Michele Ellson

Updated at 12:46 a.m. Wednesday, June 6

Alameda’s voters said no Tuesday to paying more sales taxes for city vehicles and a host of new and improved facilities, decisively spurning the proposed Measure C sales tax.

A little over half of the 11,564 voters whose ballots had been counted by early Wednesday morning favored the half-percent, 30-year tax measure. But it needed the approval of two-thirds of Alameda’s voters to pass. Typically, it takes county elections officials days to count vote by mail ballots dropped off at polling places and provisional ballots cast on election day, though it seemed unlikely those ballots would change the contest's outcome.

“It looks like Alameda residents saw through City Hall's attempt to use Measure C as a slot machine to pay back tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the firefighters union with millions of dollars of unnecessary public safety spending,” said David Howard, who ran Milking Alameda, one of the two campaigns against the tax measure.

"Considering the No campaign raised $2,200 and the Yes Campaign reported raising $52,000 demonstrates a gross political miscalculation and a waste of a great deal of money. The city failed to make a credible case for a 30 year 1/2 sales tax as well as failing to understand its citizens' priorities. This campaign should have never happened," said Gretchen Lipow, who ran a second anti-C campaign.

Campaign disclosure statements filed with Alameda's City Clerk by both campaigns showed that proponents had raised over $52,000 in support of the measure and opponents, less than $2,000, though voters interviewed outside the polls Tuesday offered mixed feelings about the tax measure.

A leader of the Preserving Alameda campaign expressed disappointment in the results.

“I hurt for the kids of Alameda,” Ron Matthews said.

Voters okayed Measure B, an eight-year, $48 a year parcel tax for the Peralta Community College District, with nearly 72 percent of voters in Albany, Alameda, Berkeley, Emeryville, Piedmont and Oakland saying yes as of late Tuesday. The tax, which also needed a two-thirds “yes” vote to pass, will pay for more classes at the College of Alameda, Berkeley City College, and Laney and Merritt colleges in Oakland.

Alameda Vice Mayor Rob Bonta was leading the race for termed-out Assemblyman Sandre Swanson’s District 18 seat, besting second-place finisher Abel Guillen, a Peralta Community College District trustee, 36.84 percent to 27.94 percent with about 41,000 votes cast. Both will compete for the job in a November runoff, while third-place finisher Joel Young heads back to his job as an at-large member of the AC Transit Board.

“I’m excited about how far we’ve come, up to now,” Bonta said as the results rolled in late Tuesday. “This is one milepost on the journey and we’re ready and excited to take the next step if the results hold tonight. And I want to congratulate all the candidates who were involved in this race for running a strong campaign.”

Bonta's opponents in the race, Guillen and Young, could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday night.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who got bumped from her former home into the 13th Congressional District, which covers Alameda, cruised to victory in hers, with 81.5 percent of the roughly 74,000 votes tallied. She'll face off with independent Marilyn Singleton in November.

Tara Flanagan was winning the race for the District 20 Superior Court judge, with nearly 49 percent of the vote tallied - though she appears headed for a runoff with second-place finisher Andrew Wiener. State Senator Loni Hancock faced no challengers in her race.

Meanwhile, Oakland City Councilman Ignacio de la Fuente topped a pack of 19 candidates for 10 seats on the Democratic Party’s County Central Committee for the 18th Assembly District, while Alamedan Jim Oddie appeared to secure a seat on the committee he described as "the grass roots foundation of the county party."

Measure C was to have funded new city vehicles; a new swimming pool and lighted field; a new, mid-Island fire station and emergency operations center; a training center; and renovations to the Carnegie Library, which was to become a new home for the Alameda Museum.

Some 21.29 percent of Alameda County's 752,331 registered voters participated in Tuesday's election, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters' results showed, with 93,443 casting vote by mail ballots and another 66,750 casting ballots directly at the polls. Additional results are available online at the Registrar of Voters website and the California Secretary of State's site.


Submitted by cbm on Wed, Jun 6, 2012

I didn't support Measure C because of the regressive nature of sales tax, not because of a conservative ideology.