Alameda County DA candidates continue to bash Nancy O'Malley's legacy, and each other
Oakland school board situation turns ugly
ALCO DISTRICT ATTORNEY
—RUNNING FROM THE DA—Just about every time the four candidates for Alameda County District Attorney appear together the scene is the same. They Alameda County Prosecutors Terry Wiley and Jimmie Wilson trade brickbats, Pamela Price calls herself a “minister of justice” and references grievances about her ill-fated 2018 campaign for the seat, while Seth Steward plays the nice guy in the room.
—But after listening to the same anecdotes and talking points for months, some of the candidates appear to be getting cranky, adding new wrinkles to a race that at this moment is the most revved-up of any June primary race in the East Bay. Last night, we saw Wiley and Wilson trade barbs over labor endorsements. Price attack Wiley several times in an effort to use him as the proxy for Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, who is not seeking re-election. And, on cue, Steward maintained a cerebral focus on the issues and not personal attacks.
—When it comes to O’Malley, you don’t have to watch too much of these forums to notice her legacy is being ravaged to the extent that you wonder why she isn’t defending herself outside of the race? O’Malley may not be popular at this stage in her 12 years at the county DA’s office, but she has clear accomplishments, primarily on the issue of human trafficking. This constant onslaught on O’Malley’s record could tarnish her legacy forever, if she does not push back now.
—One poignant moment in last night’s forum came when Price rattled off the names of Alameda County DA’s from from the historical Earl Warren to O’Malley. The suggestion was there is a direct thread between the racist policies of each all the way to O’Malley.
—Meanwhile, Wiley, who appears to be the candidate the rest of the field is attempting to marginalize, took more hits on Sunday night. A Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) complaint filed last year by Price against O’Malley alleging improper use of the DA’s office for electioneering during the 2018 race, is now being used against Wiley. One work email authored by Wiley was included in the complaint. Wiley said on Sunday that he had no involvement in O’Malley’s 2018 re-election campaign.
—Wiley admitted the email was improper, but he only sent it to colleagues because Price was asserting the DA’s office lacked Black prosecutors, when it did not. Wiley said the Alameda County DA’s office has more Black prosecutors than the other six Bay Area counties combined. Remember there was incentive for county prosecutors to be against Price. During the 2018 race Price said she would clean house, if elected.
—Campaign contributions and endorsements also took center-stage. When Wilson downplayed union endorsements, Wiley tweaked him, saying his comments come after being spurred by unions. Then Wiley hit harder, saying Wilson, who was once a plumber, couldn’t even get the plumbers’ union endorsement. The union, instead, gave it to Wiley. Earlier, Wiley said he received the backing of Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris, one of Price’s former colleagues, which he lustily noted, and nationally-known civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump. All four candidates said they will not accept campaign contributions from law enforcement groups or police unions. Wiley, though, said he would accept their endorsement.
—Wiley also took heat again for his tenure at Alameda County Juvenile Hall. Price leveled an accusation that Wiley, as part of O’Malley’s DA’s office, played a hand in charging children as adults. Wiley denied it and also pushed back at a Price comment that the DA’s office neglected to visit Camp Sweeney, the dilapidated county property used for housing juveniles.
—This race is trending toward becoming more vicious in the coming weeks. Vote-by-mail ballots won’t be in mailbox until early May. Price hinted she believes the nastiness to come will focus on her campaign. She urged those watching Sunday’s forum to keep an eye on attack mailers portraying her in a different light. She joked that if a mailer arrives in their mailbox showing her head photoshopped on a bikini, that it isn’t her. Polling from 2018, which Price has referenced before, showed her leading O’Malley by 10 points, she said. That’s when the attack mailers came, Price added, and they focused on Southern Alameda County voters. Price neglected to mention her downfall four years ago began after publicly saying, as DA, she would not prosecute misdemeanor crimes. It was a stance she quickly walked back and was highlighted in many of the attack mailers she referred to on Sunday night.
—LENA IS A BALLER—Alameda County Board of Supervisor candidate Lena Tam has an uphill battle as an ex-elected official out of office since 2014 and relatively unknown outside of Alameda. How Tam will be able to compete in an expensive primary race is a big question to be answered. Many say Tam can count on Asian American business owners to contribute to her campaign. But in the meantime, Tam is telling people she plans to sweeten her campaign’s pot with a significant amount of her own money.
—CLOSURE PLAN IS STILL ON—An attempt by two Oakland school board members to keep two schools from closing at the end of this school year failed at a special meeting on Friday night, KPIX reports. The Oakland school board decided two weeks ago to close a number of elementary and middle schools because of budget concerns.
—“You all put on a show tonight,” an upset Oakland school boardmember Mike Hutchinson told his colleagues after the vote. “You think this is going to work. This isn’t going to stop anything—this is the start of it.”
—SCHOOL BOARD VANDALISM—After Friday’s Oakland school board vote, protesters marched to school boardmember Gary Yee’s home and broke his front window, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
—FALCK-ED UP—Falck, Alameda County’s emergency service provider, is failing to meet its response time commitments, ABC7 reports. The county fined Falck $215,000 for slow response times last September and the problem has persisted. Prior to Falck, Alameda County has had a troubled history with emergency service providers.
—EPISODE 43 AVAILABLE NOW!—Former San Leandro Councilmember Ed Hernandez on the state of the city's politics and being called a "sore loser," plus a cameo appearance from 20th Assembly District candidate Shawn Kumagai, and we break down the newest candidates in the Alameda County Board of Supervisors race.
—Look for the new episode today and subscribe to the podcast for FREE on Apple Podcasts or wherever you download podcasts.