It’s the morning after, and while much of the country woke up to a red dawn, California and the San Francisco Bay Area pushed progressive politics a little further forward.
There were no surprises in the top offices up for election. Governor Jerry Brown, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Kamala Harris, and Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson all retained their seats.
Californians also considered six propositions.
Voters passed Proposition 1, a 7.1 billion dollar water bond, by a two-thirds majority. They supported Proposition 2 by an even larger margin, instituting a bigger rainy day fund for the state budget. And by approving Prop 47, they chose to reduce most non-violent criminal offenses from felonies to misdemeanors.
Proposition 45, which would have increased regulation of health insurance rate hikes, and Proposition 46, which would have raised caps on medical malpractice awards, were both defeated -- as was proposition 48, which would have allowed North Fork Rancheria Band of Mono Indians to open a casino near Fresno.
In the Bay Area, we’ll begin with the races for mayor.
In the city of Richmond, Green mayor Gayle McLaughlin termed out. The leading candidates going into last night were longtime city councilmen: Tom Butt who, like, McLaughlin, is part of the Richmond Progressive Alliance, and Nat Bates, who received major financial support from Chevron, which has major oil refineries in the city. Despite Chevron’s backing, Tom Butt won with 52% of the vote.
In Oakland, ranked choice voting left the mayor’s race undecided until late in the night. But after fifteen rounds of eliminating candidates and redistributing votes, Libby Schaaf outlasted her opponents and won a decisive victory to become the next mayor of Oakland.
In San Jose, the mayoral contest between educator Sam Liccardo and businessman Dave Cortese is very close. With all precincts reporting, Liccardo had 51% of the vote, but a final outcome may have to wait for the counting of last-minute mail-in ballots.
Oakland voters also had a few ballot measures to consider. They easily passed Measure Z, renewing a parcel tax and a parking tax to help staff the police department … it’s a continuation of voter-mandated Measure Y funding from 2004.
San Francisco voters also joined the movement for a higher minimum wage, passing Proposition J, which will match Oakland’s minimum wage next year, then bring it up to 15 dollars an hour by the year 2018.
San Francisco voters chose David Chiu over David Campos to fill Tom Ammiano’s seat representing District 17 in the State Assembly.
They also passed Prop A: a transportation and road improvement bond; and they passed Prop I, which will fast-track renovations to recreational areas, including soccer fields at the western edge of Golden Gate Park.
But San Francisco Prop E fell flat: It would have taxed sugary drinks two cents per ounce. While a majority of voters favored the tax, that ballot measure required a two-thirds vote in San Francisco, which it didn’t get. So the cost of soda will remain the same in the city.
That same soda might cost a little more in Berkeley, now, because a similar soda tax passed there. 75 percent of voters supported Measure D: A one cent per ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Berkeley is now the first city in the nation to specifically tax soda.