In addition to Fairview, Alameda County
Supervisor Nate Miley represents the
unincorporated areas of Ashland, Cherryland
and Castro Valley.

The tiny 10,000-person hamlet of Fairview, an unincorporated area between Hayward and Castro Valley, received approval from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors Tuesday to create its own quasi-government body, the first in the county in more than three decades.

The Fairview Municipal Advisory Council establishes a five-member board for the unincorporated area. Alameda County last approved a MAC in 1981 for Castro Valley, for which the Fairview MAC is modeled on.

Supervisor Nate Miley, who represents Fairview, said the newly-formed MAC will give residents the ability to better participate in the area’s decision-making process. Fairview’s location brings unique land-use issues to the table since it straddles urban and somewhat rural areas of Alameda County. In addition, the area is, in many cases, economically-depressed.

Several proponents of the Fairview MAC’s establishment called it “democracy in action,” during Tuesday morning’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

Fairview residents, though, will not receive full representation. Like in Castro Valley, the Fairview MAC members will be appointed solely by Miley. In addition, decisions made by the Fairview MAC are only recommendations to Miley. Other unincorporated areas in Alameda County have pushed for their own MAC in recent years, such as Cherryland, Ashland and San Lorenzo.

Approval for the Fairview MAC and the positive connection made to Castro Valley’s MAC comes at a curious moment. Over the past two years, a grassroots movement in Castro Valley has routinely called for their MAC to be elected by voters and not appointed by Miley.

Their proposal was rebuffed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors last year, but the group has continued its advocacy for greater representation. Miley has repeatedly said he does not have a position on the elected MAC issue. “There are pluses and minuses,” he said last year. “Let’s let the voters decide.” But, the cost of a special election would be costly, roughly $160,000, said the Alameda County Registar Tim Dupuis.

The Fairview MAC’s first official could occur in early October, Miley said, and the composition of the five-member MAC could be in place by September. Miley’s office will footed the roughly $20,000 bill for hosting the MAC’s meetings and assigning county staff to facilitate them.