By Tim Hunt
Interesting local elections shaping up in DublinUploaded: Aug 14, 2018
It will be an interesting fall in Dublin with two open seats available on the City Council after Councilman Abe Gupta decided not to file for re-election.
With appointed Councilwoman Janine Thalblum also not filing for the fall race, as she agreed when she was appointed to replace the late Councilman Don Biddle, it will make for quite a race.
Throw in the mayor’s race when incumbent Dave Haubert will face Councilman Arun Goel who is running from a safe seat and Dublin residents will have lots of choices.
Gupta decided to focus on his law practice and his young family instead of running for re-election. He, along with Biddle, had been targeted for recall by Dubliners United. The group also gathered signatures to recall school trustee Dan Cunningham. The recalls on Gupta and Biddle, obviously, were moot because their terms were ending in November. Not so for Cunningham, but the second surprise was just how many of the signatures were deemed invalid.
The city and the school district received Aug. 9 letters from County Registrar Tim Dupuis that declared the recall petitions had failed because they lacked the necessary signatures. Dubliners United submitted 6,678 signatures to recall Gupta and the registrars’ office checked all of them. Staffers found 1,619 were invalid and just 5,0509 were valid, short of the 5,309 necessary to move the action to the City Council.
It was similar for Cunningham where 6,813 signatures were filed; 1,547 were invalid, leaving 5,266 valid, just 43 short of the required number.
I reached out to council candidate Bobby Khullar, who led the recall drive until filing for council. In an email, he wrote that further conversations with the registrar’s office revealed more than 960 signers were not registered to vote. Dubliners United also are concerned that the letter stated there were 797 sections of petitions, while they submitted 801. They are focused on the school trustee recall.
Khullar wrote that they submitted 6,874 signatures so what happened to the missing four pages and 61 signatures? If these are found and have the same verified success rate (77 percent) that would equal 47 signatures, more than the 43 required.
Dubliners United, he wrote, 21 days to review the signatures determined to be invalid. That will take time and the deadline to place matters on the November ballot is this month so it’s unlikely, at best, that anything will be on November ballot.
So, this fall the new wrinkle will be the first Tri-Valley city or school district to hold district elections.
Trustees Meghan Rouse and Dan Cherrier are up for re-election in their respective new districts in November 2018.
Livermore will follow suit with its City Council elections in 2020 after bowing to pressure from the same lawyer who forced the district elections in Dublin under the state’s 2001 voting rights act. When I asked Livermore Mayor John Marchand about it, he replied that case law was clear and the city would just be wasting money to try a court challenge. Like Dublin, Livermore has a minority population significant enough to force district elections under the law.