EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Monday, June 7, 2010

Primary Questions

What's a seat on the Board of Supervisor's worth? Between $50k and $1 million? By Steven Tavares
How will the race for the District 2 supervisor shakedown? It is unlikely any of the four candidates will avoid a November runoff. Can Nadia Lockyer's significant fund-raising advantage make her the top vote-getter? She will likely finish in the top two, but hair-splitting of the final numbers will likely frame the first few months of the general election. For instance, can Lockyer break 40 percent? If Figueroa, eeks out a lead, what's the difference between the former state senator merely maintaining her built-in advantage in name-recognition and a well-funded challenger within striking distance. What about Hayward City Councilman Kevin Dowling, who fortuitously stayed out the firing line over the last 10 days of the campaign as Lockyer and Figueroa took public hits. Will Dowling have enough momentum to pluck some undecideds and disenchanted voters turned off by his opponents mudslinging? The fourth candidate, Union City Mayor Mark Green has been virtually silent over the past few months; missing candidate's forums and running a very low-budget bid for the supervisor's seat, but he is known as a prodigious retail campaigner. The votes Green siphons in the southern areas of the district may tighten the spreads between the other three candidates.

If the race for the District 2 open seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors is a mosh pit, then the other race is a demure debutantes ball. Former supervisor Wilma Chan took control of the race shortly after obtaining the endorsement of current Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, who succeeded Chan 10 years ago and now appears ready to get it back. The big election day question is whether Chan can win her seat outright Tuesday even with the presence of three other challengers. Alameda Mayor Bev Johnson has the backing of Don Perata, but many observers questions whether "The Don" is more preoccupied with his own bid for the mayor's office in Oakland to be much help for Johnson. One frequent comment pointing to Perata's limited attention to the supervisor's race is the surprising lack of fund-raising support for Johnson's campaign, especially for a sitting mayor from Alameda. Oakland businessman Harold Lowe will likely be a non-factor Tuesday, but many have been impressed by his passion and ideas. He may be someone to watch in the future. And then there's the mercurial face of the San Leandro Republican Party, Lou Filipovich. The best story to describe Filipovich is from an aide for one of the county supervisors who recalls at a forum a few years back for the assembly, including Sweet Lou, he told the audience he was not going to the win in November and surprisingly pointed to one of his opponents, Jill Buck, and said, "Neither is she!" If Chan can win the seat outright tomorrow, she will have done it by raising just over $50,000; a paltry sum compared to Lockyer, who if she heads to a runoff, will almost assuredly raise over $1 million to replace Gail Steele.

What happened to Steve Poizner's miraculous comeback a few weeks ago? In a poll last weekend, the spread between Meg Whitman and Poizner was back over 30 points. Maybe Willie Brown was right when he told members of the Commonwealth Club earlier this month he had a suspicious Poizner had manipulated the polling for it to appear he was trending towards a comeback....A SurveyUSA poll released today says San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has a 16-point lead over Janice Hahn for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor, 43-27. Current Guv Lite Abel Maldonado has a 10-point lead over Sam Aanstad in the same poll. Newsom versus Maldonado should be a good matchup for an office that does nothing.

SurveyUSA's polling also shows inconclusive results for the state's two heavily-funded ballot initiatives Propositions 16 and 17.  The PG&E backing proposition (to the tune of $46 million) giving voters two-thirds approval before municipalities expand electricity providers with public funds is running slightly behind with 41 percent yes to 45 percent no and 14 percent uncertain. The Mercury Insurance-backed initiative making a driver's past history part of the basis for its rates is leading 43-39 with 18 percent uncertain. The margin of error in the SurveyUSA poll is +/-2.8 percent.

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