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By Simon Wong
ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif.
-- Union City Mayor Mark Green might not be a household name but is regarded in political circles as one of the most effective elected officials in the Bay Area and in California. Staff members of the various agencies, on whose boards he serves, value his grasp and understanding of the business of government to translate policy into reality. His fellow board members also recognize his depth and breadth of experience which enables Green to make bold decisions that lay the foundations for the future well-being of the East Bay and beyond.
Green is running for the Alameda County Supervisor District 2 seat vacated by Nadia Lockyer in April 2012. A temporary appointee is serving until November 6, 2012 when a permanent replacement must be elected to serve the remaining two years of Lockyer’s four-year term. Supervisorial District 2 consists of Hayward, Union City, Newark, Sunol and parts of Fremont.
Originally from Peoria, Illinois, Green moved to Hayward with his parents in 1971, having just graduated from high school. He attended Chabot College and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1975 with a B.A. in Political Science.
“In June 1976, I took an apartment at Medallion Green, Union City. My first contact with politics involved the sale of a mattress for my mother, during the 1978 election, to a neighbor who was running against Union City Mayor Tom Kitayama,” Green recalled with a smile.
“My education and comprehension of the governmental process began in 1982 when Cable TV arrived in Union City. I happened upon some Planning Commission meetings on TV and was unhappy with some of the decisions. Participation in the process is the most effective way of doing something. My application to join the Planning Commission in 1985 was unsuccessful. I was appointed in 1986 to the Citizens Advisory Committee for Redevelopment, a precursor to redevelopment, and to the Landscape Enhancement Committee and, in 1987, to the Parks and Recreation Commission then, four months later, applied successfully for the Planning Commission,” recounted Green who was elected Mayor in 1991.
Green is pragmatic. As a city commissioner, he learned there is real work to be done to assure the quality of public services. He agrees every candidate experiences joy at winning an election but if s/he has run for the right reasons, the euphoria is short-lived as the serious business of government needs immediate application. He does not rest on his laurels.
His political career entails service as the immediate Past President (2010 and 2011) of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG); a Metropolitan Transportation Commissioner (representing ABAG); Chair of the Alameda County Transportation Commission; an East Bay Economic Development Alliance Board Member; former President of the Alameda County Council of Mayors; a Board Member and former Chair of the Waste Management Authority of Alameda County; and former Chair of the Alameda County Housing Authority.
Green is also Vice Chair of the Joint Policy Committee, which coordinates the regional planning efforts of ABAG, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission and MTC. Current initiatives focus on growth, climate protection and development of sustainable communities.
Under his leadership, Green has delivered much to the residents of Union City, Alameda County and the Bay Area. This would not have been possible without his experience of local, county and regional government and his ability to cultivate the support, or political will, of other elected officials within the San Francisco Bay region and beyond.
While known within Union City, much of Green’s work goes unnoticed by the public. He has the most punishing meeting schedule of any elected official in the East Bay but the time and effort he devotes to his public duties pays dividends, perhaps most tangibly in the form of transportation. He regularly visits Washington DC where he advocates for allocation of federal dollars for the Bay Area’s benefit, including Alameda County and its 14 cities. His efforts have secured funding for major transportation projects and programs that will provide the traveling public with more choice and greater efficiency.
They include the start of construction, in 2011, of both the BART Warm Springs Extension and BART Oakland Airport Connector. Northern California’s first toll lane, the I-680 Sunol Express Lane (southbound), is in its second year of operation. Union City’s Inter-modal Station, and its immediate vicinity, is the nation’s poster child for redevelopment. Improvements to the I-80, I-238, I-580, I-680, I-880, Route 84 and Route 92 corridors in Alameda County have been completed.
The California Transportation Foundation named Green “Elected Official of the Year” in recognition of his role in delivering excellent public service for transportation in California in 2011.
Union City has been transformed during his tenure as Mayor by his focus on balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility, public safety, open space, City amenities, housing, youth, library services, the value of education, economic development and collaboration with all who bring benefit to the City, its residents, visitors and businesses.
“I am extremely privileged to have the opportunity to serve in so many capacities to be able to make a real difference to people’s quality of life. Longevity and hard work are the bases for experience. Being engaged and involved with the issues and understanding them are essential pre-requisites for serious consideration by others,” explained Green when asked why many other elected officials seem to fall by the wayside.
For more information, visit www.ElectMarkGreen.com