The appointed seven-member Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council, the unincorporated area’s de-facto local government, is back at full-strength after the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved three new members on Tuesday, including a harsh critic of Supervisor Nate Miley.
The Castro Valley MAC, though, is entirely appointed by Miley, who has represented the town on the Board of Supervisors since 2000. The open seats on the MAC were formally filled by Al Padro, Ilya Prokopoff, and Tojo Thomas.
The appointment of Thomas, a sometimes harsh critic of Miley over the years, is a surprise. Thomas challenged Miley’s re-election in 2012 in a race memorable for the potshots he leveled against the incumbent Miley.
When Miley touted his years of experience in local government during a forum in 2012, Thomas, a political novice, shot back, “I don’t have experience in corruption.” Thomas later teased Miley during the same forum by saying, “Why don’t you just endorse me like a real man?” Miley later responded by telling Thomas, “You don’t have my respect and I don’t think you deserve my respect.”
All of that past acrimony is apparently under the bridge as Miley has shown signs recently that he is mellowing out. Gone is the excitable temper that often flashed toward opponents. Thomas’s appointment may be another example.
“For him to put me on the MAC is a pure class act,” Thomas said. “I just want to make sure to do the best for him and to give him ideas for making a better Castro Valley.”
As a member of the MAC, Thomas will focus on pedestrian safety for residents and schoolchildren, he said. “I want to make sure children are safe going and coming back to school.” Thomas’s three children attend Castro Valley schools.
Thomas had applied for the Castro Valley MAC on three prior occasions. He is believed to be the first person of South Asian descent to serve on the advisory council.
The three new members will make their debut at the Aug. 10 meeting. They replace Marc Crawford, the often controversial and long-time MAC member, Ted Riche, and Sheila Cunha.