ELECTION ‘12//ALAMEDA COUNY SUPERVISOR DIST 2 | In one of the first contentious forums thus far between Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle and Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, the challenger, repeatedly used a grand jury report that came down hard on the county’s mishandling of contracts to non-profits to paint Valle in a negative light.
Hayashi repeatedly referenced a scathing Alameda County grand jury report issued earlier this year that detailed county mismanagement, including the fall and dismantling of the Association Community Action Program (ACAP). The county program for the poor ultimately cost taxpayers nearly $2 million to wind down. The demise of the joint powers authority was hastened, in part, by a countywide lack of oversight and riddled by numerous representatives simply failing to show up for meetings.
As a councilman, Valle served as Union City’s representative at ACAP in 2010, the year mismanagement by an executive director for the program allegedly began. ACAP’s financial troubles became public knowledge in February 2011 when its 30 employees protested over bounced pay checks.
At Monday’s night’s forum in Union City dealing primarily with the challenges facing community-based organizations and social services, Hayashi rammed the theme of accountability against Valle, but also against the current Board of Supervisors. “The county grand jury report basically stated that lack of accountability manifested itself at every level of oversight by various boards, including the Board of Supervisors,” Hayashi said. “So, when we’re not talking about not having enough money, I think the conversation should be how do we eliminate fraud and waste? We need to make sure the money is going to the seniors, to child and the people who need it.”
Later, Hayashi twice used attacks against Valle’s credibility, by attempting to obliquely reference Supervisor Nate Miley’s connection to the ACAP fiasco and the steering of county funding to other social services organizations affiliated with his long-time partner. “I would work hard to make sure that we’re not just giving contracts to people who have certain relationships with certain elected officials and we’re responsible to taxpayers and making sure the programs are implemented and services are provided to those who need it.”
Union City Mayor Mark Green acknowledged Hayashi repeated line of attack and also called for greater scrutiny of the Board of Supervisor’s funding arrangements with county CBOs. “There shouldn’t be an automatic renewal or a kick down the road–here’s your contract and we don’t care what you’ve done,” said Green, who also called for additional transparency inside county departments. “What are you getting for the amount of dollars you’re spending?”
Hayashi’s linking of Valle to the fall of ACAP represents a third front against the supervisor, appointed only last June to replace Nadia Lockyer. In previous forums, Hayashi has gone to great lengths to question Valle’s role in the management at St. Rose Hospital in Hayward and, to a lesser extent thus far, his work at Tri-CED, the Union City-based community recycling firm he helped found. Valle, however, has yet to come close to taking an aggressive stance against Hayashi, despite growing concerns he is allowing Hayashi off the hook without addressing her own political vulnerabilities.
Despite being on the receiving end of Hayashi’s attack lines, Valle did not directly address the grand jury report other than to curiously point out the pitfalls between contracting county services to for-profit CBOs and non-profits. Valle said the report “threw a broad net” over the county’s handling of contracts and services, but said reforms are coming. “That process has begun,” he said.
On the question of state realignment of prison and social services, however, Valle made a veiled reference to Hayashi’s vote in the Assembly this year to support the plan widely derided at the local government level. “It was not complimentary,” Valle said. “It was not well-thought out and it was sort of a haphazard way of getting off the state’s back–that had for many, many years been their responsibility–and dumping it on us.”
“I just have to disagree with Richard Valle,” Hayashi, responded later. “You’re alluding to the fact the state is dumping its problems on the county. I don’t see it that way, at all. The county, the state and the federal government—we work together.”
Valle and Hayashi will meet for the fifth time since Sept. 15 at a forum this Wednesday night at Hayward City Hall at 7 p.m. The forum moderated by the League of Women Voters also include District 2 candidates Green and former Alameda County deputy sheriff Mark Turnquist.