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/.

Brentwood: Measure F heats up

The fierce, last-minute campaign over Measure F, a developer-created initiative that would expand Brentwood’s urban limit line and adopt a development agreement, is filling up voters’ mailboxes.

The opposition, comprised mostly of Save Mount Diablo, is vastly underfunded compared to the proponents, but it dropped a color postcard today. (See below.) You can also read their views on their Facebook page.

The opponents posted the card on Facebook along with this note, “We scraped together a little money to do a single city-wide mailing to a few selected voters. It’s one 4 x 6 postcard, stating the issues, versus the developers’ blizzard of bull and scare tactics. We’ve heard of somewhere between 8 and 12 mail pieces by them – most of theirs trying to bribe, scare or threaten Brentwood voters.”

Meanwhile, Measure F proponents continue to send out their own mail. View their latest campaign materials at their web site, http://www.putbrentwoodincontrol.com/

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Gerber retires and plans extensive travel in Europe

Donna Gerber speaks at a 2006 WakeupWalmart event. She was the government affairs director for the California Nurses Association and a former Contra Costa County supervisor.

Donna Gerber speaks at a 2006 WakeupWalmart event. She was the government affairs director for the California Nurses Association and a former Contra Costa County supervisor.

The always frank former Contra Costa County Supervisor Donna Gerber has retired from her job as the government affairs director for the California Nurses Association.

Gerber, 62, is headed in a few weeks to London, which will become her home base for the next six months as she travels throughout Europe and enjoys her new-found freedom from politics and policy.

“I needed a break,” Gerber told me when I reached her by phone earlier today.

You may recall that Gerber served several terms on the Board of Supervisors prior to running unsuccessfully against then-Assemblyman Guy Houston in 2002. Gerber then left the board to return to the CNA where she has been working ever since.

Gerber took center stage in Contra Costa politics on several controversial fronts, chiefly the contraction of the countywide urban limit line in 2000 and the design of the transit village at the Pleasant Hill BART station now under construction.

During her time at CNA, the nurses waged one of the most successful campaigns in California history as the nurses beat down Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s prized special election measures.

But while Gerber is in Europe, she says she will have plenty of time follow the issues that most interest her such as the development of livable, desirable communities where people can live, work and job without driving vast distances.

And the by time she returns, she says she hopes to “be able to see the near completion of the transit village at the Pleasant Hill BART station, which looks as though it will look just as we designed it,” Gerber said.