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Git up off yer duff and register to vote

This Monday, May 21, is the last day to register to vote in the June 5 primary election.

To be eligible to register, a person must be a U.S. Citizen; at least 18 years old on Election Day; not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction; and not deemed by a court to be mentally incompetent to register and to vote. Also, registered voters must re-register whenever they have moved to a new address, changed their name, or want to change political party affiliation.

Voter registration cards are available at county elections offices (Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz); U.S. Post Offices; and the Department of Motor Vehicles, or online from the Secretary of State’s office. They must be signed and submitted in person or by mail; a mailed registration card postmarked Monday will satisfy the deadline.

There is one exception to the deadline: Under new state law, people who obtain their U.S. citizenship after today can register and vote right up until the polls close on June 5.

Posted on Thursday, May 17th, 2012
Under: 2012 Assembly election, 2012 Congressional Election, 2012 presidential election, 2012 primary election, 2012 State Senate election, 2012 U.S. Senate election, voter registration | 1 Comment »

CoCo supervisor forum to air May 7 and 9

An election forum featuring two candidates for Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will air on public access television on May 7 and May 9.

The Contra Costa Council sponsored the lunchtime debate with candidates Tomi Van de Brooke, president of the Contra Costa Community College District Board of Trustees, and Danville Mayor Candace Andersen.

The pair answered questions earlier today in Lafayette about a wide range of topics including pension reform, water policy, tax initiatives and county budget trade-offs. And they sparred over campaign finances and whether positions on social issues matter in the local, nonpartisan race.

The third candidate, solar technology professor Sean White of Lafayette, was out of town on business and could not attend.

Held in Lafayette, the debate will air at 8 p.m. on May 7 and 10 a.m. on May 9 on Contra Costa Television. For Comcast customers, CCTV is on Channel 27; Astound, Channel 32; and AT&T U-verse, Channel 99.

For information, visit www.contracostatv.org.

 

 

Posted on Monday, April 23rd, 2012
Under: 2012 primary election, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 1 Comment »

Watch Van de Brooke vs. Andersen ed board interview

Van de Brooke

Andersen

The Contra Costa Times’ editorial board interview with Contra Costa County supervisor candidates Tomi Van De Brooke and Candace Andersen on Tuesday afternoon starts with fireworks over social issues. Read full story here.

But the candidates also speak at length about a wide range of policy matters closer to the work of a county supervisor, such as budget priorities, whether or not general fund dollars should subsidize the county hospital and pension reforms.

Watch video here:  http://bcove.me/twuc0kwx

 

 

 

Posted on Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
Under: 2012 primary election, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Judge poised to nix attack on ‘top-two’ primary

California can proceed with its new “top-two” primary system, an East Bay judge tentatively ruled today, sustaining the state’s objection to a lawsuit filed by a group of minor parties and their voters.

In his tentative ruling, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Appel said the arguments made in the lawsuit filed last fall are the same ones that failed to convince the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court that Washington’s version of the law should be overturned.

A hearing on the tentative ruling is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday in Oakland.

The lawsuit, filed in November on behalf of the Green Party of Alameda County, the Libertarian Party of California, the Peace and Freedom Party of California and eight minor-party voters, argues Prop. 14 “effectively denies voters their fundamental right of choice by precluding small party candidates from the general election ballot,” thus violating the First and 14th amendments.

The general election is “the moment when the highest number of voters are engaged in the electoral process,” the suit says, and so the new law severely burdens voters’, candidates’ and parties’ rights without any compelling or even significant state interest.

But Appel wrote Monday that unless the plaintiffs can amend their complaint in the next few weeks to present new arguments, the system will stand.

Appel said the first part of the lawsuit seems to be a “facial challenge” to Prop. 14 – challenging the general framework – rather than an “as applied” challenge that questions some manner in which the new law is being implemented in a discriminatory or unreasonable way.

But the 9th Circuit earlier this year “considered and rejected the same broad challenge” that the plaintiffs are making in this case, the judge wrote. “Among other things, the Court held that ‘because [the law] gives major- and minor-party candidates equal access to the primary and general election ballots, it does not give the “established parties a decided advantage over any new parties struggling for existence.”’”

Arguing that participation in the general election isn’t equivalent to participation in the primary election; that general-election ballot access is essential for minor parties seeking to qualify in future elections; and that California doesn’t have sufficient regulatory interests to impose this new system “are legal assertions that are inconsistent” with the 9th Circuit’s ruling in the Washington case, Appel wrote.

And Appel wrote that the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 held that a statute like Washington’s – and now, like Prop. 14 – that allows an open primary in which candidates identify themselves on the ballot by a self-designated party preference doesn’t unconstitutionally interfere with a political party’s rights of association or speech.

