Dee Rosario is a retired park ranger and park supervisor. Learn more about him at http://www.drosario4parks.com. Ward 2 includes most of Oakland, Piedmont, Canyon, Moraga, Orinda, Orinda Village, Rheem Valley, Lafayette, Rossmoor, and part of Walnut Creek
1 – What is your opinion of the current East Bay Parks administration and what changes do you propose to make from the Board?
The current Board of Directors is isolated from the public. Park District headquarters is not easily accessible by public transit, and all Board meetings are held during the day. The working public must take a day off work to participate. If elected, I would advocate for holding one of the two monthly Board meetings and the Operations Committee meetings in the evening.
I will advocate that the Chief Financial Officer reports directly to the Board. Members of the present Board allowed the position to be changed to report to an Assistant General Manager and the General Manager. I believe the Board of Directors and the public need to have unbiased access to the financial data of the District.
The joint Union/Management Ecology Committee has been hampered by lack of Board support to enforce the mandate of the committee to reduce the use of herbicides and pesticides. I would strongly advocate for a reduction in petrochemical herbicides and pesticides and move toward more biological or botanical controls.
2 – What’s your opinion about the militarization of the East Bay Parks police and what do you think the Board should do about it?
The Park District purchased a ballistic-proof (armored) vehicle a few years ago. I am aware of the vehicle’s being used only once, when a Public Safety Officer stumbled upon an illegal marijuana operation. I don’t believe we should be purchasing military vehicles, and this one should be returned to Homeland Security.
3 – How do you think East Bay Parks police should handle protests?
The Park District Public Safety Department is an exemplary one. The officers are well trained and there have been no major complaints about officer conduct, and in my interactions with the officers, they have been considerate and professional. The Public Safety Department does have a mutual aid agreement with surrounding agencies and on occasion has been called to assist.
Protests should be monitored for actual vandalism or physical harm to another person, and officers should not be expected to herd or form barricade lines.
4 – The East Bay Regional Parks District utilizes a whole array of surveillance technology. What do you think the proper role of the Board should be in regulating the acquisition and use of such technology and what specific policies do you want to see in place to safeguard the privacy of visitors?
The Park District does use surveillance technology. Cameras have been installed in some areas in an effort to curtail car break-ins. For many years the officers have been wearing voice- activated recorders for their own and the public’s protection. The helicopters are equipped with infrared technology, which is useful in search and rescue operations at night and with mop-up operations after a fire.
I am not aware of any other methods of surveillance, but I believe the Board of Directors should ensure that strict guidelines are followed to prevent abuse.
5 – What action has the Board taken in the last 4 years that you disagreed with?
The Board of Directors changed the reporting relationship of the Chief Financial Officer, as noted in answer 1 above.
The Board of Directors recently approved what is essentially a 15% raise for the managers.
The Board of Directors approved the building of multi-story buildings at the top of the Nike Site, which overlooks Lake Chabot and Lake Chabot Road, and was within 100 feet of the nearest neighbors. The residents of Castro Valley showed up at several Municipal Advisory Commission hearings and stopped the project. That project should never have gotten off the ground. It went against the Mission Statement to protect the views along the ridges. The fact that there were only two comments to the Negative Declaration should have raised a red flag and prompted questions to staff about how the Negative Declaration was distributed to the public.
I agree with the Board’s decision to close the Chabot Gun Club, but they gave the club too long to vacate the premises. The fact that the Gun Club is voluntarily shutting down early is not surprising, since they had been running in the red for the last two years.
6 – Can you describe an instance in which you have shown moral courage, either as a board member or in a professional situation?
During the process of creating the Resource Protection Area along Stream Trail in Redwood Regional Park, where I was the Park Supervisor for 17 years, the verbal abuse at the hands of dissatisfied dog owners was almost overwhelming. This designation required dogs to be on leash on this three-mile trail. I am proud of what we accomplished to enhance the riparian corridor for the benefit of the indigenous rainbow trout.
7- Have you received financial support from anyone that had business with East Bay Parks, including unions? Do you or your campaign have a financial relationship with any member of the ACDCC?
Half of my contributions are from unions, and the other half from the community. I was a proud and active union member and President of AFSCME Local 2428, and I was an Executive Board member of Alameda County Central Labor Council. I enjoyed serving on union/management committees to make the Park District a better place for everyone.
I have no financial relationships with anyone on the ACDCC.
I received $250 from a former tree contractor. I can easily return the money if it is the right thing to do.
8 – Are you running as a Berniecrat?
I supported Bernie, and I certainly believe in providing Medicare for all, expanding Social Security by scrapping the cap, restoring the cuts to recipients of SSI, continuing to tax the rich, affordable housing (especially for seniors), the Fight for 15, and Just Say NO to the TPP.