Today is Election Day!
It’s true: There’s an election today. We here at The Island have been so focused on this parcel tax thing that we’ve been remiss in discussing That Other Election, which includes a vote to fill departing Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker’s seat and also a host of statewide races and ballot measures.
If you’re rushing out to the polls today, here’s a quick primer. In the meantime, you can either check the back of your sample ballot or the Registrar of Voters website for your polling place, and SmartVoter.org for information on all the races.
Locally, Tuesday’s vote includes contests for Alameda County Superior Court judge and Alameda County supervisor. California Public Utilities Commission administrative law judge Victoria S. Kolakowski, attorney Louis Goodman and deputy district attorney John Creighton are vying for the judgeship; Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson, former county supe and legislator Wilma Chan, businessman Lou Filipovich and financial planner Harold Lowe are running for Alice Lai-Bitker’s Board of Supervisors seat, which she is vacating after a decade of service.
Goodman touted his experience as a deputy district attorney, private practitioner and judge pro tem as reasons to vote for him; Creighton, who has worked in the Alameda County District Attorney’s office for a quarter century, most recently in its gang unit, said he has earned the bipartisan support of most of the county’s bench and Sheriff Greg Ahern. Kolakowski said she has worked as a judge and senior government attorney, and that she has handled major environmental and consumer cases on both sides of the bench. If elected, she would be the nation’s first transgendered superior court judge.
Goodman led the money race as of mid-March, with $137,410 (including $100,000 he loaned the campaign and contributions from two bail bond companies, two Alameda County Superior Court judges and money out to political consultant Larry Tramutola). Creighton had $41,499 (with a $25,100 loan from a living trust and what looked like another $13,000 from relatives) and Kolakowski had $25,980, including contributions from Berkeley City Councilman Kriss Worthington and state Board of Equalization member Betty Yee and $23,000 which she loaned to her own campaign.
In the county supervisor’s race, Chan – who previously held the seat from 1994 to 2000 – has garnered the lion’s share of endorsements and campaign cash. Chan’s local endorsement list includes Lai-Bitker herself (Chan was her boss during her earlier supe stint), plus Alameda City Council members Doug deHaan, Marie Gilmore and Lena Tam; Alameda Hospital Board members Jordan Battani, Rob Bonta, Robert Deutsch and J. Michael McCormick; and the Alameda Democratic Club,and she has also earned the support of a host of unions and a smattering of state officials.
Campaign filings show she’d collected $66,659 in campaign contributions and loans as of mid-March, including $5,000 in contributions and loans from former school board trustee Bill Schaff, $100 from local library booster Honora Murphy and $2,500 from state Assembly Speaker Fiona Ma.
Johnson’s local list includes Councilman Frank Matarrese, Board of Education trustees Tracy Jensen and Trish Hererra Spencer and City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy, and she has also earned the endorsements of state Senator Loni Hancock, state Assemblyman Sandré Swanson and former state Senate leader Don Perata. Her campaign had $10,100, as of mid-March, almost all of it from her prior mayoral campaigns.
Neither Lowe nor Filipovich filed campaign contribution forms with the county in March.
Johnson said she’d work to keep San Leandro Hospital open, keep Alameda’s drawbridges open and staffed and protect public safety, youth and senior services; Chan touted the dozens of laws she enacted as a state legislator and additional experience helping seniors and families as reasons to pull the lever for her.
Lowe, who cast himself in the role of non-politician seeking to fix a broken political system, said he’d work to attract jobs and help build business, improve infrastructure, empower the disadvantaged and make Alameda County a tourist destination. Filipovich didn’t submit a candidate statement.
The ballot also includes partisan primary tickets for every major statewide office from governor on down, plus races for U.S. Senate and House of Representatives seats. It also includes statewide ballot measures that would allow seismic retrofits without triggering property tax increases; open political primary races; repeal a ban on public funding for elections; require a two-thirds vote to set up new public utilities; and allow insurance companies to base prices on whether a driver has had continuous coverage.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. today. I’ll be back Wednesday with some results.