In advance of Tuesday’s likely contentious Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting on the future of Urban Shield, a member of the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council said Monday that dissenting supervisors might think differently about eliminating or downgrading the emergency preparedness training event if a gunman stormed tomorrow’s proceedings.
Chuck Moore, a Castro Valley equestrian park owner, who was appointed to the CV MAC by Supervisor Nate Miley, made the comment Monday night on an agenda item offering support for Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern’s Urban Shield event.
“If they had an exercise tomorrow unannounced and somebody come running in there with a fake gun and everything like that, you would see a whole different attitude about the people who are voting to restrict what these folks do. Because now all of a sudden, they would experience something very, very bad,” said Moore.
The entire CV MAC, in fact, is handpicked by Miley, who represents unincorporated Castro Valley. The council is viewed as the town’s de-facto government. However, their decisions are merely advisory.
“We are so lucky to have someone like him and his command staff put this together and all the good that it has done.” -Marc Crawford, CV MAC chair who requested Monday’s resolution in support of Urban Shield
Most of those who have served on the council have been contributors to Miley’s campaigns, including Moore is perhaps Miley’s biggest benefactor. Moore has held large campaign fundraisers in the past for the supervisor at his ranch in rural Castro Valley.
Two weeks ago, the Board of Supervisors spent nearly five hours taking public testimony and deliberating 68 recommendations offered by an ad hoc committee to reform Urban Shield. The annual event held in Pleasanton attracts regional, national and international law enforcement agencies for disaster and emergency training exercises. At risk is $5.5 million in federal funding for disaster preparedness training if the board chooses to enact some of the ad hoc committees reforms, Ahern has warned.
But critics says the event fosters a militarization of local police forces. In addition, previous training exercises have portrayed Middle Eastern communities in a negative light, such as terrorists. And the related trade show has included items with distinctly racist images.
The Board of Supervisors will take up Urban Shield late Tuesday morning and potentially reconsider 30 recommendations that failed to reach a consensus with Ahern. Among them is a call to discontinue use of the Urban Shield name and brand, eliminate local law enforcement from SWAT training, disband the vendor show, and a call to include “vulnerable populations” in the planning and implementation of the event.
The resolution requested by CV MAC Chair Marc Crawford, however, did not focus on the proposed changes to Urban Shield, but for generally supporting Ahern’s efforts. The resolution passed, 4-0, with 2 abstentions.
At times, though, it appeared as if Moore, Crawford, and another MAC member, Ken Carbone, were competing to offer praise to the controversial county sheriff.
“I’m surprised someone like Ahern has not been tapped for a position with Homeland Security,” said Crawford. “We are so lucky to have someone like him and the command staff he has put together and all the good that it has done.”
All three sought to diminish opponents of Urban Shield who attended the Mar. 5 Board of Supervisors meeting as a “vocal minority,’ not representative of Alameda County.
“Just because an entire room goes against something does not mean they go against the majority of this community,” Carbone told Miley, who was standing before the council.
Carbone questioned whether any the perceived dissenting supervisors had ever attended an Urban Shield exercise. Carbone also made a suggestion similar to Moore that county supervisors opposing or on the fence about Urban Shield would view it differently if placed in an emergency situation. The comment, although far less specific, may have inspired Moore, who made his remarks right after Carbone.
We support these good ol’ boys. Urban Shield, as currently structured and executed, is just fine with the greater Alameda County community. Good deal for all!