California Primary: Local Races to Watch

Happy Primary Day!

There are 27 candidates for governor competing in today’s top-two “jungle primary,” including the former mayors of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Also on the ballot are eleven candidates for lieutenant governor, all 80 seats in the Assembly, 20 state Senate seats, all 53 in the House, and the seat belonging to Senator Dianne Feinstein who is facing a credible primary challenge from Kevin de León.

There are five statewide ballot initiatives to vote on as well. The League of California Cities/Citipac outlines how some of the measures would impact local governments in California. The League has endorsed Propositions 68, the Parks, Environment, and Water Bond and Proposition 69, the Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox and Appropriations Limit Exemption Amendment.

Then there are the local races. Here are just a few we’re watching today:

San Diego City Council Races

Elections are taking place for San Diego City Council Districts 2, 4, 6, and 8. In District 2, incumbent Lori Zapf is facing off against Jordan Beane, Jennifer Campbell, Randy Hahn, Kevin Melton, Bryan Pease, and Danny Smiechowski. In District 4, incumbent Myrtle Cole is facing a challenge from Neal Arthur, Monica Montgomery, and Tony Villafranca. In District 6, incumbent Chris Cate is facing off against Jeremiah Blattler, Kevin Lee Egger, Tommy Hough, Fayaz Nawabi, and Matt Valenti. In District 8, four candidates are vying to succeed termed-out Councilman David Alvarez: Zachary Lazarus, Antonio Martinez, Vivian Moreno, and Christian Ramirez.

Chula Vista City Council Races and Sales Tax Measure

Chula Vista is holding a primary for Council Districts 1 and 2. The candidates for District 1 are incumbent John McCann and Mark Bartlett. In District 2, the field is wide open. The six candidates vying to be District 2’s new council member are Steve Castaneda, Jill Galvez, Patrick MacFarland, Jesse Navarro, Steve Stenberg, and Max Zaker.

Chula Vista’s ballot will also feature a sales tax measure.

Long Beach City Council Races and Charter Amendment

Long Beach is holding a general election for its District 5 and 7 council seats, as no candidate received a majority of the votes in the April 10 primary for these districts. In District 5, the candidates are Stacy Mungo and Rich Dines. In District 7, the candidates are Robert Uranga and Jared Milrad.

Long Beach voters will also weigh in on an important measure impacting the fiscal direction of the city. The proposed charter amendment known as Measure M would allow officials to transfer utility surpluses into the city’s general fund. Read more about Measure M at the Long Beach Telegram

Irvine’s Special Cemetery Measure

Orange County veterans have been trying for years to secure a cemetery in the area, but the issue has been plauged by uncertainty and delay. On Tuesday, voters will get a chance to settle the matter once and for all. Measure B would ask voters whether they approve of an ordinance passed by the city council last year that would allow for a cemetery on strawberry fields near the intersection of I-5 and Bake Parkway.

Read more about the measure at Voice of OC

A Possible Ban on Airbnbs

It’s almost impossible to imagine a Palm Springs without short-term rentals, but it’s now a distinct possibility.

Palm Springs’ war over Airbnb is coming to a head with Measure C, which would ban home rentals for a period of less than 28 days when the owner is not present. The implications could be huge. Some 120,000 visitors to Palm Springs stayed in Airbnbs last year, according to the company.

The measure has received support from community advocacy groups which say short-term rentals have turned their neighborhoods into nightmares. But it’s receiving plenty of pushback from the industry and the city itself. Officials fear a loss of tax revenue and an unregulated short-term rental market if Measure C passes.

Read more about the debate over Measure C here

San Bernardino Mayor and City Council Races

San Bernardino is holding its primary election for mayor and City Council Wards 1, 2, and 4.

Mayor Carey Davis is defending his turf from challengers John Valdivia, Gigi Hanna, Rick Avila, Karmel Roe, Danny Tillman, and Danny Malmuth.

