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The morning after

Submitted by on 1, November 5, 2008 – 5:12 amNo Comment

It’s a new day in Alameda (sort of), and one we’ve spent on the phone and e-mail checking in with all the council and school board candidates to get their comments on this morning’s results. Their responses were for the most part equal parts gratitude and grim realization of the difficult tasks facing the winners of yesterday’s electoral contests.

We’ll continue to cover the election results, by the way, because it ain’t over yet: The county has 120,000 absentee ballots to count, and 30,000 provisionals. And check out our ongoing coverage, which stretches well below this post.

Both Marie Gilmore and Doug deHaan, the council incumbents who seem the pretty likely victors of that race, said they’re grateful to the Island’s voters for expressing continued confidence in their leadership.

“I’m really happy that the citizens of Alameda put their trust in me to face the challenging times ahead,” a weary Gilmore said late last night as her post-election party at Otaez Mexican Restaurant wound to a close.

DeHaan, the top vote-getter in the council race, echoed Gilmore’s comments today. “People are very receptive to what we’re doing. That’s why we were re-elected. I’m just delighted to be able to continue to tackle the problems we have over the next few years,” he said, adding that he thinks development of Alameda Point and the budget will be the city’s top concerns.

Tracy Jensen, who placed third in the council race, said she enjoyed the opportunity to get out and meet people during the campaign. “I am confident that Doug and Marie will continue to move Alameda forward and that they have the experience to address the tough budget issues that are sure to face the city in the coming years,” she said.

We couldn’t reach the fourth candidate in the race, Justin Harrison, for comment.

While incumbents ruled the council race, the school board’s two current seatholders up for re-election appear to be on their way out (though as we said, there’s still a lot of ballots to count).

Incumbent David Forbes, the lowest vote-getter of the five candidates for the three open council seats, said he is “honored to have served the last four years.”

Janet Gibson, who is 305 votes behind newcomer Ron Mooney for the third board seat, said the race featured five strong candidates and that people were primed for change this year. She said she couldn’t name a specific issue that would have led voters to push the board’s incumbents out.

“I think this was a year of change. I’m kind of sorry I wrote ‘incumbent,’ because it doesn’t say what I did,” Gibson said.

But she said she felt the tenor of this race was more “confrontational” than in recent years and that there was a concerted effort to get her off the board.

Ron Mooney, who is leading Gibson for the third open board seat, said he feels the board members will have to figure out how to work together to pursue a vision for Alameda’s schools and to ward off the effects of what will likely be additional budget cuts from the state. He said he would continue his work for the Island’s schools if he is not elected.

Niel Tam, the top vote getter for the school board, said he’s “privileged” that Alameda’s voters selected him. He said the board’s top issues are selection of a new superintendent and state budget cuts.

Trish Spencer, who appears headed to the school board with a second place standing as of early this morning, did not return a call or an e-mail seeking comment.

On Measure P, which is leading by 317 votes, we checked in with Vice Mayor Lena Tam to get her take. She says she’s “hopeful and cautiously optimistic” about the measure passing and that the campaign shows the city needs to continue to talk to residents about the cost of providing services.

No on P campaign manager Nancy Rogers said she’s waiting on the final results of the vote count too.

“We feel it’s still too close to call. We’ll just wait until all the votes are counted,” Rogers said. “We’re proud of the campaign we ran.”

Rogers also said she thinks the race for P may have gotten more people focused on city budget issues and that it may have opened communication further between the City Council and opponents of the measure.

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