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Super Tuesday in the Bay Area: Who Won And What We Learned

Jenny G. Shao
Voters' guide at the San Francisco Department of Elections

Most eyes were on the Democratic presidential primary, last night. When polls closed, NPR made a quick call: Bernie Sanders won California. But it wasn’t that simple.

As usual it took a long time for precincts to report, and this morning, the results are a little clearer. With a few precincts, plus provisional ballots and late arrivals yet to count, Sanders has received right around a third of the state’s vote. Joe Biden got nearly a quarter. And Michael Bloomberg drew just under 15 percent of the vote and Elizabeth Warren only about 12 percent — those are both important numbers, because you need 15 percent in a state’s primary to earn any delegates. So if results stand, Sanders will receive most of the state’s 494 delegates and Biden will receive the rest — so California is not just a “win” for Sanders.

There was only one state proposition on the ballot — Prop 13: a bond to fund public education facilities. It failed to pass.

Here in San Francisco, voters considered a handful of propositions. Again, with some votes still to count, it looks like they passed them all. That includes Props A and B — bonds to pay for City College job training and infrastructure repair along with citywide earthquake safety and emergency response. Prop C gives retiree health care benefits to some city employees. A tax that will ding landlords who keep vacant storefronts has barely cleared the necessary two-thirds threshold — with a number of votes yet to count. We’ll hear more on that one — Prop D — shortly. And Prop E, which ties office development to affordable housing production — it passed, too.

We closely followed several other ballot measures around the Bay Area, so stay with me, here. In Alameda County, Measure C — the Care for Kids Initiative — passed. It will increase the sales tax to help fund young children’s healthcare and education. But Measure D — a bond to help modernize fire stations — did not clear the two-thirds majority, so it went down.

Oaklanders passed all their ballot measures. That includes Q, which raises money for public park and homeless services. Also R, which re-designates where the city posts public notices. And S, which allows the city to keep spending tax revenue in ways the voters had previously mandated.

Looking to the north, Napa County’s Measure K would have imposed a quarter-cent sales tax to protect and preserve open space, waters, and parks. It failed to receive the necessary two-thirds vote.

And to the south, we’ve been following the recall effort against council member Herb Perez. Looks like voters overwhelmingly wanted to oust the former Taekwando Olympic gold medalist.

So what can we learn from all this? State and regional voters were somewhat more resistant to fund public bonds for education and services. Clearly, when it comes to presidential politics, the state leads the more progressive push for the democratic party — though the margin isn’t necessarily all that wide. And we’ll have to wait for the final count on how many people voted — to see if we can learn anything about engagement as we approach the big Election Day in November.

Ben was hired as Interim Executive Director of KALW in November, 2021.
Jeneé Darden is an award-winning journalist, author, public speaker and proud Oakland native. She is the executive producer and host of the weekly arts segment Sights & Sounds as well as the series Sights + Sounds Magazine. Jeneé also covers East Oakland for KALW. Jeneé has reported for NPR, Marketplace, KQED, KPCC, The Los Angeles Times, Ebony magazine, Refinery29 and other outlets. In 2005, she reported on the London transit bombings for Time magazine. Prior to coming to KALW, she hosted the podcast Mental Health and Wellness Radio.