As has been in the news lately, Alameda Power & Telecom is working on the sale of its debt-ridden telecom business. Apparently there has been an offer from Comcast. Some details here and here. More info, I’m sure, will be forthcoming. Ahh, Michele Ellson has the scoop.
A glance at this morning’s returns (with all Alameda precincts in, but an unknown number of provisional ballots still to be counted) we’re still seeing the same trends as last night. It looks like newcomers Trish Spencer, Niel Tam and Ron Mooney will take seats on the school board, ousting two incumbents, David Forbes and Janet Gibson. In the city council race, it looks like Doug DeHaan and Marie Gilmore have been returned to office (defeating challengers Tracy Jensen and Justin Harrision). Measure P, the city real estate transfer tax, is at this moment passing by the tiniest of margins, just over 300 votes. You can see all election returns here. Mike McMahon is tracking the school board vote here.
New returns just in. There’s now 37 of 52 precincts reporting. Measure P has an ever-so-slight lead: 10,429 yes votes to 10, 318 no’s. The school board ranking order is still the same (remember the top three candidates will get seats). Right now that’s Niel Tam with 11,392 votes, Trish Spencer with 8,495, and Ron Mooney with 8,238. Janet Gibson has 8,049 votes and David Forbes has 7,346. In the race for city council, Doug DeHaan and Marie Gilmore have tidy leads (DeHann has 10,068 votes and Gilmore has 9,527). Tracy Jensen trails with 7,533 votes while, at this point, Justin Harrison has captured 5,240
And now for your history in the making moment: At 114, the daughter of former slaves votes for Obama.
The parent news organization of this blog, the Bay Area News Group, has posted this mid-morning election day round up: Smooth Sailing as voting beings in Bay Area despite vandals in Santa Cruz, malfunction in Antioch. The Bay Area News Group is asking for your thoughts on this election: What was your experience of voting? What do you think this election means? And, for good measure, look for returns from all contests later in the day here. Also check out News Group politics blogger Josh Richman here. [Edited 2:30 pm: Here's an account of today's voting in Alameda County.]
Just as they’ve been across the country, voting lines were long this morning at Alameda’s Edison Elementary. [Left: Anna Martin walked over to the polls with daughter Esther. Right: Evan Ackiron with daughter Samantha waiting in line to vote. ]
I’ll have more on the election as the day goes on. If you’re still waffling, I recommend a big no on Prop. 8, which would deny same-sex couples the equal rights that have already been granted them by the California Supreme Court. For school board, I cast my votes for Ron Mooney, David Forbes, and Niel Tam. And here’s some info about the city’s Measure P.
People keep asking me about Measure P, the item on the city ballot that would raise Alameda’s property transfer tax. I will be voting for it, mostly because the more I learn about the city budget (not to mention the state’s and the nation’s) the more it becomes clear that, in order to keep things running semi-smoothly, we need to raise more funds. Michele Ellson over at the Island is supporting P, as is Lauren Do, and, too, John Knox White.
Measure P, which Alamedans will vote on in a few short weeks, would increase the city’s property transfer tax, the tax paid to the city when a property is bought or sold. Currently the tax is $5.40 per $1,000 property value. Measure P would raise it to $12 per $1,000. Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson has a pro-P opinion piece in today’s Alameda Journal.
The Mayor’s argument is pretty straight-forward: The city has already been cutting, police and fire costs are two thirds of the city’s budget, and without a cash infusion the city may have to begin trimming those areas nearest and dearest to people’s hearts…in addition to the cuts that have already been made, the maintenance that has already been deferred and the library hours that have already been cut. Those who oppose P have a pretty well-funded campaign against (with chart and graphs and everything).
Back story: Before putting P on the ballot, the city did some polling to see what was most likely to win approval from the voters, and this transfer tax increase is what was seen as most likely to pass. Really, it’s the same old story: if you want services, they must be paid for.
[Ed. note: The Journal also has this editorial about P.]
In case you had not noticed, country-wide (and, too, city-wide) we’re gearing up for an election on November 4th. If, for some reason, you’re still not registered to vote, you have until next Monday, October 20th, to do so. Guy Ashley, from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, sent this how-to/FYI:
Alameda County residents must be citizens, 18 years old and not in prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony to be eligible to register to vote.
Voter registration affidavits are available at the Registrar of Voters office and at libraries, fire stations and post offices. You may also download and complete the registration form on our website.
Completed affidavits must be delivered to the Registrar of Voters Office at 1225 Fallon Street, Room G-1, Oakland, CA 94612 or postmarked by October 20th in order to be valid for this election. Voters can call the Registrar of Voters Office at (510) 272-6973 or (510) 267-8683 to check their voter registration status.
It also sounds like the Registrar of Voters as well is hosting a last-minute sign-people-up-to-vote event. This also from the ROV’s Ashley:
The Alameda County Registrar of Voters office will be holding a special “Midnight Madness’’ voter registration drive outside its offices in downtown Oakland from 5 p.m. to midnight on Monday October 20th. The event will occur outside Alameda County’s Rene C. Davidson Courthouse at 1225 Fallon Street, Oakland… Staff will be on hand to distribute registration forms, answer questions and receive completed forms right up until the midnight registration deadline.
There’s no excuses, really. And I haven’t heard much of what I used to hear, back there in the 1990s, “The candidates are all the same.” I think people are seeing the differences now.
This week’s Life on the Island, the column I write for the Alameda Journal, is about last week’s Alameda City Council decision to let the plans for an Orchard Supply Hardware at Towne Centre continue. I know there’s not universal support for the store because many who opposed it went before City Council to make their case, but many Alamedans I’ve talked to over the years are eager for more local shopping options, even if they’re not locally owned. What’s most interesting to me in the instance of the OSH, is that we’re not talking about new development. We’re talking about a filling an existing building in an existing shopping center.