As you could not possibly not know, Obama has won the national contest. Locally, with absentee voters and 25 of 52 precincts tallied, Measure P is failing (but close): there are 8,607 no votes (50.71 percent) and 8,365 yeses (49.29 percent). In the school board contest, newcomers appear to be ousting the incumbents, with Niel Tam the top vote getter with 9,492 votes. Trish Spencer is currently in second place with 7,019, trailed by Ron Mooney with 6,792 votes, Janet Gibson with 6,616 and David Forbes with 6,043. In the contest for city council, incumbents Doug Dehaan (8297 votes) and Marie Gilmore (7,983) are in the lead. Challengers Tracy Jensen and Justin Harrison are trailing. More election data here, of course.
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.
With the switch to once-weekly, there wasn’t enough room in last Friday’s print edition of the Alameda Journal for all the letters to the editor. But you can find them online here. The letters include a note from Dianne Richmond, the president of the Alameda Association of Realtors—written in opposition to Measure P. There are submissions both for and against Proposition 8, which would amend the state constitution to make marriage between people of the same gender illegal. And you can also find two letters in support of Ron Mooney‘s candidacy for school board. For more on endorsements, Lauren Do has a nice election roundup page here.
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.]