On Monday, members of the Oakland City Council will cast what may be one of their most important votes in the next two years — the selection of their council president. The vote will follow the swearing-in ceremony at City Hall of three new councilmembers: Dan Kalb, Lynette Gibson-McElhaney, and Noel Gallo. And the choice of who will be the council’s leader for the next two years likely will determine whether Oakland will continue to have a divided government that is fraught with petty bickering and infighting — as it has had for much of the past six years — or one that will work collaboratively to find viable solutions to the city’s many problems.
The proposed settlement agreement that would spare the Oakland Police Department from federal receivership, while forcing the City of Oakland to hire a court-appointed overseer represents an improvement over the current management structure at OPD, but it does not go far enough. The reason is that the proposed settlement between civil rights attorneys and the city may not be able to fix the deep dysfunction within OPD.
When Kayvan Sabeghi tried to make his way home through the darkened, tear-gas-filled streets of downtown Oakland on the night of November 2, 2011, he had no idea that the next five days would be some of the most tortuous in his life. In an incident that was recorded on another person’s cellphone, the 33-year-old Army veteran was attacked and severely beaten by an Oakland Police officer identified in April by the Express as Frank Uu. Sabeghi suffered a serious rupture of his splenic vein while being held at North County jail, but was not hospitalized until eighteen hours later. Following the incident, Uu retired from OPD in March of this year.
Updated 9:20 a.m., 11/16: The Alameda County Registrar of Voters reported to the state last night that it finished counting its late-absentee and provisional ballots. The final results show that Measure B1, the countywide tax for transportation, lost by the narrowest of margins, finishing with 66.53 percent of the vote, just short of the 66.67 percent it needed. It lost by 721 votes out of 527,403 cast in that contest.
Measure T, West Berkeley development, also lost, finishing 512 votes short.
In all, 602,479 ballots were cast in Alameda County, a turnout of 74.3 percent. Of that total, more than 200,000 were late-absentee and provisional ballots.
Although there is still more counting to do in Contra Costa County, we're calling all of the remaining close races that we'd been tracking since Election Night.
If an East Bay contest is not on the below list, then we had already considered that race to be decided. Check our previous posts to find the winners of those races.
Here's our list of winners in the final contests that we were watching:
We're finally calling several election contests after the Alameda County Registrar of Voters tabulated more than 70,000 late-arriving ballots over the weekend and the new updates failed to change the races significantly. In all, the registrar has counted more than 150,000 ballots since Election Night, bringing the total ballots cast in the county to 551,140 as of late Sunday.
Registrar Dave MacDonald told the Express on Saturday that his office planned to begin counting the 40,000 provisional ballots today. However, we think those votes are unlikely to change the outcomes of the contests we're now calling. Any race that's still closer than 2 percentage points remains too close to call.
As a result, we're calling Dan Kalb as the winner of the Oakland City Council District 1 race. In ranked-choice balloting, Kalb has maintained a substantial lead over Amy Lemley since last Tuesday. Currently, he's ahead 51.91 percent to 48.09 percent.
In Berkeley, Measure S, the sit/lie ordinance, has lost. Measure S has been losing since Election Night, and currently is behind 48.38 percent to 51.66 percent. However, we think Measure T, West Berkeley development, is still too close to call. It's losing 49.52 percent to 50.48 percent, a margin of 440 votes.
Oakland Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente was trounced in Tuesday's election by Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan by more than 20 percentage points. It was a landslide victory for Kaplan in the city's At-Large council race, and yet De La Fuente is still refusing to concede defeat — or to congratulate Kaplan for her hard-fought win. De La Fuente apparently is holding out hope that the ballots yet to be counted will provide him with a miracle come-from-behind victory. But such hopes are statistically impossible. In fact, this may be the first time in Oakland history that a candidate behind by 20 points is refusing to concede.
File this one under “You Can’t Make This Shit Up.” Councilwoman Jane Brunner, who, along with Ignacio De La Fuente, is running one of the most negative political campaigns in Oakland history, held a press conference yesterday to announce that she plans to file a lawsuit against City Attorney Barbara Parker because — get this — Parker had the temerity to finally respond to Brunner’s relentless attacks with an attack of her own. When we first heard about this, our response was: WTF?
Oakland Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, who is running one of the most negative local campaigns in recent memory, has crossed the line into bigotry, East Bay LGBT activists say. The East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club, the leading LGBT political organization in the area, contends that emails and mailers that De La Fuente has produced to attack Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, the city’s first openly gay councilmember, are “homophobic,” because they ridicule her behavior and attire.
President Obama nails it:
This year’s presidential campaign is receiving a ton of well-deserved attention, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t important local races and measures on the November ballot — because there are. And starting with tomorrow's issue, we will be bringing you in-depth, smart coverage of some of the most pivotal contests in the East Bay. And beginning on October 10, we’ll publish the first of a four-week series on which candidates and measures we’re endorsing this year.