‘THE BROADUS EFFECT’ ON PROP. 19; THE IMPORTANCE OF FIRST PLACE VOTES IN RCV; YOUNG GOES FOR TWO STRAIGHT
By Steven Tavares
By the end of the night, voters in San Leandro will not know the name of the person elected to lead it for the next years, although we should have a good sense whether Mayor Tony Santos will be re-elected or not. While the method by which Ranked Choice Voting declares a winner may seem peculiar, studies have shown that it rarely deviates from the likely winner under the previous 50 percent plus one format that often needs a costly November runoff. In fact, more often than not, the candidate with the most first place votes in the initial round of tabulation usually goes on to win. The presence of three viable candidates in San Leandro may muddle this presupposition, but there is a consensus through name-recognition and a strong, late push by labor that Santos will win between 38-42 percent of first place votes. The key to making up the roughly 10 percent needed for a majority will likely rest upon Santos’ allies Sara Mestas and John Palau. If Santos does go on to a second term, there will be numerous questions as to why Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak and Stephen failed. First and foremost, why both candidates with similar aspirations did not utilize the friendliness quotient built into RCV and form a coalition against Santos, the prohibitive favorite. Also, in the aftermath of this very spirited campaign much attention will be needed towards repairing significant tears in the city’s government. Political campaigns are not for the feint of heart, but this one too often hit very personal nerves.
Earlier this month, the San Leandro Board of Trustees appointed Ron Carey to the board replacing departing member Lisa Hague. School Board President Mike Katz will likely win re-elected tonight over Latrina Dumas. Another boardmember with allegiance to Katz is expected to win election to the board furthering his influence. Lance James, who was present along with Katz and Cassidy at the now infamous dunk tank fundraiser at Roosevelt Elementary, is another Katz-approved trustee following Hermy Almonte and Morgan Mack-Rose. There is feeling Katz will not seek the board’s presidency next year and the leading candidate to replace him may by Mack-Rose. Many believe Katz has no aspirations to further his political career, although his chess moves imply the opposite. Nevertheless, no other person at the school district, aside from the superintendent, has more invested in the city’s schools than Katz. The rejection of Christine Lim falls on him along with the slow, steady decline of public education in San Leandro.
Will “fans” of Nadia Lockyer be overturning Prius’ and toppling recycling bins on B Street tonight in celebration of her victory over Liz Figueroa? Giants’ fans may be pooped over their first world championship in San Francisco, but across the bay, Lockyer’s profligate campaign is right out of the New York Yankees scouting report. Will the $2 million campaign for Alameda County supervisor translate into a rout or the indignity of winning the seat by a few points despite the overwhelming money advantage. It is a real no-win situation for Lockyer’s reputation, but winning is winning. Like Hank Aaron use to say, “It’s a home run whether it lands in the first row or the last row.” Either way, the local cognoscenti will not easily forget this race which has screamed for campaign funding limits. Will it happen? Not a chance.
Shelia Young, the former mayor of San Leandro, might do something tonight no other candidate in this region will accomplish. Young, who won a seat on the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee last June, could make it two straight victories this election season. She is attempting to snatch one of three spots on the Oro Lomo Santitary District board. If Santos win re-election, don’t be surprised if Young does a Jerry Brown and plots a return to the mayor’s office in 2014.
The likelihood of Alameda County electing the nation’s first transgender court judge is dropping of late. Although Victoria Kolakowski nearly won the primary last June with 46 percent of the vote, her challenger John Creighton is riding a wave of momentum going into today’s election. He made nice with fellow primary candidate Louis Goodman, won the endorsement of the Oakland Tribune and has racked up large swatch of support within the county’s courts. One candidate for local office told me, they recently had a long conversation with Kolakowski and came away impressed. The person told me, though, they had no idea Kolakowski was a transgender woman until reading about her last week in The Citizen.
Rep. Pete Stark is nearly assured of returning to Washington for his 19th term in Congress and state Sen. Ellen Corbett and Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi will again represent the East Bay in the Legislature. Stark, who will turn 79 this month, is the literal embodiment of a Washington insider. Only a handful of lawmakers in the nation’s capitol top him in seniority, but that has never deterred voters in the East Bay from re-electing one of the its most liberal and colorful figures. Sadly, rumors persists that Stark’s health is again failing him. Corbett and Hayashi will be termed-out of the Legislative after this election and both appear to have aspirations to continue their political careers. Corbett may be the more popular of the two and it would not surprise anybody in the area if she plots a course for statewide office. Hayashi’s path is a bit unpredictable. She could wait out two years and run for Corbett’s seat, but many say don’t count her out for a bloody intramural fight for Stark’s seat, if it ever comes available. You could actually easily come up with 15 capable names for that seat, not including Lou Filipovich.
Will the newly-coined “Broadus Effect” put Proposition 19 over the hump? Some strategists believe there is strong evidence potential voters are reluctant to tell human pollster their real feelings about the referendum legalizing marijuana up to an ounce. Polls show automated surveys giving Prop. 19 the thumbs up as opposed to human polls which show support plummeting. The phenomenon, political scientists say is similar to the infamous “Bradley Effect” during which California voters feared poll takers would judge them for voting against the then-mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley, who is black. The perception lead to what appeared to be an upset in 1982 by George Deukmejian. The “Broadus Effect,” coined by the New York Times’ Nate Silver, refers to proud pot smoker Calvin Broadus. You might know him better as Snoop Dogg.