6

Contra Costa Supervisor Gayle Uilkema has died

Contra Costa Supervisor Gayle Uilkema on March 13, 2012.

Contra Costa County Supervisor Gayle Uilkema died early this morning with her family by her side.  She had been battling ovarian cancer since mid-2010.

In her fourth term, the 73-year-old former Lafayette mayor has been absent from her seat behind the board dais in Martinez since December, when she suffered a bout of pneumonia she described as a complication of chemotherapy.

She had hoped to return to her customary full-time schedule this spring although she was planning to retire at the end of the year after serving 16 years.

What I will remember most about Gayle is how much she deep-down loved her job as a county supervisor. She will be missed.

A rosary will be held 7 p.m. Wednesday St. Perpetua Church at 3454 Hamlin Road in Lafayette. The funeral mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, also at St. Perpetua.

Flowers should be sent to Hull’s, 1139 Saranap Ave., Walnut Creek, CA 94595.

Memorial donations may to sent to the American Cancer Society, 101 Ygnacio Valley Rd., Walnut Creek, CA 94596

 

 

1

CoCo Supervisor Uilkema returns to public life after illness

Contra Costa County Supervisor Gayle Uilkema returned to the board chambers for the first time since she became ill with pneumonia in January.

The Lafayette lawmaker has been fighting cancer for the past year and the pneumonia was a complication of her treatment.

No one loves this job more than Gayle, who will retire this year after 15 years on the board.

“I really miss you guys, all of you,” she told me before the meeting started. (Yes, I think she even meant me!)

Gayle says she plans to ramp back up into public life using the slow lane, attending meetings for an hour or two until she works her way back up to a full schedule.

 

 

4

Stepper steps out of CoCo supervisor contest

Danville Town Councilwoman Karen Stepper will not run for Contra Costa County supervisor.

“I’ve been looking at it all week and making calls,” Stepper said. “But the timing and the need to have a strong candidate in the (San Ramon Valley) and not split up the vote contributed to my decision not to run.”

Stepper runs an accounting firm and she is headed into tax season.

Stepper will instead endorse colleague and Danville Mayor Candace Andersen, who announced her candidacy last week for District 2, the seat held by Supervisor Gayle Uilkema of Lafayette. Uilkema is retiring at the end her term next year.

The other declared candidate is Contra Costa Community College Board President Tomi Van de Brooke.

 

22

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.

16

Contra Costa supervisor districts see partisan shifts

The Contra Costa Elections Department is feverishly working on new digitized voting district maps that reflect the numerous boundary changes at the state and local level.

But at my request, the elections staff kindly provided me with a rough estimate of  party registration breakdowns for the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors’ five newly drawn districts.

Yes, supervisor seats are nonpartisan but party politics still play a role.

Parties view local nonpartisan seats as the “farm team,” the place where political novices of their respective philosophies cut their teeth, build a base and run for higher partisan political office. Partisan leaders from labor, business and traditional party organizations often provide campaign foot soldiers and money for the candidates of their choice.

In Contra Costa County, Democrats continue to outnumber Republicans in all five supervisor districts. Those who register as “no preferred party,” previously called “decline to state,” consistently comprise about a fifth of all voters in each district.

Among the shifts, districts 1, 4 and 5 largely retained their party registration breakdowns.

Democrats’ lead in District 2 declined as GOP registration grew from 27 percent to 36 percent of total registered voters. Likewise, Democrats’ presence declined nine points from 49 percent to 40 percent. The shift is due to the district’s move south into the San Ramon Valley and out of Martinez.

Republicans lost ground in District 3, dropping from 37.5 percent to 30 percent. Democrats boosted their numbers from 38.4 percent under the old boundaries to 48 percent in the new districts. The  new district lost most of the more conservative San Ramon Valley to neighboring District 2.

As an aside, you’ll see a significant spread between some of the districts when it comes to total registered voters. The law requires that new districts are redrawn to roughly equal populations but not everyone votes. In Contra Costa, District 2 has the highest number of registered voters by nearly twofold over District 1.

Here’s a more detailed breakout by district: (I didn’t include the third-party numbers, which make up about 4 percent of the voters.)

