By Tim Hunt
Timely action by the district attorneyUploaded: May 27, 2014
Alameda County voters are fortunate that District Attorney Nancy O'Malley acted before the election to indict a candidate for auditor-controller (ballots have been out for a couple of weeks for vote-by-mail citizens).
O'Malley's office charged candidate Kathleen Knox with six felony counts relating to her residence and whether she voted illegally in Alameda County. Knox has pled not guilty and announced she has withdrawn from the raceher name still will be on the ballot.
She was running for the open auditor-controller seat against the current chief deputy, Steve Manning. His boss, Patrick O'Connell, announced he was retiring shortly before the deadline to file for office.
Alameda County, as is evident on the ballot, has a tradition of re-electing incumbents who are unopposed for the non-partisan offices of district attorney, sheriff, treasurer-tax collector and assessor. It is not so in Contra Costa County where incumbents have been challenged more frequently. In Alameda County, once elected and barring major misconduct, the job seems to be the incumbent's until they decide to retire.
The district attorney charged Knox with lying about where she lives (she listed a San Leandro adult care facility as her residencethe DA's investigators identified an address in Danville) as well as voter fraud for voting in Alameda County while living in Danville.
In the probable cause statement, investigator Bruce Brock said that Knox admitted moving to Danville so her daughter could attend San Ramon Valley High.
Elected representatives to the StopWaste board in Alameda County will have the opportunity to respond to homeowners and scrap the proposed $9.95 per household fee for hazardous waste disposal.
The agency staff wants the fee because it has been so successful at reducing the volume of waste going into the Altamont and Vasco landfills that its revenues are shrinking so it cannot afford to maintain a very limited service (for more detail, please see my March 25 post) at four hazardous waste drop-off sites in the county.
More than 100,000 household unitsmany apartment building ownersprotested the fee. That's 18 percent of the countya very high number given that the agency is skating on the edge of the law by using a process that requires 50 percent of the households to object to avoid the board establishing the fee. A ballot measure--such as we are seeing with the half-cent sales taxwould give the public a direct choice.
Thankfully, the Livermore Valley's representatives (Don Biddle of Dublin, Jerry Pentin of Pleasanton and Laureen Turner of Livermore) all opposed the measure as did the Castro Valley Sanitary rep. It fell one vote short of the two-thirds majority in April and will be reconsidered Wednesday.
Here's hoping that other elected officials recognize two facts:
1. The objections are a huge number. They should be respected.
2. The agency should ramp down its activitiesit has won by significantly reducing waste going to the landfills. Declare victory and go away.