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Analysis of The MP Council Race (Complete With Predictions!)

Original post made by Tim Russert, Menlo Park: Sharon Heights, on Nov 5, 2006

Now that practically everything has been said and it’s now “up to the voters,” here’s one man’s analysis of the MP city council race:

The key to the election is the fact that – unlike recent past elections (2000, 2002, 2004) – there is NO significant driving force (that is, a Presidential or a competitive Governor’s race) that will bring out the “casual voter” to the polls (and forget the state initiatives – people aren’t really going to turn out JUST for them).

Thus, MP voters will be there to either vote specifically on the council race or if they’re interested in one of the two local Measures: J (playing fields at Bayfront) or K (the utility tax). Examining each scenario:

1) If they’re there to specifically vote on the council:
You’ve got to give the opponents slate (Robinson-Cline-Bressler) the edge. The incumbents Winkler and Duboc have ticked off way too many people in this town, particularly in the last year. As such, R-C-B have a motivated base equivalent to the “anyone-but-Bush” vote in 2004 (with the difference being that, unlike 2004 when Kerry was effectively framed in negative terms, W-D-B haven’t been able to do that effectively with “nice guys” R-C-B who haven’t made any significant missteps along the way). On the other hand, I wonder just how much support Winkler and Duboc will actually enjoy from their base. I think they’ll find out that while strong support will be there for Mr. Boyle, who has a good background and support from business types, they won’t be getting the votes they are thinking they will from their base (that is, people who voted for them last time around).

2) If they’re there to specifically vote on Measure J:
This is where W-D-B HAS to pick up votes to get elected. They have tried as hard as possible to align themselves with Measure J to try to get parents voting “Yes” on it (“for the kids”) to automatically then vote for them as well. Will it work – more than likely with such “Yes” voters. However, the real question is just how much actual support is there for Measure J. I’d say that if a voter finds out that there’s a $10-17 million price tag associated with this measure, it’s a “no-go” (and thus a no-go with voting for W-D-B). The question therefore is: How well did R-C-B and Measure J opponents get word out to parents about the price tag to discourage “yes” votes on J (my guess is that the soccer folks know fully well, given that both Robinson and Dressler are involved in the leagues, while the baseball parents don’t, as the M-A Little League head apparently send out a Measure J/W-D-B endorsing email to parents. However, as soccer seems to be more popular than baseball these days, W-D-B comes up on the short end of the stick overall.)

3) If they’re there to specifically vote on Measure K:
If a voter is coming out just to vote on Measure K, it’s gonna be a “no” vote, so it’s highly unlikely that they would vote for either Winkler or Duboc, who had this measure put up for consideration in the first place. Measure K has hardly been discussed anyway, so there’s probably a very tiny amount of voters that will come out just because of Measure K anyway.

So, all in all, the election comes down to just how many Measure J supporters there are out there. W-D-B needs more than 50%: I think it’ll be around 50% at best.

The one wild card in all this is Belle Haven. If R-C-B have been able to garner strong support (through Andy Cohen, no doubt) from the same Belle Haven community leaders that brought people out in full force when budget cuts were discussed earlier this year, then R-C-B will have a distinct advantage that will more than negate any “measure J” vote in my mind.

So finally a prediction:
Robinson and Cline from the opponents slate get in, with Robinson getting the most votes overall.
Newcomer Boyle from the incumbent slate gets in, getting the second most votes overall.
Duboc and Bressler fall short – both not that close, nor that far away from 3rd place finisher Cline.
Winkler getting a strong dose of reality with a last-place showing, trailing the 3 winners badly (and probably complaining about it in one last email to her supporters).

Anyway, there it is. Please comment – after all, we’ve got some time to kill until the votes are counted and the winners announced!

Comments (5)

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Posted by communitymom
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 5, 2006 at 10:42 pm

Your analysis is pretty good, though I believe turnout will be strong given all the propositions on the ballot -- somethingin there to motivate MANY types (pro-choicers to oppose 85, people concerned with envrironment and planning to opposed 90, Clean Tech advicates and big oil foes to support 87, etc)....

One balance these support the challengers more than the incumbent slate.

