Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 12, 2010

Total recount?

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Election — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

It appears that in almost all of the Alameda County Ranked Choice Voting races, a winner has been declared.    Jean Quan is, shockingly enough, the newest Mayor of Oakland.   While there were reports that Don Perata was going to file a lawsuit over the whole business, it appears that he has conceded and has put the kibosh on talk of filing any lawsuits.   Steven Cassidy of San Leandro also used RCV to rise to victory, beating out the current Mayor.  Jerry McNerney in a closely contested election has declared victory as of Wednesday as well, saying that given the spread of votes, his lead is “insurmountable.”

What was interesting about the McNerney press release was the analysis of the outstanding ballots.  For Alameda County he claims that there are only about 200 ballots left to count as of Wednesday.   I’m not sure if that is the count for just the areas of Alameda County that is in the 11th District (Dublin and Pleasanton), but if it is, then there would be substantially less than 200 ballots left for Alameda too given the voting populations in both those cities exceed that of Alameda.   Even as of Wednesday night’s update, Lena Tam still maintained a slim lead over Beverly Johnson for the second place (and second four-year seat) spot.    I have to say that while I love absentee voting, this is one of the downsides of wide spread absentee voting, it takes forever to actually get the results in really close races.

Although, considering the closeness of the margin between second and third place and what could be the difference between having to run again in two years instead of four, it’s quite probable that Beverly Johnson, if she remains in 3rd place, might ask for a recount.   After all, the chances of her having to pay are pretty slim even if the vote count shifts all that much and she has a war chest full of unspent funds from her City Council run, because, c’mon, she barely ran a campaign.    Of course it will make her look a tad bit petty because she still has a seat on the Council even in the third place spot, but both ladies are still on the Council, even if it takes a while it’s not really going to affect anything until 2012 when one of the two will have to make the decision to run for re-election.

Also, I have to admit that I stopped reading the Letters to the Editor to the local newspapers when the campaign started heating up big time.   I guess it was just getting annoying to read “Vote for X, Y, or Z” all the time which turned the editorial page into little more than a campaign mailer.   It’s fine, but I just chose not to read it.  But I have been stumbling over some of the letters recently and wow, I am really glad now I chose not to read them during the election.   However, I did particularly enjoy one letter which referenced “Doing the Math” regarding one’s vote for Mayor.

In an incredibly cynical take on the election, the writer suggested that people opt to vote for Frank Matarrese for Mayor, not necessarily because he was the best candidate, but because he would prevent a third seat from opening up on the City Council in the case of the Doug deHaan or Marie Gilmore win.    I can’t imagine that was the slogan that Frank Matarrese was banking on as a vote of confidence for him “Vote for Frank, he’ll keep the open City Council seats to two!” but, there it was.    Even more ironic were some of the comments on a news-themed website in which some of the commenters — who one would think would be natural Doug deHaan supporters — turn on him like cannibal gerbils, likening him to “Ralph Nader” and assuming that he was the “spoiler” for Frank Matarrese in this election.   In the end we can only just speculate at how the vote would have turned out if one of the two had dropped out of the election.   Honestly, I couldn’t see either doing it.  Frank Matarrese wasn’t because this was his turn at the bat given he was termed out.   And Doug deHaan, well, Doug deHaan was going to be termed out in two years as well, this was his only chance as well otherwise he would have had to wait two years, out of office, and running against an incumbent.   No, the math was right for both men, but the votes simply weren’t there.


  1. Considering all that, am waiting for the inevitable post that SunCal bought the election. Which, if the folks I talked to are reflective of the voters in general appears to be quite untrue. Some were upset with Lena over the allegations; some were upset with Bev over the slams on Lena; some were upset with the “SunCal Slate”; some were confused over the barrage of mailers and rumors and accusations and told me they decided to “just read the candidate’s statements and see what they had to say, from their own mouths” during the campaign. NONE said that they were voting a slate or paid any attention to the mailers sent by other than the candidates themselves. And these were people calling the League information line; not just my friends. By the way, the League gives information, but does not ever, in any way, tell people to vote for certain candidates. Mostly, we refer them to the web site or give information as to last day to register, etc.

