Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Seismic Political Shift Rattles Alameda

ALAMEDA | MAYOR | CITY COUNCIL | Alameda voters may have handed the city's status quo a series of humbling defeats Tuesday night. Opponents of the city's development plans loudly registered their voice at the ballot box during an election that could upend first-term Mayor Marie Gilmore's shot at re-election. Other members of the city's pro-development slate could face the wrath of voters.

In potentially one of the biggest upsets in the East Bay, Alameda school board member Trish Spencer leads Gilmore by two percentage points with all precincts reporting. Uncounted ballots, however, still remain, making this race too close to call. Spencer leads by a thin 287 margin with 50.9 percent of the vote, followed by Gilmore at 48.7 percent.

Few observers gave Spencer much chance against the well-funded Gilmore, but the challenger's anti-development message for Alameda Point apparently energized voters. The issue also colored the City Council race where three candidates were vying for two open seats.

Another anti-development candidate, former Councilmember Frank Matarrese, appears headed to a third term on the City Council. Returns show Matarrese leading the pack with 36.9 percent. The race for the second seat is still up in the air, though. Councilmember Stewart Chen trails Jim Oddie by 656 votes with some ballots uncounted. Oddie, who serves as Assemblymember Rob Bonta's district director, won 33.0 percent of the vote, followed by Chen's 29.6 percent.

Like Gilmore, Chen runs the risk of being swept over by the tide of upset Alameda voters. Others within the city's status quo were not safe Tuesday night. School board member Mike McMahon's re-election is headed to defeat. He remains four percentage points from one of two open seats on the Alameda school board.

In addition, but somewhat tangential, another supporter of development, Alameda Councilmember Lena Tam, also met defeat in her race for the District 4 BART Board of Directors race. Tam is termed out this year.

Not related to the anti-development rancor in Alameda, but notable, is likely the closest race in the East Bay. Newcomer Jim Meyers holds a razor-thin 30 vote lead for the last of three open seat on the Alameda Healthcare District Board of Directors over incumbent Lynn Mark Bratchett.


"Newcomer Jim Meyers holds a razor-thin 30 vote lead..."

Close, but not the closest race. George Beier is leading by 25 votes in Berkeley District 8 with an unofficial RCV tabulation. But many more votes remain to be counted, so anything could happen there.

Gilmore was viewed as too much in the pocket of the developers in Alameda.

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