San Ramon Valley readies for primary election

Stage set for county, state, federal contests, plus regional Bay restoration tax

San Ramon Valley voters are casting their ballots in the Tuesday primary election on a variety of contests, ranging from candidates for president, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to State Senate and Assembly and Contra Costa County supervisor as well as a $25 million annual San Francisco Bay parcel tax.

Polls are set to remain open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday for in-person voting across the county for Contra Costa's 557,000-plus registered voters. To find polling places or other Election Day information, visit the county Registrar of Voters' Office website.

Vote-by-mail ballots can be turned in at any polling place during voting hours, mailed with a postmark date no later than Tuesday or dropped off in red ballot boxes at San Ramon City Hall (7000 Bollinger Canyon Road) or the Danville town offices (510 La Gonda Way) by Tuesday.

No city or town elected positions are being contested Tuesday, but there are county seats up for grabs.

Blackhawk and Diablo residents join the rest of District 3 in voting for a successor to Mary Piepho, who is retiring from the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors after 12 years.

The six candidates for the board seat are Doug Hardcastle, Steve Barr and Monica Wilson (who are from the Oakley, Brentwood and Antioch city councils, respectively), Antioch Mayor Wade Harper, Odessa Lefrancois and Diane Burgis.

If no candidate receives a majority of votes this week, the top two finishers will face off in a runoff election in November. District 3 includes most of Antioch, Oakley and Brentwood as well as Discovery Bay, Diablo and Blackhawk.

In other county races, Supervisor Candace Andersen, who represents the rest of the San Ramon Valley, is unopposed for the District 2 seat.

Four-term incumbent Federal Glover, who represents District 5 on the Board of Supervisors, is being challenged by four candidates. His district includes the cities of Hercules, Martinez, Pittsburg and portions of Pinole and Antioch as well as Bay Point, Rodeo, Pacheco, Crockett and other unincorporated communities.

Candidates for federal and state offices will also be seeking nominations to appear on the general election ballot on Nov. 8.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are the key contenders for the Democratic Party's presidential preference with Donald Trump still facing Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore for the Republican nomination on the California ballot despite all but Trump dropping out of the race.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, both Democrats, lead the long list of 34 candidates seeking to gain enough votes to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer. A third popular candidate is Tom Del Beccaro, a Republican attorney. The top two vote-getters will compete on Nov. 8 regardless of party affiliation.

The same is the case for U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Dublin Democrat seeking re-election to a third term in the 15th Congressional District (which includes San Ramon), facing lone competitor Danny R. Turner, a Republican. Both will be on the Nov. 8 ballot.

In the 11th Congressional District that includes Danville and other parts of the valley, freshman U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) is eying a second straight term, vying against lone challenger Roger Allen Petersen, a Republican and retired human resources manager.

State Sen. Steve Glazer is being challenged in his bid for re-election in the 7th District that represents the San Ramon Valley by Tyson "Guy" Moore, a fellow Democrat and president of the Mt. Diablo Education Association, and Joseph A. Rubay, a Republican and real estate appraiser. Those receiving the top two votes will move on to the general election on Nov. 8.

State Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, a Republican, is facing former Pleasanton City Councilwoman Cheryl Cook-Kallio, a Democrat and retired teacher. Again, because they are the only two candidates in the race, they will see each other again on the Nov. 8 ballot regardless of how many votes each receives.

Voters in Contra Costa County join others throughout the Bay Area in deciding a $25 million annual parcel tax for 20 years to pay for a San Francisco Bay clean water program.

A two-thirds voter approval will be required to approve the Measure AA parcel tax being sought by the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority. That would authorize a parcel tax of $12 a year for the next 20 years on all properties in Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Marin counties, which are considered part of the Bay Area.

The tax, which would automatically expire in 2037, is designed to restore wetlands near the San Francisco Bay. It would produce about $500 million in revenue over 20 years and would be the first local parcel tax in the history of the state to be levied throughout an entire region and multiple counties.

There's also an Alameda County election with impacts on part of San Ramon, as seven candidates are vying for three available seats on the board of directors for the Zone 7 Water Agency, formally called the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District.

While Zone 7 sells water to the Dublin San Ramon Services District, which then serves parts of San Ramon and Dublin, voters in San Ramon cannot cast ballots for Zone 7 board members because it is an Alameda County agency.

The board oversees the water wholesale agency that serves much of the Tri-Valley's municipalities and water agencies. Zone 7 also provides flood protection for the Amador and Livermore valleys. The race is not partisan.

The candidates include three incumbents who are seeking re-election: Sandy Figuers, owner of a geology/engineering firm; Angela Ramirez Holmes, owner of a political consulting and public affairs firm; and Dick Quigley, a retired Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory senior logistics coordinator.

The others are Alfred Exner, a financial analyst; Victor Karpenko, a mechanical engineer; Eric Thiel, an Amador Valley High School biology teacher; and Jacqueline Williams-Courtright, owner of Alden Lane Nursery.

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