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UPDATE: Newcomer Munro, incumbents Marchand, Woerner win Livermore city elections

Voters overwhelmingly defeat Measure U; re-elect Bueno and White, add Prusso to school board

Voters in Livermore cast ballots in favor of four long-familiar faces and two new candidates, as well as soundly defeated a union-backed initiative that would have seen the city charged with making sure health care costs did not exceed a new price limit.

For the city of Livermore, Mayor John Marchand ran away with his re-election bid last week for a fourth and final term in office. Likewise, City Council incumbent Bob Woerner finished comfortably atop the five-candidate race for two council seats.

The new voice on the Livermore City Council will be sociologist and community leader Trish Munro, who stands nearly 800 votes ahead of Planning Commissioner Neal Pann for the second seat.

To lead local schools, voters backed incumbents Craig Bueno and Anne E. White for re-election to the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District governing board.

For the third seat, residents voted in newcomer Emily Prusso ahead of three other candidates, including current board member Kate Runyon -- making Runyon the only incumbent to lose a re-election bid for a city or school district seat in the entire Tri-Valley.

And Measure U, which sought to limit medical care charges from Livermore health care providers to no more than 15% above "the reasonable cost of direct patient care," is on track to be voted down by better than a 4:1 margin, according to updated election figures from this Tuesday evening.

While results are still being finalized by Alameda County election officials, the outcomes are all but assured given the margins for the leading candidates with the bulk of the ballots already counted.

City of Livermore

For mayor, Marchand dominated his re-election bid from the first wave of results on Election Night, and the lead continued to grow as results were updated. He sits with 77.29% of the vote, compared to lone challenger Joshua Laine, owner of Valor Winery in Livermore, with 21.89%.

"It is gratifying to see that the overwhelming majority of voters approve of what the City Council is doing," Marchand told the Weekly. "Under my leadership, the city has been able to achieve goals and fulfill promises that have been sought for decades."

"Those commitments include Stockmen's Park, the restoration of the train depot, a community meeting facility, an emergency operations center and a long-desired downtown hotel. Most of these have been unanimous decisions by the council which demonstrates the alignment of the community's goals and the council's vision," he added.

Marchand is well-known to voters in Livermore. He served 15 years in elected office on the Zone 7 Water Agency Board of Directors, followed by six years on the Livermore City Council before being elected as mayor in 2011 -- he won re-election unopposed in 2014 and 2016.

With two seats up for grabs for City Council and current Councilman Steven Spedowfski not seeking re-election, voters preferred incumbent Woerner (30.27%) to retain his position and Munro (20.53%) to join the dais for the first time.

Finishing third, currently 786 votes behind, was Pann at 18.86%. He was followed by chief technology officer Alan "Brent" Siler (16.64%) and estate planning attorney Rosmary Bartsch (13.40%), who did not actively campaign but was backed last-minute by The Independent.

Woerner expressed gratitude to supporters and voters for his re-election.

"I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to continue collaborating with my fellow council members and the city's extremely competent professional staff," he said. "The results show very strong approval for how Livermore is being managed and our vision for the future. I am looking forward to helping our community make the wonderful quality of life we enjoy even better."

A senior director for PG&E and a former Livermore planning commissioner, Woerner has served on the council since being appointed in 2012. He won re-election for a full four-year term in 2014.

For Munro, the City Council will mark her first elected office but she has held leadership roles with the Livermore Shakespeare Festival board and Congregation Beth Emek. Her campaign focused on collaboration to achieve community goals.

"I am humbled and grateful to have won a seat on City Council. So many people have given of themselves in so many ways: time, money, talents, and moral support," Munro said.

"I could not have done it without them -- I am overflowing with thanks and gratitude," she added. "I have been heartened to see how much we all love this city, regardless of whether we live downtown, north of the freeway, near the vineyards or by Sycamore Grove. I look forward to serving Livermore and building a stronger, more inclusive Livermore."

This November marked the final election with council members elected by voters at large before the city switches to elections based on geographic district for City Council seats in 2020.

LVJUSD board

The school board race saw two of the three incumbents earn re-election comfortably, with Bueno (22.7%) finishing first to claim a second term and White (19.7%) in second place to retain the seat she's held since 1990.

Taking third place to win the final available seat was Prusso (18.3%), owner of a small family construction firm and mother of four children who ran on a platform of prioritizing students, supporting teachers and empowering parents to improve LVJUSD.

Challengers Dave Vonheeder (15.9%) and Chung Bothwell (8.5%) placed fourth and sixth, respectively. Runyon, who has served on the board since 2006, finished fifth at 14.4% to lose her seat.

Bueno commended Runyon for her years of service on the board -- saying she has "a huge heart for students" -- while also welcoming the "breath of fresh air" Prusso can provide.

"Change is continual today, and having board members that are current and connected is vital to the success of our mission of '... preparing our students to thrive in an ever changing world,'" Bueno said. "This election comes at a time when our district is preparing for vast improvements to our facilities, and I am eager to get these major projects underway. Thank you to Livermore for supporting education."

Looking ahead to her eighth term, White said, "I am looking forward to building a new governance team with the board and superintendent and providing important opportunities for Livermore students."

A board member-elect for the first time, Prusso said she is thrilled as a lifelong learner to have the opportunity to serve LVJUSD.

"During the campaign, I was lucky to be able to meet many parents, students and citizens of Livermore. I am ecstatic that so many people are also interested and invested in the educational needs of our community," she told the Weekly.

"I was also inspired to meet the other candidates who ran spirited and informative campaigns," Prusso added. "I felt I was able to learn from each of them. I am looking forward to working with the other members of the board and the superintendent to impact all Livermore students."

Though the city of Livermore is in Alameda County, the LVJUSD does include sliver of Contra Costa County in its unincorporated boundaries.

Measure U

Livermore voters shot down the Measure U health care initiative, with 82.47% voting No compared to only 17.53% voting Yes.

The ballot measure sought to overhaul health care in the city by limiting medical care prices charged by providers to 15% above "the reasonable cost of direct patient care" -- and it tasks the city government with making sure that happens with each patient at every provider, large-scale or small, in Livermore.

The measure was spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union, United Health Workers (SEIU-UHW). The opposition campaign featured a coalition of health care providers, hospital staff and volunteers, and Livermore civic leaders, among others.

Earning victory with the defeat, the No on Measure U Campaign said Election Night, "By soundly defeating Measure U, the people of Livermore have protected local health care providers' ability to deliver high quality health care. We want to thank the Livermore City Council and the countless medical professionals and other community members who came together to help fight this ill-conceived measure. We look forward to a bright future for health care in Livermore."

SEIU-UHW backed the same type of measure in the city of Palo Alto, and residents there voted it down too, with Measure F receiving 77.44% No votes compared to 22.56% as Yes.

The union also spearheaded a similar measure statewide targeting kidney dialysis clinics. Proposition 8 lost as well, with 60.8% (No) to 39.2% (Yes).

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