20 Things I Think about the East Bay Election

Just like everything, the local political prognostications game has been ruined by the pandemic. Face-to-face meetings and in-passing rumors and gossip is the typically the coin of the realm. Also, nothing beats seeing the body language of a candidate when you asked them, “So, are you going to win?” But back by popular demand is the 20 Things I Think about the Tuesday’s General Election in the East Bay.

  1. I don’t care how good a campaign Alameda County supervisor candidate Vinnie Bacon might have run, but how can you defeat an equally strong candidate like David Haubert when he’s spending five times more money than you? Money isn’t always an indicator of victory, but Haubert has not only spent $530,000 this year, but the money has been well-spent. His consultant Rick Taylor has been superb, basically running a state legislative-type campaign this fall.
  2. If Haubert wins on Tuesday, he will be well-suited to walk onto the Alameda County Board of Supervisors without much of learning-curve. Bacon will have a hell of time fitting in. Then again, he never really meshed with the Fremont City Council over the last eight years
  3. I think retiring Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty better hope Haubert wins his seat. If he doesn’t it will mean that out of the four March primary candidates, Haggerty officially endorsed the three who did not win the election.
  4. If Carroll Fife pulls off the big Election Night upset in Oakland’s District 3, expect some turmoil at Oakland City Hall. There will be three bold activists on the council in 2021: Fife, Councilmember Nikki Bas, and Council President Rebecca Kaplan. For A’s fans, you got to believe Fife will vote for the proposed Howard Terminal waterfront ballpark project. It’s strongly backed by the same labor unions who bankrolled her predicted victory.
  5. I think Fife beats Councilmember Lynette McElhaney, but not by the large margin many believe. I think Councilmembers Dan Kalb, Noel Gallo, and Rebecca Kaplan win, along with Treva Reid. Not bold predictions: Barbara Parker wins, too, along with all the ballot measures.
  6. I think Alameda Councilmember Jim Oddie could be sweating it out for a few days in his re-election race for two at-large seats. I think Councilmember Malia Vella takes first place. I think Alameda progressives should be worried about Gig Codiga, a caricature of old, white Alameda. Others have played the Old Alameda role in previous elections, but Codiga is not a goofball like the others, and he’s spent some money. If Oddie wins, he can thank former Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer for splitting the Old Alameda votes with Codiga.
  7. I think Alameda Measure Z barely wins. If so, it will still leave a sour taste in the mouths of tenants activists and progressives, who believe the island’s electorate has permanently moved to the left. Extreme turnout will boost Measure Z. But don’t be surprised if Measure Z loses, either. This covid-19 election could register some strange results.
  8. Assemblymember Bill Quirk wins re-election, but an under-performing result is going to signal to some that he’s extremely vulnerable in 2022. I’m thinking Quirk post something in the low 60s on Tuesday. That’s normally a dominating win, but not when you’ve been in the Assembly for the past eight years in a deep blue district and your East Bay assembly colleagues are pulling down 80-90 percent each election.
  9. I’ve been going back and forth on this, but I think Bryan Azevedo is going to narrowly upset incumbent San Leandro Councilmember Ed Hernandez. I just might switch to Hernandez by the time you read the end of this article. The difference may just be about voter enthusiasm. Azevedo’s supporters seem excited and they are numerous.
  10. If so, progressives and labor unions are going to need to focus more attention on San Leandro. It’s falling precipitously to the center-right. In two elections they will have registered council upsets for NIMBYs, in addition, to the current council passing woefully inadequate renters protections.
  11. I think one nightmare scenario for housing advocates goes like this: Measure Z fails in Alameda, Vinnie Bacon wins at the Board of Supervisors, and Bryan Azevedo wins in San Leandro. By themselves none of these are greatly problematic, but it will show a wide-ranging and disturbing trend against new housing in Alameda County.
  12. I think current elected officials and candidates actively advocating for defunding the police are going to have the issue seriously bite them in the ass during the next two years. We are already seeing sharp increases in violent crime in several Alameda County cities. When Alameda is seeing 14 shootings since last June, it’s clear something is going on. Besides crime almost always rises during recessions, let alone one fueled by the pandemic
  13. I think Hayward’s City Council race is going to be a nail biter that could go down in a number of divergent ways. For instance, I think Councilmember Elisa Marquez appears to be a strong prospect for finishing first in the at-large race for four seats. But if the progressive slate of Lacei Amodei and Elisha Crader both finish in the top four, it will mean Marquez loses re-election. Many of Amodei and Crader’s supporters know that Marquez has often flashed passive-aggressiveness toward them both, along with the duo’s surrogate, progressive Councilmember Aisha Wahab.
  14. I think if the three Hayward council incumbents have a bad night on Tuesday, they can blame the decision to team up for campaign mailers. If Hayward voters believe the city is going downhill or simply treading water, Marquez, Francisco Zermeno, and Mark Salinas gave them the roadmap for voting them out of office.
  15. I think the best-case scenario for Hayward progressives is Amodei, Crader winning along with Angela Andrews, and, perhaps, Mark Salinas. Salinas has clashed with Amodei and Crader, but unlike Zermeno and Marquez, Salinas has shown a willingness to be Wahab’s ally. Salinas is also not dumb, but he sure does talk too much.
  16. I think Hayward school boardmember Luis Reynoso wins re-election, but loses his concurrent bid for the Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board. In down ballot races, voters only look at ballot designation and Reynoso’s Chabot-Las Positas opponent has “college president.”
  17. I think Yogi Chugh wins the Fremont City Council District 6 seat, despite the peculiar inability of Indo-Americans winning races in south county, despite their large numbers. When is this community going to understand they need to unify their ranks in order to gain the local political power their numbers say they deserve?
  18. Perhaps many candidates out there chose against running for office this fall because of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. I really can’t tell you that any of the potential new public officials are future prospects, other than Amodei and Crader in Hayward. Two years ago, we had hotshots like Aisha Wahab, John Knox White in Alameda, and Nikki Bas and Sheng Thao in Oakland.
  19. I think many people are going to be upset by the languid vote-counting pace of the Alameda County Registrar’s office over the next few weeks. They have repeatedly been slow in vote-counting over the past three Election cycles. They blame the increase on the increasing prevalence of vote-by-mail ballots. Now that almost of them are vote-by-mail this fall, how do you think this is going to turn out?
  20. As bad as this election has been, 2022 is likely to make up for it. You’re already going to see councilmembers and others begin jockeying for open mayoral seats in Oakland, San Leandro, and Hayward. There’s an open seat in the south county 10th State Senate District being vacated by the termed out Bob Wieckowski. Plus, depending on how things shake it out tomorrow, and in the next year, Oakland Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s seat may be open, and, who knows, maybe Quirk’s is contested or vacated.



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