DISTRICT 1: Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, Democrat

NEW BOUNDARIES

  • Total registered voters: 84,805
  • Democrats: 55,789 or 65.8 percent
  • Republicans: 9,317 or 11 percent
  • No preferred party or decline to state: 16,898 or 20 percent

OLD BOUNDARIES

  • Total registered voters: 77,025
  • Democrats: 51,408 or 66.7 percent
  • Republicans: 7,851 or 10.2 percent
  • No preferred party or decline to state: 14,468 or 18.8 percent

DISTRICT 2: Supervisor Gayle Uilkema of Lafayette, Republican, will not seek re-election in 2012. One candidate has filed for the seat, Contra Costa Community College District Trustee Tomi Van de Brooke of Orinda, a Democrat.

NEW BOUNDARIES

  • Total registered voters: 131,671
  • Democrats: 52,612 or 40 percent
  • Republicans: 48,872 or 35.6 percent
  • No preferred party or decline to state: 28,031 or 21 percent

OLD BOUNDARIES

  • Total registered voters: 112,973
  • Democrats: 56,066 or 49.6 percent
  • Republicans: 30,171 or 26.7 percent
  • No preferred party or decline to state: 21,928 or 19.4 percent

DISTRICT 3: Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho of Discovery Bay, a Republican, is seeking re-election. No opponents have filed yet.

NEW BOUNDARIES

  • Total registered voters: 95,689
  • Democrats: 45,871 or 48 percent
  • Republicans: 28,912 or 30 percent
  • No preferred party or decline to state: 18,479 or 19 percent

OLD BOUNDARIES

  • Total registered voters: 139,386
  • Democrats: 53,471 or 38.4 percent
  • Republicans: 52,307 or 37.5 percent
  • No preferred party or decline to state: 28,307 or 20.3 percent

DISTRICT 4: Supervisor Karen Mitchoff of Pleasant Hill, Democrat

NEW BOUNDARIES

  • Total registered voters: 113,179
  • Democrats: 53,045 or 47 percent
  • Republicans: 33,463 or 30 percent
  • No preferred party or decline to state: 24,770 or 22 percent

OLD BOUNDARIES

  • Total registered voters: 92,765
  • Democrats: 43,779 or 47.2 percent
  • Republicans: 25,594 or 27.6 percent
  • No preferred party or decline to state: 18,854 or 20.3 percent

DISTRICT 5: Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg, a Democrat, is seeking re-election. No challengers have filed yet.

NEW BOUNDARIES

  • Total registered voters: 89,582
  • Democrats: 50,317 or 56.2 percent
  • Republicans: 18,511 or 20.7 percent
  • No preferred party or decline to state: 19,689 or 22 percent

OLD BOUNDARIES

  • Total registered voters: 88,588
  • Democrats: 50,125 or 56.6 percent
  • Republicans: 18,565 or 21 percent
  • No preferred party or decline to state: 16,207 or 18.3 percent

 

 

14

Uilkema to retire from Contra Costa supervisors

Contra Costa Supervisor Gayle Uilkema announced this morning she will not seek re-election to a fifth term in 2012 despite numerous statements to the contrary in the past year.

Uilkema has faced several major personal political battles in the past year. She has battled ovarian cancer and her colleagues substantially altered her supervisorial district boundaries under the once-a-decade redistricting process. District 2 now includes most of the San Ramon Valley but she no longer represents Martinez, Pinole and Crockett.

It’s undoubtedly welcome news for only declared challenger in the race, Contra Costa Community College Trustee Tomi Van de Brooke of Orinda. She will no longer face a veteran incumbent.

But an open seat usually attracts a bigger field.

The Deputy Sheriffs Association and District Attorney Mark Peterson say they are going to recruit a candidate, presumably one who will support higher funding for law enforcement.

Here’s Uilkema’s statement:

Supervisor Gayle B. Uilkema Announces Retirement

 MARTINEZ, CALIFORNIA, (November 15, 2011)….

Supervisor Gayle B. Uilkema of Lafayette has announced that she will be retiring from the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors at the end of her current term of office in January, 2013. Supervisor Uilkema has served on the Board for the past 15 years and has the longest tenure of the current Board Members. Approximately fourteen months remain in her current term of office.

Prior to her election as a Supervisor, Gayle served for 19 years as a Lafayette Council Member and completed four terms as Mayor. She was first elected to the Lafayette City Council in March, 1978.

“I am extremely grateful for the public trust that has been placed in me for such a long time. I would like my constituents to know that they can expect the same diligent representation that my office always provides for the remaining months of my term of office as the Contra Costa Supervisor for District 2.”