Board Of Supervisors Interview District 2 Candidates As Steele Withdraws Name

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS//REPLACING LOCKYER
May 29, 2012 | And then there were four candidates remaining to replace former Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer after her predecessor Gail Steele withdrew her name for consideration, according to County Administrator Susan Muranishi.

No reason was given, but comments made by some board members in the past week more than hinted they may be more inclined to appoint a successor who could compete in the November election and specifically against the potential candidacy of Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi.

Union City Mayor Mark Green, Former Union City Councilman Richard Valle, Newark Councilwoman Ana Apodaca and community organizer Sheryl Grant each faced roughly 45 minutes of questions from the remaining supervisors involving their top priorities and the future of the county’s quickly dwindling number of sports franchises. The appointment, scheduled to be made June 5, will last just five months and run concurrently with a November general election campaign to serve the remaining two years of Lockyer’s first four-year term. Lockyer resigned April 20 amid a growing drug and sex scandal.

Green, who is also a candidate next week for the Assembly’s 20th District, was his typical avuncular self, joking about drafting Kobe Bryant after ping pong balls in a hopper gave him the right to be interviewed first. When Supervisor Nate Miley pointedly ask Green if he is “office shopping” by applying for the appointment while running in a tight race for the assembly, he said no. “My office in Union City has a better view.”

Green’s familiarity with running for the seat ( he lost the June primary to Lockyer in 2010) and working on a regional and county level with the four supervisor is a strength. In fact, Green’s credentials as the head of several regional boards make him the most qualified person for the seat, yet his dalliances with both high-profile public offices may make it difficult for the board to appoint him, especially with indications they seek someone viable in November. “You put us in a dilemma,” Miley said.

Green said, if he advances to the general election in his assembly race next week, he will run for that office and not county supervisor. That scenario would bring the board’s discussion over a November race without an incumbent full circle, Green said. In the meantime, he told the board he would focus on the county’s bulging $88 million funding gap, bringing a much-lauded experimental firehouse health care clinic to Union City and would continue to campaign for the county’s transportation tax measure, tentatively referred to as Measure B3.

Richard Valle, Green’s long-time colleague on the Union City City Council made his first appearance before the board with a compelling and cerebral case for his appointment. In just three-and-a half minutes, Valle described a quixotic rise as a boy from a segregated school in Texas to traveling to California, serving in the Vietnam War and helping found Tri-Ced, the state’s largest non-profit community recycling center.

Without mentioning the Warriors, who announced their intention to build an arena across the bay, Valle said his first priority would be keeping the Raiders and Athletics in Oakland. “There is a sense of pride when you have those types of franchises,” said Valle, but when asked by Supervisor Wilma Chan if he would advocate using public money to build new facilities, he said no. Valle said he also focus on county health care services. However, Chan ask him about his eight years on the St. Rose Hospital Board of Directors. During the time, the Hayward private hospital fell on hard times and was recently propped up by the county. “I take full responsibility for the current situation at St. Rose,” he said, but offered, the same scenario is occurring to hospitals everywhere.

Valle’s support in District 2, which includes Hayward, Union City, Newark and half of Fremont, was evident Tuesday afternoon. A vast majority of the public speakers lauded Valle for his work in the community. Many of the same people spoke three weeks ago in favor of an open interview process while advocating for the appointment of a Latino.

Apodaca, the only candidate to have received a unanimous vote last week among the supervisors, also received support among public speakers. Moving forward with the St. Rose joint powers agreement with the Washington Health Care District, readying the county for realignment and dealing with budget cuts would be her top priorities, Apodaca said. She believes many in the county feel she is a known quality they can work with, while also raising a common complaint among residents in south county. “Newark and Fremont often feel disengaged from the county,” she said. “We have two supervisors and we only go to one.” She added the late Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman often referred to her as the city’s sixth council member because of her close to ties to Fremont from nearby Newark.

As a noted Raiders fan, Apodaca said she would attempt to keep the county’s sports teams in the area, but realizes they are no different than any other businesses. “I’m out there with the fans and have a great time,” Apodaca said. “At the same time, it’s a business and you understand they want nicer places to play.”

The fourth candidate, community organizer Sheryl Grant, was at times out of her league with the other far more experience public servants. However, she was the only person to touch upon the turmoil that has followed the Lockyer scandal in District 2 “It’s really important that we rebuild the faith in the district,” Grant said. As opposed to the other applicants, Grant was far less specific on many issues. For her top priorities, she offered a catchphrase of “restore, rebuild, recognize.”

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