SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — In a low-turnout primary election in Santa Clara County Tuesday, the races for mayor of San Jose and three of five San Jose city councilmembers are headed for runoff elections this fall, Sheriff Laurie Smith was re-elected, and all eight ballot measures passed, according to unofficial results.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese and San Jose Councilman Sam Liccardo, neither of whom received a majority of votes for mayor, will face each other in a runoff election on Nov. 4.
Six candidates who finished first and second in the balloting for the open seats in City Council Districts 1, 3, and 7 will also face off that day.
Meanwhile, in the hotly contested race for council District 5, which includes East San Jose, Magdalena Carrasco received more than 53 percent of the votes, a majority and enough to unseat San Jose City Councilman Xavier Campos, who received a little more than 33 percent.
Cortese garnered more than 33 percent of city voters for mayor to Liccardo’s 25 percent. After them, the other top vote-getters for mayor were San Jose Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen with 21 percent, San Jose City Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio at almost 10 percent and Councilwoman Rose Herrera with a bit above 6 percent.
Cortese, a former San Jose councilman and vice mayor who has two years remaining in his second term as supervisor, has pitched a “three point plan” to beef-up the city’s police patrols, suppress street gangs and bring residents, businesses and schools together to resolve problems. He also advocates city-run homework centers and reading programs.
Liccardo, a one-time county deputy district attorney who relinquished his District 3 seat to run for mayor, said he wants to cut wasteful spending, reform city employee pensions, hire 200 more police officers, improve response times to medical emergencies, repair roads, reduce homelessness and have longer school days in San Jose.
Vice Mayor Nguyen gave up her District 7 seat to be a mayoral candidate.
Oliverio, who represents District 6, and Herrera, of District 8, are not up for re-election and will remain on the council.
In city council District 1, which attracted seven hopefuls, Paul Fong, topped the list with nearly 29 percent of the vote and will face Charles “Chappie” Jones, who received more than 23 percent, in November.
Raul Peralez came in first in District 3 with almost 27 percent of the final vote and will square off against second-place finisher Dan Gagliardi, who got 24.5 percent.
For the District 7 seat, top finishers Tam Nguyen, who garnered more than 33 percent, and Maya Esparza, with close to 28 percent, will oppose each other in the fall.
San Jose City Councilman Donald Rocha, representing District 9, won re-election with more than 74 percent of votes cast, the outright majority he needed to best challenger Lois Wilco-Owens who had better than 25 percent.
In the sheriff’s race, Smith garnered almost 60 percent of voter support on her way to a fifth term as sheriff, beating retired Sheriff’s Capt. Kevin Jensen, the favorite of deputy sheriff’s and corrections deputies unions who had a bit more than 40 percent following an often bitter campaign.
Smith, 61, has said the top challenges for her next term will be managing the state-required transfer of low-level prison inmates to serve their time in the county jail, suppressing gang activity and preventing youths from joining gangs.
After his defeat at the polls early this morning, Jensen, 50, said that he was proud to have been endorsed by an overwhelming majority of deputy sheriffs and other law enforcement officers in the county.
Jensen said that Smith does not work well with others and he expects there to be lingering problems during her next term.
“I think that a lot of ground had been made,” Jensen said. “I’d like to see the department getting back to serving the public.”
“There’s just a mandate that she find a new job or retire,” Jensen said. “She’s lost her way.”
Voters also rendered positive verdicts in eight measures on the county ballot.
In Los Gatos, Measure A passed with a resounding 71 percent approval.
The measure, which required only a simple majority to pass, will amend the town’s general plan, land use map and zoning code to permit a large building project planned by the video streaming company Netflix off of Winchester Boulevard.
In San Jose, better than 73 percent of voters favored Measure B, surpassing the required two-thirds majority for passage. The measure renews for another 25 years a parcel tax on property owners to raise money for city libraries to buy books and computers and provide teen, senior, reading and literacy programs.
Another winner with the required two-thirds vote was Measure C in the Milpitas Unified School District, which won passage with 73 percent of the vote.
Measure C will renew a parcel tax for an additional eight years to raise $84 million for science, math, engineering, reading and writing classes, college preparation and teacher retention for elementary, middle and high school students in the district.
In the Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union High School District, voters approved Measure E with nearly 64 percent of the vote and above the 55 percent needed for passage. The measure would sell $99 million in bonds to go toward repairing schools, upgrading science labs, adding technology, and reducing class overcrowding with new classroom sites and equipment.
In the southern part of the county, a handful of voters voted 6-3 against Measure G, a school bond measure for the San Benito High School District, which is mostly in San Benito County.
But voters in San Benito County overall approved the measure, with 56.6 percent of the total vote, just over the 55 percent minimum needed. The measure seeks to raise $42.5 million in bond sales to repair and upgrade schools, add technology and improve safety and provide access to district property for the disabled.
More than 75 percent of voters living in the Evergreen School District in San Jose passed Measure H, well above the required two-thirds vote. The measure will maintain a $100 per parcel tax for five more years to pay for science, math and technology instruction, smaller class sizes, teacher training, arts and music programs, libraries and enhancing school safety.
In San Jose’s Cambrian School District, Measure I passed with almost 72 percent, above the required 55 percent vote. That measure will sell $39 million in bonds and use the proceeds to reduce classroom sizes, upgrade fire and earthquake safety systems, modernize classroom technology, repair schools and install new heating and cooling equipment.
Measure J, before voters in the Union School District in west San Jose, captured just below 68 percent of the “yes” vote when a 55 percent was needed for passage. It asked whether the district should issue $125 million in bonds for funds to repair and renovate district buildings, update classroom technology, reduce classroom overcrowding, provide teacher training and improve science labs.
Measure K, considered by voters in the Mount Pleasant School District in San Jose, got more than the needed two-thirds vote, with more than 77 percent voting yes. The measure would renew a parcel tax to raise $95 million over seven years to spend on educational materials, libraries, technology and computer training, music and art, retain qualified teachers and other benefits for the district’s elementary schools.
In the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, that includes sections of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, voters in Santa Clara County favored the district’s Measure AA with 67.5 percent of the vote.
But the vote was too close to call early this morning since ballots cast in both counties must be added up and San Mateo County’s percentage voting for it was 65 percent, just below the required 66.66 percent to pass.
Measure AA would put $300 million in bonds on sale to raise revenue, with a maximum tax rate of $3.18 per $100,000 assessed valuation on property, to pay for improving hiking and biking opportunities, preserving redwood forests, coastline and wildlife habitat, reducing fire risk and protecting water quality in creeks.
Tuesday’s primary election drew only 20.6 percent of the county’s 805,922 registered voters, according to preliminary data from the county Registrar of Voters.
That compares to 43 percent of voters who turned out in the previous gubernatorial primary in 2010 and more than 37 percent in 2006, according to the Registrar of Voters’ website.