Election Day is here.
While the nation keeps an eye on House and Senate races, here are five things to watch at the local level as results roll in tonight in the Sacramento region.
Sacramento voters will decide on Measure U, which would bump sales tax from the current rate of 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent in the city, with revenue heading into the general fund.
West Sacramento mayoral race
In what one former city planning commissioner said last month was West Sacramento’s most competitive race ever, CalPERS communications manager Joe DeAnda is challenging 20-year incumbent Christopher Cabaldon for mayor.
Retired Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department employee Esther Moskalets is also in the running, though she is intentionally not receiving outside campaign donations.
Elk Grove mayoral race
Incumbent Steve Ly faces challenges from Councilman Darren Suen and political outsider Tracie Stafford.
Ly was celebrated in 2016 as the first Hmong-American mayor in the United States, and the city has seen significant population and economic growth in his tenure.
Suen has the support of the rest of the City Council as well as city Planning Commissioner Kevin Spease, as the Elk Grove Citizen reported in April.
School board seats
There’s drama in at least two local school district board races.
As Sacramento City Unified faces a large budget shortfall and must trim $66.5 million from its three-year budget projections, the district’s board of education voted last month to waive a budget review committee and instead work with Sacramento County Superintendent David Gordon and the state Department of Education to balance the books.
The seats for Areas 1, 2 and 6 are on the 2018 ballot. (The Bee’s editorial board wrote its opinion on how those seats should be filled given a “busted budget.”)
Meanwhile, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office filed and subsequently dropped criminal charges against Yolo County school board candidate Maria Grijalva, alleging misappropriation of campaign funds, all less than a month before Election Day.
The DA’s office withdrew the charges, related to campaign mailers, and deferred to a Fair Political Practices Commission complaint filed by Cabaldon in early October.
Grijalva said she believed the charges were politically motivated; DA Jeff Reisig’s office declined The Bee’s interview request.
Grijalva is challenging incumbent Matt Taylor for trustee of Area 1 of Yolo County’s board of education, one of two seats on Tuesday’s ballot.
The Department of Justice announced Monday it will be visiting voting centers in Sacramento and San Mateo counties to monitor language access compliance with the federal Voting Rights Act.
The DOJ declined to comment specifically on why Sacramento and San Mateo counties were chosen.
The Voting Rights Act was amended in 1975 to make voting more accessible to non-English-speaking voters.
If you haven’t already, you can check out The Bee’s endorsements for the election here, courtesy of our editorial board.