Libby Schaaf declares victory, minimum wage hike and parcel taxes pass
on November 5, 2014
Libby Schaaf has declared victory in her campaign for Oakland mayor, although the results from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters are still not official, and some ballots are yet to be counted. “The results are sort of overwhelmingly in our favor and we’re really excited about that,” said Schaaf’s campaign manager, Tom Gonzales, speaking by phone Wednesday morning. “We all felt that we had the best candidate. We are just so excited that we were right.”
Shortly after Schaaf sent out a series of celebratory tweets and called a news conference for midday Wednesday, Mayor Jean Quan conceded, with a congratulatory note to Schaaf that appeared on Quan’s Facebook page. “I have been proud to be Oakland’s first woman and Asian-American mayor,” Quan wrote, “and I thank Oaklanders for the opportunity to bring the City through these tough times.”
According to Michelle Kim of the registrar’s office, the voting algorithm for the mayoral election was run 15 times between late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. Schaaf led the first-choice voting, with 29.11 percent of votes counted — a clear lead over incumbent Jean Quan, who gathered 15.81 percent of first-choice votes, but not enough for Schaaf to declare victory. Her percentage of the vote stayed between 29 and 30 up until the 11th round of voting, when it began to climb as she picked up votes from residents who had supported other candidates with their first or second choice votes. In the final iteration, Schaaf won 62.79 percent of the vote, and Rebecca Kaplan came in second with 37.21 percent of the vote in the 15th round. Quan dropped off in the 14th round.
Schaaf’s victory has not yet been ratified by the Registrar of Voters. The result, which was posted at 12:44 am, is unofficial, Kim said this morning. Absentee ballots and ballots by mail are still being processed, and Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis estimates that there are as many as 100,000 left to be processed in Alameda County. Schaaf’s campaign plans to hold a press conference at 12:30 today; Oakland North will cover it.
Governor Jerry Brown, the former Oakland mayor who endorsed Schaaf earlier last month, has also declared a victory, with a 17-point lead over his Republican opponent Neel Kashkari. The two ballot measures that Brown heavily campaigned for – Propositions 1 and 2 – also passed. Proposition 1, which passed with 66.8 percent of the vote, authorizes funds to be spent on state water supply infrastructure, including drought relief and preventing the contamination of drinking water. Proposition 2, also known as the State Budget Stabilization Account, passed with 68.7 percent of the vote. It creates a “rainy day fund” that the legislature and governor will use to pay off debt and protect vital services against potential cuts in times of deficit.
The final results of the races for Oakland City Council have also yet to be announced. Abel Gullien currently leads District 2, the closest of the races, by just one percent of the first choice votes in the fifth round of ranked choice balloting. Annie Campbell Washington leads District 4 by about 30 percent of the first choice votes in the first round. Incumbent Desley Brooks leads District 6 by 17 percent in the fourth round.
Measure N, a $120 per year parcel tax which will expand college and career readiness programs in Oakland high schools, passed with 75 percent of voters marking “yes.” The measure required a two-thirds majority vote to pass. The measure faced no organized opposition. “I’ve been so inspired by the students we’ve been working with and the teachers,” said Marc Tafolla, policy director for Great Oakland (GO) Public Schools, who helped write the measure. “It’s a great opportunity for Oakland right now.”
Voters also approved Measure Z, a public safety and crime prevention measure, levying a parcel tax and parking tax to fund police staffing and community violence prevention and intervention programs. Under California law, Measure Z required a two-thirds supermajority to pass because it is a parcel tax; it reached this supermajority, winning 77.05 percent of the vote.
“A broad coalition has worked tirelessly for the last two months on this. With this victory, we are thrilled that Oaklanders have recognized the great need for public safety,” said Casey Farmer, campaign manager for Yes on Z. “The programs are being successful and reducing crime, and [Oakland] needs for that to continue.”
Alameda County voters also passed a transportation sales tax measure that that will raise sales tax by a half of a percent over the next 30 years. Measure BB will raise $3.7 billion to be spent on public transit and para-transit, and $2.34 billion for street repair. Measure BB also needed a two-thirds majority to become law, which it reached with 69.56 percent of the vote.
“We were just pedal to the metal all day,” said Dave Campbell, a volunteer for Measure BB who attended the campaign’s victory party at Bike East Bay Tuesday night, and said they’d spent a “suspenseful” final day raising support for the measure. “We were on the phones, with 30 to 40 volunteers making calls.”
Oakland’s minimum wage increase proposal, Measure FF, passed with 81 percent of the vote. Low-wage workers must receive $12.25 an hour starting on March 1, 2015. “I am absolutely elated and excited for the workers of Oakland that will benefit from this,” said Gary Jimenez, President of the Lift Up Oakland campaign responsible for creating and promoting the measure. “To see an overwhelming vote just shows that we were in touch with the needs of the community,” he said.
San Francisco voters also approved a minimum wage increase. Workers there will receive $15 an hour by 2018. Jimenez believes other Bay Area cities will follow Oakland and San Francisco’s examples and raise their wage floors in the near future. “This is a regional effect,” he said. “I think we’ll see how popular this is and see other cities moving to do the same thing.”
California voters also approved Proposition 47, which would turn some criminal penalties into misdemeanors, which supporters argued would ease the overburdened justice system and help low-level offenders. Lizzie Buchen, an analyst at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, said that her organization found that Proposition 47 could result in “significant” savings—between $400 million and $700 million—for California counties by freeing up beds in jail. “It’s hard to predict how counties are going to respond” to the victory, Buchen said. “I think it’s going to be variable across the state. But there is the potential to see significant reductions [to county spending on jails], although it would take several years before that happened.”
But the majority of California voters rejected the measure related to Indian casinos, as well as both measures related to healthcare – Propositions 45 and 46. Proposition 45, which would have allow the state health commissioner to approve or deny increases in health insurance, lost by a 20 percent margin. Proposition 46, which would have raised the Malpractice Lawsuits Cap and required drug and alcohol testing for doctors, lost by a 27 percent margin.
Based on the Secretary of State’s October 20 registration report, preliminary numbers from voters at yesterday’s polls and ballots turned in by mail before Monday afternoon, voter turnout in Oakland was 25 percent. But Dupuis expected final turnout to be closer to 45 percent after the remaining votes are counted – which is still considered low after the last presidential election saw a turnout of 75 percent. The registrar’s office has 28 days to officially announce the result of the election.
Oakland North will continue to cover local election results. Stay tuned to OaklandNorth.net for more coverage.
Additional reporting by James Pace-Cornsilk, Alex Kekauoha and Alyssa Jeong Perry.
CORRECTION: This story was updated at 1.04pm to reflect the fact that CJCJ’s analysis of Proposition 47 looked at savings to the jail system, which is run by counties, rather than the prison system, which is run by the state.
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