While Albany’s going to pot, Richmond may be getting a new mayor and El Cerrito is in for the same old, same old.
By a 245-vote margin, voters in Albany decided to add a marijuana dispensary to the city’s list of business.
Measure D, which won 52.7 percent of the votes (2,356 yes to 2,111 no), allows for the operation of one dispensary under rules to be codified by the city council.
Voters were more enthusiastic about Measure C, a $5 million bond issue to build a new Emergency Operations Center and add sustainable features to the civic center complex. Yes votes of 3,369 accounting for 75.7 percent of the total, contrasted with the 1,081 voters turning thumbs down.
The Albany City Council race pitted two opponents of a proposed upscale mall at Golden Gate Fields against two candidates who said they were more open to waterfront development.
At least one of the anti-mall candidates has emerged a clear winner, with Marge Atkinson the top vote-getter with 2,601—32.5 percent of the total. She ran on a slate with Joanne Wile, who currently holds second place with 2,078 votes. Trailing close behind is Caryl O’Keefe, who garnered 1,969 votes—a 109-vote margin that could change as remaining ballots are counted.
The clear loser was Francesco Papalia, with 1,569 votes.
City Attorney Robert Zweben was reelected in an uncontested race.
Though severely outspent by incumbent Mayor Irma Anderson, City Councilmember and Green Party member Gayle McLaughlin is claiming victory in the fight to become Richmond’s chief executive.
Anderson, who spent over $100,000 and had the backing of RichPAC (the Richmond Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee), the Council of Industries and ChevronTexaco, the city’s biggest employer, was trailing McLaughlin by less than 200 votes Thursday afternoon—with the challenger ahead 6,243 to 6,051. Gary Bell, in third place, had 4,382 votes.
While McLaughlin emailed supporters to claim victory Wednesday night, Anderson wasn’t conceding until all the votes were counted, which should occur today, Friday.
Two incumbents won reelection to city council seats, with Jim Rogers in the lead with 8,023 votes, followed by Maria Viramontes with 7,730. The race was tighter for the third and last opening, with Ludmyrna Lopez at 6,576 votes just ahead of Courtland “Corky” Booze with 6,416. James Jenkins, the fifth place finisher in the field of six, trailed by 2,254 votes.
The clear loser was incumbent councilmember Richard Griffin, who came in last, trailing Jenkins by 23 votes.
Incumbent Miriam Walden was the front-runner in a four-way race for three seats on the Albany Board of Education. She ran on a slate with second-place finisher Jamie Calloway. The third winner was David Glasser, who held an unbeatable lead over fourth-place finisher John Kindle. Their respective vote totals were 2,753, 1,985, 1,866 and 11,288.
Both incumbents running for reelection to the El Cerrito City Council won handily in the races for reelection.
Mayor Sandi Potter came in first in the field of four candidates for the two seats, winning 4,016 votes, or 32.2 percent of the total. Following close behind was Janet Abelson, with 3,075 votes—1,230 votes ahead of third-place candidate David Boisvert. Andrew W. Ting came in last with 2,242.