Editor's Note: Our 2012 Election Coverage

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This year’s presidential campaign is receiving a ton of well-deserved attention, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t important local races and measures on the November ballot — because there are. And starting with tomorrow's issue, we will be bringing you in-depth, smart coverage of some of the most pivotal contests in the East Bay. And beginning on October 10, we’ll publish the first of a four-week series on which candidates and measures we’re endorsing this year.

In Express tradition, our election stories will strive to go beyond the typical newspaper reports about who is running and what the candidates believe in. We’ll give you insightful analysis of the contests, while providing you with context as to why each one is important.

This week, we'll launch with seven election stories, including coverage of three Oakland City Council races — At-Large and districts 3 and 5. We also have analyses of Proposition 34, which would repeal California’s death penalty, and Alameda County tax measures A1 and B1, which would raise revenues for the Oakland Zoo and numerous transportation projects around the East Bay, respectively. We top off this week’s coverage with an in-depth examination of Measure S, a controversial proposal to ban sitting on sidewalks in Berkeley.

Next week, we’ll publish our endorsements for the races and measures we profile this week. And we’ll continue that process — of printing endorsements the week after we write about each race — throughout October. Our last set of election stories will run on October 24, and our last set of endorsements, on October 31. On our website, we’ll combine our endorsements on one page to make it easier for you to see all of them at once.

Between now and October 24, we’ll also bring you reports on the Berkeley mayor and city council races, along with analyses of several ballot measures in that city, including Measures R, T, U, and V. In Richmond, we’ll have reports on the council race and the city’s proposed soda tax. In Alameda, we’ll have coverage of the council race and Measure D. And in Oakland, we’ll be covering the other two council contests — districts 1 and 7 — along with the city attorney's race, the school board races, and the school bond measure.

We’ll also cover the 18th Assembly District campaign, along with the county board of supervisor’s contest. Plus, we’ll have reports on the BART and AC Transit board race. And finally, statewide, we’ll examine the key propositions, including 30, 32, 33, 35, 36, and 38. For our coverage of Prop 37, another key statewide measure, go here.

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