Despite originally kicking around the idea of retiring from his seat, longtime Alameda County District 4 Supervisor Nate Miley said his work is not done just yet as he gets ready to run for a seventh term next year.
Miley, who is currently serving as the president of the Board of Supervisors for a second time, first joined the board in 2000 after having served on the Oakland City Council from 1990 to 2000.
He said that in those last two decades, he has worked hard to serve and properly represent the residents in his district, which currently includes Pleasanton, portions of Oakland and the unincorporated communities of Ashland, Castro Valley, Cherryland, El Portal Ridge, Fairmont Terrace, Fairview and Hillcrest Knolls.
"I just think my collective knowledge, experience, expertise, relationships that go far and deep, is something that is kind of duty bound and an obligation to be continued to serve for another term," Miley told this news organization.
He said one major factor that led to him wanting to run for the seat again in 2024, rather than calling it a career, were the sudden deaths of Alameda County District 2 supervisor Richard Valle and District 3 supervisor Wilma Chan, coupled with the retirement of District 1 supervisor Scott Haggerty in 2020.
"With three supervisors who I would say collectively had close to 100 years of public sector experience and 60 to 80 years of experience -- maybe on the Board of Supervisors collectively -- I just didn't think it would be wise to leave the county in the hands of three or four new county supervisors," Miley said.
He said that while he does understand the desire from some members of the community to see someone new take over, who might have new ideas to bring to the table, having someone like him who understands how things work and who understands the needs of his different communities under his district is more important.
But it's not just his experience that Miley said he will be leaning on during his reelection campaign, which so far has one challenger, Jennifer Esteen, a nurse and former State Assembly candidate from Ashland.
There are still several initiatives and projects that Miley is either championing or supporting that he wants to see come to fruition before he leaves the board -- one of which being to place a roughly $10 billion general obligation bond on the November 2024 ballot that would bring in money for all nine Bay Area counties.
Being a member of the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority, Miley said that this bond would raise about $1 billion alone in Alameda County, as well as $300 million for Oakland, that will go toward affordable housing -- specifically for both production, preservation and also rent protection.
"For as many homes and folks we sheltered last year, we still had more people that became unsheltered," Miley said. "And it's just not an Alameda County issue, it's a regional issue. So this bond would go a long way."
Apart from affordable housing, Miley said he will also be running a campaign focused on other priorities such as continuing the work to fund the Valley Link rail line project, looking at the unincorporated areas to see if they want to be incorporated into the county and pushing for reparations for Black and African American communities.
"With reparations, I'm not really looking to put money in people's pockets," Miley said. "I'm looking to see how we can address the educational, the criminal justice, the health disparities those types of things have disproportionately affected African Americans."
Another area of concern that Miley wants to address, if reelected, is one that Pleasanton residents and others in the Tri-Valley are very familiar with -- PFAS contamination.
PFAS, otherwise known as forever chemicals that come from certain man-made products, have been a hot topic in the Tri-Valley and specifically in Pleasanton after the city and the Zone 7 Water Agency discovered the chemicals in the groundwater and in Pleasanton's city-run wells.
Miley said that after meeting with attorneys -- specifically one attorney who was involved in the massive PFAS settlement with 3M Co., a chemical manufacturing company -- he wants to push for more education on the chemicals.
He also wants to get the chemical manufacturers to not only pay to educate the communities, he wants to have them pay to get people tested and to eventually find a way to remove the contaminants from the environments in his district as well.
Miley's campaign website, mileyforsupervisor.com, has not yet been updated for the 2024 campaign season.