Local election season opens Monday

Local election season opens Monday

Michele Ellson
Alameda Election 2014

The fall election season kicks off Monday with the opening of the nomination period for local offices.

Anyone interested in running for mayor or for one of two open City Council seats has until August 7 to submit their nomination paperwork to the City Clerk’s office. The deadline will be extended to August 13 if incumbents choose not to run for those offices, but that seems unlikely as both Mayor Marie Gilmore and Councilman Stewart Chen have announced plans to run for re-election.

In addition to Chen, two other people have said they plan to run for council seats – former councilman and mayoral candidate Frank Matarrese and Jim Oddie, an attorney and aide to Assemblyman Rob Bonta. No one else has announced plans to run for mayor at this point.

The city’s rules only limit council members to two consecutive terms, allowing termed-out members to run again after sitting an election out. Lena Tam, who will term out of office in December and can’t run again for her seat in the fall, is making a bid for the BART board.

Prospective candidates for two open Board of Education seats and the four Alameda Health Care District Board of Directors chairs that are up for grabs have until August 8 to hand in their nomination and declaration of candidacy papers to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. That deadline is also extended to August 13 if an eligible incumbent chooses not to run for re-election.

Write-in candidates can file papers between September 8 and October 21.

Mike McMahon has said he plans to run for a fourth term on the school board, and Solana Henneberry, a special education teacher and mother of three, has also said she plans to run. But board president Margie Sherratt told The Alamedan she’s decided not to run for re-election.

“While I certainly will continue to support and work hard for Alameda schools, for personal and family reasons, I won't seek re-election,” Sherratt said.

Seats for four Alameda Health Care District Board directors – including those now held by Robert Deutsch, Tracy Jensen and Lynn Bratchett – are also on the November ballot. All three said they plan to run to hold their seats this fall.

The board on Wednesday selected Kathryn Saenz Duke to fill the seat vacated by Jordan Battani, who resigned in May, for the next few months. But voters will decide who will fill the final two years of Battani’s term.

Alameda Hospital’s affiliation deal with Alameda Health System closed May 1, giving the countywide public health system’s board oversight duties for the hospital’s day-to-day affairs. The local board will manage local leases and property the healthcare district owns, and it has oversight of the budget for the hospital parcel tax.

In addition to the open local offices, November voters will decide whether to allow the school district to issue up to $179.5 million worth of bonds to repair and upgrade schools. Arguments for and against the bond measure are due to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters by 5 p.m. August 15, with rebuttal arguments due on August 22.

Another ballot measure seeking to rezone federal government property near Crab Cove as open space is set to be adopted as an ordinance Tuesday by the City Council – along with a companion measure that would allow the council to put the new zoning on hold if the city is sued over it. The property had been zoned for housing, with developer Tim Lewis Communities in contract to purchase it.

Council and mayoral candidates have to be registered Alameda voters who have been so for at least 30 days before filing their papers. Candidates for the school and health care district boards must be U.S. citizens and eligible to vote in Alameda, and may not have a felony conviction for accepting or giving a bribe, embezzling public funds, perjury or conspiracy to commit any of those crimes.

The City Clerk’s office is in Room 380 at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue, and will be open from 8 am to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday during the nomination period. The Alameda County Registrar of Voters is in Room G-1 at 1225 Fallon Street in Oakland, and is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Additional information is available on the clerk’s and registrar’s web pages.

The county registrar requires an appointment for prospective candidates seeking to file papers, which can be made on the registrar’s website or by calling 272-6933. A full candidate guide is available here.

Voting for the November 4 election begins on October 6, the first day people with vote by mail ballots can cast them.


Submitted by MJ (not verified) on Fri, Jul 11, 2014

Speaking of the citizen's initiative to re-zone crab cove, am I the only person who smells a rat? It would seem like the city council gets to pretend that they are for re-zoning the land as a park, but then when the inevitable lawsuit arrives, they drop the re-zoning. This would accomplish killing the citizen's initiative while appearing to be for it. Then, this city council can say, "Gee, I'm with you. I really wanted it to be a park. Oh, well."

Submitted by nancy hird on Fri, Jul 11, 2014

So, Let's NOT re-elect those who are running to become re-elected. MJ- You are not the only one smelling a rat. Many others agree.

Submitted by Steve Gerstle on Fri, Jul 11, 2014

The City Council found a way to have its park and eat it too.

Submitted by MJ (not verified) on Fri, Jul 11, 2014

Nancy, totally agreed. Is there anyone running for city council who isn't cut from the same cloth as these pathetic incumbents?

Submitted by Bill 2-Wheel Smith on Fri, Jul 11, 2014

The council members have a legitimate concern, even if unlikely, that the City could lose a lawsuit should the GSA or other party sue over the rezoning of the disputed GSA property adjacent to Crab Cove. State law is, however, clear - a legislative body like the council cannot alter a voter initiated initiative in any way, so the delays in the companion measure, if exercised, would almost certainly be found to be illegal. The time required to find the Council's companion ordinance illegal would allow the City more time to line up funding to pay an unfavorable judgment.

Thus, the companion measure is legally defective, but still serves as an insurance policy for the City to buy time to put together financing. It is possible that the courts wouldn't allow a case involving the companion ordinance to be heard until the GSA succeeds in condemning state beach property to facilitate private gain. Hell may freeze over before courts allow the Feds to seize State Beach property happens.

So relax and watch the legal fireworks our council, our state government, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission and the East Bay Regional Park District are putting on for us - at our expense, of course.