ODD-NUMBERED YEARS used to be the time that East Bay residents selected many of their representatives for school boards, city councils and other local offices. But, over the years, to save costs, many of those races have been merged with statewide balloting in even-numbered years.

Consequently, Tuesday's ballot is short, making for an election day that would be easy to overlook. We urge you not to make that mistake. The races and issues that remain are important.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. To find your polling place or answers to other voting questions, contact the elections office in your county. In Contra Costa, call 925-335-7800 or go to www.cocovote.us. In Alameda County, call 510-267-8683 or go to www.acgov.org/rov.

Here are our recommendations and endorsements for the East Bay races on Tuesday's ballot:

Congressional District 10: Lt. Gov. John Garamendi's long record of service in public office makes him the best choice to represent residents in the district stretching from Fairfield through much of Contra Costa and into Livermore. This special election is being held to fill a vacancy created by Rep. Ellen Tauscher's appointment as undersecretary for arms control and international security in the U.S. State Department.

Acalanes High School District: Yes on Measure G, which permanently extends an existing $189-a-year parcel tax, without which the district would be devastated.


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Albany School District: Yes on Measures I and J, which are needed taxes to preserve schools in the face of drastic cuts from Sacramento.

Emeryville: For City Council, Kurt Brinkman and Frank Flores have demonstrated records of civic involvement in leadership positions. For school district, we endorse incumbents Cheryl Webb, Miguel Dwin and Joshua Simon. And vote yes on Measure K, a reasonable increase in the business license tax on card rooms.

Newark: For City Council, incumbents Alan Nagy and Ana Apodaca, who understand the economic problems Newark faces and have taken reasonable steps to reduce spending while maintaining basic services, deserve re-election. Vote yes on Measure L, a 3.9 percent utility tax that would help Newark get through a difficult economic period and would sunset after just six years.

San Ramon: For City Council, challengers Doug Burr and Jim Brady will bring much-needed change to a local government that must display more openness and respect for the will of the voters.

Walnut Creek: Yes on Measure I, a reasonable proposal that would allow the Macerich firm, owners of the Broadway Plaza shopping mall, to construct a two-story retail building near the corner of Mt. Diablo Boulevard and South Main Street. Macerich plans to use the site to house a new Neiman Marcus store.

Walnut Creek School District: Yes on Measure H, which permanently extends an existing $82-a-year parcel tax that is more critical than ever for operations.