Voters in six East Bay cities will go to the polls on Tuesday to elect new leaders and determine the outcome of ballot measures. In two other communities, voters must drop their ballots in the mail this week to ensure they arrive at the county elections office by a Nov. 15 deadline. Here are our recommendations:
Emeryville: Yes on Measures C and D, which would modestly increase the city's revenues from business license fees. No on Measure F, a petty and misguided initiative spearheaded by one councilman seeking to force his colleagues to contract out for attorney services. We make no endorsement in the City Council race.
Lafayette: Yes on Measure G, an $89-a-year parcel tax. This responsible financing of needed road and drain repairs involves no bond debt. The tax will end in 10 years or fewer. Even the Lafayette Taxpayers Association backs the measure.
Livermore: Based on responsiveness to voters, experience in civic affairs and knowledge of the issues facing the city, we endorse community volunteer Barbara Hickman for mayor and retired fire chief Stewart Gary and termed-out Mayor Marshall Kamena for City Council.
Newark: Yes on Measure G, with reservations. Voters should watch how the school district spends this construction bond money and recognize that they previously approved a more costly measure that property owners are still paying off. In the city elections, we endorse Ana Apodaca for mayor, Luis Freitas and Mike Bucci for City Council. With Mayor Dave Smith's retirement after 33 years, the city will see a shift in its leadership.
Pittsburg: No on Measure I, an initiative spearheaded by the Seeno development company, which wants to increase the number of homes it can build in an area already bursting with traffic congestion. Yes on Measure H, which would raise the hotel tax from 8 percent to 12 percent.
San Ramon: Voters can register their displeasure with a City Council that overpaid its city manager, ignored residents' wishes on growth and misrepresented financial details of the planned City Center project. Elect Bill Clarkson for mayor and Phil O'Loane and incumbent Scott Perkins for council.
Mail-in ballots due Nov. 15
Oakland: No on Measure H, which would amend the Oakland city charter to make the city attorney an appointed, rather than elected, position. The city attorney must offer independent advice without worrying about retribution from unhappy city officials. No on Measure I and J: City officials have no realistic long-range financial plan, yet they are asking for approval of Measure I, yet another parcel tax, this time for $80 a year, and Measure J, which would again delay repayment of a nearly half-billion dollar pension debt for just 1,155 retired police and firefighters -- a debt that should have been paid off decades ago.
West Contra Costa: Yes on Measure J, the health care district's $47 parcel tax that would raise $5.1 million annually to keep Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo afloat. That's on top of a similar $52-a-year tax voters approved in 2004. But hospital leaders must quickly develop and implement a realistic long-term cost-cutting plan to preserve West County's busiest emergency room.
For links to our expanded editorials on each of these races and ballot measures, gor to contracostatimes.com/opinion.