Mark Ross, Noralea Gipner lead in Martinez City Council race
By E. CLARK
MARTINEZ, Calif. – The nation wasn’t alone Tuesday night as unexpected results from the 2016 General Election also poured into Contra Costa County. Of special local interest were results from the Martinez City Council, Dist. 5 County Supervisor and Martinez Unified School District races.
Unofficial results will be updated till 5 p.m. every Friday until the election is certified, Elections Department Community Education and Engagement Specialist Paul Burgarino said in a release prior to the election. The County has until Dec. 6 to certify the Presidential Election and until Dec. 8 to certify all other items on the ballot.
As of presstime, County election results showed 50.22 percent voter turnout, with 305,123 ballots cast. There are 607,515 registered voters in Contra Costa County.
While the results are still unofficial, by Wednesday morning few results were too close to call. Most should likely stand till certification.
In the race for two open seats on Martinez City Council, hairdresser and businesswoman Noralea Gipner will join incumbent Mark Ross on City Council. As of Tribune deadline Thursday, unofficial results showed Ross in the lead with 30.20 percent of the vote, or 5,237 votes. Gipner was close behind with 29.07 percent, or 5,041 votes. Attorney Courtney Masella-O’Brien received 21.56 percent, or 3,740; and businessman/CEO John Stevens came in with 18.77 percent, or 3,256 votes.
“I’m honored to have been allowed to re-enlist as a public servant in my hometown, and that Measure D was passed by the voters as well,” Ross said of the victory. “I look forward to swiftly implementing road improvements, and making our City the best it can be. Thanks to the voters, congratulations to Noralea for her victory, and Courtney and John for a vigorously contested election. Let’s get to work on paving, progress, and open space!”
Gipner said after the successful campaign: “I’m overwhelmed, thrilled, tired, in love with my city. Martinez is my only agenda; I truly intend to work very hard for our city and want so much to get the citizens involved. We truly deserve the best we can give ourselves. My goal is to be a voice for the citizens of Martinez. Let’s just see how this all works out.”
Incumbent Federal Glover took the lead in the Dist. 5 Supervisor race, with 54.81 percent, or 24,049 votes. Martinez local AnaMarie Avila Farias, who surrendered her City Council seat to run for County Supervisor, showed with 44.75 percent, or 19,633 votes.
For Martinez Unified School District, Jonathan T. Wright led with 26.48 percent, or 3,916 votes. Close behind was longtime school board member John L. Fuller, with 25.35 percent, or 3,750 votes. Kathi McLaughlin will also join Fuller and Wright on the board, having received 24.70 percent, or 3,653 votes.
In the Mt. Diablo Unified School District, a much larger district that encompasses part of Martinez, Joanne Durkee took the lead with 31.07 percent, or 27,733 votes. Brian Thomas Lawrence also won a seat with 26.96 percent, or 24,069.
The race for Contra Costa Board of Education Area 3 is a very tight race that could well change before certification of the ballots. Daniel A. Gomes took a very narrow lead with 33.71 percent, or 15,476 votes. Vikki Janeen Chavez received 33.18 percent of the vote, or 15,230 votes. Leon Raymond Sloan was close behind with 32.44 percent, or 14,890 votes.
Lone candidate for Martinez City Clerk, R. Gary Hernandez, received 98.44 percent of the vote, or 8,022 votes in total. About 127 voters chose a write-in candidate, comprising 1.56 percent of the vote.
Incumbent Carolyn L. Robinson took a strong lead in the race for Martinez Treasurer, with 65.49 percent, or 6,180 votes. Accountant and tax preparer Charles Martin followed with 34.27 percent, or 3,234 votes.
Vying for three seats on the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District Board, Paul Herbert Causey led with 28.09 percent, or 52,341 votes. Close behind was James A. Nejedly with 27.77 percent, or 51,739 votes. The third seat will go to Tad J. Pilecki with 25.77 percent, or 48,015. Susan Noe Welsh trailed with 17.97 percent, or 33,476 votes.
In the race for BART Director in Dist. 1, Debora Allen took a huge lead with 64.03 percent of the vote, or 67,922 votes in all. Gail Murray trailed with 35.58 percent, or 37,748 votes.
In the State Assembly race, Martinez falls within Dist. 14. Voters chose Tim Grayson by a wide margin, with 62.28 percent, or 48,586 votes. Mae Cendana Torlakson followed with 37.72 percent, or 29,431 votes.
Then in the Dist. 7 race for State Senator, voters chose Democrat Steve Glazer with 67.23 percent, or 136,063. Republican Joseph Alexander Rubay followed with 32.77 percent, or 66,324 votes.
In the Dist. 3 Senate race, which also encompasses Martinez, voters chose Bill Dodd with 66.29 percent of the vote, or 14,784 votes in total. Mariko Yamada received 33.71 percent, or 7,518 votes.
