Both challengers, two incumbents win election to Zone 7 board

Measure A sales tax falls short; Swalwell, Baker, O’Malley easily ahead; Regional Measure 3 poised to pass

The Zone 7 Water Agency will see two new faces on its Board of Directors, as both challengers finished in the top four vote count as of the semi-official Election Night totals released just after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Measure A childcare sales tax finished Election Night short of passing, Regional Measure 3 bridge toll hike is poised to pass, incumbent District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, Congressman Eric Swalwell and Assemblywoman Catharine Baker were all comfortably ahead, and the stage is set for a November runoff for Alameda County assessor.

With four seats up for election and two challengers out of the five candidates running, the water agency was bound to have at least one new director, but it was unclear if both challengers Dennis Gambs and Olivia Sanwong would be chosen to represent water customers in the Livermore and Amador Valleys.

With semi-official results reported thus far, Gambs was comfortably leading the election while Sanwong also held a board position.

"I am thrilled about joining the Zone 7 Board of Directors and look forward to getting started," Sanwong said. "I also want to take a moment to thank Director Greci for his service and leadership."

Sanwong is an analyst at Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. who serves on Pleasanton's city Economic Vitality Committee and formerly ran for Pleasanton City Council, and Gambs is a civil engineer who worked for Zone 7 for 34 years until retiring in 2015.

At the end of Election Night, Gambs led the way with 26.38% of the vote. In second was three-term incumbent Sarah Palmer with 20.27%.

Four-term incumbent Bill Stevens was third at 19.23% and newcomer Sanwong, the only Pleasanton resident in the race, sat in fourth place for the final board seat at 18.84%.

Board president John Greci, who has sat on the board since 1994, finished last with 15% of the vote -- 1,854 votes out of the final board seat.

"I had great support from the community in my election campaign," Gambs said Wednesday morning. "I am humbled by the great voter support and will work hard for the public that elected me."

Gambs and his campaign threw an open house election party at a home in Livermore on Tuesday night.

Palmer said that she was sad to see Greci go, but is excited to work with the new board, along with the new general manager, Valerie Pryor, who joined Zone 7 in April.

"We have people who are really enthusiastic, I’m excited about it," she said. "It’s going to be interesting because it will be different. I’m sure we’ll get new perspectives, which is healthy."

Stevens echoed her sentiments, saying that he'll miss Greci but welcomes the new directors and general manager.

"We have two new directors that are very intelligent, replacing two directors with combined (over) 20 years of experience," he said. "I think they’ll do the right thing."

Greci, who has spent a third of his life on the board, said he wasn't totally disappointed by the loss, as right now he needs to focus on fighting cancer and recovering his health. He recently underwent surgery.

"I have very strong feelings that everybody should give back to their communities," he said. "I’ve spent 46 years on the Livermore rodeo association, 24 years on Zone 7. I’ve given back to my community, I’ve met some wonderful people, and I have absolutely no regrets."

Zone 7 is a public agency in eastern Alameda County, and acts as a water wholesaler for water service providers in Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore and San Ramon's Dougherty Valley along with providing flood protection in the Livermore and Amador valleys.

The newly elected candidates will begin their terms in July.

In other results

The proposed half-cent Alameda County sales tax to support childcare and early education for residents in need, on the ballot as Measure A, fell short on Election Night.

Measure A, which proposed to raise $140 million annually in new tax revenue, received support from 64.63% of voters — but it needed two-thirds approval from voters in order to pass.

Regional Measure 3, the proposed bridge toll increase on the ballot in all nine Bay Area counties, was poised to pass on Election Night.

The measure needed approval from a majority of voters across the Bay Area, though the totals were still coming in, the measure was ahead in most of the nine counties, carried by strong support of 60%-plus in San Francisco and Santa Clara counties.

It received 53.09% support in Alameda County.

RM3 proposes toll increases on the region's seven state-owned bridges to help fund $4.45 billion worth of transportation and transit projects in the Bay Area, including the Tri-Valley.

The toll hikes would begin with a $1 increase on Bay Area toll bridges (all except the Golden Gate Bridge) beginning Jan. 1, 2019, followed by a $1 increase in January 2022 and another $1 increase in January 2025.

