Oaklanders receive results of local and state elections
on November 9, 2016
Oaklanders will awake to the news that marijuana has been legalised statewide, soda will be taxed across the city, and more Oakland tenants will receive protection from eviction and rent increases through Measure JJ.
Statewide, Californians chose not to repeal the death penalty through Proposition 62, while execution procedure time limits were reduced with the passing of Proposition 66. Actors in adult films will not be required to wear condoms through Proposition 60, and drug prices will be regulated to reduce costs to patients.
Republican Donald Trump will be the nation’s new president. For updates on the presidential election, see our coverage here.
In the shadow of the presidential result, some Oaklanders had turned their thoughts to issues closer to home. “As a California voter, my national vote is minimized,” said Ezra Gold, 30, at an election watch party at the Room 389 bar near Lake Merritt. “My vote, statistically speaking, carries far more weight on a state and local level than it will on a national level.”
As of 11:29 p.m., all of the incumbents for the city council race appeared to lead in their districts. At-large councilmember Rebecca Kaplan led with 53 percent, against challengers Peggy Moore (19 percent) and Bruce Quan (16 percent.) Despite being out-funded by his challenger Viola Gonzales, District 5 incumbent Noel Gallo led with 57 percent.
In the Oakland Unified School District school board race, all incumbents led in their district, although Roseann Torres held District 5 by a narrow margin as of midnight.
At the GO Public Schools watch party, staff members and families of volunteers were joined by school board district candidates for pizza and brews. Children rushed to take pictures with Huber Trenado, candidate for District 5, as he arrived. GO Public Schools is a non-profit endorsing Jody London, Jumoke Hinton-Hodge, Huber Trenado, and James Harris for the Oakland school board.
District 3 boardmember Jumoke Hinton-Hodge, who is running to retain her seat, said, “I’m really excited about it because of the team that I built. We just rocked it out and it really brought us together.”
Jody London of District 1 said she was disappointed with election turnout. “I think that we need to figure out as a city how we are going to come together after this, especially on education,” she said.
Executive director of GO Public Schools, Ash Solar, said the campaign had seen many volunteers turning out to knock on doors in the run-up to the election. “California has got one of the longest ballots, if not the longest. With the progress that OUSD is finally making the stakes were just too high for this school board election to get lost in a long ballot and a crazy presidential election,” he said.
District 3 and District 7 candidates, Kharyshi Wiginton and Noni Session, were also watching the results at an election party. Before the vote was called, Winginton said, “I’m anxious but excited and hopeful. It’s awesome to see what strong community values, a collection of people, and two months can yield.”
As a community programs manager at McClymonds High School, Winginton engaged her students in the campaigning process by having them knock on doors and distribute literature. “One of my biggest goals was how to engage folks who normally aren’t engaged” in voting, she said. “I didn’t want to just look at the voters who typically vote.”
Carroll Fife, chief assistant to Winginton, said, “We really have to do something about campaign financing, which disadvantages grassroots candidates like these women.”
A diverse crowd gathered to watch the poll results for rent protections Measure JJ at SoleSpace downtown. The crowd was led by Calvin Williams, a member of youth voter engagement program, YVOTE, in chants of “I believe that we can win”. Mabel Tsang worked to pass the measure as part of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network. “We believe that building political power and passing state measures is what brings our community into the future,” she said.
With 60 percent of precincts voting, 73 percent of Oakland voters were in favor of Measure JJ at 11:29 p.m.
Meanwhile, early election returns showing 61 percent of Oakland voters in favor of Measure HH were followed by loud applause at the Yes on HH’s campaign headquarters in North Oakland.
The beverage table offered supporters water, wine and cold beer. There was no soda until Omar Yacoubi brought a two-liter bottle of A&W 10, a lower-sugar version of the popular root beer.
“None of these fall under the tax,” he said.
Yacoubi created the Twitter handle @OakforHH after receiving many what he called “wrong” mailers from the American Beverage Association, which called HH a “grocery tax.” A software designer, Yacoubi said he would tweet in response to the No on HH campaign to keep factual information in the conversation. “I felt like we needed to do something,” he said. “And something is better than nothing on this issue.”
Other attendees at the watch party at the Yes on HH headquarters included City Councilmember Desley Brooks (District 6), and Vice Mayor Annie Campbell-Washington, who authored Measure HH and convinced her fellow councilmembers to put it on the ballot.
“It feels great,” Campbell-Washington said of the positive early results. “This really gives you have how you can make public health decisions for children.”
Asked if she could promise that the funds would be used for health initiatives in Oakland, Campbell-Washington said, “Absolutely.”
“All eyes are going to be on Oakland,” she said. “Big Soda is hoping we will fail.”
Dr. Jared Fine, former dental director of the Alameda County Public Health Department, said he felt “wonderful” with the way the ballot count was turning out. “It’s a reflection of the intelligence of the voters when they’re given good information,” he said. “The American public is not stupid.”
Roger Saechao worked with the Yes on HH campaign by knocking on doors all across the city beginning in June. The work, he said, was exhausting but worth it. “We grinded every single day,” he said. “Just to see the results of what we put in was very fulfilling.”
The success of the early numbers was underscored by many people who watched national polls in dismay as Donald Trump drew ahead. Many of Yes on HH’s volunteers were people of color.
Late in the evening, as the count for the presidential vote continued, Campbell-Washington spoke to Yes on HH staff. She said it was hard to be happy when “our country is falling apart.”
Reporting contributors for the article include Alexandria Fuller, Brian Krans, Mary Newman, Sofia Melo, and Pablo De La Hoya.
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