Martizians north of Highway 4 will be represented by Dist. 5 U.S. State Representative Mike Thompson (D), who took a massive lead over Republican candidate Carlos Santamaria. Thompson garnered 76.48 percent, or 18,196 votes, while Santamaria trailed with 23.52 percent, or 5,597 votes.
Those residing south of Highway 4 will be represented in Dist. 11 by Democrat Mark DeSaulnier, who also took a massive lead in the race for U.S. Representative. He received 71.48 percent of the vote, or 137,617 votes; his opponent, Republican Roger Allen Petersen, received 28.52 percent, or 54,908 votes.
In the race for Senator, Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General of California, took the lead with 70.50 percent of the vote, or 183,092 votes. Loretta L. Sanchez trailed with 29.50 percent, or 76,623 votes.
In Contra Costa County, voters favored Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Executive race for President and Vice President. Clinton received 67.22 percent, or 201,936 votes. Donald J. Trump received 25.55 percent, or 76,743. By a huge margin, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson trailed with 3.21 percent, or 9,656; while Green Party candidate Jill Stein followed with 1.54 percent, or 4,638 votes. Next were the write-ins with 2.18 percent, or 6,559 votes, followed by Peace and Freedom Party candidate Gloria Estela La Riva, with .30 percent, or 888 votes.
Martinez’s Measure D received the required 2/3rds majority vote with 71.35 percent, or 8,342 voting yes. Naysayers comprised 28.65 percent of the vote, or 3,349 votes. The half cent sales tax of 15 years will provide funds for improvement and maintenance of Martinez roadways.
Measure R, the $120,000,000 bond for Martinez Unified School District, received its required 55 percent, with 66.19 percent voting yes, or 5,784 votes in the affirmative. The funds will go towards renovation of campuses and technology upgrades.
Measure X, augmenting the sales tax by 1/2 percent to raise $97 million for transportation improvements, passed – at least in the unofficial election results. At presstime, the measure received 62.54 percent of the vote, or 175,321. About 37.46 percent voted no, or 105,029.
Measure RR regarding BART safety also required 2/3rds of the vote to pass, but it failed by a narrow margin. About 59.54 percent voted in the affirmative for the measure, or 165,733. But 40.46 percent, or 112,610, voted no.
Prop 51 to fund K-12 school and community college facilities passed with 55.12 percent, or 159,120 votes.
Prop 52, a Medi-Cal hospital fee program initiative also passed with 70.03 percent of the vote, or 200,235 votes. Prop 52 will extend indefinitely an existing statute that imposes fees on hospitals to fund Medi-Cal.
Prop 53 failed, with 54.83 percent, or 154,718 voting against the measure that would have required statewide voter approval before revenue bonds exceeding $2 billion could be issued or sold.
Prop 54, requiring bills be published online for at least 72 hours prior to a vote, passed with 61.43 percent, or 173,061 votes.
Prop 55 extending temporary personal income tax increases to those earning over $250,000, passed with 63.52 percent of the vote, or 183,449 votes.
The cigarette tax to fund healthcare, prevention, research and law enforcement passed. Prop 56 received 67.78 percent of the vote, or 199,791 votes.
Prop 57 allowing parole consideration for nonviolent felons passed with 69.43 percent, or 198,802 votes.
Prop 58, requiring public school students obtain English language proficiency, also passed with 75.55 percent of the vote, with 215,014 votes.
Prop 59, regarding whether officials may propose ratifying the Constitution to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission also passed, with 56.92 percent of the vote, or 154,762. Citizens United deals with the regulation of campaign spending by organizations wherein “corporations are people.”
Prop 60, requiring adult film performers wear condoms during filming of sexual intercourse failed, with 56.90 percent voting against the regulation. About 43.10 percent voted in the affirmative.
Prop 61, prohibiting the state from buying prescription drugs from manufacturers at a price over the lowest price paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, passed with 51.39 percent of the vote, or 145,207 votes.
Prop 62 may be up for questioning as the election goes through the certification process. About 50.22 percent voted yes on repealing the death penalty and replacing it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. About 49.78 percent voted no, or 144,963 votes.
The firearms and ammunition Proposition, or Prop 63 requiring background checks and Department of Justice authorization to purchase ammunition, passed with 69.50 percent, or 203,920 votes.
California voters also approved the legalization of marijuana for use by adults over age 21, with 60.06 voting in the affirmative for Prop 64.
Prop 65, mandating the sale of carryout bags in grocery and certain other retail stores, failed. About 53.09 percent of voters said no to the statewide sale of bags.
Prop 66, changing procedures governing state court challenges to death sentences, also failed with 51.96 percent of voters casting their vote against the change. That’s 143,215 votes against.
And finally, Prop 67, the ban on single-use plastic bags, was passed with 57.03 percent of the vote, or 165,493 votes in the affirmative.