that holds the Fernside neighborhood, precincts on either side of the Bay Farm Island bridge and the East End precinct that includes portions of Otis and Shoreline drives.

McMahon demurred on the reasons for the results, but local blogger (and former Alamedan advisory board member) Bob Sullwold argued that opposition to development proposals at the Del Monte and on Bay Farm Island may have prompted voters in those areas to pull the lever for Spencer. That said, Sullwold also said that without exit polls offering direct evidence of voters’ thoughts, it’s tough to confirm whether development was a deciding issue or whether, as in other parts of country, the voters who did turn up at the polls (a little over half in Alameda) were simply in an anti-incumbent mood.

In the City Council race, newcomer Jim Oddie earned enough votes for a seat in all four areas of town – Bay Farm, East, Central and West. Frank Matarrese led the voting for council on Bay Farm Island, the East End and Central Alameda, while Stewart Chen was the second-place vote getter on the West End (behind Oddie). But in many Alameda precincts, the electorate left more votes on the table than any individual candidate received.

The council approved the statement of vote for city races on Tuesday. But we suspect the speculation over the vote count will continue for weeks to come.

Campaign finance mystery update: During the final days of the election season, we combed through campaign finance records looking for independent expenditure reports that would give us more information the groups that issued mailers supporting City Council candidates Jim Oddie and Stewart Chen and attacking Frank Matarrese. Disclosures for one group, the Golden State Leadership Fund PAC, showed donations from a laundry list of contributors. But the state’s campaign finance database was silent on the contributions and expenditures of another group, the Alameda County Business and Technology Consortium 2014, which was set up to support Chen, Oddie and BART board candidate Lena Tam but had its name on mailers attacking Matarrese.

We finally had time to check other online sources for information on the group, and turned up a pile of disclosures on the Alameda County Registrar of Voters’ website. Those disclosures showed that the committee was registered with the county in September, with a Gordon Galvan from Castro Valley listed as its principal officer.

The disclosures available online list just one donor to the committee: Shawn Wilson, chief of staff for Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who, disclosures show, contributed $9,200 on October 11. On October 15, Wilson, who made $108,525.60 last year according to the Transparent California online database, contributed $20,000 to the Golden State Leadership Fund, disclosures posted to the California Secretary of State’s Cal-Access database show.

An online search turned up a government and community relations consultant and former San Leandro city councilman named Gordon Galvan who was fined by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission in 2003 for 10 violations of campaign disclosure laws, but it wasn’t immediately clear if it was the same person who formed the committee; that Gordon Galvan didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment. The county redacts street addresses and some other identifying information in its online filings.

In addition to running a consultancy, the former councilman’s LinkedIn page lists him as a co-owner of Alameda’s Acapulco restaurant, on Lincoln Avenue.

The disclosures list only two expenditures, one for filing fees and the other for professional services from the Henry Levy Group, an Oakland-based accountancy whose services include political work. No records detailing spending on mailers appeared to have been filed online.

We e-mailed Wilson, a Brentwood resident, at his county work address to ask why he’s interested in Alameda races. He didn’t respond to our e-mailed request for comment.

While this is our final election season blog post, we’ll update you with a story if any additional news breaks.