In Ward 1, four candidates are vying to replace retiring Councilwoman Virginia Marquez: Gil Botello, M. Castaneda, Miguel Rivera, and Theodore Sanchez. In Ward 2, incumbent Benito Barrios is squaring off against Sandra Ibarra and Cecilia Miranda-Dolan. In Ward 4, incumbent Fred Shorett is running against Jesus Medina and Alexandra Beltran.

To win an election outright, a candidate must receive over 50 percent of the vote; otherwise, the top two will square off in November.

You can read about each of the candidates’ platforms here

San Jose Primary

San Jose is holding a primary for mayor and five of its city council districts.

The candidates for mayor are incumbent Sam Liccardo, security professional Steve Brown, Quangminh Pham, and Tryone Wade.

In Council Districts 1 and 3, the incumbents are running unopposed. In District 5, incumbent Magdalena Carrasco is being challenged by Danny Garza and Jennifer Imhoff. In District 7, incumbent Tam Nguyen is facing six contenders.

The race for District 9 is wide open, with six people running to replace Don Rocha: Pam Foley, Shay Franco-Clausen, Kalen Gallagher, Scott Nelson, Sabuhi Siddique, and Rosie Zepeda.

Learn more about the District 9 candidates here. To learn about some of the local ballot measures, see this breakdown from Ballotpedia

San Francisco Mayor’s Race and Ballot Measures

One of the biggest local races this election cycle is happening in San Francisco, where eight candidates are vying to succeed the late mayor Ed Lee in a special election. He passed away unexpectedly in December, leaving a vacuum in the city and a battle for its heart and soul.

San Francisco has already seen two acting mayors and some tense infighting. Many were upset with the way London Breed (acting mayor 1) was abruptly voted out and replaced by Supervisor Mark Farrell (acting mayor 2) in January. Breed is an African-American female -- the first ever for a mayor in San Francisco. Farrell is a white male. Needless to say, the optics weren’t good.

Breed, who currently serves as President of the Board of Supervisors, will now get another shot at mayor. The seven other candidates are former supervisor and anti-discrimination attorney Angela Alioto; health practitioner Michelle Bravo; business consultant Richie Greenberg; 6th District Supervisor Jane Kim; former supervisor, assemblyman, and senator Mark Leno; activist Amy Farah Weiss; and social worker Ellen Lee Zhou. Because San Francisco has rank-choice voting for mayor, some of the candidates have formed strategic alliances.

The winner will fulfill the remainder of Lee’s term, which ends in 2020. Whoever the winner may be, one thing is for certain: housing and homelessness will be a the top of their list of priorities.

San Francisco also has some interesting measures on Tuesday’s ballot:

• Proposition A would authorize the public utilities commission to issue bonds for power facilities with two-thirds approval from supervisors.

• Proposition B would require members of boards and commissions outlined in the City Charter to resign when running for local or state office.

• Proposition C would place an additional tax on the lease of commercial property for landlords to fund early child care and education programs.

• Proposition D would authorize an additional tax on commercial properties for landlords to fund affordable housing and homeless services.

• Proposition E would prohibit local retailers from selling flavored tobacco products in San Francisco.

• Proposition F would provide legal representation for tenants facing eviction.

• Proposition H reaffirms a plan to equip the city’s police officers with tasers and would outline new policies governing their use.

• Proposition I would establish a new policy discouraging professional sports teams from relocating to San Francisco when they have been established and running profitably in another location for more than 20 years.

• Proposition G would authorize the San Francisco Unified School District to levy a new annual parcel tax on real property to fund teacher salaries, staffing etc.

• Regional Measure 3 would raise bridge tolls in the Bay Area (Golden Gate Bridge excluded) to fund the Bay Area Traffic Relief Plan.

Read more about the battle for San Francisco at CityLab and the San Francisco Chronicle

Fresno City Council

Thanks in part to a fierce battle being waged against Rep. Devin Nunes, Fresno County is expecting a larger-than-usual turnout. But there’s already plenty of local flavor to drive people to the polls.

