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Transportation Sales Tax Measure Still Trails

Alameda County workers labored through the weekend to tally remaining ballots, but several thousand remain to be tabulated. For Piedmont, the outcome of Measure Y is unaffected by the latest tabulation.

Bay City News Service—Three hotly-contested ballot measures in Alameda County — two in Berkeley and one countywide — are still trailing by narrow margins in updated results announced at about 4:40 p.m. Monday.

Alameda County Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald said the counting of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots "is going extremely well" and he hopes the process will be mostly completed by the end of the day on Tuesday. However, the results won't be final and certified until Dec. 4.

Macdonald said his staff worked throughout the weekend and Monday, even though it was a county holiday, and have counted most of the 100,000 vote-by-mail ballots that hadn't been tabulated on election night.

But he said his staff is still slowly tabulating at least several thousand remaining provisional ballots and is closely examining vote-by-mail ballots that were damaged. That process is "time-consuming," Macdonald said.

A countywide measure that would double Alameda County's transportation sales tax to a full 1 cent remains just short of the 66.6 percent, or two-thirds majority, it needs to pass.

Measure B1 has received 65.8 percent of the vote in the most recent update, with 34.2 percent opposed.

The county's transportation sales tax was first passed in 1986. Measure B1 would make the tax permanent and increase if from a half-cent to a full 1 cent.

It would raise money to increase spending on roads, freeways, public transit, bicycle and pedestrian improvements and transit-oriented developments.

Opponents said in their ballot argument that the measure is "a massive tax increase" that would disproportionately harm working families because a greater percentage of their income goes to sales taxes.

Piedmont Results

Although Monday's tally added more than 1,800 Piedmont votes to Election Night totals, the outcome of Measure Y — the parcel tax increase — was unaffected. The latest tabulation shows Measure Y with 68.36 percent "yes" votes (4,491 votes), well above the necessary two-thirds approval level, and 31.64 percent "no" (2,079 votes). "Yes" votes dropped less than half a percentage point in the newly reported results.

Berkeley Ballot Measures

The closest measure is Measure T, which would allow more flexibility in the development of large parcels of land in West Berkeley. The measure trailed by 123 votes election night, edged to a 1-vote lead on Thursday and is now trailing by 472 votes. In percentage terms, it's trailing by a margin of 50.5 to 49.5.

Another closely-watched measure in Berkeley, Measure S, which would ban sitting on sidewalks in the city's commercial areas from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., is now trailing by 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent and by 1,687 votes.

Supporters say the measure is needed to reduce the number of street people who loiter in front of stores because they scare customers away and hurt business. But opponents say the measure discriminates against people who happen to be poor and the city already has an ordinance that prohibits people from lying on the sidewalk during daytime hours.

Copyright © 2012 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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