    Comment by Kate Quick — November 12, 2010 @ 6:45 am

  2. Alameda voters – and voters throughout Alameda County as well – had clear choices in this election.
    And they/we voted overall for a more “progressive”
    slate (McNerny, Quan, Raburn, Kolakowski, Gilmore, Bonta, Tam) when offered the chance.

    Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, and Don Perata all outspent their opponents but lost anyway. SunCal’s thousands of dollars of independent expenditures – every dollar of which was unwelcome by every candidate – did not buy votes or influence either.

    Although the air was thick with ad, mailers, polls, and attempts to buy our votes, the voters and the candidates were not for sale. It is an excellent sign of our political health that voters made intelligent and independent choices quite apart from the monies spent.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — November 12, 2010 @ 8:52 am

  3. I doubt very much if Beverly would ask for a recall for vanity sake. She’s in, why bother? I also don’t understand why some people believe that just because Marie, Lena, and Rob didn’t want SunCal interfering that their interference had no effect on voters. The people we know, talk to, and have an informed take on the election are not likely to have been swayed but we never will know for sure about the others. If we went to an Instant Runoff system, we’d have a better idea. “John Russo, Oakland City Attorney, argued in the Oakland Tribune on July 24, 2006 that “Instant runoff voting is an antidote to the disease of negative campaigning. IRV led to San Francisco candidates campaigning more cooperatively. Under the system, their candidates were less likely to engage in negative campaigning because such tactics would risk alienating the voters who support ‘attacked’ candidates”, reducing the chance that they would support the attacker as a second or third choice.”

    Comment by Denise Shelton — November 12, 2010 @ 9:13 am

  4. Correction, okay, maybe because of the two versus four-year term but I still doubt anyone wants to kick up any more of a fuss at this time.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — November 12, 2010 @ 9:37 am

  5. 3:

    Denise, I think SunCal’s campaign did have one effect on Alamedans – no one reacted positively to it or to SunCal as a result of SunCal’s efforts.

    Since SunCal already had very low credibility in the community I cannot imagine that the Argent/SunCal mailers, polling, and cable TV ads really swayed any voters to support their intended beneficiaries. If anything, SunCal made it harder for Gilmore, Tam, and Bonta to get elected and gave the anti-SunCal “slate” more votes.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — November 12, 2010 @ 11:52 am

  6. Jon, that’s assuming that most voters read the Sun and the Journal and/or the local blogs. Huge assumption. Remember, most of Bay Farm doesn’t get those papers because their homeowner’s associations don’t allow it. I suspect a large percentage of people receiving these mailers had no idea who sent them and never bothered to find out. Not everybody is like we are. Of course you and I can each hold our opinions dear because there is no way to disprove either one. We can both be right because we’re both in the dark. Not very comforting, but accurate.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — November 12, 2010 @ 12:40 pm

  7. Hey look, job prospects are coming back. Someone here might be interested in the following position.

    Company Spokesperson Needed (alameda)

    A real estate development company located in the East Bay is looking for a Spokesperson to lead community efforts in an anti-growth community. The Spokesperson would be the presence in Alameda representing the development firm and would be the go-to source for all questions and concerns pertaining to the development firm. The Spokesperson would be a key part in the community, serving as the voice of the firm and ensuring the right messages are told.

    Spokesperson specific responsibilities include the following:

    – Maintain a strong community presence in Alameda
    – Maintain a positive image and reputation with elected officials, notable community leaders and the general public
    – Attend all City of Alameda meetings
    – Support internal communications with staff in Alameda
    – Responsible for execution of a communication strategy
    – Create and foster a grassroots movement in the community


    – Bachelor’s degree or higher
    – 5-10 years related to the duties and responsibilities specified
    – 10 years direct community relations experience
    – Strong preference for previous news anchors, public relations

    Knowledge, Skills and Attributes:

    – Ability to present a positive persona
    – Prioritize and schedule community involvement
    – Strong interpersonal and communication skills in a diverse community
    – Strong organizational skills
    – Excellent written and verbal communications skills
    – Community engagement skills

    Comment by Jack B. — November 12, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

  8. And another one. I’m sure somebody around here is qualified. You are welcome.

    Field Director Needed (alameda)

    A real estate development company located in the East Bay is looking for a Field Director to mobilize community efforts in an anti-growth community. The Field Director would manage a small staff in Alameda to organize community relations and maximize information to Alameda citizens.

