FIGUEROA, DOWLING MAKE CASE FOR JOBS; LOCKYER FOCUSES ON SERVICESBy STEVEN TAVARES
SUPERVISOR - DIST 2Union City Mayor Mark Green asked the audience, "Does anyone have the Duke-Butler score?" The scrappy underdogs from Butler eventually fell short Monday night, but the Cinderella story of the small Midwestern school staying close to the privileged program at Duke may offer inspiration to the three candidates hoping to outlast Nadia Lockyer's financial and political muscle, although they may need more offensive punch than what was exhibited Monday night.
Lockyer, Green, former state Sen. Liz Figueroa and Hayward Councilman Kevin Dowling all attempted to carve out their sections of the district's electorate at a forum of candidates for a seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors hosted by the League of Women Voters, but most sides played nice for the vast majority of the hour-long event at Hayward's City Hall.
Only once did a candidate rebut another's comments. In a response to a question regarding youth violence in the district, the bassy baritone-voiced Green ridiculed Lockyer's idea to add more after-school activities saying it is "a huge misreading of the problem" and called for increased coordination between cities and the county. "It would be nice to say everything is going to be solved by having after school activities, but you can't say it's just going to be one single magic wand to solve any problem," said Green
Just days after a superior court judge ruled against Figueroa using the title "job developer" as her ballot designation, the veteran lawmaker touted her plan to create more jobs in the region's stagnant economy by developing the now-shuttered NUMMI plant in Fremont. "The number one issue facing the district and the county is economic development and jobs," said Figueroa, who believes green jobs could be created by reconfiguring the former auto plant to mimic the redevelopment around the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland. "What a wonderful opportunity to once again put the energy back into this county," she said.
Hayward Councilman Kevin Dowling, who enjoyed a home-field advantage at city hall, added his work in the city over the past 11 years Hayward has created smart growth in the downtown area, including affordable housing, retail and a new city hall. Dowling said his participation at the city level and work on the staff of Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker's office makes him candidate "who can hit the ground running. The affable Green said the county needs to stay on top of the region's assessed property values to "get more money into the till" and believes the county needs to pay more attention to the southern areas of the district. He joked, when talking to residents in Northern Fremont, they ask, "Are you lost?"
Figueroa twice made reference to her experience saying part of the budget problems at the local and state level stems from a lack of a "continuity of experience." Later in the program, Lockyer shot back saying she was the only candidate with experience at the county level and on several occasions, Lockyer's solutions to problems such as youth violence, housing and non-profits called for gathering the opinions of the local intelligentsia.
When asked about the relationship between the county and non-profits she said, "I will create a leadership team consisting of stakeholders and people who are working with families in each city that will be my go-to," said Lockyer. "They will ensure to all of you that I am kept inform and be the gurus I will go to on how to solve things."
In what is becoming a major theme in her message Lockyer again emphasized her role as a mother Monday night saying, "No matter what title I have, first and foremost, I am a mother." She echoed the same message last Thursday during remarks at the opening of her campaign headquarters in Hayward.
If her opponents are focusing on jobs and the local economy, then Lockyer's strategy is to focus on her strengths in social services as the director of the county's Family Justice Center for support among the district's voters. "We have learned you will never deal with community violence until we deal with family violence," she said and added she would emphasize steering individuals recently released from incarceration to county services. She noted many of those criminalized are also victims of violence at one point in their lives.
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