All local measures pass — except Rio Dell’s road bonds
By Charles Douglas
Another whirlwind set of national, state and local campaigns have come to an end as the 2012 General Election has come and gone.
Incumbent Barack Hussein Obama was re-elected President by over 2 million votes (58,331,418) over former Massachusetts Governor Willard “Mitt” Romney (56,214,017), while former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson scored over a million votes (1,087,503) as the Libertarian nominee, the best third party showing since Ralph Nader in 2000. The Green Party’s Jill Stein finished a distant fourth place with 368,324 votes.
Obama won nearly all the so-called “swing states” which play a key role in Electoral College calculations, while Florida was the only state still too close to call as of press time, with Obama hanging on to a 42,836 votes lead over Romney — a margin less than the 43,397 cast for Johnson thus far.
In Humboldt County, the nail-bitter of the night was the Eureka City Council race for the contested Second Ward seat, where incumbent Linda Atkins, the lone liberal remaining in office in the county seat, fended off a strong challenge from Republican Central Committee stalwart Joe Bonino.
Atkins received 3,935 votes (50.75%) over 3,727 (48.07%) for Bonino, while 35 write-in votes (0.45%) were cast for Charlie Bean. This was despite a nearly two-to-one fundraising advantage for Bonino, who received the unanimous endorsement of the rest of the Eureka City Council along with campaign bucks from Supervisor Rex Bohn and noteworthy developers such as Kurt Kramer and Bill Barnum.
In Eureka’s Ward Four, appointed incumbent Melinda Ciarabellini received only 67% as an unopposed candidate, while 2,486 ballots were apparently cast blank.
The race in Fortuna was no contest, as Mayor Doug Strehl cruised to re-election with 2,675 votes (47.2%), while the second at-large seat will go to newcomer Tami Gillam-Trent 1,817 (32.0%). Notably pro-big box candidate Josh Brown was a distant third at 1,141 (20.1%).
Ferndale wins the prize for the strangest result of the night — the Victorian Village is the only municipality besides Eureka to directly elect its Mayor, and Ken Weller is tied with Stu Titus in this race with 287 votes each. Unqualified write-in candidates received 22 votes, while two votes were apparently “over votes” where voters attempted to vote more than once in this race.
In local ballot measures, Fortuna citizens gave the thumbs up to a new round of school bonds; Measure D gets 4,095 (60%) support, while it needed 55% to win; 2,732 (40%) were opposed.
Arcata Elementary School District voters passed a pair of measures to fund local education. Measure E, a school parcel tax which needed to surpass two-thirds support as a property tax, grabbed 3,811 (77.3%) against 1,118 (22.68%); Measure F, which will issue school bonds for the district, passed with 3,610 (74.8%) in favor and 1,217 (25.2%) opposed.
Trinidad will maintain its status as tied for the highest sales tax in the county — Measure G, which keeps in place the 0.75% additional sales tax rate, passed with 97 votes (55.4%) in favor and 78 votes (44.6%) against.
In a purely symbolic move, Arcata decided to declare that corporate personhood no longer existed in the city — except in cases where such a local ordinance was preempted by state law, which is essentially a permanent situation so long as corporate personhood is recognized in the California Corporations Code. Measure H, the so-called “Corps Ain’t Peeps” campaign by former Arcata Councilmember Dave Meserve, passed with 5,140 (81.6%) against 1,162 (18.4%).
Arcata might not like corporations, but small time growers are also on the hit list, as Measure I, which imposes a huge tax on “excessive” energy use, passes with 4,287 (69%) in favor and 1,930 (31%) against.
The only failed local measure? Poor Rio Dell, whose second attempt at a street repair bond falls well short of two-thirds support. Measure J garnered only 492 votes (54.9%) with 404 (45.1%) against.
In the North Coast’s new Second Congressional District, Marin-area Assemblymember Jared Huffman (Dem.-San Rafael) cruised to victory with 151,010 (69.8%) over 65,359 (30.2%) for Mill Valley investment banker Dan Roberts.
Wes Chesbro (Dem.-Arcata), who has spent 12 years in Sacramento representing the region, will have one last term in the State Assembly, as he garnered 75,164 (63.1%) votes. Sonoma County Planning Commissioner Tom Lynch made a respectable showing, for a candidate with no money, receiving 43,979 (36.9%).
Statewide, the sales and income tax increase package known as Prop. 30, which Governor Jerry Brown (Dem.-Oakland) staked his political career on, appears to be passing after trailing early on Election Night. Also passing are Prop. 35, to enhance human trafficking penalties, Prop. 36, to reform the Three Strikes law, Prop. 39, to increase taxes on out-of-state businesses, and Prop. 40, a referendum approving the State Senate maps developed by the Citizens Redistricting Commission.
|Yes||30||Temporary Taxes to Fund Education||4,233,202||53.5%||3,684,802||46.5%|
|No||31||State Budget, State and Local Government||2,934,526||39.7%||4,458,524||60.3%|
|No||32||Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction||3,463,115||44.4%||4,334,258||55.6%|
|No||33||Auto Insurance Prices Based on Driver History||3,486,043||45.4%||4,187,907||54.6%|
|Yes||36||Three Strikes Law||5,327,115||68.7%||2,425,226||31.3%|
|No||37||Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling||3,643,910||46.5%||4,194,469||53.5%|
|No||38||Tax for Education. Early Childhood Programs||2,117,872||27.4%||5,609,815||72.6%|
|Yes||39||Business Tax for Energy Funding||4,545,866||59.9%||3,043,648||40.1%|
|Yes||40||Redistricting State Senate||5,266,033||72.0%||2,048,272||28.0%|