SAN FRANCISCO — Assemblyman Art Agnos was sweeping temptingly close to the mayor's office Tuesday but appeared to be on his way toward a December runoff against Supervisor John L. Molinari in San Francisco's first seriously contested mayoral campaign in 12 years.
With 75% of the ballots counted, Agnos had 67,373 votes, or about 47%, while Molinari had 25% and former Chief Administrative Officer Roger Boas had 22%. If Agnos cannot grab a 50% majority, he will face the second-place finisher in the runoff. Late Tuesday, Boas conceded that he would not be the one to face Agnos.
Elsewhere in the state on a busy Election Day, early returns indicated that voters in the San Diego County beach community of Del Mar were overwhelmingly rejecting a strict proposal to ban smoking in most public outdoor spaces, while San Diego voters were approving a controversial proposal to change the name of a street recently dedicated to slain civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In South Orange County, an effort to celebrate the 21-year-old Mission Viejo area's coming of age by incorporating it as a city was off to a good start. Early returns indicated that the measure would succeed.
The orderly, upper-middle-class community of 64,000 has long eyed cityhood as a way of gaining local control of its property and sales taxes. It also wanted more of a say in its planning than could be provided by its single representative on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, Gaddi Vasquez.
The vote also is being carefully watched by other south county communities that are making an attempt at independence.
In Northern California, early results showed Sacramento Mayor Anne Rudin was ahead in her quest for a second term with 52.7% of the vote, compared to 46% for attorney Brian Van Camp.
With 396 of 711 precincts reporting, San Francisco returns showed 53.8% of the voters opposed to construction of a privately funded downtown baseball stadium. The new facility is sought by the Giants, who have threatened to quit town without an alternative to windy Candlestick Park.
In a radio interview with station KQED, Giants owner Bob Lurie said the vote was a "mandate" against his team. He said he will begin looking for a new home town for the team early next year.
A proposal to designate San Francisco a "nuclear-free zone" appeared to have gained the favor of the electorate. With slightly more than half of the 711 precincts counted, the measure was winning with 53% of the vote.
Other cities that have passed similar measures include Berkeley and Chicago.
Victory for the San Francisco proposal could hamper efforts to revive the city's maritime industry by home-porting the nuclear-armed battleship Missouri.
A similar measure in Palo Alto that would force the "high-tech" city to sever municipal ties with companies involved in nuclear weapons production was losing. With 23 of 36 precincts counted, 7,333 voters were against the plan and 2,751 had approved it.
Across the bay in Alameda County, voters were approving a measure to raise a cap on county government spending imposed by the 1979 Gann Initiative. Up in Contra Costa County, voters were supporting a measure to impose a 10% tax on two toxic-waste handling facilities in an effort to prevent the import of more such wastes from across the state.
Residents of Del Mar, the trendy seaside town in northern San Diego County, were easily defeating a ballot measure that, if enacted, would become the most restrictive anti-smoking measure anywhere in the country.
Proposition N would ban smoking in all public places, even in outdoor areas such as streets, alleys, parks and beaches.
Smoking would be permitted, however, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and at outdoor cafes on public sidewalks, as well as on private property and in cars and motels.
Despite that exemption, the proposed ordinance, which qualified for the ballot as a citizens initiative, faced stiff opposition from Del Mar Mayor Ronnie Delaney, the city's Chamber of Commerce and local restaurateurs, all of whom argued that the proposal is unenforceable and unneeded.
They also accused the proposition's author, former Del Mar Mayor Richard Roe, of using the issue as a political ploy to gear up for another campaign for elected office.
Roe said he pushed the measure because Del Mar is home for many health enthusiasts and would be the perfect place to "be a leader in ending the hypocrisy about smoking."
"We know that smoking is bad for you, but then we say it's perfectly OK to smoke," he said.
The election was being closely watched by both the Tobacco Institute and the Berkeley-based Americans for Non-Smokers.