Page One

Two Downballot Offices Contested in November Election

J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday September 05, 2006

With the Labor Day holidays over and summer beginning to wane, public attention now turns to the elections scheduled for the first Tuesday in November. 

Statewide, the major publicity will be generated by the gubernatorial race and possibly by the attorney general’s campaign as well. Locally, the focus will be on the runoff for Oakland City Council District 2, the Berkeley mayoral, City Council, and School Board races, and the campaign for Peralta Community College District Seat 7. 

But the local ballot will have two other contested campaigns as well that are of interest and importance to local voters. Aside from the fact that many of the positions being contested have considerable power over policy and budgets, positions on lesser-followed boards and commissions can often be steppingstones to higher public office. West Oakland resident Nancy Nadel, for example, moved from a seat on the East Bay Municipal Utilities District Board to a longtime seat on the Oakland City Council and, most recently, a run for the mayor of Oakland. 


AC Transit at-large 

For a moment, it looked like this was going to be one of those powerhouse races pitting two incumbents against each other: at-large incumbent Rebecca Kaplan, a Green Party member from Oakland and activist and a labor, tenant, civil rights, and environmental attorney, against Dennis Hyashi, a public interest attorney from Castro Valley who was elected in November 2004 to serve the remainder of a four-year term for the AC Transit District Ward 4. Hyashi initially filed for the at-large seat but then ran for an Alameda County judgeship instead, coming in first in a six-candidate field and winning a spot in a November runoff against Sandra Bean. Instead of Hyashi, Kaplan will face James Muhammad of Oakland, who lost to H.E. Christian Peeples in 2004 for the other at-large AC Transit seat, winning less than 10 percent of the vote. 


AC Transit Ward 3 

This race does promise some excitement, with two candidates running with significant political experience or connections in a district that takes in all of the City of Alameda as well as a portion of the cities of Oakland and San Leandro. With incumbent Dolores Jaquez choosing not to run for re-election, the race pits challengers Elsa Ortiz of Oakland against Alameda County City Councilmember Tony Daysog. Ortiz currently serves as Special Counsel for Indian Affairs for State Senator Don Perata, and previously worked for California Attorney General Bill Lockyer both in the AG’s office as well as when Lockyer was State Senator. Daysog recently ran for the Democratic Party nomination for the 16th Assembly District seat, coming in fourth in the June primary with less than 10 percent of the vote, losing to Sandre Swanson. 



For a while, it looked like there might be a spirited race for the East Bay Municipal Utilities District Ward 4 seat, with four candidates taking out initial papers. But three dropped out, leaving Berkeley resident Andy Katz unopposed. Katz, a Berkeley Zoning Commissioner, ran unsuccessfully for the District 8 Berkeley City Council seat in 2004, losing to Gordon Wozniak. Wozniak has donated to Katz’s EBMUD race, as has Berkeley City Councilmember Laurie Capitelli, and he has also received generous donations from AFSCME locals 444 and 2019. Katz has also been recommended for Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club endorsement by the club’s executive committee. 

Also unopposed in the general election is BART Ward 4 Director Carol Ward-Allen of Oakland.