Not surprisingly, the Measure K election in Pleasanton looks to have come down to just a couple of hundred votes with some mail-in ballots still to be counted.
With all precincts reporting, the yes side to uphold the City Council’s approval of 43 homes on Lund Ranch was passing 51-49 percent. The raw unofficial tally showed just 264 votes out of more than 13,000 counted separated the sides. It speaks to the rampant confusion that the No on K side encouraged with language such as “developer, hillside sprawl.”
That implies limited open space when the council approval required 177 acres of permanent open space that will be publically accessible because the homes are clustered in a valley on the property. The issue boiled down to people living in two neighborhoods who did not want any more traffic through their development and, coupled with a few others, managed to hire signature gatherers and get the measure on the ballot.
For people who have followed homebuilders’ proposals for years, it was a compromise between folks living in Ventana Hills where Independence Drive will be extended to connect to Lund Ranch and the folks off Sycamore. The council and the city staff worked hard to produce a plan that was for fewer units than the underlying zoning.
Assuming the margin holds up, then Pleasanton will get a few more homes and significantly more open space.
The various education bonds in the valley contained few surprises other than how well voters will buy anything that the Chabot Las Positas Community College District puts on the ballot. Unlike the existing ballot measure that was necessary to both rehabilitate the aging Chabot campus and build out the Las Positas campus in Livermore, this one had far less urgency (public agencies always can figure out a “need.”)
The East Bay Times, which does a good job of scrutinizing bond measures, opposed the bond. That did not matter to voters with 75 percent voting to approve it, way more than the 55 percent necessary.
The situation was similar with school bond issues in Livermore and Dublin both passing. Livermore met the old two-thirds standard with 69 percent of the vote, while Dublin’s very needed bond received 59 percent, four points more than the 55 percent needed to pass.
In the state elections, Republican incumbent Catharine Baker topped former Pleasanton City Council woman and high school civics teacher Cheryl Cook-Kallio, 54-46. They will face off again in November and who knows what the turnout will look like with a Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump race at the top of the ballot. If the cranky socialist senator from Vermont was on the ticket, that would help with younger people-but time will tell with that one.
And when it came to who will replace the retiring Senator Barbara Boxer, what was striking is how easily Attorney General Kamala Harris ran away from a 34-person field with 40 percent of the vote. Democrat Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez from Orange County was second with 18 percent, the only other candidate to reach double-digits. So, it will be two Democrats vying in November with Sanchez facing huge uphill battle. As for the Republicans, the three running were non-factors.