Fremont City Councilman Vinnie Bacon and Dublin Mayor David Haubert are on the November ballot vying for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors District 1 seat in a runoff election. The two finished in the top two places in March, but well short of the 50%-plus-one required to win the board seat outright in the primary.
The BOS has weighty responsibilities. This board, with guidance from the county health department, is addressing the economic repercussions and recovery of the current COVID-19 crisis. Also, the county’s General Plan dictates the zoning for parcels in the county, like where the mega solar farms are proposed for North Livermore. It is a taxing body as well, with a half-cent sales tax on the November ballot.
In other words, voters should take care in who they elect to this position.
Haubert is the best candidate to replace retiring Supervisor Scott Haggerty because he brings more governance experience and proven ability to lead.
Through his years of service to Dublin on the school board, council and now as mayor, along with roles on regional boards and associations, Haubert has shown he can work collaboratively with people who at times have competing interests. That attribute will be especially important in the vast District 1, which spans Livermore, Dublin, parts of Sunol and most of Fremont.
Haubert also knows how to balance priorities of the local government and desires of the residents -- such as weighing environmental protections with housing development.
In Dublin, Haubert has led the effort to help create affordable housing while maintaining open space, and he will bring that knowledge and experience to the county seat, which will be important when the new regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) obligations are announced.
His opponent Bacon, on the other hand, blames developers -- and by extension, elected officials -- for the lack of affordable housing. Bacon’s campaign website says “ … developers know that money talks in politics, and time and time again, they’ve pushed the sprawl line, resisted affordable housing commitments, and created housing for speculators and the super rich.”
Affordable, workforce housing is imperative for small and medium-sized businesses to survive and, if it is not planned on a local level, the state will do it for us. It is highly unlikely they will take residents’ concerns or their desires for beautiful hillsides and open space into consideration. We don’t want to lose that local control.
Taking a stance of victimization by developers and questioning the ethics of current electeds is not the best approach for this -- but it will make Bacon’s supporters happy.
Speaking of making supporters happy, Bacon’s opinions on special interest groups donating to candidate campaigns gives us pause. He thinks developers donating is an attempt to “buy interest,” but donations from labor unions isn’t?
Campaign contributions seem to be a problem for Bacon all the way around. On Sept. 29, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) opened a new investigation into alleged ethics violations by Bacon. The investigation, which includes 35 possible misdemeanor charges and is in addition to the nine ethics charges he was found guilty of in 2019, alleges failure to report all loans and contributions, failure to provide an accurate accounting of donations, and failure to properly identify his advertisements. So much for the “clean money candidate.”
There is also the issue of Bacon’s questionable judgment in, essentially, threatening a member of Fremont’s Sikh-American community, Tejinder “TJ” Dhami, for “working against the party” by supporting Haubert’s campaign.
In a since-publicized voicemail, Bacon said to Dhami, “I hope you know this will have severe repercussions as far as your ever wanting to work with the Democratic Party again.”
Yes, there is no question our politics have become polarized, even in contests that should be nonpartisan. But Bacon’s use of threats as opposed to, perhaps, having a civil conversation with someone with opposing views does not bode well for his ability to navigate the collaborative nature of politics on a county level.
David Haubert has the experience, knowledge and temperament to represent Alameda County's District 1. Vote for Haubert on Nov. 3.
Editor's note: The Pleasanton Weekly editorial board reached its decisions based on the candidates' performances at the Weekly's forum, email interviews on endorsements, and our review of past reporting and research.