Speaking from the Board of Supervisors ‘ chambers in the county headquarters in downtown Oakland, he spoke for nearly an hour to specify the accomplishments of 2020 and priorities for this year. He was wearing a sports coat and a tie, and was clearly feeling the effect of the bright lights illuminating him and the podium (he wiped sweat off his brow and his face many times). Rather surprisingly in these visual times, the update was devoid of any pictures or slides.
The issues he spotlighted were no surprise: racism and COVID-19.
Miley started by putting things in perspective:
“2020 was one of the most memorable, challenging, and destabilizing years that I can recall, during my tenure as an elected official: homelessness, census 2020 firestorms devastating loss of life, exposure of inherent racism and systemic inequality, a presidential election… These issues in and of themselves are daunting for any one year. However, with the introduction of the COVID 19 pandemic. Everything became a shared magnitude and wholly deep experience which none of us escaped, physically, economically, spiritually, or emotionally.”
It’s notable that he’s now serving his sixth term as supervisor.
Miley took on the racial inequity head-on.
“The events of 2020 have offered the opportunity for racial justice and community reparations, became a front and center goal in Alameda County. The time for comprehensive action to address and reform, systemic racism within the county has come,” he said.
Miley is leading a grassroots,l community-focused ad hoc process that has involved more than 100 people to work on racial justice action items including police reform. He said it included reparations for the inequities African Americans have faced. He co-sponsored with Supervisor Keith Carson (the other Black supervisor) a resolution to support Black Lives Matter that included an apology from the county for its past actions that supported groups and organizations that benefitted from slavery. It passed unanimously in October.
He also praised the more than 75% response to the census, up nearly 6 percent over 2010 as well as the 81% voter turnout.
Miley cited the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for its roles in testing and mass vaccinations as well as praising the Alameda County Fairgrounds for serving as both drive-up testing and vaccination site as well as a base camp for firefighters battling the lightening set fires last August.
“Homelessness is a complex layered problem that involves multiple jurisdictions, community and faith based organizations, public and private health care agencies, and of course, mental health centers. There is no one answer that could fundamentally fix what is deeply broken in our streets. However, I believe strongly in a housing first model that utilizes every tool in our tool belt, including tiny homes accessory dwelling units,” he said.
He went on to praise the tiny homes development at First Presbyterian Church in Hayward designed for working people who lack the financial resources to move into permanent housing. That partnership included Home Aid, the building industry’s charitable housing foundation, as well as Crosswinds Church in Livermore. The six homes were assembled in Crosswinds parking lot and now Crosswinds, through a separate non-profit, is preparing to open Goodness Village, a community of 28 tiny homes designed as permanent housing. Former Supervisor Scott Haggerty provided the construction and first-year operating funds as Home Aid again partnered in the development.
Miley also noted that he supported the safe parking space at Fairmont for people living in their cars and two-thirds of people utilizing the site have found permanent housing. It now being transformed with 34 tiny homes.
He did a rundown of work, funding and achievements across his sprawling district that runs from Pleasanton through Castro Valley, the unincorporated areas bordering Hayward and San Leandro to East Oakland. In Pleasanton, he noted that Hively (providing child-care resources) had been named a non-profit of the year as well as praising CTV and former Assemblywoman Catharine Baker for their help in getting information out to the community.
He noted his office’s $75,000 investment in Innovation Tri-Valley’s 2040 visioning project as well as the now-open Sunflower Hill project for developmentally disabled adults.
Looking ahead to this year, he said his priorities will be redrawing the supervisorial districts to accommodate population shifts as well as continuing his efforts on “racial justice and police reform, bringing much needed community reparations to African Americans and other historically marginalized groups within Alameda County, and addressing long standing inequity, continuing to fight illegal dumping and rally more and more groups across our state. “
Other areas included: environmental justice, public health, and public safety, homelessness, delivering quality services and advocating for seniors.