-By Bay City News Service
Three hotly-contested ballot measures in Alameda County -- two in Berkeley and one countywide -- are still trailing by narrow margins in updated results announced at about 4:40 p.m. today.
Alameda County Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald said the counting of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots "is going extremely well" and he hopes the process will be mostly completed by the end of the day on Tuesday.
However, the results won't be final and certified until Dec. 4.
Macdonald said his staff worked throughout the weekend and today,
even though it was a county holiday, and have counted most of the 100,000 vote-by-mail ballots that hadn't been tabulated on election night.
But he said his staff is still slowly tabulating at least several thousand remaining provisional ballots and is closely examining vote-by-mail ballots that were damaged.
That process is "time-consuming," Macdonald said.
The closest measure is Measure T, which would allow more flexibility in the development of large parcels of land in West Berkeley.
The measure trailed by 123 votes election night, edged to a 1-vote lead on Thursday and is now trailing by 472 votes.
In percentage terms, it's trailing by a margin of 50.5 to 49.5.
Measure T would amend the West Berkeley Plan and the city's zoning ordinance for areas west of San Pablo Avenue.
It would allow buildings 75 feet high on six large parcels in West Berkeley. However, projects couldn't be built until the City Council adopts rules requiring developers to provide community benefits, such as affordable housing or job training requirements.
Supporters say the measure would create jobs and allow property owners to develop unused lots with the potential to generate millions of dollars in revenue to the city to pay for enhanced amenities and services to the community.
But opponents say big new buildings would create an eyesore in the area and force rents to increase, making it less affordable for artists who currently work in the area.
Another closely-watched measure in Berkeley, Measure S, which would ban sitting on sidewalks in the city's commercial areas from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., is now trailing by 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent and by 1,687 votes.
Supporters say the measure is needed to reduce the number of street people who loiter in front of stores because they scare customers away and hurt business.
But opponents say the measure discriminates against people who happen to be poor and the city already has an ordinance that prohibits people from lying on the sidewalk during daytime hours.
A countywide measure that would double Alameda County's transportation sales tax to a full 1 cent remains just short of the 66.6 percent, or two-thirds majority, it needs to pass.
Measure B1 has received 65.8 percent of the vote in the most recent update, with 34.2 percent opposed. The county's transportation sales tax was first passed in 1986. Measure B1 would make the tax permanent and increase if from a half-cent to a full 1 cent.
It would raise money to increase spending on roads, freeways, public transit, bicycle and pedestrian improvements and transit-oriented developments.
Opponents said in their ballot argument that the measure is "a massive tax increase" that would disproportionately harm working families because a greater percentage of their income goes to sales taxes.
In another close race, San Leandro City Councilwoman Ursula Reed still has a narrow margin over Morgan Mack-Rose, who was one of two candidates who challenged her in the District 2 race.
On election night, Reed was only ahead of Mack-Rose by 97 votes but as of 5 p.m. Sunday her lead had grown slightly to 405 votes.
The counting reflects the results of ranked-choice voting in which votes that initially went to the third candidate, Dan Dillman, were redistributed to Reed and Mack-Rose according to the rankings of those whose first choice was Dillman.
Those results weren't updated today because the Registrar of Voters doesn't update ranked choice votes every day.