ALso feedback from all parts of Menlo Park even amoung many Republicans is not sounding good for the Slate, though some people will ticket cplit and Boyle is likely to be the beneficiary of that as he has no voting record (other than his continued support for priviatization on the Child Care Task Force as the lone vote on that 9 member body at this point, which clearly shows why he's running with Winkler and Duboc)

Threfore I think you are wrong that Boyle will get the 2d most votes. Cline will probably take that honor, but it could be close. Bressler could even edge out Boyle. That third slot will be a tight race. Turnout will be key there. I don't think the Measure J effort is going to help the incumbent slate much as people are figuring out it's $17 M price tag and environmental and maintenance nightmares.

I give the edge to Bressler. He has impressed me on the campaign trail as probably the most level headed and independent of the whole lot. I sincerely hope he gets in!

Only 2 more days and we shall see!

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Posted by Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 6, 2006 at 12:43 am

Most likely outcome in the coming election is a sweep by Bressler/Cline/Robinson.

Bressler has some unique positives that may win votes that Cline/Robinson don't pick up.

1) Only independent in the race - not Democrat/Republican
2) Only east of El Camino candidate (Linfield Oaks) other than Mickie
3) Endorsed by the Palo Alto Daily as the alternative to Mickie, for those slate voters who just can't pull the Mickie lever.
4) Only non-slate candidate not endorsed by the union

It's hard to imagine the pro union vote going to Boyle.
Bressler/Cline/Robinson are all endorsed by the Sierra Club, all apposed to Measure J - so it's hard to see the enviromental or democratic vote going to any of the slate members.

Going to be interesting on Tuesday.

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Posted by JustGuessing
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Nov 6, 2006 at 7:12 am

If you look closely at the first hit piece the union sent out, you'll see Mickie waving "bye bye" in that swirl of flushing water.

Lee's pretty innocuous, but she's also pretty vacuous, and her main contribution at council meetings has been a well-timed giggle. My best guess? She's going down with Mickie.

The other four races are harder to call, but to me, it comes down to this: which values resonate with voters? Does MP prefer the country club noblesse oblige of big bucks Boyle (who did choose to align himself with Mickie and Lee), or the integrity and enthusiasm of the three challengers? You can probably tell where my votes are going.

As for J and K: both going down. Both are flaky. And both are backed by the incumbent slate, just two more reasons we'll be bidding bye bye baby to our L and M.

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Posted by Tim Russert
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 6, 2006 at 9:57 am

CommunityMom, You do make a good point about state proposition voters likely being anti-Winkler/Duboc/Boyle (the only exception being if you really support 90, the libertarian anti-eminent domain one, you’ll probably vote for Winkler at the very least).

As far as Bressler goes, I would tend to agree that he might actually be the best of the 6 for city council but, as we all know, the best almost never get elected (see G.W. Bush - or for that matter, John Kerry being supposedly "the best" the Democrats could offer). My view is based on trying to look at things in reality, not from an "I'd like to see" perspective. Bressler attracted the least in donations and endorsements and, let’s face it, while good one-on-one, he’s not a dynamic group speaker.

Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised, however, if Boyle does come in fourth, in which case it would plainly have been his formal association with Winkler and Duboc having killed his chances (remember, after all, he is the ONLY person endorsed by both the Almanac and the Daily News).

Finally, I think the main point I was getting at is that W-D-B were "behind the 8-ball" right from the start because this election was going to just draw interest from "local voters" (those voters interested in the local issues) and not draw many (to use a real estate term) "Looky-Lous" (those interested in higher level races – or state propositions - who feel obligated to vote locally as well, but aren't as well informed in so doing).

As such, the $100K that W-D-B may have ended up spending promoting themselves through mailers and newspaper ads went mostly to waste, as they were really aimed at those "casual voters" who simply won't be there at the polls this time. The only “casual voters” W-D-B will attract are the “Measure J” voters, but I just don’t see the overwhelming support for Measure J that W-D-B are hoping for will actually be there on Tuesday.

Like this comment
Posted by Prognosticator
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 6, 2006 at 9:33 pm

Mickie and Lee are deservedly out out to pasture.

It's a toss-up between Bressler / Boyle
or Cline / Boyle for third seat.

Measure K, the utlity tax, goes down in defeat. I haven't heard anyone on favor of it. Even though there was no organized opposition, many just don't think it has any credibility given the fluctuating numbers from the city, but they'll consider it after Mickie & Lee are out.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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