Yesterday was local election day in California and around the nation. For the areas I generally pay attention to, most elections were for school districts, special purpose districts, and bond measures to fund schools.
From a transportation and land use perspective, several interesting issues in San Francisco bolstered turnout to 30%, which is more than double the statewide turnout.
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition endorsed both Julie Christensen and Aaron Peskin for District 3 Supervisor and George Gascón for District Attorney. They opposed Local Ballot Measure E (“Requirements For Public Meetings”) because of the goofy requirement to require live comment time for anyone from anywhere. Peskin won the D3 seat, Gascón remains as District Attorney, and Measure E failed.
Other issues included:
- Mayor Ed Lee, who famously vetoed the “Idaho Stop” policy for the city, retains his position with 57% of the vote.
- Vicki Hennesy beat incumbent Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, no doubt due to the numerous controversie Mirkarimi has involved himself with.
- Dennis Herrera retains his position as City Attorney. Herrera’s the guy who vigorously defended San Francisco against Rob Anderson’s infamous bike plan lawsuit.
- Voters generally chose in favor of development (allow market rate development in the Mission District, remove height restrictions in Mission Rock), voted in favor of an affordable housing bond measure and another allowing affordable housing on surplus public land, and voted against a local measure to restrict AirBnB rentals.
In the city of San Carlos CA, a measure to borrow money to purchase 24 acres of the Black Mountain Spring Water site for open space failed.
Utah’s Proposition 1 to impose a 0.25 cent sales tax to fund transportation projects seems to be losing.
Street safety advocate Kevin Leeser, who ran as a write-in candidate for Ann Arbor MI city council, lost his bid for office.
Peter Kotses, who owns a local bike shop, wins a city council seat in Athens, OH.
Meanwhile, in Myanmar, people clogged the streets with cycle rickshaws during a rally to show their support for opposition leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NDL) party. The country’s first elections for a nominally civilian government take place on November 8, 2015 after a half-century of military rule. When Suu Kyi’s party won the 1990 election with 59% of the vote, the military government placed Suu Kyi under house arrest for two decades, annulled the election results, and tortured and murdered some of the other candidates who won. Previous elections show Suu Kyi and the NDL are widely popular, but hardliner Budddhist monks have become a wildcard as they organized themselves as a plainly nativist traditional-values “Association for the Protection of Race and Religion.” They’ve allied themselves with the military government amid populist claims that the NDL is anti-Buddhist.