Since it began in 1981, the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (MAC) has been appointed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, on the advice of Castro Valley’s Supervisor (currently Nate Miley). However, our MAC members could be elected according to State law.
The MAC advises Alameda County on land use issues, conditional use permits, site development plans, signage, downtown area projects, parking, etc. The MAC also makes decisions on public works issues such as sidewalks, bike lanes, and traffic, as well as public health, welfare, and safety issues such as homelessness and affordable housing. These decisions are forwarded to the West County Board of Zoning Adjustments (appointed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors) or to the Planning Department and/or to the Planning Commission as appropriate.
Since the 63,000 residents of Castro Valley still live in an unincorporated area within Alameda County, it is still the Supervisors who ultimately govern Castro Valley, but generally they don’t overrule the advice of the MAC.
Advocacy for elected MAC thus far
In the first half of 2016, there were opportunities for Castro Valley residents to express their opinion on whether Castro Valley should switch from an appointed to an elected MAC. In a letter submitted to the Board of Supervisors, CVM’s Board of Directors asked that the Board of Supervisors “either pass a resolution changing the Castro Valley MAC to an elected body or place a referendum on the June 2016 ballot so county voters within the Castro Valley General Plan Area can decide if the Castro Valley MAC should be elected by its constituents.”
There was a Town Hall meeting in February, the multi-year Eden Area Livability Initiative (EALI) meetings, District 4 candidate forums, Unincorporated Services Committee meetings, and Alameda County Transportation/Planning meetings. Multiple community leaders, including Congressman Eric Swalwell, endorsed an elected MAC for Castro Valley.
In many of these meetings that I attended, the majority of CV residents expressed their preference for an elected MAC.
Why change to an elected MAC?
Some reasons cited include: transparency of MAC decisions by elected members rather than appointed members; better representation of CV’s growing diversity and changing interests; democratic accountability to the CV electorate; better local control and advocacy for CV issues; a stronger voice for land use planning and future development by CV voters; failure to appoint anyone to the CV MAC during extended periods of vacancies.
How can CV get an elected MAC?
One way is to get at least three of the five Alameda County Supervisors to agree by the August 12 deadline to put this issue on the November 8 ballot for Castro Valley voters exclusively. Supervisor Miley indicated during his re-election campaign that he supports having the voters of Castro Valley decide this issue, but he also said that he couldn’t get two or more of his colleagues to support putting this matter on the ballot. The cost of putting this elected MAC issue on the November 8 general election ballot has been estimated to be more or less $100,000 for the roughly 35,000 registered CV voters, about $2.86 per voter (including translating into other languages).
The final scheduled Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting before summer hiatus is July 19. If CV residents want to vote on an elected MAC in 2016, I strongly advise you to contact ALL five of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors immediately.
Let them know that you want them to place this measure on the November ballot. It will take at least three county supervisors to approve putting this important issue on the November 8th ballot for Castro Valley voters.
District 4: Nate Miley (510) 670-5717 or 272-6694, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 3: Wilma Chan (510) 278-0367 or 272-6693, email@example.com
District 2: Richard Valle (510) 259-1097 or 272-6692, firstname.lastname@example.org
District 1: Scott Haggerty (925) 551-6995 or (510) 272-6691, email@example.com
District 5: Keith Carson (510) 272-6695, firstname.lastname@example.org