Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Holding office in Alameda County: It's a good gig, if you can get it

Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern is
running unopposed this June.
PHOTO/Shane Bond
ALAMEDA COUNTY | Patrick O'Connell — like most Alameda County politicians — has run unopposed each time he's been up for reelection to his longtime post as county controller/auditor/clerk recorder. And most East Bay political observers expected him to once again run unchallenged this year. But then in a surprise move, O'Connell declared last week that he had decided to not run for reelection after 28 years in office.

The timing of O'Connell's surprise move also was curious. He made his announcement after the March 7 deadline had passed for candidates seeking to replace him. And his deputy auditor, Steve Manning, officially filed papers to run to replace O'Connell just before his boss made his announcement — and just before the candidate filing deadline. O'Connell denied that the timing of his announcement was designed to help his deputy cruise into office this year, but the move was nonetheless emblematic of a decades-old problem with the Alameda County electoral process — a system that typically discourages competition and resembles political patronage...



  1. By MW:

    Some might consider it to be proof of extreme apathy by the overwhelming majority of the voters the fact that once a person obtains high elected office in Alameda County, usually he or she, and with no serious opposition, gets to remain in office basically forever.
    However a few years ago at a public meeting, a longtime member of the AC Board of Supervisors "explained" that the "reason" he had been repeatedly rubberstamped and easily reapproved by the voters each time there had been an "election" was because he had been doing such a "great" job. He also mentioned how extremely lucky we had been to have a person as "wonderful" as him as our Supervisor.

    And aside from the facts that he is a pathological liar and a sleazy crook, actually overall he is not that bad a guy.

  2. Lai Bitker, Steele and Miley all had opponents.

  3. I agree that Alameda County voters are rubber stampers. Sad, because with a little more interest they would see what these folks are really doing once they get into office and call them to account and improve life here in the AC.

    It also could be that people just don't think that the county politicians matter.

  4. Ahern is aging fast. He looked like a kid when he started 7 years ago.

  5. The problem isn't the voters. It's the corrupt Alameda County Democratic Party.

  6. To 7:27 PM, not corrupt but certainly thuggish. If you are not extremely left you are not allowed to challenge their office holder.

  7. Too bad. I heard he was an asshole to work for.

  8. Can we write in a candidate to get O'Malley kicked out? She is an embarrassment, out-for-self, and doesn't like In and Out Burger. There are lots of other more solid folks who could really make a difference in the county.

  9. By MW:

    One of the reasons that most lawyers do not want to run against an incumbent DA or an incumbent judge is that if the challenger loses, then the incumbent DA or judge would most likely strongly retaliate against the challenger who lost.

    And whenever an incumbent DA is challenged in an election by one of the assistant DA's in his or her own DA's office, it is pretty much standard procedure if the challenger loses, that shortly after the election the challenger is then demoted or fired.

    Remember that the next time one of those practitioners of the "law" tries to feed you their standard lies and garbage that their "profession" is all about facts, truth, and justice, and is not just a sleazy mafia of extremely overpaid parasites, and in fact extremely overpaid parasites who have far and away the highest rates of alcoholism and drug addiction of any major profession. .

  10. By MW:

    To somewhat elaborate on my comments in the above post, let's say the present head of the DA's office in a particular city or county is Mr. A or Mrs. A and that A is running for re-election.

    So let's say B, and who is one of the assistant DA's in that particular DA's office, decides to challenge A, in other words his boss, by also running for election for head DA.

    So now both A and B will try to get at least some of the other assistant DA's in the office to very publicly endorse them and to also make large and generous election campaign contributions.

    So let's say A, in other words the incumbent, wins his battle for re-election. In almost all such situations not merely B but also all of his major supporters in the DA's office will within a few months be demoted or fired.

    (NOTE: And it gets still "better." For instance let's say A, and even though he won his battle for re-election as head DA, has large remaining debts from the campaign. In such instances A will often after the election go to at least some of the higher ranking lawyers in the office, and such as the Deputy DA's and the heads of some of the sections in the DA's office, ask them if they would like to "voluntarily" contribute to his campaign fund. Those who refuse to are often within a few months demoted or fired and those who do are often promoted to higher paying jobs in the DA's office. So in conclusion, always remember that collectively lawyers compose an extremely respectable profession of wonderful people of the very highest honesty and integrity and not just a sleazy mafia of scumbags, thieves, parasites, professional pathological liars, and common criminals hiding behind law licenses.)