Five candidates, including two incumbents, are running for three seats in the Oro Loma Sanitary District Board. This covers part of San Leandro, but not the part where I live. I thought about not making any recommendations in this race because the issues are pretty complex.
On the one hand, Oro Loma seems to be doing quite well. The Board gets re-elected time and time again. On the other hand, all the members are older white men. One of the incumbents running, Howard Kerr, is a very conservative 91-years-old. Among the non-incumbents there is another middle-age white man, Dan Walters, an older white woman, former Mayor Shelia Young, and a Nigerian American accountant who is also running for School Board. Either of the last two would bring some diversity to the Board. But is diversity what one needs in a sanitary district board? Or is it technical knowledge and familiarity with the work? And if it’s the latter, should Kerr’s political ideas come into play?
Originally, I decided to not make any recommendations on this race. I don’t have to vote, so I don’t really have to make up my mind. But then I realized I wasn’t being entirely fair. Because if I did have to vote, even if I didn’t know who my second and third votes would go, my first one would be for Dan Walters.
Dan Walters is pretty cool guy. He is a chemical engineer, but also a policy wonk. His political philosophy has a strong conservative/libertarian bent, and yet he is profoundly concerned with social issues. He is very involved in Boy Scouts, for example. Though we don’t share many political views or personality traits, I have a lot of respect for Dan. He is intelligent – the type of person who “gets” what you are talking about -, he has a very logical mind, he is honest, he tries to be a good person. He is willing to look at problems and issues from different perspectives. He is willing to listen. And he loves garbage. As a young kid, he toured a water treatment plan and has since been in love with waste management engineering. He is not running out of any political ambition, he thinks he will have fun being in this particular board. And I think he will.
Moreover, he has actually been following the issues, he knows all about technical and policy requirements. Truth be told, I had to stop him from going into detail.
In any case, he is really the right guy for this particular job. If you can, vote for him.