Missing Election Day, In Oakland

Something seemed empty the past few weeks.  We felt more energized last year, wrapped around the U.S. Prexy race.  Remember when good Americans were busy carving their Barack pumpkins?

This year, Oaklanders don’t even participate in Election Day!

Obama Pumpkin

What ever happened to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November?  Why did we learn this date so clearly in grade school, anyway?  Maybe November 3, 2009 matters to some Americans but we’re excluded from the democracy party.

In Alameda County, Oaklanders are not going to polls – there’s nothing on the ballot.  We have done the appropriate due diligence, and hit the Alameda Registrar’s site.  The lucky county voters live in Albany, Emeryville, Newark and the 10th U.S. Congressional District.

We’ll just watch proceedings from the outside this year.

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Oakland Election Not Even Close

That Oakland Special Election was over quickly!  All four measures passed last night, which means that the City of Oakland has a few more million at hand – money the city fathers and mothers already figured would be voted into our coffers.

Of course, the taxing of medical marijuana is making the news because it’s the first time any city will directly tax weed.  Here’s an early TV report on that measure, approved by 80 percent of the voters.  It won’t solve Oakland’s budget gap, but it should ease the pain.

CBS5 - Pot Tax

Remember there were four separate measures included in this Oakland election – so let’s recap what voters overwhelmingly approved and did:

  • Measure C – 77% – Let our hotel visitors chip in and help pay for the zoo, museum and observatory
  • Measure D – 72% – Fixed things from November election, when we spent too much on kids funding
  • Measure F – 80% – Declared reefer madness is officially dead, with our first tax of medical cannabis
  • Measure H – 75% – Ensured better sleep, knowing that corporations pay transfer taxes when sold

Apparently many of you didn’t bother with this special mail-in election.  Less than a third of Oaklanders who voted in the November prexy election turned out.  According to the Chronicle, about 23 percent of registered voters cast ballots versus 80 percent in November.  Were you part of the silent majority?

Time’s A Wasting: Oakland Special Election

Have you been paying attention to the Oakland budget and upcoming municipal election?  It’s the chance to vote on four measures which increase the City of Oakland’s coffers in some way.  To be counted, your ballot must be received by July 21st at 8pm.

It seems like everyone and his mother are supporting these measures, including our Council Rep Jean Quan.  However we want you to consider, independently, whether you support these measures which include some taxes.

Begging Hands

Just Four Measures

There are just four measures on this ballot, and the League of Women Voters does a great job with the facts.  Three are about taxes which may or may not impact you.  One is about how general funds are spent.  Here’s a recap:

  • Measure C – Hotel tax increases by 3% – for zoo, museums, visitor bureau, etc. – visitors would pay 14% now, funding some of the local spots they visit and we use – projects $3  million revenues a year – more info
  • Measure D – Set aside 3% of annual fund – reduced grants for kid/youth services – remember that the last measure (OO) passed would set aside more – projects $3 million savings this year, $17 million next year – more info
  • Measure F – Cannabis tax increase – raises tax from $1.20 to $18.00 per $1,000 sales – if you use the dispensaries or own one of them, this tax impacts you – projects $300-800k revenues a year – more info
  • Measure H – Real property tax – applies when corporations change ownership or control – this is a loophole that the city council wants to close – projects $500k-$1 million revenue a year – more info

Vote By Mail Ballot

Remember you can only vote by mail for this special election.  Here’s the ballot book (download PDF) you should have received by mail a while ago, which includes a sample ballot and measure details.  Also an official ballot was sent to you later.

If you don’t recall whether you received a ballot, start by checking the status of your ballot online (click here).  If you are pretty sure that you didn’t receive a ballot book or ballot, double-check your voter registration status online (click here).

Not registered to vote? Act quickly because today is the final day to register.  Since you have only a few more hours, we suggest you stop by the Alameda County Registrar’s office to meet the deadline:  1225 Fallon Street, Room G-1, Oakland – map here.

Registered but no ballot? Well, you do have a bit more time.  We suggest calling the Alameda County Registrar directly, at (510) 267-8683, to obtain an official ballot.  Worst case, you may have to stop by the Registrar’s office as well.

So get things squared away and remember to send your ballot a few days before July 21st – time’s a wasting!

Voting Day 94611: Where To Vote, See Results

Did you vote yet?  Assuming you are a good citizen and have already registered, then stop by your local polling place and pick your president, representatives, state propositions and local measures.

Polling places are open between 7:00am – 8:00pm, and you can find them by clicking here and entering your address.  I’m betting your precincts will be jammed, so bring something to read and eat while you wait.

For procrastinators, at least click through the California propositions and local measures before you show up.  Those automated calls and TV ads hardly present clear pictures of everything on the ballot!

Gracie Montclair Mayor

According to unconfirmed rumors, Montclair’s Mayor Condon will be making guest appearances at various polling places.  Since the mayoral race was last spring, our Gracie isn’t looking for votes but will gladly accept treats today.

After the polls have closed, my favorite spot for local results will be the Alameda County Registrar’s web site.  You can see the full list or drill down for election outcomes there.  A close second will be TV stations and web sites, although it’s not clear how quickly they will post the local results.

Anyway, it may be a long night…or not.