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The Independent: Vote for Jennifer Esteen, Who Supports Open Space, Jail Reform


Jennifer Esteen, who served on the Eden Area Municipal Advisory Council that guides the board of supervisors, is a promising upcoming leader. She is challenging Supervisor Nate Miley for the District 4 seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

The district serves portions of Pleasanton and Oakland, along with Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, El Portal Ridge, Fairmont Terrace, Fairview and Hill Crest Knolls.

Esteen should be elected.

Her support of the county’s Measure D and its defense of our surrounding open areas is needed to guide development in the future. Voters adopted Measure D in 2000, a measure that establishes a county urban growth boundary (UGB) preserving the Tri-Valley’s agriculture and open space outside of it. The current board’s approval of the large-scale Aramis solar project and the Monte Vista Memorial Gardens cemetery and mausoleum proposal has released a dangerous invitation for industrial and commercial uses to continue to break our UGB.

We need a supervisor to lead the effort to set forth the letter and intent of the Measure D law, which Esteen said she plans to do. For 24 years, the county has failed to adopt a zoning policy that would embody the changes in the voter-approved Measure D. Had the specific requirements been in place, county supervisors would have found it more difficult to skirt the purpose of Measure D, as they did when they approved the Aramis and Monte Vista projects.

What’s more, Esteen is correct when she says Miley shares some of the responsibility for the county’s problems, because he has served for 23 years. In addition to approving violations of Measure D, he has been in office when 69 deaths in the last 10 years took place at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. The need for mental healthcare is dire. Homelessness is now a crisis. The supervisors have not taken any meaningful action.

We applaud Miley for his work with the Valley Link train system and forever-chemical treatments, as well as his recent effort to launch Bay Area funding for the homeless. However, we disagree with his decision to approve Aramis solar and the Monte Vista developments, and his failure to address the implementation of Measure D regulations for 24 years. He also has ignored the deaths at Santa Rita for too long and not pursued the creation of mental health services.

Esteen who has had to take advantage of food stamps and other assistance available to the disadvantaged, said she has “actually been there.” If elected, she would not only feel empathetic to those in need, but also driven to create programs to assist them.

As a county supervisor, Jennifer Esteen would advocate for Tri-Valley issues that have been ignored for a decade or more. She deserves our vote.


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