    Field Director specific responsibilities include the following:

    – Develop and train staff for fielding questions about development on Alameda Point
    – Promote a real estate development plan
    – Set field program policies and procedures
    – Oversee management of field operational issues and crises
    – Provide analysis of community in Alameda


    – Bachelor’s degree or higher
    – 10 years related to the duties and responsibilities specified
    – 5 years direct field management and community relations experience
    – Strong preference for previous campaign director/managers

    Knowledge, Skills and Attributes:

    – Ability to supervise and train staff
    – Prioritize and schedule staff assignments
    – Strong interpersonal and communication skills in a diverse community
    – Strong organizational skills
    – Excellent written and verbal communications skills
    – Community planning and implementation skills
    – Grassroots mobility skills

    Comment by Jack B. — November 12, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

  9. 7&8 – There isn’t enough money in the world!

    Comment by Denise Shelton — November 12, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

  10. re 7&8

    Jon Spangler could finally get paid! Or maybe they can re-hire Scoop Mitchell? I haven’t seen his byline at the Bee lately or anywhere else, just his signs still up on public property all over town.

    I miss you guys SO MUCH! Really. OK, maybe some more than others. Especially the cannibal gerbils. That’s adorable, Lauren. Sounds like something you’d give your kids to play with.

    Sorry work has kept me from… whatever this is. Talk to y’all soon!

    Comment by Adam Gillitt — November 12, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

  11. 7&8…

    Well, I’m tempted, not for the money, but the CHALLENGE!

    Wrote a poem today, called “Jailbird Blues,” and the lines,

    “Under a sentence of death,
    and free on bail,
    I’m freer than I’ve ever been before,”

    So I think I’ll pass. SunCal as a client? More a job for Jon, I agree, since he’s never stopped shilling for them pro bono. Just remember what happened to Sonny!

    Comment by Dennis Green — November 12, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

  12. I hope the elected officials who had, and will continue to have, nothing to do with SunCal, will firmly resist all attempts by SunCal hires to:
    -Maintain a positive image and reputation with elected officials, notable community leaders and the general public
    -Attend all City of Alameda meetings
    -Support internal communications with staff in Alameda

    That is of course, assuming the ads are from SunCal. They could very well be from MoonCal; in which case we are playing with a new deck of cards that has nothing to do with the old deck of cards.

    Comment by Ani Dimusheva — November 12, 2010 @ 6:48 pm

  13. SunCal always brings to mind the Twilight Zone: “Inhabiting a parallel dimension, heretofore unknown to mankind…” dee dee DEE dee, etc.

    If it’s not them, then who else would do this?

    Comment by dlm — November 12, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

  14. how did our friend adam gillitt do in the polls? Did he get 3 votes? himself, his mom, his dad?

    Comment by E — November 12, 2010 @ 8:53 pm

  15. #14–Latest posted results:

    Adam Gillitt 2,110 votes
    Jeff Mitchell 1,750 votes

    Yes. Adam had 360 more votes than Mitchell.

    Comment by RM — November 12, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

  16. 7&8 Heard that Americap may be interested in finding “distressed properties” like Alameda Point to purchase, especially with Aidan Barry joining their team.

    Comment by Alamedan1 — November 12, 2010 @ 9:33 pm

  17. I often tease Aidan Barry that he looks like an Italian film director, with his wavy haircut, but never underestimate his prowess. Although his previous efforts to mediate Alameda Point between the Navy and the City were frustrated, he knows the island far better than anyone at SunCal ever has. Americap wouldn’t have him in such an important position on their management team if they didn’t have Bayeria on their radar.

    Comment by Dennis Green — November 13, 2010 @ 6:50 am

  18. Here is an article with one of Don Perata’s consultant indicating the mistake they made was not attacking Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan.

