Counties release official election results

Seventy percent of voters turn out for midterms

Exactly one month after Election Day, the results of the Palo Alto city and school district races and measures that came before voters have been certified. The final numbers affirm who will serve fresh terms, the new rules for the city of Palo Alto and Palo Alto Unified School District, and how local agencies will fund certain projects.

Palo Alto City Council, city measures

The Palo Alto City Council results remain largely unchanged from Nov. 6. Newcomer Alison Cormack topped the candidate field, earning one of three seats on the council, which is dwindling from nine members to seven members. She received 18,581 votes, which is equal to 28.57 percent of all votes cast in that race. Incumbents Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth came in second place (with 15,454 votes, or 23.76 percent) and third place (with 14,865 votes, or 22.86 percent), respectively. Councilman Cory Wolbach lost his seat, garnering 11,692 votes (17.98 percent), while veteran TV reporter Pat Boone came in last with 4,446 votes (6.84 percent).

The city will see its hotel-tax rate rise from 14 percent to 15.5 percent under Measure E, which collected 20,547 votes in support of the ordinance, or 68.96 percent. With the increase, Palo Alto has the state's highest transient-occupancy-tax rate. The funds will be used to help fund the City Council's 2014 infrastructure plan. In contrast, Measure F, which would have put City Hall in charge of regulating health care costs for local medical providers, was struck down by a resounding 22,463 votes, or 76.49 percent.

Palo Alto school board, district measures

The Palo Alto Board of Education will see board member Ken Dauber return and attorney Shounak Dharap join the board, replacing outgoing member Terry Godfrey. Dauber held on to his seat with 14,474 votes (equal to 27.05 percent of all votes) and Dharap garnered 12,445 votes, or 23.26 percent, for the second open seat. Early on, Dharap was in a close tie for second place with special education advocate Stacey Ashlund and parent Kathy Jordan. Ashlund, who conceded the race on Nov. 16, had 11,302 votes, or 21.12 percent, and Jordan ultimately took fourth place with 10,980 votes, or 20.52 percent. Recent Palo Alto High School graduate Alex Scharf came in fifth with 3,933 votes, or 7.35 percent, and after-school program director Christopher Boyd garnered 370 votes, less than 1 percent.

Residents were largely supportive of the school district's two measures on the ballot. Measure Y, which limits board members to two four-year terms, won 24,009 "yes" votes, or 73.19 percent. Measure Z, a $490 million bond measure to finance facilities improvements districtwide, passed with 23,013 votes, or 69.36 percent.

East Palo Alto City Council, city measures

Seven candidates ran for two open seats in East Palo Alto's City Council race. Newcomer and tech executive Regina Wallace-Jones received 2,370 votes or 25.65 percent of all votes cast and incumbent Mayor Ruben Abrica garnered 2,317 votes or 25.07 percent. Incumbent Donna Rutherford lost her seat but came in third place with 1,327 votes or 14.36 percent. Contenders Patricia Ape Finau Lopez took 1,082 votes or 11.71 percent; Court Skinner received 997 votes or 10.79 percent; Bernardo Huerta came in with 761 votes or 8.24 percent; and Randal Fields received 387 or 4.19 percent of the vote.

Voters approved Measure HH, the city's commercial-property parcel tax, by a whopping 4,366 votes, or 79.58 percent.

Ravenswood City School District Board of Education

In the hotly contested Ravenswood City School District Board of Education race for three open seats, incumbent and Board President Ana Pulido received 2,469 votes or 14.54 percent of the total votes cast. Tamara Sobomehin, who works with youth technology nonprofit StreetCode Academy, took the second seat with 2,370 votes or 13.96 percent. The third seat, which proved to be a tight race, went to Stephanie Fitch, a nonprofit curriculum manager for Summit Public Schools in Redwood City, who secured her spot with 2,342 votes or 13.80 percent. The other candidates who did not win seats included Laura Nunez with 2,298 votes or 13.54 percent; Maria Victoria Chavez with 1,320 votes or 7.78 percent; current board member Charlie Mae Knight with 1,295 votes or 7.63 percent; Julian Alberto Garcia with 1,286 votes or 7.57 percent; Nicole Sbragia with 1,244 votes or 7.33 percent; current board member Marcelino Lopez with 1,211 votes or 7.13 percent and Brooke Crosby with 1,142 votes or 6.73 percent.

Read reactions from the newly elected Ravenswood board members here.

Regional races

Outgoing Palo Alto City Councilwoman Karen Holman easily won the Ward 5 seat on the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board of directors with 14,603 votes, or 70.15 percent. She was pitted against fellow council member Greg Scharff, who walked away with 6,215 votes or 29.85 percent. Holman will succeed Nonette Hanko, a Palo Alto resident who founded the district in 1972 and is retiring from the board. The ward seat represents East Palo Alto and portions of Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Stanford.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith secured a sixth term with the countywide law-enforcement agency with 294,500 votes, or 55.74 percent. She was in a runoff race with her former Undersheriff, John Hirokawa, who garnered 233,877 votes, or 44.26 percent.

More Santa Clara County voters came out for this year's midterm election than for the prior two. The county saw 70.61 percent of voters (equal to 625,425 residents) cast a ballot, a jump from 50.18 percent (404,166 residents) in 2014. In 2010, the county saw a voter turnout of 67.16 percent (equal to 523,427 voters).

Visit our Wakelet page for our complete coverage prior to this year's election through articles, photos and videos.


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

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