First Ranked Choice Votes In!

Ranked choice elections are so interesting.

Although the results are unofficial, the District 4 Council seat will surely be filled by Libby Schaaf.  She garnered over half the vote (52.31%), followed by Jill Broadhurst (30.44%) and Daniel Swafford (17.24%) respectively.

While ranked-choices haven’t changed the District 4 outcome, they reveal the playing field as promised years ago — when we voted for and approved this new methodology.  In the first round, Libby Schaaf earned 42 percent and ran 1.9x ahead of Jill Broadhurst.  After the next choices were counted, she reached a majority of votes with a slightly smaller 1.7x lead.

Meanwhile, there’s an upset brewing in the Oakland Mayoral race from ranked choices.  Don Perata had the most first-place votes, without a majority.  When the next choices were counted from other candidates, things changed.  Our outgoing District 4 Council Rep, Jean Quan, received that majority (51.03%) with Perata behind her (48.91%).  Third-place finisher and Council Rep Rebecca Kaplan’s voters picked Quan by 3:1 ratio.  Got that?

We’re keeping a close watch, as the remaining ballots get counted this weekend — and hope you do, too.

Poll shows Quan Leads in 94611

A robo-poll conducted by a San Francisco startup aimed at showing off its new Internet phone system has revealed an interesting picture of Oakland’s mayoral race.

A Still from "DREAM A Better Oakland"

While Don Perata leads in most zip codes, Jean Quan’s 94611 base picks her over the competition by a couple of percentage points. Also, the robo-poll called 30,000 likely voters across Oakland, and received 1,435 responses. The machine got the highest number of responses (223) in 94611.

In other campaign news, what do you think of Quan’s new campaign video? This is what the communications director for the Perata campaign had to say: “You would have expected that, given her previous advice on seat-belt safety, she would have insisted the young gentlemen in the back of her car wear their seat-belts. It’s not the first time Jean Quan has been exposed for, “do as I say, not what I do”. Demanding that public employees make pension contributions, for example…

Montclair Farmers Market and Mayoral Politics

This morning, various political causes were in full view at the Montclair Farmers Market.  It was the first time we saw a public display declaring “Jean Quan for Oakland Mayor 2010” on the street.  There was a volunteer at the adjacent table, and the all-important cinnamon loaves were luring us nearby.

Both Jean Quan and Don Perata have declared their mayoral candidacies online and you can keep up virtually for now.  They each have base camps:

  • Candidate Perata’s website is called “Believe in Oakland, Perata For Mayor 2010.”   Perata has posted his appearances, including the Laurel on February 27th.  The site also has a donations section, of course.  Over on Facebook you may join his group, which has 512 members, or friend him along with 254 others.
  • Candidate Quan’s website has been live for a while, and serves as a fund-raising channel.  You may also fan her through Facebook, which she seems to use actively – by posting appearances, messages, images and more.  Oh, and there are 254 fans as of this minute too.

We wonder how these online efforts will influence voters during 2010, who knows?  As the real campaigns get underway later this year, however, we suspect there will be evidence of live humans ready for their meet ‘n greets.

Quan Says That $18 Million Is Ours

Today we visited the Save Your City site where anyone can upload videos that communicate their budget views to Sacramento and the Governator.  When I searched for Oakland, there was Jean Quan saying leave us alone – that $18 million the State wants to grab from property and gas taxes is ours.

Save Your City - Rep Quan

As the City Council’s finance committee chair, Quan forcefully makes her case along these lines:

The State of California has lived on credit cards and hit their limits.  They have already made enough funding cuts, directly impacting Oakland which has a higher percentage of seniors and poor residents.

The State wants to take eight percent of our property taxes, which is $11 million.  More recently, they want to take most of our gas taxes, which is around $6 million.  (This adds up to $17 million but later the $18 million is cited.)

Oakland is looking at an $80 million tax cut because our sales, property, real estate taxes are down.  This affects our quality of life – we need our libraries, police officers and streets maintained, etc.

Oakland has plenty of company, as there are 200 California cities declaring severe fiscal hardship.  When you search around other cities and their reps, you hear the same push-back on the property taxes grab and the same “leave us alone” echoes.

Save Your City is a grass-roots initiative organized by the League of California Cities.  They are encouraging folks to join the coalition or upload videos, and help deliver a thumbs-down message to elected officials in Sacramento.

My take?  As a citizen of Montclair Village, Oakland, Alameda County and California during the great recession of 2009, this feels like an internecine budget battle – but I’m siding with Oakland because this one’s patently unfair.

Update: Our State Assembly finalized and delivered a statewide budget on July 23rd.  The bad news is that Oakland must lend nearly $12 million in property taxes to Sacramento, and be repaid in three years.  Yet there’s some good news because Oakland gets to keep $6 million in gas taxes, along with 30 city workers who maintain streets and sidewalks.