Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - May 7, 2010

Be sure read sample ballot, information pamphlet before voting

Nearly 200 pages of ballot information no doubt has landed in your mailbox as it has ours this week, about evenly divided between the California statewide direct primary information booklet and the sample ballot and voter information pamphlet from Alameda County. Even if you've decided on a candidate or how you'll vote on the five statewide propositions - or on Measure D on Oak Grove - it's worth your while to carefully peruse each candidate's statement as well as arguments for and against the measures to make sure you're making an informed decision. Also, since you can cast absentee ballots starting Monday, nearly a month before the June 8 primary, your vote won't be counted before Election Day so you might wait a bit to see and hear the candidates and the measure promotions. Remember, too, there have been numerous times when voters have cast their ballots well ahead of the actual election to find their favorite candidate has dropped out of the race, or that new information has been disclosed that would have changed how they voted.

Leafing through the statewide ballot information, the June 8 primary has its usual long lists of candidates for key state posts. A total of 23 names are listed for the Governor's race, 13 for Lieutenant Governor, seven for Secretary of State and 14 for Attorney General. Some candidate's names are familiar, such as Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman, who are battling it out for the Republican nomination for governor, and Attorney General Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown who is the leading candidate for that office on the Democratic ticket. Here in Pleasanton, which is split into three State Assembly districts, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, a Democrat, and San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson, a Republican, are repeating their primary bids which sent them head-to-head in 2008 for the 15th District seat, which Buchanan won. Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi is unchallenged in her bid for re-nomination on the Democratic ticket to seek re-election in the 18th District. The only contest for Assembly is in the 20th District, where Alberto Torrico is stepping down because of term limits to run for Attorney General on the Democratic ticket. Fremont Councilman Bob Weickowski is running against Ohlone Community College trustee Garrett Yee for Torrico's seat, with Adnan Shahab the only candidate on the Republican Party ticket.

While the five statewide propositions deserve careful reading, we especially hope you'll turn to the middle of the Alameda County pamphlet. That's the start of 58 pages of detailed information on Measure D. A Yes vote would allow Jennifer and Frederic Lin to build 51 homes on property they own at the end of Kottinger Ranch's Hearst Drive. They also signed a development agreement when their project was approved in 2007 by the Pleasanton City Council to contribute free of charge 496 acres of wooded land they own adjacent to the homes. The land will be available for use by the public in perpetuity as open space and parkland. The referendum is the result of an appeal of the council's decision by a group opposed to the development. Its points are well stated in the lengthy assessment of Measure D, which makes for detailed reading but also a better informed voter before casting the ballot.

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