By Tim Hunt
Haggerty's decision creates rare open seat on county boardUploaded: Jun 18, 2019
Come January 2021, the Livermore Valley will have a new representative on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who has represented Livermore Valley cities since winning election in 1996, announced that he will not stand for a seventh term next year. When he was elected the First District included all of the Livermore Valley plus Fremont. Due to growth in the valley, Pleasanton was split off into Supervisor Nate Miley’s district after the 2010 census.
Haggerty’s seniority has helped on regional boards, particularly the Metropolitan Transportation Commission that doles out state and federal transit funds. There are times I have appreciated Haggerty’s persistence and creativity such as the new parking garage on the Dublin side of the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station.
When the hopeless BART board rejected a $20 million state grant to build the garage that Assemblywoman Catharine Baker arranged, she partnered with Haggerty to move ahead with the garage on county-owned land with the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority being the government agency of record.
He’s also playing a key role in the Valley Link project to connect San Joaquin County cities by rail with the terminal Dublin/Pleasanton BART station. It also will link with ACE trains. This came after the BART board rejected the long-planned extension to Isabel Avenue in Livermore.
He’s also credited with landing $23 million for the Bankhead Theater in Livermore. That came from a settlement fund from the Altamont and Vasco landfills after a citizen sued to prevent their expansion. It was designed for open space acquisition—a questionable use. What it should have gone for were improvements to Interstate 580 that carries the 18-wheelers hauling trash to the dumps. The trucks that travel I-580 to Greenville or Vasco roads have minimal impact on Livermore, particularly those bound on Greenville for the Altamont Landfill.
Haggerty and his staff have been strong advocates for improving county services to the valley, particularly health care. With the significant social needs along the I-880 corridor, it was easy for county leaders to focus there without realizing that there are people that need help here in the valley.
What will be interesting is to see is who steps up to run for the seat. Haggerty never faced a challenger in his five re-election campaigns and the last time I can recall a sitting supervisor losing was when the late Don Excell defeated Valerie Raymond more than 40 years ago.
Seats rarely open up. Keith Carson has served since 1993; Nate Miley since 2000 and Wilma Chan since 2011 after an earlier six-year stint and six years in the state Assembly. With no term limits and an annual salary of $167,000 plus plenty of per diem payments for attending regional boards and other meetings, it’s a sweet gig for a politician. Chan is hardly alone in running for supervisor after being termed out in Sacramento—it’s happened all over the state.
State Sen. Bob Wieckowski of Fremont had announced he would seek Congressman Eric Swalwell’s seat if he does not seek re-election during his presidential campaign. When Haggerty announced his decision Wieckowski shuttered his congressional campaign and announced he will run for supervisor.
Although Haggerty was living in Fremont when he was elected, he moved to the valley and has lived here throughout his terms. That local connection served the valley well because he knew the issues.