In the City of Fresno, one of the big questions is who will replace termed-out City Councilman Oliver Baines. Seven candidates are taking a shot in the primary: Miguel Arias, Larry Burrus, Tate Hill, Daren Miller, Sean Sanchez, Craig Scharton, and Kimberly Tapscott-Munson.

Luis Chavez is running for re-election in District 5. His challengers are Jose Barraza, Paul Condon, and Paula Yang. In District 7, it’s a three-way race between Nelson Esparza, Veva Islas, and Brian Daniel Whelan.

Stockton City Council Races

Stockton has been enjoying some great press. As City News noted last week, six years post-bankruptcy, Stockton recently landed on a list of the most fiscally solvent large cities in the nation. Meanwhile, Mayor Michael Tubbs’ watershed basic income program has generated nationwide praise and intrigue.

But the city still faces some pressing social and economic issues. Crime and poverty, homelessness, policing, and the future of Swenson Park are among the top concerns for candidates running in Tuesday’s primary for Council Districts 1, 3, and 5.

In District 1, the candidates are veteran and entrepreneur J.R. Guillory, Stockton Planning Commissioner Sol Jobrack, and business owner Mike Linker. In District 3, the candidates are Councilwoman Susan Lofthus (incumbent), small business owner Paul Canepa, and community center director Ernesto Gonzalez. In District 5, the candidates are Councilwoman Christina Fugazi (incumbent), nonprofit VP Dyane Burgos Medina, and business owner Mark Stebbins.

If no candidate gets a majority, the top two vote-getters will advance to a general election in November.

Local Cannabis Measures

A number of cities have ballot measures related to commercial cannabis. Among them:

• Jurupa Valley’s Measure A would legalize marijuana businesses in the city’s Manufacturing-Service Commercial zone, provided they meet certain requirements. Conversely, Jurupa Valley’s Measure B would continue the existing ban on commercial marijuana in the city.

• Mammoth Lakes’ Measure C would impose a 1% tax on testing laboratories’ gross receipts; a 2% tax on marijuana cultivation, distribution, and manufacturing businesses; and a 4% tax on retail.

• Merced’s Measure Y would authorize a tax of $25 per square foot of cultivation space or 10% of gross receipts, whichever is greater. City officials estimate it would generate $1,000,000 annually to fund public safety services. This is a special tax so it requires a two-thirds supermajority vote.

• Nevada City’s Measure F would tax marijuana businesses at a rate of $7 per canopy square foot of cultivation space. It would also impose a tax on businesses at 8% of gross receipts and 6% for all other cannabis enterprises.

• Pasadena’s Measure CC would repeal the existing ban on commercial marijuana in the city. Measure DD would authorize a marijuana cultivation tax of $10 per canopy square foot, a tax on dispensaries amounting to 6% of gross receipts, and a tax of 4% for all other marijuana businesses. Ahead of the vote, Pasadena health officials have already launched a campaign to educate the public on the effects of cannabis use. 

• San Rafael’s Measure G would authorize the administration of a new commercial cannabis program and tax. Marijuana businesses would be taxed at a maximum of 8% of gross receipts annually. This is a special tax requiring two-thirds support. The Marin Journal Editorial Board has called it an important step forward for the city

• Weed’s Measure K would tax marijuana sales at 10% of gross receipts and cultivation at $10 to $26 per square foot of space, depending on the type of grow.

Read more about cannabis and the June 5 primary here.

Can’t get enough? Here are some further reads to keep you busy this Election Day:

In north-south matchup, Villaraigosa’s and Newsom’s mayoral records show how they might govern 

California’s Latinos and Asian Americans target city councils with district elections 

Glendale voters may change municipal elections to coincide with the state 

Tech was supposed to get political. It’s hanging back this election. 

City, county officials advocate passage of Prop. 68 in Tuesday’s election 

Burbank voters to decide on 3 ballot measures in June 

San Francisco’s Homeless Crisis Tests Mayoral Candidates’ Liberal Ideals