Kaplan losing Alameda supervisor race; Parmer-Lohan concedes in San Mateo

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Tuesday November 8, 2022
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Rebecca Kaplan is trailing in her race for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Photo: Courtesy the campaign
Rebecca Kaplan is trailing in her race for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. Photo: Courtesy the campaign

Rebecca Kaplan, the butch lesbian Oakland City Councilmember who was hoping to become the first out member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, was trailing in early returns Tuesday night.

In Contra Costa and San Mateo counties, a gay man and a lesbian were also seeking seats on their county boards.

In Alameda County, Kaplan was trailing with 45.05% of the vote as of November 10, when updated results were posted. Former Alameda City Councilmember Lena Tam was leading with 54.95%, according to unofficial returns.

Kaplan has served as the at-large representative on the Oakland City Council since being elected in 2008. She is currently vice mayor.

The supervisorial district includes the cities of Alameda, San Leandro, a portion of Oakland, and the unincorporated communities of San Lorenzo, Hayward Acres, and a portion of Ashland. It became open after former supervisor Wilma Chan was killed by a motorist while walking her dog in Alameda last November. Chan's former aide, Dave Brown, was appointed by the board to serve out the remaining 14 months of Chan's term through January 2022. He said he would not run for the seat.

In a phone interview earlier this year, Kaplan talked about the importance of serving on the Board of Supervisors, which oversees a nearly $8 billion county budget, though not all of the money is "flexible," as Kaplan put it, meaning it must be spent on specific items as opposed to being part of the general fund.

"Particularly with how funds for the homeless flow from the state to the county, we're not seeing sufficient coordination because a lot of money goes through the county to cities," she said.

Kaplan had broad support in the LGBTQ community. She was endorsed by Equality California, the statewide LGBTQ rights group; the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club; and the LGBTQ Victory Fund. This summer, she and her wife, Kirthi Nath, a queer woman of color, welcomed their first child.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has not had an out LGBTQ person on it. Gay former Hayward city councilmember Kevin Dowling ran for the District 2 seat in 2010 but lost to Nadia Lockyer, who resigned in 2012 while undergoing treatment for chemical dependency.

"I would be the first-ever openly LGBTQ supervisor," Kaplan previously told the B.A.R., adding that it was "kind of astounding" that the Alameda board has not had an out member. "San Francisco first had one in 1978," she noted, referring to slain gay supervisor Harvey Milk, who was also the first gay person elected to office in California.

Other supervisor races

In San Mateo County, lesbian Laura Parmer-Lohan was trailing her opponent, Menlo Park City Councilmember Ray Mueller, for the District 3 seat on the Board of Supervisors. Parmer-Lohan, a married mom, was elected to the San Carlos City Council in 2018.

Parmer-Lohan had 35.79% of the vote, while Mueller was at 64.21%, early returns showed. She conceded Wednesday.

If she had prevailed, Parmer-Lohan would have been the first lesbian on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. The board has had gay men on it, including former state Assemblymember Rich Gordon and former Project Open Hand executive director Tom Nolan, who later was hired as manager of special projects for San Francisco's Department of Disability and Aging Services. Nolan retired in August.

Parmer-Lohan was endorsed by EQCA, the San Mateo County Stonewall Democrats, and the Victory Fund, as well as many other progressive organizations.

Over in Contra Costa County gay candidate Ken Carlson was leading in the race for the open District 4 seat on the Board of Supervisors. A member of the Pleasant Hill City Council, Carlson was running against Debora Allen, an elected member of the BART board of directors.

Preliminary returns showed Carlson with 56.13% and Allen with 43.87%.

Carlson would be his county board's first LGBTQ member. He had the endorsement of EQCA and the Victory Fund, as well as gay El Cerrito City Councilmember and current mayor Gabriel Quinto and Rebecca Saltzman, a lesbian who is an elected member of the BART board representing parts of Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

This story was updated November 10.

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