Michael Siegel, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said Monday he’s disappointed that Appel deferred to a 9th Circuit ruling that the plaintiffs have argued was in error. “Big picture, this is something that needs to get sorted out at a higher level, either at the California Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court,” Siegel said.

Siegel acknowledged that even if he were to convince Appel at tomorrow’s hearing to completely reverse this tentative ruling, “nothing could be done in terms of the June election, but something could be done for November” – that is, if the court struck down the top-two system, it could let minor parties hold conventions this summer or fall to nominate candidates for addition to the general-election ballot.

But given Appel’s tentative ruling, Siegel said, “practically speaking, what’s really at stake now is 2014.”

UPDATE @ 4:06 P.M. TUESDAY: Appel heard arguments on his tentative ruling this morning and took the case under submission; he’ll probably file a permanent order – most likely along the lines of his tentative ruling – in the next few days. The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for July 10.

Posted on Monday, April 9th, 2012
Under: 2012 Assembly election, 2012 Congressional Election, 2012 primary election, 2012 State Senate election, 2012 U.S. Senate election | 14 Comments »

Ellen Tauscher endorses Van de Brooke in Contra Costa race

Tomi Van de Brooke

Ellen Tauscher

Free from the strictures imposed upon federal employees,  former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and former Democratic East Bay Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher has endorsed Tomi Van de Brooke for Contra Costa County supervisor.

Tauscher left her high-ranking post in February after serving three years with friend and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. A cancer survivor, Tauscher said she wanted to take time to do other things with her life. She remains a special envoy for the State Department and recently joined the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

One of those things Tauscher apparently wanted to do was help her friends back home with their elections. Tauscher will host a fund-raiser for Van de Brooke next week in Contra Costa County.

Van de Brooke, a Contra Costa Community College trustee and Orinda resident, is running in the June 5 election for the District 2 seat held by retiring Supervisor Gayle Uilkema of Lafayette. Also vying for the opening is Danville Mayor Candace Andersen and Lafayette solar expert Sean White.

Posted on Friday, March 30th, 2012
Under: 2012 primary election, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 15 Comments »

CoCo supervisor race endorsements show support

The endorsement battle between Contra Costa County supervisor candidates Candace Andersen and Tomi Van de Brooke is getting interesting although I still maintain that endorsements don’t matter much to typical voters.

Still, the endorsement list does offer insight into where each of the candidates is finding financial and volunteer support, and signals where each might stand on policy decisions.

Andersen secured the nod from retiring Supervisor Gayle Uilkema of Lafayette. This isn’t a big surprise. Uilkema and Andersen, who is Danville’s mayor, have worked together for years on various boards and while the supervisor post is nonpartisan, both women are Republicans.

Andersen also secured recommendations from the county’s top law enforcement leaders along with the unions for the county’s prosecutors and deputy sheriffs.

Van de Brooke, a trustee on the Contra Costa Community College board, has locked down the endorsements of every major Democratic political leader in the county including state Superintendent of Public Schools Tom Torlakson; Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez; state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; and assemblywomen Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, and Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo.

Will party registration matter in this race? It certainly matters to the two major parties, who view these seats as part of their farm teams. County supervisors do run for higher — and partisan — offices. Torlakson, DeSaulnier and Bonilla were all Contra Costa County supervisors. But for the average voter, whether or not partisanship plays a role will likely depend on how much of a campaign issue the candidates or their supporters make out of it.

There is no significant party registration incentive for either candidate. Of the five supervisor districts, District 2 has the most competitive party registration split: 39.8 percent of registered voters are  Democrats vs. 35.4 percent for Republicans. The other four heavily favor Democrats.

Candace Andersen

A sample of Andersen endorsements (click here for full list on her web site)

  • Gayle Uilkema, Contra Costa County supervisor
  • David Livingston, Contra Costa County Sheriff
  • Mark Peterson, Contra Costa District Attorney
  • Ken Westermann, Contra Costa Deputy Sheriffs Association president
  • Barry Grove, Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Association president
  • Warren Rupf, retired Contra Costa County Sheriff
  • Charlie Abrams, former Mayor of Walnut Creek
  • Mike Anderson, Lafayette vice mayor
  • Newell Arnerich, Danville vice mayor
  • Bill Clarkson, San Ramon mayor
  • Mike Doyle, Danville councilman
  • Erlene DeMarcus, former BART director
  • Carol Federighi, Lafayette mayor
  • Paul Gardner, San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education
  • Howard Harpham, Moraga vice mayor
  • David Harmer, former candidate for Congress
  • Guy Houston, former assemblyman and former Dublin mayor
  • David Hudson, San Ramon councilman
  • Denise Jennison, San Ramon Valley Unified School District Board of Education
  • Lynne Leach, former assemblywoman
  • Jim Livingstone, San Ramon councilman
  • Roxanne Lindsay, San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District
  • Judy Lloyd, former presidential appointee, U.S. Dept of Labor & U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
  • Mike Metcalf, Moraga mayor
  • Sue McNulty Rainey, former mayor of Walnut Creek and Moraga
  • Richard Rainey, former state senator, assemblyman and Contra Costa County Sheriff
  • Pat Rudebusch, Orinda Union School Board President
  • Christopher Severson, Orinda School Board Member
  • Sue Severson, Orinda councilwoman
  • David “Shoe” Shuey, Clayton councilman
  • Karen Stepper, Danville councilwoman
  • Robert Storer, Danville councilman
  • Hank Stratford, Clayton councilman
  • Dave Trotter, Moraga councilman
  • Jack Weir, Pleasant Hill councilman

