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November 11, 2009 > Fate of Newark elections

Fate of Newark elections

By Meenu Gupta

Mayor David Smith, the longest-tenured Mayor in the state who had no opposition on Tuesday, November 3 ballot, was re-elected to his 15th term. Council member Alan Nagy and Ana Apodaca have also been reelected. Apodaca was seeking her second term, while Nagy was running for his eighth. Both incumbents favored Measure L, while Nadja Adolf, who made her first bid for an elected position, opposed the proposed tax.

Measure L failed by a margin of 10 votes. Number of votes against the Measure were 2,364 and those in favor were 2,354. On Friday, November 6, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald directed ballots be counted again, this time by hand. Manual tally is different from recount, which must be paid for by the party making the request. Normally each county must audit 1 percent of ballots cast in each precinct before certifying the election. In this case, however, since the margin of difference was less than a half-percent, so the Registrar decided to have the ballots counted again on Monday, November 9 at the county Registrar of Voter's Office in Oakland. "With the vote count so close, I am not surprised there will be a recount. We will wait patiently for the results,'" said Margaret Lewis.

Talking about the repercussions of the failure of Measure L, City Manager John Becker said, "There will definitely be reductions in staff, reductions in programs, services, possible facility closures, possible reductions in park maintenance and street maintenance." When asked about why Measure L failed City Manager cited economy as the primary reason. "These are very difficult times to ask people to vote on a tax," he said. "I think there was misinformation on the ballot argument, that was submitted against the measure which contributed as well." Mayor Smith voiced the same opinion. "It was not a truthful campaign, incorrect information on the ballot statement contributed to it," he said.

An estimated $3.5M deficit is projected for FY 2009-10 despite the City's persistent efforts to reduce costs and increase revenues in the tough economy. Utility Users Tax expected to generate $2.6 million annually. The Council is left with having to deal with the financial gap between expected income and expenses. "This is a large gap to deal with and it will certainly mean additional layoffs and service cuts that will most likely affect every facet of the city operations. We will be asking staff to put together information on various service level reductions - this would be both financially and operationally. This truly is a serious blow to the health and welfare of our city," said Nagy. "It is going to be very difficult there will be major budget cuts this will be the toughest task I have done since being a Mayor," said Mayor Smith.

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