Nicholas Harvey, a resident of Fairview in unincorporated Alameda County, is fed up with the local array of governments serving his area. So, he decided to run for public office this November. Not for just one office, but five!
Sidewalks are lacking near schools and churches, despite repeated complaints, said Harvey. “Nothing gets done.”
Harvey’s candidacy qualified for the East Bay Municipal Utilities District Ward 3 seat; two at-large seats on the Hayward school board; the three contested seats on the Eden Health District Board of Directors; in addition, to the three seats on the Fairview Fire Protection District Board; and the AC Transit Board seat in Ward 4 currently held by Mark Williams.
Originally, Harvey pulled papers for eight offices in the area, including the Oro Loma Sanitary District Board of Directors, the Hayward Area Recreation District Board of Directors, and East Bay Regional Parks District Board of Directors.
As an avid cyclist, who does not own a car and relies entirely on public transportation, Harvey says the main focus of his orthodox campaign is AC Transit’s embattled boardmember Mark Williams. “I want to win all of them, but the AC Transit seat is the one I’m really gunning for,” he said.
In January, came reports that Williams had not filed a campaign finance report between 2012 and 2016. And after Williams neglected to respond to inquiries by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), they issued him a staggering $60,000 fine.
“By failing to timely file these pre-election campaign statements,” the FPPC wrote last fall. “Williams hid his campaign activities from his opponent and the public.” Williams reportedly negotiated a much lower fine.
“The bus system is terribly run,” said Harvey. “Especially the ’94 Line’ through East Street (in Hayward), which I ride.” Despite Harvey issuing complaints at recent AC Transit meetings, the bus line has not improved, in fact, he believes it’s gotten worse.
Meanwhile, an incumbent in another race facing Harvey this fall took exception to his electoral gambit. East Bay MUD Ward 7 Director Frank Mellon appeared destined to run unopposed for the seat he’s held since 1994, until Harvey’s name showed up as a qualified candidate on the Alameda County Registrar of Voters website last Friday evening.
Mellon lashed out on Facebook over weekend claiming, among other things, Harvey’s strategy could cost Alameda County taxpayers $1 million if he is successful in winning a few of his races. The argument being Harvey could win seats that are incompatible, meaning they present a potential conflict of interest, and therefore trigger a costly special election.
Harvey joined the fray to defend himself on Facebook, and took exception to some of the vitriol from Mellon and his supporters. Comments, which he said are hypocritical “How I’m being treated is reminiscent of Trump and ostensibly these people don’t like Trump,” said Harvey.
According to Harvey, Mellon arrived on his doorstep last Saturday in order to deliver him the local newspaper and East Bay MUD-related documents. Harvey said he returned the favor the next day, showing up at Mellon’s house, although nobody came to the door, he said.
The extent of Mellon dissatisfaction, however, may rest on the fact that Harvey qualifying as the second candidate in the East Bay MUD race cost Mellon thousands in order to place a candidate statement in the Alameda County voters’ guide. For many low-profile, down ballot races like Mellon’s, a candidate statement may be the only chance to introduce yourself to voters.
The act of running for multiple elected offices is not entirely unique this fall. In Emeryville, Ken Bukowski is running for the City Council and school board.