Incumbents win new terms in feisty election
Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and City Council incumbents Cheryl Cook-Kallio and Jerry Thorne were re-elected Tuesday, ending a year-long effort to unseat them by a coalition opposed to their vote favoring the Oak Grove housing proposal in the hills above Kottinger Ranch and other issues mainly focused on how Hosterman deals with the public at City Council meetings.
With votes counted in all 46 precincts, Hosterman won 10,276 votes--or 53% of the votes cast in the mayoral election. Her challenger and City Councilwoman Cindy McGovern received 9,044 votes, or 46.7% of the votes cast. Hosterman has two years remaining in her final term in office as mayor.
The three re-elected will be sworn in for new terms of office at the City Council meeting Dec. 7 after the final vote count is certified by the Alameda County Registrar. Some absentee ballots have yet to be counted which could change the final tally although not the results.
Thorne led the ticket from the start, finishing with 10,683 votes, or 33.4% of the total number of votes cast in the City Council race.
Cook-Kallio narrowly defeated Realtor Karla Brown, winning 8,971 votes, or 28% of those cast, against Brown's 8,511 votes, or 26.6%. It was Brown's first attempt to seek a council seat.
Fred Watson trailed with 3,770 votes, or 12%, in his first bid for a council seat. Watson, a manager at Open Heart Kitchen, had strong support from Tea Party organization followers.
Loud applause greeted Thorne and his wife Sandi at an election party Tuesday night at the Hop Yard Alehouse and Grill both for the councilman's re-election and in celebration of their 36th wedding anniversary.
But supporters who went to Hosterman's scheduled election night party at Mountain Mike's Pizza restaurant in the Oak Hill Shopping Center on Sunol Boulevard were disappointed to find the restaurant closed shortly after the polls closed and the mayor gone. Hosterman, an active member of the U.S. Mayors Conference, caught a "red eye" flight to Washington, D.C., for a scheduled Wednesday morning meeting with its national water council, which she co-chairs.
Pleasanton polling places were crowded when they opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday as a higher number of Election Day voters actually went to the polls instead of voting by mail, which has been a growing trend across the country and especially in California. Of the 765,885 registered voters in Alameda County, the registrar's office reported that 180,461, or 23.5%, cast their ballots on Tuesday, with another 153,620, or 20%, voting by mail. A total of 343,081 votes were cast on Tuesday, representing 43.6% of those registered in the county.
Inspectors at Pleasanton's 46 precincts reported a larger number of voters carried their completed vote-by-mail ballots into the polling places. This was attributed to campaign messages that intensified during the election period, causing some voters to delay mailing their ballots until they were sure they'd heard all of the candidates' views.
Voting conditions varied at the 46 precincts. A third precinct that used to handle upper Vintage Hills voters was moved into the Vineyard Villa Mobile Home Park recreation building which two other precincts already occupied. That made for longer lines of voters, voting booths more crowded together and more noise.
Conditions were better at a precinct located in the lobby of the Amador Theater, which had better lighting, available restrooms and less noise.
Still, the open voting booths brought complaints from voters who told precinct workers that they felt their voting was less private, with no pull screen behind them once in the booth. In fact, the new cardboard voting booths aren't really "booths," but more like standalone shelves where voters must push the long, double-sided ballots that were used Tuesday in different directions in order to mark them.
Tuesday's vote was complicated, too, because of the number of candidates seeking election and a long list of propositions that had to be decided.