Gail Steele Applies For Vacant County Supervisor Seat; Salinas Declines

May 16, 2012 | With the Wednesday deadline to apply for the open Alameda County supervisor seat just hours away, sources say former supervisor Gail Steele has applied for the position. Steele could not be reached for comment, but the long-time supervisor who retired in 2010, has also told several Hayward officials about her interest in replacing Nadia Lockyer, who resigned April 20.

Supervisor Keith Carson first broached the idea of appointing Steele three weeks ago, but the board chose for a more open application process. The inclusion of Steele will certainly return the focus of whether the four-month appointment should be given to a place-holder candidate like Steele to assure a more even, although likely contentious, November election to fill out the remaining two years of Lockyer’s term or effectively hand the power of the incumbency to another candidate.

Richard Valle, a former Union City councilman, and Newark Councilwoman Ana Apodaca are also believed to have applied before the Wednesday, 5 p.m. deadline. One rumored contender, though, said Tuesday night he will not throw his hat into the ring.

Hayward Councilman Mark Salinas told The Citizen he decided against continuing his flirtation with becoming the next representative for District 2 for two reasons: “I’ve got a lot of work still to do in Hayward,” said Salinas, who is an instructor at Cal State East Bay and Chabot College and first term council member. “Second, I would miss being a professor too much.” Salinas admitted even if he was appointed, the specter of someone like Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi and her $800,000 campaign largess poses too great of a disadvantage for winning in the November general election.

On the front of who will replace Lockyer on the board, there is considerable political chatter over rumors Supervisor Wilma Chan will prefer appointing another woman to the board. Coupled with already potent demand by various groups in District 2 to appoint a Latino, the confluence to demographics would seem to favor someone like Apodaca. That is, unless, a more desirable unknown candidate has also applied. Apodaca is coming off an unsuccessful run for mayor of Newark last year that many in the East Bay thought she should have won.

Aside from any leaks, exact who has applied for the post might not be easily known. During a board meeting two weeks ago, its county counsel, Donna Ziegler said, the list would be whittled down to five candidates to be publicly interviewed by the Board of Supervisors. Time, though, is of the essence. A new supervisor must be named by June 19 or the board risks having the power of appointment shifted to the governor’s office.