Today we are going to take a look at yesterday’s elections around the country. In Philadelphia Democrat John Street narrowly beat businessman Sam Katz, who almost became the city’s first Republican mayor in 50 years. In San Francisco, Democrat Willie Brown, who is seeking a second term, has been forced into a runoff by a crowded field. Voters in Columbus, Ohio, elected the city’s first black mayor–Democratic City Council President Michael Coleman–and Republicans took control of both houses of the Virginia General Assembly for the first time.
In Maine, voters approved legalizing marijuana for some medicinal purposes and rejected another measure that would bar a late-term abortion procedure. Mississippi defeated a constitutional amendment limiting legislators to two consecutive states. In Washington State, voters rejected a ban on most commercial fishing nets.
In San Francisco, voters passed a referendum that bans ATM fees despite a $400,000 campaign by banks opposing the measure. Bankers have promised a court fight.
Four referendums around the country included measures on whether to build stadiums using tax dollars. Voters in St. Paul, Minnesota, rejected a proposal to increase sales tax to help fund a new baseball stadium for the Minnesota Twins, and voters in Houston rejected another proposal to spend $80 million for a new basketball and hockey arena. But two other stadium-related measures were approved–San Antonio accepted increasing car rental and hotel prices in order to fund a new basketball arena for the San Antonio Spurs, and in Scottsdale, Arizona, voters agreed to let developers of a new arena for the National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes recover sales taxes from the arena for the next five years.
- Aaron Glantz, Reporter with Pacifica station KPFA in Berkeley, California.
- John Golinger, Consumer Program Director of the California Public Interest Research Group. Speaking from San Francisco.
- Galen Nelson, Director of the Ballot Initiatives Strategies Center. Speaking from Boston.
- Andrew Zimbalist, Professor of Economics at Smith College and co-author of the book “Sports, Jobs and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums.” He also wrote “Baseball and Billions: A Probing Look at the Big Business of our National Pastime.” Speaking from Northampton, Massachusetts.