Election 2016NewsPolitics

Torlakson, Grayson runoff tops Contra Costa results


Pittsburg/Bay Point-area park district board member Mae Torlakson and Concord City Councilman Tim Grayson have advanced to a November runoff election for the Assembly seat for District 14, according to complete unofficial results from Tuesday’s primary election.

Torlakson finished with nearly 32 percent of the vote while Grayson got about 30 percent. Both are Democrats. Debora Allen, a Republican businesswoman, got about 28 percent of the vote while psychologist Harmesh Kumar got less than 10 percent.

Torlakson, serving her third term on the board of the Ambrose Recreation and Park District in Pittsburg and Bay Point, is the wife of state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

Supporters of her and Grayson have engaged in heavy negative campaigning via mailers and advertising, with Torlakson accused of mismanaging the park district’s finances and Grayson accused of improprieties regarding campaign contributions that led to his recusal from a vote on the large Concord Naval Weapons Station redevelopment project.

Susan Bonilla is being termed out of the Assembly seat for District 14, which includes much of central Contra Costa County and part of southern Solano County.

Meanwhile, A 16-year incumbent on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors did not get enough votes to avoid a November runoff with one of his challengers in Tuesday’s primary election, according to complete unofficial election results.

District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover received 35.45 percent of the vote, well short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. He will face Martinez Vice Mayor AnaMarie Avila Farias, who received nearly 31 percent of the vote.

Former Martinez Mayor Mike Menesini finished third with about 14 percent of the vote while Hercules Mayor Dan Romero got about 13 percent.

Glover, the long-entrenched supervisor of a district that includes the cities of Hercules, Martinez, Pittsburg and portions of Pinole and Antioch, as well as Bay Point, Rodeo, Pacheco, Crockett and other unincorporated communities, spent some of 2015 recovering from a heart and kidney transplant.

He has cited improved transportation infrastructure among his accomplishments as supervisor.

Farias said during the campaign though that Glover’s leadership has fallen short of voter expectations and that the district needs someone with a strong connection to its communities, citing her service on a variety of local and state task forces and commissions.

In the District 3 supervisor’s race, Brentwood City Councilman Steve Barr and East Bay Regional Parks District board member Diane Burgis appear to have moved onto a November runoff election in eastern Contra Costa County, according to unofficial results from Tuesday’s election.

The candidates are vying to fill the supervisor seat in District 3 being vacated by Mary Piepho, who is retiring after her current term ends.

District 3 includes most of Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood as well as Discovery Bay, Diablo and Blackhawk.

Six candidates were on the ballot for the seat, with Barr leading the way at about 29 percent of the vote and Burgis in second at about 22 percent.

Oakley City Councilman Douglas Hardcastle finished third with about 18 percent, while Antioch Mayor Wade Harper finished fourth with about 15 percent. Antioch City Councilwoman Monica Wilson finished fifth and county health worker Odessa Lefrancois finished six, both with under 10 percent of the vote.

In the leadup to Tuesday’s election, Barr touted his fiscal responsibility in Brentwood as well as his experience as a small business owner.

Burgis, the candidate endorsed by the retiring Piepho, has said she is a longtime champion of protecting the Delta and highlighted public safety concerns, namely a recent spate of shootings on state Highway 4 in the eastern part of the county.

In other Contra Costa county races, two measures on Tuesday’s ballot in Richmond that pitted city leaders against supposed outside business interests both appear to have been defeated, according to complete unofficial election results.

Measure N would have amended the Richmond General Plan 2030 to allow a 59-unit residential project on a site on the city’s waterfront but it only got about 34 percent approval.

Supporters of the measure, including Florida-based developer Richard Poe and other business interests, said it would include some of the region’s most environmentally friendly homes and provide jobs and tax revenue for the city.

However, opponents including Mayor Tom Butt and former Mayor and current Councilwoman Gayle McLaughlin said the measure was an attempt to skirt the normal environmental review and public planning process for the project.

Disagreement over the proposal spilled into another ballot measure, Measure O, which would have imposed limits on the annual compensation of Richmond’s city manager at an amount of no more than five times the city’s most recently reported median income.

The measure, which would have also publicized compensation paid to exempt city service officials and employees, appears to have been narrowly defeated, with 50.97 percent of voters saying no. The number of yes votes was 5,663, just 227 less than the number of no votes.

Elsewhere in the county, about two-thirds of Antioch voters approved Measure E, which only needed a simple majority to approve amending the city’s card room ordinance to prohibit them from being opened near certain facilities like addiction recovery centers or schools.

The initiative, placed on the ballot by citizens, would also effectively limit the number of card room facilities that can exist in the city to one, down from the current two, and would require that voters approve any new card room or expansion of such facilities.

Opponents of the measure, including the Antioch City Council, said it was an attempt by outside gambling interests such as the California Grand Casino in Pacheco to eliminate competition.

Supporters said though that the measure was put on the ballot because the City Council did not close loopholes in Antioch’s gambling laws and said that is something the city’s voters have asked for.

Four school district bond measures in the city appear to have passed, with Measure A in the Chabot Las Positas Community College District getting about 65 percent approval, Measure C in the Lafayette School District getting about 72 percent and Measure D in the Walnut Creek School District getting about 73 percent. All needed 55 percent approval.

Measure B in the Brentwood Unified School District was the closest of the local school district bond measures to failing, getting 55.38 percent, barely above the 55 percent threshold.

Measure G, which would have changed Antioch’s city treasurer from an elected to an appointed position, only got 37 percent of the vote.

Clayton’s Measure H, which proposed extending for another 10 years a property tax assessment to support trail maintenance, roadway landscaping and weed abatement, got well over the two-thirds vote required at 78 percent.

Measure K in Oakley also needed two-thirds approval for an annual $7.75 parcel tax to fund a new city library but only got 53.51 percent of the vote.

Measure L in Orinda barely got over the two-thirds threshold with 67.6 percent of voters saying yes to a $25 bond measure to fund repairs to failing roads and storm drains.

Measure M in Pittsburg had the largest margin of victory among the county’s measures, with more than 81 percent of voters approving the extension of a half-cent sales tax through fiscal year 2034-35. The measure needed only majority approval.


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