Union City’s Valle Is Front Runner To Replace Lockyer


April 20, 2012 | Nadia Lockyer’s empty District 2 supervisorial seat was still warm Friday before a growing contingent of opportunistic local officials have already shown interest in being her successor, including another equally embattled East Bay politician whose interest may surprise you.

According to county sources, former Union City councilman Richard Valle is the early front runner to replace Lockyer on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. One source says Valle’s candidacy is backed by labor, which in the union-heavy East Bay, could be a deciding factor. Valle is currently campaigning this year for mayor of Union City. Valle is also believed to be the handpicked choice of both Nadia and Bill Lockyer. His campaign web site features photos of both Lockyers.

Other notable names have also surfaced. Some have made their interest in the job known directly, said the source, while others have inquired through surrogates. Among the growing list include, first-term Hayward Councilman Mark Salinas, Newark councilwoman Ana Apodaca and former East Bay assemblyman Alberto Torrico.

State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett’s name is also being mentioned again for the post. Last month, she told supporters she would not mount a challenge for Rep. Pete Stark’s seat, but more than hinted at running for congress in 2014. A major stumbling block for Corbett’s candidacy is she does not live within the district’s boundaries and would have to move before running for re-election in November.

A sixth possibility for the appointment will defy all human sense of credulity, but Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi’s name is reportedly on the short list to replace Lockyer.

It was Hayashi’s infamous arrest and conviction for misdemeanor grand theft at a Neiman Marcus in San Francisco last October that in many ways touched off the most bizarre and scandalous six months in East Bay political history. She punctuated her fall from grace last January by pleading guilty to the charge and then telling reporters a benign brain tumor, in effect, made her do it.

Before Hayashi’s embarrassing escapade with the law, her political future always featured a problematic two-year window between her termed-out assembly seat ending this year and an opportunity to run for Corbett’s termed out state senate seat in 2014.

East Bay observers outside of the board of supervisors are repeatedly mentioning the name of current Union City Mayor Mark Green as the most qualified person for the job, but Green is currently running for the Assembly in the 20th District. Impracticality aside, some believe Green’s extensive experience as a leader on various Bay Area regional boards, may cause a rift by overlapping with some of the supervisor’s own expertise on some specific issues.

If the board’s desire is to choose a qualified, but less experienced colleague to replace Lockyer, the thinking goes, either Valle, Apodaca or Salinas are the most likely choices. The Board of Supervisors have 60 days to replace Lockyer. The appointee would then run in a special election this November to finish the remainder of Lockyer’s term in 2014.

Note: Apodaca is a current member of the Newark City Council. It was reported previously she was a former council member.