Alameda County supervisors have whittled down the list of candidates to fill the District 2 seat. But not by much. Instead of eight there are now five after a brief board vote during a surprisingly short and empty special meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Newark Councilmember Ana Apodaca garnered the most votes -- one each from the board's four sitting members. The tally qualified her to move to the interview phase of the process.
The supervisors could vote for more than one candidate and decided to interview the runners-up. Those included Union City Mayor Mark Green, who is also running for state Assembly and did not appear at Tuesday's meeting. He received one vote from District 1 Supervisor Scott Haggerty. Haggerty, District 4 Supervisor Nate Miley and District 3 Supervisor Wilma Chan each gave former Union City councilman and mayoral hopeful Richard Valle a vote.
Political newcomer Sheryl Grant, a technology sales executive and community volunteer, received votes from District 5 Supervisor Keith Carson and Miley.
Carson also voted in favor of retired District 2 Supervisor Gail Steele, who has pledged not to seek election to the seat in November. Steele, a Hayward resident, held the seat from 1992 through 2010, with electoral victories over both Valle and Green.
She said she decided to compete for the appointment to "level the playing field" in November and restore confidence in the supervisor representing Hayward, Union City, Newark,
"Our community has had a lot to deal with," Steele said Tuesday.
She was referring to the resignation of Nadia Lockyer last month amid scandalous revelations about drug abuse and an affair with a meth addict.
The caretaker supervisor will serve through the November general election, when District 2 voters will elect a new supervisor to serve out the remaining two years of Lockyer's term.
The appointment could give the caretaker supervisor an inside track to winning the November election for District 2.
This time, Miley predicted, "The voters of District 2 are going to be very on their toes with who they elect."
In addition, candidates can no longer accept donations larger than $20,000 total from any one donor. That measure was taken after Lockyer's election, which was largely bankrolled by her husband, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer.
The next step is the May 29 interview, with supervisors scheduled to make the appointment June 5 and swear in their choice June 12.
"Next week we ask the questions," Miley said. "Today was not about who we're going to select."
Staff writer Matt Artz contributed to this report.