    Comment by Mike McMahon — November 13, 2010 @ 8:10 am

  19. Interesting question: Under ranked-choice voting, would Marie, Rob and Lena have won at all? None received a quorum of those voting, let alone of all registered voters, but would those who promote rank-choice like the outcome if it could be applied retroactively?

    As for Jean Quan and what sort of mandate she has, we may see only a massive ethnic turnover among City of Oakland employees. Better landscaping? Less double-parking in Chinatown?

    Comment by Dennis Green — November 13, 2010 @ 9:16 am

  20. Is ranked choice voting used for multi-seat elections in San Francisco and Oakland? I have seen a lot of speculation about our City Council race, but I can’t find a definitive statement that it is used for anything but single winner elections in the US except for Minnesota.

    Comment by elliott.gorelick — November 13, 2010 @ 9:26 am

  21. Oakland and San Francisco both have district elections. While I don’t think that multi-seat elections would be impossible, it would definitely require a lot of educational efforts to get the populace to understand it.

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 13, 2010 @ 9:29 am

  22. And now a little news from the other silly island.

    Comment by Jack Richard — November 13, 2010 @ 9:33 am

  23. fyi: There’s a virus on the site, something that’s pretty strange.

    Comment by dlm — November 13, 2010 @ 9:43 am

  24. Lauren,

    That’s what I thought. I tried to correct Dan Wood over at A Progressive Alamedan, but he is ignoring my comments (or more likely ignoring all comments).

    Comment by elliott.gorelick — November 13, 2010 @ 9:50 am

  25. My two cents: given a choice between coming in second and third, IMO, the third position is the plum position. Just me talking out loud . . . whoever is third, IMO, should **not** ask for a recount. 🙂

    Comment by Tony Daysog — November 13, 2010 @ 11:50 am

  26. is that because third might mean two years plus a shot at another term?

    Comment by John piziali — November 13, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

  27. 25. right. person in third can run for another term in two years.

    Elliot. IRV is just one ranked choice system. There is a system called Single Transferable Vote, which is probably the best ranked choice option for filling multiple seats. When I wrote about RCV at The Island a couple weeks before the election I touted it doing away with saddling candidates like Nader and Perot as spoilers, and breaking two party domination, but a more knowledgeable commenter named Dale posted some interesting counter points and sources.

    As for second guessing (19) motives of rank choice proponents like Dan Wood, myself and others with regard to getting our preferred outcomes, Dan stated explicitly in his piece on his Progressive Alamedan blog, that the fairer process takes precedence over his preferences. I don’t know that my article was as explicit, but since I completely agree with Dan, it never occurred to me that anybody would suspect anything else, otherwise, why would one bother to advocate for RCV if one had a more compelling personal agenda?

    I think Elliot has read this, but this is for 19. Go to November 5 2010 post.

    There is no way to apply RCV retroactively.

    Comment by M.I. — November 13, 2010 @ 2:38 pm

  28. Yes. Generally speaking, the two-year position is a shoe-in. So, if you’re Lena and you got the two-year position, conceivably, she could have been be eligible to serve 14 straight years on City Council.

    First full four-year elected term: 2006-2010
    Appointed two-year term: 2010-2012
    First full four-year elected term: 2012-2016
    Second full four-year elected term: 2016-2014

    Likewise for Bev, if she get’s the third spot, then she could be eligible for ten straight years on Council (not including previous terms as Mayor and CC-member):

    Appointed two-year term: 2010-2012
    First full four-year elected term: 2012-2016
    Second full four-year elected term: 2016-2020

    Comment by Tony Daysog — November 13, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

  29. Ooops, for Lena’s possible second full four-year term in the future, I meant: 2016-2020

    Comment by Tony Daysog — November 13, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  30. **If** Lena came in third this past election, then, technically-speaking, her first full four-year term would have ended without her being **re-elected** to a second **consecutive full four-year term . . . **but**, by virtue of coming in third, she would have been **appointed** to fill the remaining two-years of Marie’s position. In the event Lena decided to run again in 2012, at that time, she would be running for a **new** first full four-year term (i.e. 2012-2016), with the possibility of running again for a second consecutive full four-year term in 2016 (i.e. 2016-2020). Thus, for Lena, the third-spot would really have been a plum. Now, because she’s in second, she’s not in her second full four-year term (2010-2014), directly following her first full four-year term (2006-2010).

