The chair of the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council, a government body comprised of members who serve at the pleasure of Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, and is the de facto city council of the unincorporated town, publicly threatened to seek the removal of a fellow councilmember just minutes after that person registered support for a change in the chairmanship.
Although the CV MAC has very little direct power, the act was, nonetheless, a shocking display of political hubris by Marc Crawford, the often controversial MAC chair who is a local land developer and frequent contributor to Miley’s political campaigns.
MAC member Dave Sadoff had moved last June to nominate another member named Ken Carbone to become chair. But Crawford asserted at the time that the job of chair involved much greater duties than it might appear to some. Not to mention, a large allotment of time. When the MAC resumed the chair election discussion on Monday night, Crawford was prompted to read a detailed list of the duties he performs above and beyond the council’s three monthly meetings. The list ran on for more than two minutes and totaled, by Crawford’s calculations, 32 hours per month of extra duty.
Carbone said he was unaware of the additional allocation of time and declined the nomination. “Accepting a chair’s nomination, at this point, would be a disservice to the council,” said Carbone, who then nominated Crawford.
After the MAC approved Crawford’s reappointment as chair, 5-2, including noes from members Sadoff and Linda Tangren, he abruptly announced he had received numerous complaints about Sadoff serving as both a MAC member and an elected member of the Castro Valley Sanitary District Board.
“I’m going to ask county counsel to look into that because I think the offices are incompatible and I think state law will prove that to be the case,” said Crawford.
In a video of the meeting, Sadoff and others appear taken aback by Crawford’s statement and power play.
“The threat by Mr. Crawford to remove me from the MAC is curious at best. In my mind it is retribution,” said Sadoff. Crawford had mentioned the threat of removing Sadoff from the MAC during a phone conversation, Sadoff added, two weeks after first making the nomination for Carbone in late June. “You had time before to bring this up and days after I nominated someone other than you is when you went on the offensive against me,” said Sadoff.
“Well, everyone is entitled to their opinions, said Crawford, who added later, “I don’t expect Councilmember Sadoff to react to my comment in a positive manner. It’s not good news to hear.”
Tangren, a former Castro Valley school board member, said she was disappointed by Crawford’s move, asserting the MAC position is an appointed position and, therefore, poses no conflicts with Sadoff’s service on the sanitary district board. She then lashed out at Crawford’s description of his work load as chair. “The fact that you have so much work is because you have not delegated that work out,” said Tangren.
She added Crawford move Monday night rendered past, unspecified actions by Crawford in a different light now. “Maybe I need to send a letter to county counsel on some of the issues I have here.” She intended to make no statement Monday night, she added. “But I’m appalled at the behavior that you expressed here and the toxic environment that you create,” Tangren told Crawford before walking out of the meeting at the Castro Valley Library.
Although the MAC is merely an advisory council to Supervisor Miley, its position as Castro Valley’s only recognizable political body has made it a lightning rod for some community members who seek greater self-determination in the unincorporated areas. Castro Valley cityhood initiatives have not fared well in the past. The last being a defeat at the ballot box in 2002. However, Crawford’s firebrand antics in recent years, like Monday’s event, have provided much fodder for, at minimum, a push for Miley to allow the MAC to become an elected body.
The issue was rekindled last October after reaching the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 2016. There it was met with opposition, primarily from Supervisor Scott Haggerty who famously admonished Castro Valley residents clamoring for an elected MAC, along with gripes over Miley’s representation of the town.
“I don’t know what’s going on in Castro Valley. To come down and say ‘better represented,’ you’re some of the most unappreciative people I’ve seen in my entire life.” He continued, “And you’re saying you want better representation? What’s the heck is wrong with you people? We’ve been pumping money back into your community for the last few years since Supervisor Miley has been elected and you want better representation?”