Yesterday, I was speaking to a colleague about the resignation of the District Attorney and the appointment process when he mentioned Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty switching parties to become a Democrat.
“What?!,” I responded, sure that I must have misheard him
But I had not. At the annual Labor Day picnic that the Alameda Labor Council hosts, Haggerty turned over his Democratic registration to Robin Torrello, Chair of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee. Haggerty has been a longtime supporter of labor so it’s no surprise he chose this venue to switch parties.
But why, why would he switch parties? Alameda Supervisors are essentially unbeatable, and Haggerty is popular in his South County district. He had no opponent in 2008 and won with 98.45% of the vote.
The only good explanation for his party switch is that he’s eyeing higher office, and he knows that in Alameda County, it’s incredibly difficult to get elected as a Republican. My initial reaction was that he must be looking towards a state assembly run, though I have no real evidence of that. His term ends in 2012 at the same time that Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi’s term ends, and that’s the district he lives in. If he’s looking to run sooner, he could easily move to the nearby 20th district, where Alberto Torrico is leaving his seat and running for Attorney General. With the support of labor and potentially the support of the Democratic Party, Haggerty would have a fair shot at one of those seats.
While I don’t think Haggerty would make a very good Assemblymember, he wouldn’t be terrible (no worse than many of the centrist Democrats there now), and we’d be rid of him at the local level. Not only would we get a new Supervisor, but we’d get new representation on several important regional transit boards. According to his website, he has his hands in just about every transit related decision making body:
Supervisor Haggerty has extensive experience with regional transportation and infrastructure policy of the Bay Area. He is a founding member of the Inter-Regional Partnership (IRP), comprised of 15 elected officials representing counties and cities from two regions; and he is a member and former chair of the Altamont Rail Express Joint Powers Authority (ACE). Scott is a member and former chair of the Alameda County Transportation Authority (ACTA) and the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority (ACTIA), which was formed to oversee projects funded through Measure B dollars. Scott also serves on numerous regional transportation boards including: chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), which is responsible for allocating state and federal funds to regional transportation projects; member and former chair of the Alameda County Congestion Management Authority; Chair of the Alameda County Congestion Management Authority (CMA) and a member of the Livermore-Amador Valley Transit Authority (LAVTA). Supervisor Haggerty is a member and former chair of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD); and the Board of Supervisors’ Transportation & Planning Committee.
And what’s wrong with his involvement in all of these transit planning boards? Again, from his website:
With traffic traveling through Alameda County projected to double by 2030, his goals include making long-needed improvements in major travel corridors including I-580 in the Tri-Valley, one of the most congested roads in the Bay Area; and expanding and enhancing transit service. Scott is currently working to ensure the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) extension to Livermore is completed, and also has a key role in an ongoing effort to extend BART to San Jose.
Haggerty believes that by expanding highways and roads and building expensive BART extensions that bankrupt the core system, traffic problems will all be solved. We don’t need someone with these attitudes representing Alameda County, or in the case of MTC, quasi-representing Oakland (Oakland has no direct representation on MTC).
So I’m all for Haggerty moving on in search of higher office. Let’s just make sure he doesn’t get on any state level transportation committees or boards.