Community and Government Relations Report

National Election Results

Obama  Election Victory Enters History Books    

With his election win, President Barack Obama becomes only the fourth Democratic president in 100 years to be reelected to a second term, joining Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Bill Clinton. The 44th president was the first president since Woodrow Wilson to be reelected with fewer electoral votes than his initial election.   

Presidential Inauguration 

Since January 20, the constitutional date for a presidential inauguration, falls on a Sunday in 2013, tradition has it that the president takes the oath quietly on Sunday, then has the full public ceremony the following day. This year’s public inauguration will be held on Monday, January 21, 2013. Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985 was also conducted in this fashion.

A presidential inauguration is a function of the U.S. Congress, not the executive branch. As such, tickets to this free event are distributed by members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. If you are interested in attending this event, please contact your member of Congress to see about obtaining a ticket. Historically demand for second inaugural tickets tends to be much lower than a first inaugural. So if you have ever been interested in attending a presidential inauguration, this may be the best time.  Please contact me if you would like additional background on attending the inauguration.

Feinstein, Miller Reelected to Congress

California’s senior senator, Dianne Feinstein (D-California), cruised to a fifth term by defeating Danville resident Elizabeth Emken.

Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez), who ran in the newly drawn 11th congressional district, will now represent Moraga and Saint Mary’s College in Congress. Miller, who was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1974, has never represented the Lamorinda area. He will begin his 38th year in office when Congress reconvenes in January. With the defeat of longtime East Bay Rep. Pete Stark, Miller and Rep. Henry Waxman are now the longest serving House members from California. Miller is currently the ranking member of the House Education Committee and a strong supporter of the continuation of Pell Grant funding.

Lame Duck Congress to Tackle Fiscal Cliff

While Feinstein and Miller were reelected to new terms in the 113th Congress, these new terms will not begin until January. In the meantime a “lame duck” session of the 112th Congress has been convened. It will deal with the end of the debt ceiling agreement of 2011, which expires on December 31. This agreement has built-in trigger cuts and tax increases that automatically go into effect if no action is taken. Due to the dramatic nature of across-the-board cuts and tax increases, this has been popularly referred to as the “fiscal cliff.” If no action is taken, there will be substantial impacts on student federal aid. A more thorough discussion on this issue will appear in my December report.

State Election Results

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) was reelected to his second and final four-year term in the California state senate. While the voters relaxed term limits in June,  the new rules only affect those members of the legislature who were elected for the first time in November 2012.

In the newly drawn 16th Assembly District, Joan Buchanan (D-San Ramon) will replace Nancy Skinner as the assembly member for Saint Mary’s. Buchanan is currently the chair of the Assembly Education Committee. Like DeSaulnier, this will be Buchanan’s final term in the state assembly.

Finishing out the rest of the Contra Costa delegation will be Susan Bonilla (D-Concord), who was elected in the new 14th district, Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) in the new 11th district, and Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who will represent the new 15th Assembly District.

The Democrats scored majority victories in both the California state senate and the state assembly and now have super-majorities (controlling at least two-thirds of the votes) in both houses. The last time a party had that much power was when the Republicans held super-majorities in both houses in the 1930s. The last time the Democrats held super-majorities in both chambers was in the 1880s. With the Democrats’ new clout, many observers are hopeful that funding for higher education will be preserved.

State Ballot Measures

The passage of Proposition 30, Governor Brown’s tax initiative, will prevent $6 billion in trigger cuts, mostly to K-12 public schools, from going into effect. The measure raised the state sales tax by ¼ percent and increased the tax rate for those in the top state income tax bracket, earning more than $250,000 a year. The measure  garnered 54 percent of the vote statewide, 60  percent in Contra Costa County and 60 percent in Moraga. Prop 38, the competing tax measure put forward by the Pasadena lawyer Molly Munger, was trounced, receiving just 27 percent of the vote.

For a complete look at the state election returns, please visit the California secretary of state’s web page,

Local Election Results

Moraga will welcome two new faces on the Town Council as Roger Wylke and Phil Arth will join longtime councilmember Mike Metcalf, who was also reelected.  Council member Karen Mendonca came up short in her bid for reelection. Ken Chew and Dave Trotter were not up for election and will remain on the council for another two years.

Local Measure K

Moraga voters passed a local 1 percent sales tax increase dedicated to rebuilding the roads and storm drains in town. The measure will raise about $1 million a year to repair roads and other transportation infrastructure. The measure will automatically expire in 2032. Adding the local tax increase to the increase in the state sales tax approved through Proposition 30, the sales tax for purchases in Moraga will now  be 9.5 percent. Based on the recent passage of Measure K  we may see some traffic  impacts while much needed improvements take place

Tim Farley, Director
Community & Government Relations