Kernighan Reelected, Guillen Wins Peralta Seat, Ruby New Oakland Auditor

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Friday November 10, 2006

In the three major contests in this week’s election for positions in Oakland-area government, voters split the difference, with two incumbents turned out and one incumbent re-elected. 

In City Council District Two, incumbent Pat Kernighan beat challenger Aimee Allison for the third time in a little over a year, winning a full four-year term on the council. 

With last-minute absentee ballots still to be counted, unofficial results had Kernighan with 54.5 percent of the vote to Allison’s 45 percent, an 800 vote margin out of nearly 9,000 votes cast. 

In May of 2005, Kernighan won 28.8 percent of the vote over eight opponents in a special election to succeed Danny Wan, who retired in the middle of his term. Allison came in fourth in that 2005 special election with 14.2 percent of the vote. 

Last June, Kernighan beat Allison again in a three-person race, 46.1 percent to 39.3 percent. Because Kernighan did not get a majority of the vote, the November runoff between the two women was necessary. 

Some observers saw the race as a contest over who would control Oakland City Council: Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, or incoming Mayor Ron Dellums. Some thought that with Allison elected, De La Fuente might be ousted from the powerful position of the council presidency, with a councilmember more favorable to Dellums taking his place. 

However, the question of who Kernighan might support for council president when the council reorganizes next year did not become a major issue in the campaign, and the Oakland Tribune reported this week that she had not decided if she would support De La Fuente for that post. Dellums did not endorse either of the candidates in the District Two election. 


Peralta board, city auditor 

With two Peralta Community College District trustees (Linda Handy and William Riley) winning re-election without opposition, challenger Abel Guillen easily beat incumbent Alona Clifton for the Area 7 trustee seat, 54.6 percent to 44.5 percent. 

With trustee board vice president Bill Withrow of Alameda expected to succeed Handy in the board presidency, Guillen’s election will not provide any shakeup in the Peralta trustee board’s leadership (unlike the Oakland City Council, Peralta trustee officers generally rotate from year to year). However, Guillen has promised to take a more active role than Handy did in the board’s fiscal oversight of the district. 

And as expected, Roland Smith was ousted from the Oakland Auditor’s position, 64 percent to 35 percent, by challenger Courtney Ruby. 

Smith had feuded with outgoing Mayor Jerry Brown and several Councilmembers over critical audits Smith’s office made of city government activities, as well as countercharges that the auditor had mistreated several workers on his staff.