Marin voters decide on local offices, ballot measures

Caleigh Stephens

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While the national elections may have come up all roses for the Republican Party, there can be no doubt that the Democrats unsurprisingly won out in Marin.

The county re-elected Jared Huffman (D) to his seat in the House of Representatives by a landslide margin of 83 percent. Incumbent Marc Levine (D) won his seat as a member of the State Assembly by a similarly large margin of 73 percent.

In the wake of recent protests within the school district, Debra Turner and incumbent Caroline Van Alst won the two open seats as Governing Board Members of the Sausalito Marin City School District. Bill Ziegler, another incumbent and the founder of Willow Creek Academy, the charter school that is currently under scrutiny, lost his seat on the board.

But perhaps the most interesting part of the local elections were the propositions voted on by the county. Measure A, which would have levied a quarter-percent sales tax to fund education and healthcare for children, gained a majority of the votes with 63 percent in favor, but failed to pass as it needed a two-thirds majority. Even with backing from Huffman and Marin County Superintendent of Schools Mary Jane Burke, it failed in the face of opposition that claimed the measure supported high-density housing and that low-income families would flock to Marin for the child care.

Similarly, a majority of voters voted to pass Kentfield School District’s Measure B that would have instated a parcel tax to support the district, but the 57 percent was not enough for the measure to pass the two-thirds requirement.

With 72 percent in favor, however, Kent Woodlands passed Measure N. The measure ensures the installation of license-plate reading security cameras to keep track of vehicles entering and exiting the community. A similar program have already been put in place in Belvedere, Tiburon and the Bel Marin Keys.

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The election was also a positive one for security tax measures. Measure M in Kent Woodlands surpassed the two-thirds majority needed to continue patrols in the area. But perhaps the higher stakes security measure was Ross’s Measure K. The community passed the parcel tax supporting public safety services with 78 percent in favor, and as a result the potential dissolution of the Ross Police Department and reduction of fire services have both been avoided.

Across the bridge, San Francisco voted on some high stakes propositions as well. The city voted yes on allowing noncitizens to vote in school board elections. However, San Francisco narrowly decided, with 53 percent against and 47 percent in favor, not to lower the voting age to 16 in city elections.

By the same margin, but with 53 percent in favor and 47 percent against, San Franciscans   voted to prohibit tents on public sidewalks, taking a stance on the contentious issue of homelessness.

In another controversial issue, San Francisco voted to instate a soda tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, with 62 percent in favor. A similar tax was attempted in New York in 2010 but failed, and has been levied in a few other cities across the country, including neighboring Berkeley.