ELECTION16 | If the Alameda County Board of Supervisors are not gods in the context of East Bay governance, they are surely the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s almost a lifetime appointment unless you’re caught shooting up methamphetamines. That’s why Bryan Parker’s challenge to Supervisor Nate Miley’s seat is so important.
Not since the early 1990s has any sitting supervisor been forced to actually campaign for re-election. Miley has served since 2000 after a stint on the Oakland City Council and Parker is an appointed Port of Oakland commissioner and former Oakland mayoral candidate who finished sixth in last year’s election. But, what makes Parker so credible is his ability to raise loads of money in an extremely large and diverse supervisorial seat.
District Four runs from East Oakland to Pleasanton with unincorporated Castro Valley sandwiched between. Parker raised over $300,000 for his Oakland race, but that campaign had a $700 per donor fundraising limit. Next year’s supervisorial race has a $20,000 limit. The sky could be the limit as far as Parker’s bank account is concerned. And Parker will need all of it not only to introduce himself to the entire district, but maybe reintroducing Miley to the same group under a very poor light. Because since Miley has never faced a formidable challenger, voters in his district may not know much about their long-time supervisor.
Miley is not viewed as a strong fundraising, but again, he hasn’t exactly faced the need to pass around the hat in the past. However, Miley has a loyal following and help from the local Democratic Party and other elected officials will come to his aid.
But, hold on. This could be a very dirty campaign and the battlegrounds will likely center around unincorporated Alameda County, including Castro Valley, and Pleasanton. The latter was only redistricted to Miley four years ago.
Parker may seize upon this fact and convey to Pleasanton voters that his ideology is more moderate than Miley, along with a greater focus on business. Castro Valley may also be problematic for Miley since a small uprising exists there constantly pushing him for greater representation. Castro Valley is not a city and as no direct representation other than Miley.
In addition, the likelihood of fireworks in this race is high. Miley is known as confrontational and abrasive at times, a bit like former Rep. Pete Stark. Incidentally, the consultant who led Eric Swalwell’s upset of Stark is now working for Parker and the candidate is already using rhetoric to describe Miley as old and out-of-touch with the district just like Swalwell used against Stark. Parker’s consultant, Lisa Tucker, also ran the brutal campaign last year by Bob Wieckowski against Mary Hayashi and has no problem advising her candidates to dive deep into the campaign gutter. If Parker slings mud, Miley might not be able to resist slinging it back.