Tomi Van de Brooke

A sampling of Van de Brooke endorsements (click here for full list on her web site)

  • Rep.  George Miller, D-Martinez
  • State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
  • State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord
  • Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla, D-Concord
  • Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo
  • Jim Kellogg, California Fish & Game Commissioner
  • Joseph A. Ovick, Contra Costa County Superintendent of Schools
  • John Coleman, East Bay MUD Board of Directors president
  • Robert J. Calone, Contra Costa Community College trustee
  • John E. Marquez, Contra Costa Community College trustee
  • Susanna Schlendorf, former Danville mayor
  • Tim Sbranti, Dublin mayor
  • Robert Schroder, Martinez mayor
  • Karen Mendonca, Moraga mayor
  • Brandt Andersson, Lafayette councilman
  • Anne Grodin, former Lafayette mayor of Lafayette
  • Victoria Smith, Orinda mayor
  • Amy Worth, Orinda councilwoman
  • Dean Orr, Orinda councilman
  • Laura Abrams, former Orinda mayor
  • Bob Simmons, Walnut Creek mayor
  • Kish Rajan, Walnut Creek vice mayor
  • Cindy Silva, Walnut Creek councilwoman
  • Kristina Lawson, Walnut Creek City councilwoman
  • Gwen Regalia, Former Walnut Creek mayor
  • David Bowlby, Alamo MAC Chair
  • Nancy Dommes, Alamo MAC Member
  • Ed Best, Alamo MAC Member
  • Steve Roberti, Fmr Secretary’s Representative, US Dept. of Labor
  •  Contra Costa County Firefighters

 

 

 

Posted on Monday, March 19th, 2012
Under: 2012 primary election, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 25 Comments »

Filing deadline passes and East Bay ballots firm up

The 5 p.m. filing deadline today has come and gone and election clerks in the East Bay have delivered their promised preliminary candidate and ballot lists.

Check out the list below for Contra Costa, Alameda and portions of Solano County. There are a few surprises, including a fair number of entirely uncontested races. (The women rule here, as you’ll see.)

My favorite development is the similarity between the name of incumbent Democratic state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and his Republican challenger Mark Meuser. The Marks might want to hand out reading glasses to voters in the hopes the magnification effect will help them choose the right one.

Voters in a dozen cities, school and fire districts will also find requests for new taxes on their ballots. While no one wants to pay more, residents are far more likely to support local measures because they feel the money will stay closer to home.

The following individuals and ballot measures had qualified for the June 5 ballot as of information available late today. (i) denotes incumbent. (Keep in mind, election clerks may still be processing applications from those who filed at the last minute.)

(Ed. Note: I’ve updated this at 4:30 p.m. Saturday — Josh)

CONGRESS

District 3: John Garamendi, Dem. (i); Kim Vann, Rep.; Eugene Ray, Rep., Rick Tubbs, Rep.

District 5: Mike Thompson, Dem., (i); Randy Loftin, Rep.; John Cilley, Rep.

District 9: Jerry McNerney, Dem., (i); John McDonald, Rep.; Ricky Gill, Rep.

District 11: George Miller, Dem. (i); Cheryl Sudduth, Dem.; John Fitzgerald, Dem.; Virginia Fuller, Rep.

District 13: Barbara Lee, Dem. (i); Marilyn Singleton, nonpartisan; Justin Jelincic, Dem.

District 15: Fortney “Pete” Stark, Dem. (i); Eric Swalwell, Dem.; Christopher Pareja, nonpartisan.

District 17: Mike Honda, Dem. (i); Charles Richardson, Lib.; Evelyn Li, Dem.

STATE SENATE

District 3: Lois Wolk, Dem. (i)

District 7: Mark DeSaulnier, Dem. (i); Mark Meuser, Rep.

District 9: Loni Hancock, Dem. (i)

ASSEMBLY

District 11: (No incumbent) Jim Frazier, Dem.; Patricia Hernandez, Dem.; Gene Gantt, Dem.; Len Augustine, nonpartisan; Mike Hudson, Rep., Charles Kingeter, Dem.