Nine-year incumbent District Attorney Nancy O’Malley easily won re-election over Oakland civil rights attorney Pamela Price 59.06% to 40.35%. This marked the first time O’Malley faces opposition at the polls since she was first appointed in 2009.

Alameda County has a new auditor-controller/clerk-recorder in deputy county auditor Melissa Wilk, who defeated Castro Valley resident Irella Blackwood, who works as chief auditor for the city and county of San Francisco, by a count of 59.31% to 39.52%.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Tara Flanagan kept her seat on the bench, taking home 64.37% of the vote compared to the 34.77% of challenger Karen Katz, a longtime county deputy public defender.

The county is poised for a November runoff to replace retiring Assessor Ron Thomsen since none of the four candidate earned 50% or more of the vote in the primary.

Squaring off in the general election will be Newark real estate tax attorney Phong La (35.95%) and Jim Johnson, chief of the Assessor's Assessment Services Division (25.99%)

La and Johnson finished ahead of Fremont resident and assessment appeals officer John Weed (21.95%) and Kevin Lopez (15.26%), an appraiser with the Assessor’s Office.

Winning re-election in uncontested races were Sheriff-Coroner Gregory Ahern, Superintendent of Schools L. Karen Monroe and Treasurer-Tax Collector Henry "Hank" Levy.

For the 15th Congressional District which includes Pleasanton, incumbent U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin) stood comfortably in first place with 69.2% of the vote as of 1:30 a.m., with 61.7% of precincts reporting.

Three-term incumbent Swalwell will face Rudy Peters, a Republican from Livermore, in the general election. Peters was second with 27.7%, well ahead of third-place Pleasanton resident Brendan St. John (3.1%), who ran without party preference.

Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-Dublin) stood ahead on Election Night too with 58.3% over challenger Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) with 41.7% — with 67.5% of precincts reporting as of 1:30 a.m.

But because Baker and Bauer-Kahan were the only candidates in the primary election, they will automatically move on to face each other on the November ballot.

Alameda County election officials reported voter turnout in the primary was 19.88%, with 169,901 of 854,766 registered voters casting a ballot.

The semi-official election results include early vote-by-mail tallies and totals reported by 100% of the precincts on Election Night.

The election percentages will likely change as final vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots and other ballots are processed, according to the California Secretary of State. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take up to 28 days for county elections officials to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters.

County elections officials must report their final results to the Secretary of State by July 6.

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17 people like this
Posted by Brad
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 6, 2018 at 9:34 am

Brad is a registered user.

Congratulations to Gambs and Sanwong. Needed improvement coming to Zone 7

20 people like this
Posted by OldTimer
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2018 at 10:37 am

I don't understand how people vote! There were 4 measures in Alameda county all raising taxes. Three of them passed and the fourth (Measure A) almost passed. Is there no end to how much we will tax ourselves?

Like this comment
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jun 6, 2018 at 11:54 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

If it surprises you, you may wish to move to a place where it does not?

2 people like this
Posted by BrendanForCongress
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:49 pm

BrendanForCongress is a registered user.

My congratulations to Rudy Peters and Eric Swalwell for advancing to the General Election this November.

3 people like this
Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jun 6, 2018 at 1:06 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

Brendan, thanks for the good sportsmanship and for trying to contribute to our democracy!

2 people like this
Posted by Suzann
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jun 6, 2018 at 1:34 pm

I am shocked at the low voter turn out! Don't the others care? How can they be so apathetic?

3 people like this
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 6, 2018 at 2:06 pm

Pleasanton Parent is a registered user.

Great so we are pumping more money into inner city parks for transients and people who don't care for them?

Only votes I was happy to send in were no on all taxes, no on sawell, yes on baker, and yes on glazer.

6 people like this
Posted by Christina Nystrom Mantha
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Jun 6, 2018 at 2:38 pm

I'm thrilled to see that Olivia Sanwong was elected to the Zone 7 Water District Board. She's smart, is passionate about Pleasanton and will make sound decisions in the best interest of our community. Great news!

3 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Jun 8, 2018 at 10:02 am

Great to see the change in Zone 7. It is incredible to see 2 new s Directors votes in —. Taking 1st and 3rd place — and beating out incumbents! It says something about the dysfunction of the board of directors at zone 7. Hopefully these 2 new Directors can make a difference and put some accountability and transparency into the agency.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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