Two Piedmonters — Chris Moore and Lorrel Plimier — have joined the race to fill Keith Carson’s District 5 Alameda County Board of Supervisors seat. Carson announced in early December that he would not run for another term, opening up the seat he has held since 1992. District 5 includes the cities of Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Piedmont, and West Oakland, North Oakland, Rockridge, Grand Lake, and portions of the Fruitvale, Manzanita and Dimond District neighborhoods. There are currently nine candidates vying for Carson’s seat. The Exedra sent a series of questions to the Piedmont candidates to learn more about them and their reasons for running.
How long have you lived in Piedmont and/or Alameda County?
39 years in Alameda County, 22 years in Piedmont.
There are nine candidates running for Keith Carson’s vacancy. What inspires you to run for office at this time?
I decided to run because I keep seeing policies that sound good on paper backfire in our community. I have been disappointed over the last several years with elected policymakers who have shattered our region with unsustainable policies that are driving our communities to despair. These policymakers have enacted these unproven policies and then sit still when their policies fail. The City of Oakland has a looming deficit of over $360 million or nearly 40% of their budget with over 6,000 businesses and services having closed since last year pushing many residents to be unemployed. These elected policymakers are not paying attention nor watching the books which have gotten us to this predicament so I am compelled to act to reverse the course and bring about positive changes.
We see the same pattern on public safety. Hasty budget cuts strained our police so thin that they can’t respond to crimes, much less develop deep community relations or undertake new training. Between rising costs and rising crime, people and businesses are leaving our county. That will shrink the tax base and force cuts that nobody wants to make. We cannot keep electing the same people and expecting different results.
What are your qualifications to be on the Board of Supervisors?
I started in a blue collar job as an auto mechanic and built a great career in Alameda County. I want everyone in our county to have the opportunities I did. Although I have not run for office before, I have an MBA from UC Berkeley and have held executive roles for large and small companies over 30 years. I also have about a decade volunteering and serving on boards of nonprofits in our community. As Supervisor, I’d hire more officers to promptly respond to calls, preserve our county services, and put our homeless dollars towards real recoveries, not endless encampments.
Any special skills or experience the voters should know about?
I have extensive experience in both the private and public sector. Here are some of the roles I’ve held.
- Board Member, Albany School District Citizens Bond Oversight Committee
- Member, Piedmont Budget Advisory Committee
- External Auditor, Cities of Hayward & Berkeley, & Solano County
- Board Member, East Bay Rental Housing Association
- Chief Revenue Officer, Vonage Corporation, 70 resources, $100M revenue
- General Manager, Vodafone Japan, 100 resources, $1.5B in revenues.
- In addition I currently serve as a Treasurer on a number of different non-profit organizations and
have led grassroots efforts for improving safety in Alameda County, through the RecallPamela
What do you see as the most challenging issues currently facing District 5 (Albany, Piedmont, Emeryville, Berkeley, and portions of north and west Oakland in Alameda County)
I see a frightening increase in crime, thousands of businesses closing and a lack of solution for homelessness as the most challenging issues facing our community. The cities in District 5 have had a long history of culture, diversity and vibrant community and I want to bring back a Clean and Safe Alameda county. (CASA)
What do you see as strengths of District 5?
We deserve leaders who are as scrappy and hardworking as our people. This District boasts the best public research university in the world nestled within lively neighborhoods of the working class community. Between a great climate, robust county services, and lots of regional advantages, we have a lot going for us. The problem is that our leaders don’t match the vibrancy and grit of our people. Why are our councils focused on symbolic resolutions about conflicts across the world when people are ramming cars into ATMs here every other day? If we
want different results, we need different leadership.
What will be your top priority if elected?
My top priority is public safety. Auto theft, robberies, and violent crime have all skyrocketed. We need to ask why crime is rising in Alameda County but falling in most of the country and even neighboring San Francisco. A small subset of repeat offenders have been emboldened by weak enforcement — the County can put more deputies on patrol and protect us all.
Every citizen across Alameda County should be alarmed that Nikki Fortunato Bas is on the ballot. She fought for a 50% cut to Oakland Police. Now, she has the audacity to tell voters that she will make them safer. We need to undo the damage she has done; we need more police to deter and respond to crime.
Do you see yourself being especially involved in any particular county issue or program, whether or not it’s your top priority?
I am inspired by the work of crime victim advocates like Brenda Grisham. After Brenda’s son was senselessly killed, she turned tragedy into a calling to help other victims. Alameda County funds and administers the Department of Victim Services to inform victims of their rights, connect them with services, and ensure that their voices are heard. Unfortunately, in Alameda and many parts of the country, victims are often unaware of these services. I would work with DVS to expand public outreach, partner with nonprofits, and empower victims in the wake of devastating loss.
Talk about any leadership roles you’ve held in the public or private sectors and what you learned from them.
As I have noted, I have over 30 years of executive leadership experience spanning large and small companies, managing hundreds of millions in revenues. In addition, I have devoted the last decade serving the board of local non-profit organizations in Alameda County, specifically in District 5.
County Supervisors must navigate a wide range of opinions and demands. How will you handle those pressures?
I have learned in both the private and public sector that leadership comes from building trust, staying focused on what is important and bringing others through a clear vision. I know how to navigate through complex problems and competing priorities from decades of leadership experience. More often than not, it’s about bringing fresh perspective, not being afraid to use innovation and leveraging common sense.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with voters about your candidacy?
I’m a change agent. In all my roles, I’ve been driven to improve the business through innovation, efficiency, fiscal management and accountability. This is sorely needed in our county which currently has no process to hold Supervisors and staff accountable to deliver services to the entire county. Those who have worked with me know that I work extremely hard and I love hearing from the community to truly understand the evolving needs and I intend to continue to do so if I am elected as D5 Supervisor for Alameda County.