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Measure A Fails, Fujioka and Pearson are Top Vote-Getters

City council candidate Bob McBain garnered 51 more votes than Tim Rood for an unofficial win. School board winners: Pearson, Swenson, Raushenbush. Winners talk about their priorities when they take office.

 

Updated at 10:52 p.m.

Returns from Tuesday's Piedmont Municipal Election show Margaret Fujioka the clear leader among the three candidates competing for two seats on the Piedmont City Council. Bob McBain appears to have won the second seat, with 51 more votes than third-place finisher Tim Rood.

Measure A, the sewer tax surchange, was defeated, winning just over half the votes cast. It needed a two-thirds majority to win.

Sarah Pearson, Andrea Swenson and incumbent Rick Raushenbush captured the three school board seats.

The election was wrapped up by 9:45 p.m. Vote-by-mail ballots that were handed in at polling places today will be counted tomorrow, with final unofficial results available about 4 p.m., according to Alameda County Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald.

The totals include 2,384 vote-by-mail ballots returned to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office by 8 p.m. Tuesday and 1,142 ballots cast in person Tuesday at Piedmont's six precincts. Total ballots cast were 3,526, or 43.12 percent of Piedmont's 8,178 registered voters.

Results

With all six Piedmont precincts reporting, Fujioka had 2,301 votes, 39.52 percent of the total. Bob McBain received 1,786 votes (30.68 percent), followed by Tim Rood with 1,735 votes (29.80 percent).

Among the field of five Piedmont Unified School District candidates, Sarah Pearson led with 2,618 votes (32.13 percent), followed by Andrea Swenson with 2,370 votes (29.08 percent). Incumbent Rick Raushenbush won the third school board seat with 1,998 votes (24.52 percent).

Jon Elliott trailed in fourth place with 1,050 votes (12.89 percent), and Nancy "Sunny" Bostrom had113 votes (1.39 percent).

Measure A, the sewer tax surcharge, failed with 1,699 "yes" votes (50.93 percent) and 1,637 "no" votes (49.07 percent). The measure needed a two-thirds majority approval to pass.

CITY COUNCIL

"I want to wait until all the ballots are counted," Bob McBain told Piedmont Patch Tuesday night. "There are some provisional ballots out there. We feel very positive, but are going to wait until we have the final results."

He said he'll wait to celebrate. On Wednesday, he said, he'll just take the day off.

McBain said one thing at the top of his agenda is to get the city’s financials in order.

"That’s been my priority from day one," he said.

"I’m not surprised but really impressed by how well informed Piedmont citizens are about the issues," he added.

"I walked a lot of precincts and communities in this town and I was always struck by how well-informed people were and how intelligent their questions were. That was very compelling to me.

"That was the best part of the whole campaign, to talk to people about their concerns and issues. You know, I'd say 'Hey, voters are a lot smarter than I am.' I had no problem saying that, they really know what’s going on."

"We're very pleased," Margaret Fujioka told Piedmont Patch shortly after the first returns were released.

"We look forward to more results in. We’re cautiously optimistic. Right now people are celebrating here and having a great time and we're hoping that we will have a continued celebration when we have the final results."

Fujioka was hosting an election party at restaurant on Piedmont Avenue.

"Things are going extremely well and I am grateful for all the support I received, they’re all here tonight," she said.

Fujioka said her first prior if re-elected will be municipal finances, the central issue of her campaign.

 "I intend to move forward on several of the recommendations of the Municipal Tax Review Committee including pension reform," she said.

"We're going to make sure the city’s finances are in good shape for the future, that's my first priority. My second priority is continuing to increase public safety in Piedmont.

"The race has been extremely energetic, surprisingly and very welcome. I'm very happy to see it’s been a very positive race for the most part.

Our campaign has really focused on high energy and putting out a positive message and focusing on the issues, and I think that has resonated with voters."

SCHOOL BOARD

Sarah Pearson, top vote-getter in the school board race, was celebrating Tuesday night at the home of Sue Smegal, whom she called "my inspiration and honorary chair."

"Eighty supporters are here, all of whom have volunteered during the campaign," she said. "I’m pleased, I feel optimistic and flattered from the numbers we’re seeing.

What surprised her about the campaign?

"I was impressed by the sense of civic engagement and pride of so many citizens, people that I had never met who donated and became involved in the campaign," Pearson said.

"The other really wonderful thing that happened as the campaign progressed was the extraordinary generosity and creativity and talent of my many friends and neighbors who helped me in innumerable ways.

"What surprised me was the children’s involvement, the spontaneous sign waving on the streets, the grass roots support."

Andrea Swenson expressed relief that the campaign was over.

"I'm happy, and also kind of relieved that it’s about to be over," she said. "I'm excited about starting the real work. It's been about four months since I filed my papers. Campaigning has been fun but now I’d like to roll up my sleeves and get involved.

"I didn’t realize I’d get so many questions. I had to answer a lot of questions [from the media and other organizations], I didn’t expect that. But I’m glad that I had to answer all those questions because it was like cramming for an exam. I’m very appreciative of all that."

The first issue she plans to tackle when she takes office?

"Probably the budget, it's the overriding issue," Swenson said.

"I also have this pet project of technology in the schools, and they're a bit at odds, the two issues. Basically making sure that we can weather these hard economic times and planning for the future."

Before that happens, Swenson plans to take a couple of days off -- "curl up on a sofa and read a book for a few days."

Rick Raushenbush, who won re-election for a second term on the school board, said he intends to focus on maintaining the district's budget despite new funding cuts.

"Second, focusing on our teacher evalution process to improve student learning," he said.

"And thirdly, finishing off our seismic program."

He has no special plans to celebrate his victory.

"We’re gathered tonight with some friends, enjoying seeing them and thanking the people who’ve helped me on this campaign," he said Tuesday evening.

For detailed returns, see "Piedmont Municipal Election Results."

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