In the race for Alameda County District 1 Supervisor, The Independent endorses Vinnie Bacon. We believe his values around smart growth, solar utilities that don’t destroy open space in the county, and support for affordable housing while protecting the Urban Growth Boundary are in line with what the Tri-Valley needs as it looks toward the future.

We’ve seen urban sprawl in many once-beautiful parts of the Bay Areas, families pushed out of neighborhoods they can no longer afford, homeless populations growing by the year and traffic making for horrible commutes. We stand strongly behind preserving the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) and need elected officials who will balance housing mandates from the state with plans for smart growth. Bacon is not endorsed by a host of developers and unions that might sway his decisions.

On affordable housing, Bacon showed an in-depth understanding of legislation that makes it easier for cities to build affordable housing, along with those that create the appearance of solving the problem — when really they serve to take away local control.

Bacon has a keen understanding of the county’s work with the homeless and how COVID-19 could impact services, making him well-suited to navigate difficult times now and going forward.

The Independent is happy to see he supports Valley Link, as that county project will address already-existing traffic issues.

Bacon will also provide a strategic method for addressing social injustices. He sees how black Americans are disproportionately incarcerated. We support his call for a revisited approach to policing and a de-militarized force, while acknowledging that “defunding” could simply mean “redirecting” the funds to bring mental health professionals into the fold.

Bacon’s opponent, David Haubert, also promotes Valley Link and enhancing our mental health resources. However, there are some concerns with regard to his history around development. It’s very possible that campaign dollars from unions and developers don’t impact his voting decisions, as he states. But as he leaves office in Dublin, which has seen unmitigated growth and inundated schools during his time, we can’t help but wonder if he’s received the campaign donations from certain sources because the developers know he won’t ask for much when approving their proposals.

Given the issues in this area around housing, homelessness, traffic and inequity, we need someone who will stand firm for preserving the region and protecting our most vulnerable residents.