Alameda County Democratic Party chair Robin
Torello was re-elected to another two-year term.
ALAMEDA COUNTY DEMOCRATS |
Earlier this month, Alameda County Democrats reappointed long-time party chair Robin Torello. Although, her name may not be readily known outside county politics, her influence is unquestioned among local Democrats. Not to mention her leadership in making the county likely the most progressive area in the entire nation.
But there appears to be more work to be done in Alameda County, according to Torello, who told the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee that she wants every city in the county to embrace hot-button progressive principles, such as becoming sanctuary cities, raising citywide minimum wages and enacting rent control regulations.
Cities such as Oakland and Berkeley have historically lead the way on all three issues. And in recent months, cities such as San Leandro, Emeryville and Alameda have raised their profile on several. On Tuesday, Alameda and Emeryville each declared themselves sanctuary cities in advance of Trump’s inauguration.
Yet despite Alameda County’s reputation as a deep blue region, its demographics are much more complicated. A number of Tri Valley cities in the eastern portion of the county are far less progressive than the inner East Bay cities. For instance, city councils in Pleasanton and Dublin are represented by Republican majorities.
Passing progressive legislation all over Alameda County’s map undoubtedly would be a tall order. However, one inner East Bay city that may receive the lion’s share of Alameda County Democrat’s attention this year is Hayward.
The self-proclaimed “Heart of the Bay,” despite a diverse, working class population heavily represented by Latinos and union members, has made no moves by its city council to discuss sanctuary city status, a bump in the minimum wage or rent control.
Torello also told Democratic Central Committee members that she hopes to mentor the next generation of political candidates and activist during her next term. She also raised the possibility of the county party hiring an executive-level official. Doing so, would be expensive, Torello cautioned. “We think we should be as professional as L.A. and San Francisco,” said Torello. “They have nothing on us.” Although both cities also serve as counties, Alameda County is likely one of the most influential in the state.
Some change in leadership, however, is coming to the local Democratic Party. Royce Kelley, Torello’s long-time lieutenant, is not returning to his position as Alameda County Democratic Party vice-chair. When asked why he was stepping down, Kelley said, “Do you know how old I am?” Alameda County Democrats voted Emeryville Councilmember Dianne Martinez to take over as vice chair. But Kelley isn’t going anywhere for now. He will serve as treasurer, at least, for a few months, before a permanent is appointed