District 14: Susan Bonilla, Dem. (i)

District 15: Nancy Skinner, Dem. (i)

District 16: Joan Buchanan, Dem. (i); Al Phillips, Rep.

District 18: (No incumbent) Rob Bonta, Dem.; Joel Young, Dem.; Abel Guillen, Dem., Rhonda Weber, Rep.

District 20: (No incumbent) Bill Quirk, Dem.; Jennifer Ong, Dem.; Sarabjit Cheema, Dem.; Luis Reynoso, Rep.; Mark Green, nonpartisan

District 25: Bob Wieckowski, Dem. (i)

ALAMEDA COUNTY (nonpartisan races)

Board of Supervisors, District 1: Scott Haggerty (i)

Board of Supervisors, District 4: Nate Miley (i); Tojo Thomas

Board of Supervisors, District 5: Keith Carson (i)

Hayward City Council (four seats): Barbara Halliday (i), Francisco Zermeno (i), Olden Henson, (i), Al Mendall, Greg Jones, Fahim Ajaz Khan, Ralph Farias Jr. and Peter Bufete. (Filing deadline extended to March 14 as one of the incumbents did not seek re-election.)

Board of Education, District 2: None

Board of Education, District 3: Ken Berrick (i)

Board of Education, District 4: None

Board of Education, District 5: Frederick Sims (i)

Board of Education, District 6: Eileen McDonald (i)

Zone 7 (three seats): Sandy Figuers (i); Dick Quigley (i)

Union Sanitary District, Ward 1: Manuel Fernandez (i)

Union Sanitary District, Ward 2: Patricia Kite (i)

Union Sanitary District, Ward 3: Anjali Lathi (i)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (nonpartisan)

Board of Supervisors, District 2: Sean White of Lafayette, Candace Andersen of Danville; and Tomi Van de Brooke of Orinda. (Filing deadline extended to March 14 as incumbent Gayle Uilkema did not seek re-election.)

Board of Supervisors, District 3: Mary Nejedly Piepho of Discovery Bay (i)

Board of Supervisors, District 5: Federal Glover of Pittsburg (i)

CONTRA COSTA BALLOT MEASURES

Antioch Unified School District: $59.5 million bond measure for school facility upgrades. Requires 55 percent voter approval.

Antioch: Two measures. One seeks to change city clerk and treasurer from elected to appointed position. The other would convert elected mayor to a rotating position from among members of the City Council. Both require majority approval.

Crockett Community Services District: Increase in the $50 recreation per parcel tax to $110 for maintenance of the area’s parks. Two-thirds vote required.

East Contra Costa Fire Protection District: Annual $197 per parcel tax to maintain fire service. Two-thirds vote required.

Hercules: Two measures. One seeks voter approval to sell the city’s electric company and requires a two-thirds vote. The second is an emergency funding proposal for a four-year, 1/2-cent sales tax to maintain city services in the wake of a deficit. Majority approval required.

Pittsburg: A 10-year sales tax (1/2 cent for first five years, 1/4 cent in the second five years) to raise money for city services. Majority approval required.

San Pablo: A 10-year sales tax (1/2 cent for first five years, 1/4 cent in the second five years) to raise money for city services. Majority approval required.

West Contra Costa Unified School District: Five-year renewal and increase in parcel tax. Requires two-thirds vote.

ALAMEDA COUNTY BALLOT MEASURES

Peralta Community College District: Eight-year annual $48 per parcel tax. The funds would be used to preserve 1,900 classes a year at the college serving students from Oakland, Alameda, Piedmont, Berkeley, Albany and Emeryville. Requires two-thirds vote.

Dublin Unified School District: $99 million school bond measure to build and improve classrooms, buildings and equipment. Requires 55 percent voter approval.

Hayward Unified School District: Annual $58 per parcel tax for school operations. Two-thirds vote required.

New Haven Unified School District (Hayward): Four-year annual $180 per parcel tax to fund school operations. It is similar to a measure that failed last May. Two-thirds vote required.

City of Alameda: A 30-year half-cent sales tax increase to fund library improvements, replace aging police and fire vehicles and construct a new emergency center. Two-thirds vote required.

SOLANO COUNTY

Countywide: Would extend existing one-eighth of 1 percent library tax for 16 years to fund ongoing operations. Majority approval required.

Board of Supervisors, District 1 (no incumbent): Susan Anthony, Erin Hannigan, Tony Intintoli Jr., Lee Simmons.

Board of Supervisors, District 2: Steve Messina, Linda Seifert (i)

Board of Supervisors, District 5: Mike Reagan (i); Skip Thomson

 

Posted on Friday, March 9th, 2012
Under: 2012 primary election, Alameda County, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, ballot measures, Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics | 28 Comments »