Nate Miley and Bob Swanson

May 30, 2012 | Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley’s opponent in next week’s June primary is angry over a posting on a pro-cannabis Web site by one of Miley’s long-time aides, saying they say smacks of racism and insinuate  the challenger is something other than American.

Bob Swanson, who is often Miley’s point man on medical cannabis issues in Alameda County’s unincorporated areas, posted a plea for donations to Miley’s re-election campaign on a site called, The call included an assertion that Miley’s challenger for supervisor this June, Tojo Thomas, an Alameda County probation officer, is unfriendly to the pot movement.

In the posting, dated April 27, Swanson says he does not want to lose his job if Miley is defeated and fears Thomas, who is an Indian American, may possess deep-pocketed contacts among “Silicon Valley Indian engineers.” Also included is a odd non sequitur referring to Thomas’ affinity for playing cricket.

Hi Folks, 

Nate Miley has a challenger for his District 4 seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. His name is Tojo Thomas and he is a cop. I suspect that he is not going to be very good on marijuana issues.

Nate needs to refill his war chest now, because the election is June 5th. Tojo is from South India and I am concerned that he has connections to rich “Silicon Valley” Indian engineers. He is captain of a cricket team. Nearly all the rich “Silicon Valley” Indian engineers play cricket and want to see their fellow countryman in elected office. I may be a little paranoid but then of course

I am an MMJ patient and I work for Nate. I don’t want to lose my job. As you all know Nate is EXCELLENT on the issue that interests all of us. He does not need a fund raiser, he just needs funds. Please! contribute as much as you can, soon now!  

Nate needs all of our help. Download the attached remit form and fill it out. Send the remit form and the check to the address on the remit form. 

Thanks very much,
Bob Swanson

Tony Thomas, the brother of Tojo, took umbrage over Swanson’s assertions in an email last week to Swanson. “This is clearly insulting,” wrote Tony Thomas. “Tojo is a United States citizen who is of Indian descent. You are insinuating that somehow he is not an American because he plays cricket and he is of Indian descent. He loves his community and wants to represent everyone in District 4, Alameda County in the finest manner possible with integrity and responsibility to all.

“As you yourself said, you are clearly paranoid. You have misrepresented my brother, his values, and all that he represents. You have tried to mislead the citizens of District 4 through your rambling, made demeaning assumptions about Tojo, and insulted him on behalf of Mr. Miley.”

Miley said last week, he knew nothing of the posting, but admitted the posting sounded like Swanson, yet he can’t control what others do on their own time. “He’s doing this on his own volition,” Miley said. “He doesn’t need to get my permission.”

The supervisor’s support for cannabis in the unincorporated areas of the county has been clear, however, without being anymore greater than the wishes of many in the county who support medical cannabis and, to some extent, dispensaries. Eyebrows, though, were raised on two separate occasions this campaign season when Thomas referred to a $10,000 campaign donation by a dispensary in Miley’s district. To which, Miley replied that he would take money from anybody, but doing so would not affect his vote, he later added.