After Controversial Stalemate, Supervisors Leaning Toward Valle Over Apodaca

ALAMEDA COUNTY//REPLACING LOCKYER
June 9, 2012 | The presumptive favorite to win appointment to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, appears to have become the victim of political skulduggery and labor union backroom deal making. When the board meets early Monday morning, it will likely be former Union City Councilman Richard Valle taking the oath of office, rather than Ana Apodaca, according to those with knowledge of the situation.

Almost a week after the board caused considerable exasperation after its four remaining members were deadlocked, 2-2, between Valle and Apodaca, Monday’s meeting, scheduled for 8:30 a.m., will almost certainly produce an appointment to replace Nadia Lockyer, who resigned April 20. The board must make a decision before June 19 or risk having Gov. Jerry Brown make the appointment. It’s a scenario they want to avoid.

Supervisor Keith Carson said as much last week when he described a conversation with Brown, who communicated an interest in making the choice himself. “Hell no,” Carson said to Brown. Newark Councilwoman Ana Apodaca said Friday she is led to believe Carson and the board are determined to make the pick on Monday.

In addition, despite a flood of phone calls, emails and letters to Supervisors Wilma Chan and Nate Miley–both surprisingly voted for Valle last week–are not expected to budge from their choice to install Valle to the board, according to county sources.

Supporters of Apodaca have hurled angry criticism towards Chan, in particular, after being led to believe she was adamant about appointing another woman to the board. Last Tuesday, Chan reiterated those remarks, but said she sided with Valle for being the better choice to begin the district’s healing from disillusionment surrounding Lockyer’s shocking fall from grace.

“I thought her statement was telling,” Apodaca told The Citizen, while also noting her two votes last week came from two men–Supervisors Carson and Scott Haggerty. “It’s just politics from here,” said Apodaca.

Critics were quick to allege Chan had caved to county labor groups in deference to Valle’s candidacy. The Alameda Labor Council and building trades have reportedly impressed upon supervisors the importance of choosing Valle, instead of Apodaca, who initially was the only candidate who received unanimous votes in an earlier stage of the appointment process. Although Apodaca’s friendliness to labor is noting to scoff at, Valle’s resume also features a strong relationship with both Bill and Nadia Lockyer. This connection made Valle, at least at the outset, the prohibitive favorite for the five-month appointment.

Days before the controversial stalemate last week, community members, primarily in the Tri Cities of Fremont, Union City and Newark, received an inflammatory email alleging former Alameda County Supervisor Don Perata was somehow manipulating the board’s appointment process by backing Apodaca.

“Perata is calling Supervisors, cutting deals and making promises to place Ana Apodaca on the Board so he can have a puppet and gain more control in Alameda County,” says the unidentified email.

“But we can Stop Don Perata by e-mailing our County Supervisor and saying “NO” to Ana Apodaca and Don Perata. We’re tired of Don Perata’s backroom deals and politics for profit!”

The source of the email is not known and linked to a Web address purchased May 31 and does not feature a working Web site. Numerous Tri City residents who received the letter speculate the list of email addresses is from an old database. Apodaca agrees and says she does not know who is behind the email, but, “It could be come someone trying to be a player again” She also denies any involvement with Perata. “I haven’t talked to him in years,” she said.

Whomever is the choice Monday, the new supervisor will have to go into campaign mode immediately. Several candidates, including Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, reportedly have interest in running for the seat this November. The winner would then fill out the remainder of Lockyer’s first term and again fight for re-election in 2014.