An Alameda County plan to split Pleasanton into two separate supervisory districts makes no sense.
The plan, as outlined Tuesday night, would take Supervisor Scott Haggerty's District 1 and divide it to include only the portion of Pleasanton south of Stoneridge Drive while turning over the part of the city north of Stoneridge and everything west of 680 to Supervisor Nate Miley, who represents much of Oakland and a large part of Dublin.
Haggerty would keep a small sliver of Dublin that he now has as well as Livermore and much of Fremont, his longtime political base.
Pleasanton officials strongly oppose the plan, arguing that the city has long been split into three state Assembly districts which give it little clout in dealing with municipal issues in Sacramento. Adding a second county supervisor would also water down its influence on the county board.
As it is, none of the three Assembly members—Joan Buchanan (15th), Mary Hayashi (18th) and Bob Wieckowski (20th) live here and, in fact, are seldom seen at public, business and City Council meetings.
Haggerty is well-known in all theses circles; Miley is not. It is doubtful that Miley would lean in Pleasanton's direction on important issues when there are competing interests between Oakland and Pleasanton. The votes would be in Oakland, not Pleasanton – making the outcome obvious to most political observers.
We understand that significant population shifts over the last 10 years require that the county redraw supervisor boundaries so that they are roughly equal. Population gains of 10% in Pleasanton and Livermore and 5% in Fremont have increased the numbers in District 1 while Miley's District 4 in Oakland has lost population, more than even a 53% gain in much smaller Dublin can make up.
Still, the proposed map as shown Tuesday night is out of sync with the strong commonality that has developed over these same 10 years among Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore. These Tri-Valley cities often speak with one voice on major issues affecting BART, freeways, housing, business and social issues. Pleasanton and Livermore share a fire department. The mayors of the three cities travel to Washington to lobby for key programs they support. Their City Councils meet regularly on joint municipal concerns.
To support this strong working relationship, the Tri-Valley should also have a single Alameda County supervisor.
The misfits in this proposed new boundary realignment are Fremont in Haggerty's district and Dublin in Miley's. Fremont would be a better fit in Supervisor Nadia Lockyer's District 2, where she already has Newark and part of Hayward along the I-880 corridor. Miley's district should be expanded westward into the densely populated Bayside communities. Oakland would still have its three-supervisor voting bloc: Miley, Wilma Chan and Keith Carson.
Haggerty said Tuesday that he will keep an open mind before voting for new boundaries. More public hearings are scheduled tonight and next week, including a major one next Thursday in Fremont, where new supervisory boundaries are expected to draw heated opposition similar to Pleasanton's this week.
Like those in Fremont who face being redistricted out of the rest of their city, we hope the county supervisors will recognize the political and practical needs to keep the Tri-Valley together as a single, vibrant district in Alameda County. Anything less than this would be a disservice to the community of Pleasanton and an outcome that is reminiscent of Chicago-style politics. We deserve better from our county representatives.