LIVERMORE -- Voters elected Councilman John Marchand their next mayor on Tuesday, but rejected termed-out Mayor Marshall Kamena for a spot on the city council.
Livermore parks district board member Laureen Turner and former fire Chief Stu Gary won the two open city council seats. Kamena placed last in the city council race, finishing just behind losing candidate Bobby Burger.
With all 16 precincts reporting, Marchand won with 47.8 percent of the vote. A chemist for the Alameda County Water District, Marchand was first elected to the council in 2005 after serving 15 years on the Zone 7 Water Agency board.
Barbara Hickman, a community activist who worked on the Keep-BART-on-580 initiative, got 46 percent of the vote. College student Minuete McKernan got 6.2 percent of the vote.
"There were several visceral and litmus-test type issues that were very difficult to overcome ... I believe that (voters) saw through the single issues and understood the importance of good governance" Marchand said. "I think that Livermore is going in a great direction right now and I don't see it changing."
Turner, a nurse who was elected to the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District's board of directors last year, got the most city council votes, winning 28 percent of ballots. She took a different message from the election.
"The message in my opinion that the voters are sending is that they can't be bought and that they want a change," Turner said. "Livermore is
Gary, retired chief of the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department and a Livermore school board member, got 26.5 percent of the vote. The contentious issues of the election show how important it is for elected officials to listen, he said.
"I think that's healthy that we did have a good discourse," Gary said. "Each side needs to ... do a better job listening and respecting various viewpoints. I hope that we all put the election stress behind us and focus on what's best for Livermore."
Outgoing Mayor Marshall Kamena, who was seeking a council seat, got 22 percent of the vote. Kamena, an optometrist who has spent a decade in the mayor's chair, was barred by term limits from seeking it again.
Bobby Burger, an Air Force veteran and credit union marketing officer, got 23 percent of the vote.
This election is done, but it created three more vacancies on public boards in Livermore: the remaining two years of Marchand's council seat, Gary's school board seat, and Turner's parks board seat.
"The shuffle continues," Gary said.
Even though all seven candidates came to agree that the long-awaited BART extension to Livermore should be built in the median of Interstate 580, Kamena and Marchand drew fire during the campaign for their earlier support of a BART route through downtown Livermore.
In July, after more than 8,000 signatures had been collected for a petition to keep BART on the interstate, Kamena and Marchand joined a 3-2 council majority to rescind that earlier decision and adopt the petition outright rather than holding a vote.
Turner said she thought the BART issue was still critical to the election.
She said voters didn't believe the council's change of heart about the BART route. "They didn't believe them. They didn't buy it," Turner said. "They want a council that will listen to the people."
Other candidates also criticized the incumbents for the financing of the planned 2,000-seat regional theater downtown. City officials have said the theater, the price of which -- with financing costs -- would come to about $184 million over the next 30 years, is largely a done deal. Barring a complete shutdown of redevelopment agencies by the state, the popular project likely will go forward as planned.
However, in a doomsday scenario, should multiple financial layers protecting the general fund fail, the city would be on the hook for the payments -- a council decision Burger, Turner and Hickman criticized, and Gary and McKernan said they would handle cautiously if elected.
Marchand and Kamena say the risks are outweighed by the theater's potential to inject more than $20 million a year into the local economy.
Contact Paul Thissen at 925-847-2122. Follow him at Twitter.com/pthissen.