As an Alameda County probation officer and father of three young children, Tojo Thomas understands the seriousness of keeping the streets and schools in Alameda County’s District 4 safe.
Thomas, a 11-year-veteran of the probation department, is running for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors District 4 seat. He is vying to oust long-time incumbent, Nate Miley, this June.
Hailing from Kerala, India, Thomas and his family immigrated to the United States in 1992. He now lives in the Fairview area of the Hayward Hills with his wife and children.
According to Thomas, his decision to run for the Board of Supervisors comes from his concern over the current climate, specifically surrounding public safety.
“Residents in District 4 need to be concerned about the future of public safety,” comments Thomas.
When he started with the probation department, there were 450 probation officers. Since then, that number has steadily declined to 196 probation officers today. Thomas currently has a case load of approximately 95 probationers.
Thomas cites political issues such as California State Assembly Bill 109, signed by Governor Brown in March 2011, as being an alarming problem our communities are now facing.
The bill releases prisoners deemed as “non-violent, non-serious and non-sexual” offenders back into the community.
He says that under the new Public Safety Realignment Laws, the probation department will be shouldering the bulk of the weight of managing the parolees because entire areas of the Parole Department are being completely eliminated.
“Funds are being cut from public safety and citizens are being compromised,” says Thomas. “It seems like nobody cares.”
Thomas notes the probation officers do not have the same training, tools and resources available to them as parole officers when it comes to supervising felons.
“Public safety and better schools are my top priorities,” he says. “Public safety is being compromised and you can’t cut [school] programs.”
If elected, Thomas hopes to take a leave of absence from his job because he plans to retire from the probation department. His goal is to not only get elected but to stay on the board for at least two terms.
“My job has made me who I am,” says Thomas. “If elected, I don’t want to perpetuate the status quo. I want to bring ethics and integrity back to the county administration. I want to be a breath of fresh air.”
Thomas is ready to work to unseat the current District 4 representative. Thomas has his work cut out for him as Miley is seeking his fourth term and has not been challenged since 2008.
Thomas believes his service to the community and credentials as a probation officer have prepared him for a role on the Board of Supervisors.
“In order to get hired for [for my current job], I had to take a written test, pass an oral interview, a full background investigation, in addition to a second interview, a psychological and medical exam,” he pointed out.
Thomas has been visiting local events, such as the Pleasanton Farmer’s Market and will be pounding the pavement to get out into the community soon. District 4 includes Castro Valley, Pleasanton, and parts of unincorporated Hayward and Oakland.