Danville mayor will run for Contra Costa supervisor

Danville Mayor Candace Andersen

Danville Mayor Candace Andersen will run for Contra County supervisor in 2012.

She hopes to succeed retiring Supervisor Gayle Uilkema of Lafayette, who opted to leave office after seven terms rather than seek re-election in a newly drawn District 2 that encompasses the San Ramon Valley and Lamorinda.

“We have reached a point in time where the county really needs some new leadership,” said Andersen, a 51-year-old attorney who has served on the Danville Town Council for eight years.

She’s interested in curbing escalating pension costs, protecting the integrity of the urban growth boundary, preserving core county services such as law enforcement and finding ways to help the county cope with declining state revenues.

Contra Costa Community College District Trustee Tomi Van de Brooke of Orinda has also declared her candidacy.

The open seat could draw a large field by the time the official filing period opens Feb. 13.

Other possible District 2 candidates include former Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata. He moved to Orinda after he lost his Oakland mayoral race last fall, but he’s been making exploratory phone calls assessing his support in Contra Costa County. (A poll in the area has also been linked to his possible candidacy; one of the questions was reportedly about whether the responder viewed Perata as a “carpetbagger.”)

Danville Town Councilwoman Karen Stepper has also been considering a run.

In other county supervisor elections, supervisors Mary Nejedly Piepho of Discovery Bay and Federal Glover of Pittsburg are seeking re-election in 2012. Piepho has no declared opponents yet, while Martinez Councilman Mike Menesini has opened a supervisor campaign account and may challenge Glover.

A candidate in any of the three supervisor districts on the ballot who receives more than 50 percent of the vote on June 5 will win the seat outright, or the top two finishers will compete in a runoff in the November general election.


Voters surprisingly amenable to taxes

Taxpayers may not be as angry as we thought.

Voters on Tuesday approved local bond and tax measures at a higher rate than in past elections, according to an analysis from the League of California Cities.

That’s probably little comfort to the backers of a road tax in Lafayette, which failed Tuesday. It was the city’s third attempt to pass a tax for road maintenance.

Among the more than 90 local measures on the ballot statewide Tuesday,  53 increased, expanded or extended local taxes or bonds. Here’s a summary of the league’s findings:

  • The overall passage rate of non-school local tax measures in November 2011 was better than that of prior elections over the last decade.
  • Of the 22 majority-vote tax measures, 18 passed (82 percent). Since 2001, 65 percent of majority vote local tax measures have passed.
  • Of the 16 special tax measures requiring two-thirds voter approval, 11 passed (69 percent) exceeding the 46 percent historic passage rate for special taxes and bonds since 2001.

Click here for the league’s full report.



Voting starts Monday for Nov. 8 election

Voting by mail starts Monday in the handful of East Bay communities holding increasingly rare odd-year elections on Nov. 8.

Voters in San Ramon and Livermore will choose new mayors and council members, while those in Lafayette and Pittsburg will decide on ballot measures.

In addition, Emeryville and Newark have city council and mayor elections. Emeryville also has several ballot measures that would hike the business tax and raise cash for public safety, streets and other city programs.

Solano County voters will also go the polls in Benicia, Fairfield, Vallejo and Vacaville.

Most communities have shifted their elections into even years, largely as a means to spread the costs among more participants and reach more voters.

Campaigns in San Ramon and Livermore have been fierce as the cities’ termed-out mayors attempts to swap their expired terms with those of sitting council members.

San Ramon Councilwoman Carol Rowley is vying for the mayor’s post against former San Ramon Valley School District Trustee Bill Clarkson.

Meanwhile, incumbent San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson is battling for one of the two open seats on the council against incumbent Councilman Scott Perkins and challenger Phil O’Loane.

Livermore Vice Mayor John Marchand hopes to prevail in the mayor’s contest against challengers Barbara Hickman and Minuete McKernan.

Livermore Mayor Marshall Kamena is competing for one of two council openings against Laureen Turner, Stewart Gary and Bobby Burger.

On the ballot measure front, Lafayette is asking voters for an $89 annual parcel tax for the next decade to raise money for road repairs and drainage improvements. To pass, it must win two-thirds voter approval.

Pittsburg residents will see two ballot measures.

Measure H asks voters to increase the hotel tax by 4 percentage points to a maximum of 12 percent and eliminate an exemption for federal and state employees traveling on business. The city would use the extra cash on city programs. To pass, it requires a majority voter approval.

The city’s second question, Measure I, would expand Pittsburg’s urban limit line to include 193 acres in the city’s southeast area and zone the land for housing and industrial. It requires a simple majority to pass.

The measure was written by the landowner, West Coast Homebuilders, an affiliate of Concord-based A.D. Seeno Construction.

Here’s contact information for your local election office:

Find your polling place or find the answers to other election questions at the following locations:

  • Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters: 555 Escobar St. in Martinez. Contact the office at 925-335-7800 or www.cocovote.us.
  • Alameda County Registrar of Voters: 1225 Fallon Street G-1 in Oakland. Contact the office at 510 267-8683 or www.acgov.org/rov.
  • Solano County Registrar of Voters: 675 Texas St. in Fairfield. Contact the office at 707-784-6675 or www.solanocounty.com/depts/rov/.