Incumbent Councilwoman Kathy Narum cruised to an easy re-election, six percentage points ahead of council critic Julie Testa who had about the same margin over Parks and Rec Commissioner Joe Streng to apparently take the second seat. All precincts have been counted, but there still are outstanding provisional and mail ballots.
The Chamber of Commerce’s BacPac political action group had backed Narum and Streng.
Testa, who has advocated stopping residential growth until school overcrowding is fixed, likely will find common ground with Councilwoman Karla Brown on some issues, but the overall council direction will not shift with Mayor Jerry Thorne re-elected unopposed to his final term. Incumbent Jerry Pentin rounds out the council and, like Narum and Thorne, back sounds economic policies for the community.
Meanwhile in Livermore, Friends of Livermore Committee received a pretty good spanking at the ballot box this week. They’d spent almost $350,000 on the campaign, with almost $60,000 targeting incumbent Councilman Bob Woerner for his exercise of independent judgment.
Woerner easily won re-election with the most votes by a significant margin, while Trish Munro finished a second with all precincts reporting, but ballots still outstanding. (Councilman Steve Spedowfski did not seek re-election). Planning Commissioner Neil Pan finished third, while the two candidates that the friends backed-- Alan Brent Siler and Rosemary Bartsch—were in the final two positions.
According to a recent East Bay Times report, the committee was more than $280,000 in debt. And, it is facing a Fair Political Practices Commission inquiry after a complaint was filed because Friends Chairman David Rounds wrote in an email that Bartch, who did not run an active campaign, would serve if elected. That comment demonstrates that the committee, which by law cannot coordinate with candidates, potentially did exactly that with Bartch to receive her commitment to serve.
The most surprising twist in this saga is the two weeks of major expenditures for Siler and then repudiation of his campaign after social media comments he wrote were publicized.
Mayor John Marchand cruised to re-election with about 75 percent of the vote.
When a new council is sworn in next month, it will mark for the first time in several election cycles that the friends’ candidate or candidates were not seated on the council.
Just how that will play when the referendum on the downtown plan comes to the council and presumably before the electorate will be intriguing to watch. The election certainly gives a lift to Unify Livermore, a group advocating moving ahead with the downtown plan passed by the council.
One other vote in Livermore that was heartening was the rejection of the health care cost control measure (in reality a labor dispute) by eight of 10 voters. Health care institutions spent heavily to get their message out, while the backing union, the Service Employee International Union, also invested substantially.
Dublin voters will welcome two new councilmembers next month, but Mayor David Haubert will still have his hand at the helm. Haubert, facing an aggressive challenge from Councilman Arun Goel, won a strong vote of confidence from voters with a 60-40 margin.
In the council race, school volunteer Jean Josey and consultant Shawn Kumagai topped a five-person field. Josey ran away with the top slot. Notably, Bobby Khullar, who had been the public voice of recall attempts against two councilmen and school trustee Dan Cunningham, finished third behind Kumagai who ran on a platform of uniting the city.