Alameda County Supervisor’s Race Shows Signs of Tightening

Incumbent Nate Miley’s campaign is getting a last-minute infusion of cash as he battles challenger Bryan Parker.


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Nate Miley.

File photo By Patt Mazzera

With less than two weeks until Election Day, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley is pulling out all the stops in his suddenly competitive re-election campaign against Bryan Parker. Over the last week, Miley has received thousands of dollars in late contributions from real estate interests, along with a labor union hoping to thwart a non-union grocery store from setting up shop in Miley’s district. The emergence of an independent expenditure committee supporting Miley is also creating buzz about its possible role so late in the campaign.

Last week, Miley received $11,500 from various landlords groups, some of which typically voice strong anti-renter sentiment in numerous East Bay cities. The California Apartment Association, a statewide special interest group, for instance, contributed $4,000 to Miley’s campaign last Thursday. The same organization gave Miley $8,500 earlier this year and is a strong opponent of rent control measures this fall in Alameda and Richmond.

Meanwhile, Miley also received another $10,000 on Thursday from the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW). Half came from the UFCW Western States Council Independent Expenditure PAC and the other half from UFCW Local 5. The latter also contributed $2,500 to Miley’s campaign earlier this year.

The contributions are notable because earlier this month Miley expressed support for a plan to bring Sprouts, a non-union grocery store, to Castro Valley, while a member of UFCW Local 5 filed an appeal to halt the proposal using the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).   

During a meeting of the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Committee on May 9, a highly energized crowd voiced support for the grocery store, along with strong anti-labor sentiment. Miley told the group he support Sprouts.

“I’m not going to disparage organized labor. I think they play a vital role in our society,” said Miley. “It is my role and my job to represent everybody, whether they’re from corporate America, whether they’re from the grassroots community, or whatever ethnicity or gender they are, or wherever they live.”

Shortly after, Miley urged the crowd not to blame the UFCW member who filed the CEQA appeal—her home address was distributed in a flier that night. “Don’t hate the player, hate the game,” Miley said of CEQA.

In another sign that the race for the Board of Supervisor’s 4th District is tightening, an independent expenditure committee has emerged favoring Miley. The groups calling itself “Pleasanton Families for Nate Miley” was formed on May 4. The independent expenditure committee, which can raise unlimited funds and cannot coordinate its efforts with the candidate, lists current Oakland-Alameda County joint powers authority board member Mary Warren as its principal officer. Warren was recently reappointed by Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty. Miley also sits on the JPA board with Warren.

The IE, however, had registered just two $1,500 donations through Monday. Gray, Green, Shelby and Vaughn, LLC, an Oakland government relations firm, made one contribution last Thursday, the other is from Paramedics Plus, the county’s emergency ambulance provider. Paramedics Plus contributed $4,189 earlier this year. In addition, Miley’s daughter works for Paramedics Plus, which won a contentious contract with the county in 2013. The Alameda County Board of Supervisors later gave the Texas-based corporation a $4 million bailout after saying it erred in its original estimate of the costs associated with servicing the county.

IEs are typically used to lob negative attacks against the opponents of the candidate they support. And Parker appears to be anticipating a hit by the IE against his campaign. “Gee, I wonder what he is up to?? Maybe he wants to hit below the belt & pretend it's not him?” Parker tweeted Friday about the IE supporting Miley.

In a practical sense, whatever the Miley IE intends to accomplish, it will need far more money before it can produce and disseminate any direct mail. Time is also of the essence because the drop-dead date for any mail to be sent and guaranteed to arrive in voters hands before the June 7 primary is this Friday.

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