Terry Wiley, current chief assistant district attorney in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, is running to lead the office in this upcoming election. If elected, Wiley would serve as the first Black district attorney in county history.
Having spent 32 years in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, Wiley believes both his lived and professional experience makes him the ideal candidate for district attorney this election cycle.
Running as the “safety and justice” candidate, Wiley said he would focus on making Alameda County a safe place to live if elected. One issue he wants to address is the under-resourcing of police departments.
“(Oakland) simply does not have enough police officers,” Wiley said. “People are now breaking into cars and breaking into houses because they know there’s a high likelihood that if the burglar isn’t on scene, nobody’s even going to show up.”
Tying into the “justice” portion of his campaign, Wiley added that he wants to address the root of what is driving racial disparities in the Alameda County justice system.
While he will do what he can to limit these disparities, Wiley said he recognizes there are other pieces to the puzzle.
“Only 20% of African American third graders are at reading level while 70% of white third graders in the Oakland Unified School District are at reading level,” Wiley said. “If you cannot read after third grade, there is a high likelihood that one, you will not graduate from high school and that two, you will likely wind up in the criminal justice system.”
Aside from addressing disparities and under-resourcing, Wiley said he has three main goals: increasing eligibility for mental health and drug intervention treatments, cracking down on those committing crimes against vulnerable communities and addressing the rise in firearm usage and violent crime that have occurred since the pandemic.
Though he differs in many ways from his opponent, civil rights attorney Pamela Price, one particular point of contention is cash bail. While Price is against cash bail, Wiley said that he would take a more “pragmatic approach.”
“I don’t think you should be out on zero bail if you have fired shots from a moving car at another car,” Wiley said. “That individual poses a threat to the community.”
Among those who endorse Wiley are California Attorney General Rob Bonta, former Berkeley mayor and state Sen. Loni Hancock, 12 of the 14 current Alameda County mayors and six of eight Berkeley City Councilmembers.
As a former UC Berkeley student and long-time Alameda County resident, Wiley said what is most important is that he cares about his community.
“The last 32 years has been time spent working to keep the community safe,” Wiley said. “Now I want to lead the organization that plays a very important role in making sure that we all live in a safe, prosperous community.”