ALAMEDA COUNTY//GRAND JURY REPORT | Outside of Dublin, most people are unaware Rep. Eric Swalwell is not the first in his family to be an elected official. Eric Swalwell, Sr. served on the Dublin school board nearly a decade ago before his son upset Pete Stark last year in the 15th Congressional District.
However, it comes as some surprise Swalwell, Sr. served on the Alameda County grand jury while his son represented a large portion of the county in Congress. Swalwell was a grand juror from July 1, 2012 to May 2013, according to the report released Monday. He resigned last month after moving outside of the county.
How Senior got on the grand jury is unclear, nor are the reasons why he did not resign sometime after Junior was elected last November. Grand jurors typically apply for the one-year service and are nominated by county judges. According to the report, 25-30 applicants were whittled down to 19 grand jurors through a lottery system. Swalwell was nominated by Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay, the grand jury’s presiding judge.
In addition, the grand jury is split into specific committees relating to health care and social service; law and justice; education and administration; and government. Swalwell served on both health care and as secretary on the government committee.
The potential for conflict of interest exist by Swalwell’s inclusion on an investigative body charged with rooting out government corruption, not only possibly pertaining to his son, a former Dublin council members who had his own battle with ethics last year, but the congressman’s political supporters, some of whom were the subject of the report.
Whether or not Swalwell, Sr., a Republican, may have steered the grand jury to a more conservative bent is not clear, however, the list of topics tackled by the group is noticeably uncontroversial, and at times, laudatory regarding some issues including praise for the condition of some county jails. The grand jury also oddly spent time investigating the county’s innovative plan for firehouse medical clinics. Unsurprisingly, it found nothing wrong with the program. Past grand jury reports were notable for their outrage and criticism of local issues such as Oakland crime labs and the widespread inaction that led to the dissolution of a county program for the poor.
What is missing from the grand jury report, however, is any mention of numerous allegations of graft and ethics violations made by Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty’s former chief of staff against his former boss. It was reported earlier this year a complaint was made to the grand jury. Similarly, a section of the grand jury report on nepotism in Alameda County noted two unnamed county supervisors widely-known to dabble in the act. However, neither was named and both are Swalwell supporters. In fact, the investigation, as detailed, quickly veers into a discussion on nepotism policies in all cities in the county. It found just 3 of 14 entities lacked a policy.
Despite the minimal reference to county supervisors and nepotism, there is no mention of Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, whose son has worked as a staff member for Supervisors Nadia Lockyer and Richard Valle, nor his daughter, who infamously worked for the Associated Community Action Program (ACAP) which dissolved last year and who is now is employed by the county’s ambulance vendor Paramedics Plus.
In the past, Senior attracted local curiosity as a school board member in Dublin from 2000-2004 when he helped push a plan for Dublin High School students to be voluntarily-tested for drug use. Those who passed would receive a red star for display on their person. The “scarlet letter” could then be redeemed for discounts on food and others publicly congratulated for being drug-free.