GILMORE LEADING FOR MAYOR; BONTA, TAM AND JOHNSON FOR COUNCIL; SHERRATT AND MCMAHON FOR SCHOOL BOARD
City Councilwoman Marie Gilmore was leading Alameda’s mayoral race with about a third of votes counted Tuesday night, while Health Care District Board Trustee Rob Bonta, council incumbent Lena Tam and current mayor Beverly Johnson were ahead in a tight council race.
With nearly a third of precincts counted, Gilmore had 36.22 percent of the roughly 10,000 votes that had been counted as of 10:50 p.m., leading fellow council member Frank Matarrese at 24.47 percent and Vice Mayor Doug deHaan at 23.85 percent.
“I’m proud of my people for running a clean campaign. We were going to run on our record and what we were going to do, and that resonated with Alameda voters,” Gilmore said at a packed post-election party for herself and Tam at Otaez Mexican Restaurant on Tuesday.
She credited Alameda voters with not letting negative campaigning get to them and with voting for something, instead of “bow(ing) down to the fear.”
“We have an amazing city,” Gilmore said.
Former Alameda Unified administrator Margie Sherratt held a commanding lead in the school board race, followed by incumbent Mike McMahon, who appeared poised to hang on for a third term on the board. Sherratt pulled in 37.44 percent of the votes as of 11:04 p.m., while McMahon had 24.28 percent.
“4 more years! 4 more years!” McMahon posted on his Twitter account after the vote by mail results came in. In a brief statement that followed, he thanked voters for giving him a third term on the school board.
The mayoral and council races – which many have labeled the dirtiest in Alameda’s history – were darkened by a proliferation of nasty attack mailers, television ads, e-mails and calls directed at Johnson, deHaan and Matarrese, all three of whom said they believed the attacks were retaliation for their failure to support SunCal’s efforts to work out a deal to develop Alameda Point. The attacks in turn prompted accusations that Gilmore, Tam and Bonta might bring former Alameda Point developer SunCal back to town if elected, a charge all three vehemently denied. They said the city had more important issues to focus on.
Among other things, the council will be considering the fate of Alameda Point, and will also have to deal with unfunded future employee pension and medical benefit liabilities.
Tam found herself the subject of a leaks investigation, with the city’s top officials claiming she had leaked confidential information to SunCal, the local firefighters union and local bloggers and reporters. Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley declined to prosecute Tam citing a lack of evidence of wrongdoing, and Tam claimed the accusations were the result of tough questions she was asking about Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant.
“I ran as positive a campaign as I could despite a lot of things that were happening beyond my control,” Tam said at Otaez on Tuesday. “I think it’s going to be very critical to work with the council members and the mayor to pull the community back together.”
Voters only got to select two council candidates, but a third seat will open if Gilmore or deHaan become mayor, and the third-place finisher will take that seat.
The school board race saw a last-minute e-mail effort by parents who supported Sherratt and McMahon to raise questions about Pollard, who voiced strong opposition to Lesson 9, the district’s anti-gay bullying curriculum, and Pruitt, who denied claims he supported a conservative religious group’s anti-gay philosophy. McMahon himself faced charges that he is anti-gay due to his early vote against Lesson 9; he had said he was seeking an opt-out.
The board is slated to vote this month to consider a replacement parcel tax for a March ballot and also a package of cuts to be made in the event a tax doesn’t pass, including possible school closures.
Incumbent Robert Deutsch led the Health Care District Board race with 31.28 percent of the votes cast and counted. Deutsch was followed by chiropractor Stewart Chen and Elliott Gorelick, who has said he thinks the hospital ought to be closed.
The hospital is facing expensive seismic retrofits that are being mandated by the state and also the loss of a multi-million-dollar Kaiser surgical contract.
Full results will be posted and continually updated here.