A Napa County supervisor who was recently the target of an unsuccessful attempt to recall him from office over conflict of interest allegations has launched a bid for state Senate.

Napa County Supervisor and Metropolitan Transportation Commission chair Alfredo Pedroza, who announced his state Senate run this past Thursday, said he plans to confront homelessness, climate change, education and transportation issues, according to a news release.

“It’s time for action on what it costs to buy or rent a home and live in our communities,” said Pedroza in the statement. “It’s time for effective state action on homelessness, climate change, better schools, access to (and cost of) a college education, and transportation solutions that work.”

Pedroza is running for the District 3 seat, now held by Bill Dodd, D-Napa, who will be terming out in 2024.

Pedroza touted his ability to bring differing viewpoints together to find common ground and achieve policies that benefit the community as a whole.

Responding to critics

In response to criticism about Pedroza’s transparency around a land deal in the Napa Valley and his investigation by the Fair Political Practices Commission, spokesperson Matt Reilly referred to the naysayers as “a small group of political extremists.”

“Will you also be mentioning his leadership as the chair of MTC and bringing over $20 million to Napa County for transportation improvements, his leadership to form the County’s climate change working group, which is a collaboration between all the jurisdictions in the county to tackle local climate issues, or his leadership on housing issues for working families and farmworkers as well?” asked Reilly in an email.

Citizen watchdog and filmmaker Beth Nelson filed a complaint against Pedroza with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) last spring, alleging a conflict of interest regarding Walt Ranch.

“These people just finished trying to recall him and failed so miserably they were too embarrassed to turn in the [signatures] they received. …”

Matt Reilly, spokesperson for Alfredo Pedroza

Jay Wierenga, spokesperson for the FPPC, confirmed that a total of eight complaints against Pedroza had been filed with his agency.

At issue was a land purchase adjacent to the Walt Ranch property that Nelson said Pedroza is connected to yet was never revealed to the body. Pedroza voted on issues surrounding the property, making it a conflict of interest, she said.

The value of the adjacent property, owned by Pedroza’s father-in-law, could have ostensibly risen after the owners successfully installed a vineyard, so some argued that he should have recused himself from any votes regarding the ranch.

Pedroza maintained that his father-in-law owned the property, but Nelson discovered that the company named in the ownership, Vinedos LLC, was closely linked to Pedroza, who used his private home as collateral for the sale and had signed property tax payments in his name.

Beyond ‘bitterness and hate’

Pedroza recently faced a recall campaign, but residents behind it failed to gather enough signatures.

Reilly pointed out that the FPPC investigation is not yet through its process, and could therefore prove that Pedroza did nothing wrong.

“We are confident he did not,” said Reilly about any wrongdoings. “These people just finished trying to recall him and failed so miserably they were too embarrassed to turn in the ones they received (they burned them, which is a violation of the process … they are required to turn in what they have),” he said.

“It’s time to take bitterness and hate out of our politics, commit ourselves to the democratic principles of cooperation and progress our democracy depends on,” said Pedroza in his campaign announcement. “That’s how I’ve conducted myself to achieve results locally and the type of values I will bring to the State Senate.”

Katy St. Clair, Bay City News

Katy St. Clair got her start in journalism by working in the classifieds department at the East Bay Express during the height of alt weeklies, then sweet talked her way into becoming staff writer, submissions editor, and music editor. She has been a columnist in the East Bay Express, SF Weekly, and the San Francisco Examiner. Starting in 2015, she begrudgingly scaled the inverted pyramid at dailies such as the Vallejo Times-Herald, The Vacaville Reporter, and the Daily Republic. She has her own independent news site and blog that covers the delightfully dysfunctional town of Vallejo, California, where she also collaborates with the investigative team at Open Vallejo. A passionate advocate for people with developmental disabilities, she serves on both the Board of the Arc of Solano and the Arc of California. She lives in Vallejo.