Sheriff Ahern Goes All In on Urban Shield. And Is Called.

Sometimes ya gotta gamble

When you go all in, you generally don’t want to be called if you are unsure of the outcome.

It could have been a scene from a poker movie. Instead, it was real life drama played for $5M stakes at the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

After five hours of testimony, debate and public comment, desperate to save his version of Urban Shield, Sheriff Ahern, made his move:

ALCO Sheriff Ahern tells Board: “If you accept the recommendations, as I told you 13 times during the last mtg, it will jeopardize the grant and the funding will go away.”

At this point the Board of Supervisors is split, 2-2, literally and figuratively. Supervisors Miley and Haggerty are on one side of the dais, supporting the Sheriff, while Supervisors Carson and Chan are on the other side of the dais, ready to take the plunge to radically transform Urban Shield. Councilperson and Chair Valle, at the center of the dais, knowing he is the deciding vote, “goes into the tank,” in poker parlance (or at least into his pocket for some nourishment):

Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Richard Valle is torn over #UrbanShield funding vote, abruptly calls for a 5-minute recess so he can eat some chocolate. #alcomtg

Contemplation over, Valle calls Ahern’s all in bet:

Alameda County upholds 60 task force recommendations to transform #UrbanShield. 3-2 vote.

What happens now?

The Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative Board, the people with the money, meet on Thursday. They threatened a week ago to cancel the decades-long $5M grant they provide to Alameda County on a yearly basis to run Urban Shield and fund emergency preparedness, should the Board of Supervisors go and do what they just did. Will they call the Board of Supervisors gambit, offer to negotiate, or fold?

Stay tuned.


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