The next person to represent District 1 on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors will be a current elected officials from either Fremont or Dublin. The four-person field was set Wednesday, although the list of candidates had solidified months ago.
The March primary campaign is Alameda County’s marquee race. It features a seat on the influential Board of Supervisors not contested since 1996, when Scott Haggerty, a Republican at the time, defeated a large field of candidates to replace then-long-time Supervisor Ed Campbell.
Until this upcoming primary, it was the last time the District 1 office has even registered a challenger. Haggerty announced he would not seek re-election to his seat last summer.
The wide-open field includes District 10 State Sen. Bob Wieckowski, Fremont Councilmember Vinnie Bacon, along with Dublin Mayor David Haubert, and Dublin Vice Mayor Melissa Hernandez.
In addition, to Fremont and Dublin, District 1 also includes Livermore and Sunol.
Countywide, the key question is whether the next supervisor from District 1 will change the dynamics of the board. Primarily, when it comes to public safety and the board’s oversight of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.
At two early forums, audience members showed great interest in the candidate’s opinion of Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern, and whether they would advocate, for example, using the board’s power of the purse as a means of greater oversight, or even an effort to make the sheriff’s office an appointed position.
When it comes to Ahern and a number of allegations of misconduct by his deputies, along with the deaths of prisoners at the Santa Rita Jail, the current Board of Supervisors are typically split, 3-2, slightly in favor of oversight. Ahern’s biggest supporters on the board are Haggerty and Supervisor Nate Miley. The next supervisor from District 1 could broaden the current critical eye on Ahern or flip it to a more hands-off approach when it comes to the elected sheriff.
District 1 is not the only race for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors next March. Miley in District 3 and Supervisor Keith Carson in District 5 also have challengers.
Carson, the long-time Berkeley and North Oakland county supervisor, is facing an upstart campaign from Albany Councilmember Nick Pilch.
Miley, who faced a hard-fought and expensive re-election in 2016 against former Oakland mayoral candidate Bryan Parker, will face Esther Goolsby, a community activist with the East Bay Alliance for Sustainable Economy (EBASE).