Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley told a neighborhood group in Cherryland earlier this month that they should consider a proposal, in its early stages, for Hayward city officials to study the feasibility of annexing their incorporated area.
“I’m not opposed to annexation, but that’s not my call,” he told members of the Cherryland Community Association on Oct. 9. “The county has no dog in this fight.”
But Miley warned that he would not support Hayward raiding Cherryland’s more desirable areas, as has occurred in the past in other parts of unincorporated Alameda County. “I won’t allow cherry-picking,” Miley said. “It’s all or nothing.”
Members of the community group, however, had mixed feelings toward the idea of annexation, especially after first hearing of the proposal just days after the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved the much-sought after formation of a municipal advisory council for the 69,000 total residents of Cherryland, San Lorenzo, Ashland, and Hayward Acres. Similar council’s exist in unincorporated Castro Valley and Fairview.
I won’t allow cherry-picking. It’s all or nothing.-Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley
The Eden Municipal Advisory Council (EMAC) took three years from inception to approval by the county this month. The unelected council’s membership is approved by the Board of Supervisor and its decisions are only advisory.
Members of the Hayward firefighters union, along with Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab attended the neighborhood meeting with hopes of receiving the group’s support for a forthcoming council referral that, if approved by the Hayward City Council, will formally direct Hayward’s city staff to study annexation, .
Cherryland Community Association members ultimately tabled any decision for supporting Wahab’s council referral until their next meeting in November. Wahab told the group she would defer submitting the referral for inclusion on a future city council agenda until later this year.
The genesis of the idea to absorb Cherryland and its 15,000 residents into Hayward had previously been murky, but appears to have come from the Hayward firefighters.
Andrew Ghali, president of the Hayward firefighters union, said the idea for annexation was sparked recently following an impromptu conversation with a Cherryland resident.
But some members of the group appeared jarred by the lack of prior consultation about the proposed referral. “We don’t want another city to come here and tell us what to do,” Cindy Torres, vice-president of the Cherryland Neighborhood Association, snapped. Others feared Cherryland would lose it identity if annexed by Hayward.
Miley, who represents Cherryland, along with a large swath of unincorporated Alameda County, said there was little harm in the neighborhood association supporting the preliminary referral. One reason, he told the group, is annexation is an extremely long process that could ultimately end with a public vote.
If Hayward leaders ultimately take steps toward annexing Cherryland, they are then required to file its plans with the Alameda County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), which has authority over municipal boundaries and jurisdictions.
In the event LAFCo approves annexation, an official protest of the decision could trigger an election.
Two county supervisors sit on the commission. Supervisor Scott Haggerty is the current chair of LAFCo, and Miley also serves on the seven-member commission.