Here are the three biggest surprises of Tuesday’s local elections:
1. David Rabbitt’s significant victory in the 2nd Supervisorial District race. Many felt Pam Torliatt might win this election outright in the June primary. She earned 40 percent of the vote, meaning she only needed to pick up 10 percent from the votes from of third- and fourth-place finishers Mike Healy and John King. But that did not happen. Even though Healy made no endorsements in this race and King ran as an official write-in candidate, Rabbitt seemed to pick up almost all of their votes plus some. Torliatt received about 50 percent more votes from the primary, while Rabbitt, who picked up the endorsements of current supervisors Mike Kerns and Valerie Brown this time, doubled his vote count.
2. The success of Measure P, the quarter-cent sales tax measure in Santa Rosa. This won with about 57 percent of the vote. I did not see that coming. At best, I would have guessed that it would be close and come down to the counting of late absentees. There was virtually no organized campaign for Measure P – in a year voters were unwilling to support other tax and fee increases, including Proposition 21 on the state ballot and Measure W, the local $10 vehicle license fee for transit. But this, combined with similar wins in Rohnert Park and Cotati, shows locals are willing to help their cities out with their budget troubles – and prevent more cuts.
3. The results in Rohnert Park. I expected former City Manager Carl Leivo was going to do much better, given the strong support he received from public safety unions and the money he was spending. We won’t know the final spending numbers for a while. But according to the most recent filings, the Rohnert Park officers association spent nearly $20,000 just in he first half of October on the campaigns for Leivo and Planning Commission Chairman John Borba. Borba finished third in the race for two seats while Leivo finished fourth.
Note: In our online chat today, Rohnert Park City Councilman Jake Mackenzie, no fan of Leivo, speculated that the politically active former city manager could make another run for City Council in 2012 – when Mackenzie’s term expires. Mackenzie’s response: “That might force me to run again. Bring him on- Paul Gullixson