    But the third spot is till a plum for Bev for the reason I wrote above: she’s eligible to serve up to ten straight years on Council as a Councilmember.

    Comment by Tony Daysog — November 13, 2010 @ 2:55 pm

  31. Ooops, I meant: “Now, because she’s in second, she’s **now** in her second full four-year term (2010-2014), directly following her first full four-year term (2006-2010).”

    Comment by Tony Daysog — November 13, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

  32. is back up

    Comment by Lauren Do — November 13, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

  33. These hacks are still recycling themselves, no matter how you cut it, Tony! And so we get very little fresh new blood, except that spilled on the floor of the usual slaughter house of supposed term limits, which seem to mean nothing much anymore.

    Bonta may be new to the CC, but new discoveries about Alameda Hospital may yet catch up with him, and he’s got a lot of ‘spaining to do! Yakkity-Yak, don’t talk back!

    Comment by Dennis Green — November 13, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

  34. tony: I was just pointing out that Dan’s hypothetical RCV is not how it works in multi-seat elections so he spent brain power working out hypotheticals in a model that was incorrect. Also, the variants for RCV that DO work in multiseat elections are not used in Oakland and SF (because they elect by district).

    Comment by elliott.gorelick — November 13, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

  35. Should WE elect by district? West End, East End, Harbor Bay, Central/Gold Coast..? Etc. Could be intriguing.

    Comment by Dennis Green — November 14, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

  36. No way No how. this city is way to small and does not need to become even more political. not intriguing to me.

    Comment by John piziali — November 14, 2010 @ 7:15 pm

  37. Elect by district? . . . very interesting. Generally, I tend to say, “no.”

    But, other places have interesting “district” models, such as San Leandro, where people represent “districts” but must be voted city-wide (as I understand it).

    Whatever problems there are with District-based representation in cities, I am sure, can be fixed: for example, why doesn’t Oakland simply add two more “city-wide” Council members, as opposed to the one city-wide they have now, all the while keeping the district system? That way there’s more voices there looking out from the overall city-wide perspective, not just Kaplan or the Mayor.

    Same thing for SF: why not have three citywide Supervisors to balance what tends to be very parochial views of District-based Supervisors there.

    As for A-town: I prefer keeping the city-wide approach we have now . . . with one caveat . . . just a wish-list idea, btw . . . i.e. not a cause . . . why not add two more people on City Council, so we have seven people total? I think San Leandro for a same-sized city is seven? I think our Planning Board is seven? . . . In a way, that’s like saying there’s one Councilmember for every roughly 10,000 people in town . . . that sounds about right to me . . . . just talking out loud 🙂

    Comment by Tony Daysog — November 15, 2010 @ 8:43 am

  38. Tony, interesting idea, but two more politicians at the podium could make the meetings last even longer than they do now. Thats not even accounting for the public speaking time.

    Maybe we could use the same basis for each council member to speak, for instance each member could only have 5 min. per agenda item. Just a thought, or I should say a wish.

    Comment by John piziali — November 15, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

  39. #38: I believe that there actually **is** an official meeting procedures that is memorialized somewhere / somehow that indicates that Councilmembers, I think, are limited to 3 minutes talking at a time. I think it’s in a resolution somewhere adopted years ago. IOW: someone says something for three minutes max, then another chimes in, then someone can chime back in. But that has not ever been followed as early as I can recall, which would be 1994-ish. In any event, per Municipal Code 2-1.7 – Rules of Order: Rules of order of City Council meetings shall be set by City Council resolution.

    Comment by Tony Daysog — November 15, 2010 @ 3:09 pm

  40. Oh Tony if we could just get them to stop after three minutes. I would volunteer to go behind each council menber with a huge sign to shut them up. Actually I know it takes time to get your point across but somehow politicians seem to throw in a lot of extra words .

    Comment by John piziali — November 15, 2010 @ 6:23 pm

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