All four of the candidates vying for the District 1 seat that Supervisor Scott Haggerty is leaving have strengths in many areas. However, Vinnie Bacon’s values stand out, as well as his drive to implement policies based on them. He states that his goal is to back the broad needs of the community rather than its special interests, and points to a proven track record that supports this commitment.
In his run for office on the Fremont City Council, he focused on the need to slow down runaway growth that was harming the school district in particular. According to Bacon, the population had dramatically increased, but the number of schools had not. When three other candidates joined him in subsequent Fremont Council elections, the city’s growth was slowed. Bacon and the other candidates turned down campaign donations from developers. Bacon is the only District 1 candidate to do so now.
Bacon comes across as the strongest supporter of Measure D, the grassroots initiative that establishes Alameda County’s Urban Growth Boundary. He would not like to see substantive changes made at the supervisorial level. According to Bacon, this could set a precedent that would erode the goal of limiting urban sprawl. Any significant amendments should be put to a vote of the people, he states.
He recognizes the importance of responding to the real needs of local wineries. He is open to discussing, for instance, an increase in Measure D’s Floor Area Ratio on one site in exchange for a reduction on another, if the properties are located in the same vicinity. He does not want to redefine agricultural uses to expand development significantly throughout the county.
Although Bacon strongly opposes SB 50, and other state bills that define where counties and cities should build housing, he wants to address the affordable housing crisis. He believes that employers can be incentivized to move where housing is provided at a manageable cost to government. Also, a higher mix of affordable housing compared to market rate housing can be encouraged by working with for-profit developers. Despite its expense, he supports ValleyLink as a way to bring workers and their jobs together.
Policies to address homelessness and climate change also rank high on Bacon’s list.
All of the other candidates are taking donations from developers, some of them substantial.
State Senator Bob Wieckowski, a strong backer of SB 50, believes local governments need to be forced to build housing. He also thinks it is within the purview of the Board of Supervisors to grant variances to ballot measures like Measure D to deal with unintended consequences. He supports the view that the Board of Supervisors can on its own make changes that extend agricultural, commercial or recreational uses. Although an experienced State Senator, with creative ideas to reduce homelessness, we do not support his top-down view of the role of County Supervisor.
Dublin Councilmember Melissa Hernandez, less experienced than the other candidates, does not provide as many substantive solutions to problems as they do. Although not responsible for decisions made before her time in office, she has not earned a reputation for aggressively dealing with Dublin’s overdevelopment issues that have affected its schools. In regard to Measure D, she is more lenient in her definition of agriculture than Bacon, but does express her intention to protect open space. She believes SB 50 takes local authority away.
Along with Hernandez, Dublin Mayor David Haubert is not viewed as leading the charge to slow down the residential growth impacting the school district. In regard to whether changes to Measure D can be made administratively rather than on the ballot, he said that he does not know yet. His ideas to deal with homelessness and climate change would help the county. He opposed SB 50.
For his proven commitment to represent the interests of the entire community, Bacon is the best choice for District 1 Supervisor.