The Hayward City Council is one of the most lethargic and unresponsive government bodies in the Bay Area. Getting the Council to adopt new policies or look forward to the future is like pulling teeth. And forget asking them to make innovations on their own. As homelessness has skyrocketed in the City, they’ve come out with no solutions (a much touted new housing development that will serve the homeless is actually a project devised and funded by the County). As rents have increased displacing residents, they have done little to either enforce the existing rent control or expand it. They completely refuse to even look at increasing the minimum wage, which is now $2/hr lower than neighboring San Leandro’s.
The Council, moreover, has failed in their obligation to hold city staff accountable: after the Fire Chief was caught drinking and driving during work time, he was not fired. They continued paying the husband of the Chief of Police, even after the chief “retired” on the wake of media attention on a corruption investigation regarding the Chief. The City of Hayward has also violated transparency laws in order to hide evidence of such corruption.
Right now, four of the do-little Hayward Councilmembers are up for election/re-election. We believe Hayward would benefit from having a completely new Council.
As discussed, both Mayor Barbara Halliday and Councilmember Mark Salinas have failed to do their duty as Mayor and Councilmember. Mayor Halliday has proven to be a weak and unprofessional leader (see video below), supportive of corruption. Both candidates have received financial contributions from landlords opposed to rent-control.
City Council (Vote for 2): Aisha Wahab
Aisha Wahab is a dynamic, energetic, strong and yes, Muslim, Afghani-American candidate. I had wanted to think her religion and ethnicity wouldn’t matter, but that has not been the case in Hayward. Recently, she was asked by a constituent at a candidate forum if her campaign was funded by ISIS and she’s had her car broken into and her campaign materials stolen, in addition to receiving personal insults while canvassing.
No matter, if there is something that Aisha is, is strong and persistent (forget Elizabeth Warren, Aisha is the real deal here). She is also unapologetically progressive. Much of her campaign has been based on enforcing and expanding rent control in Hayward, addressing homelessness and bringing a living wage to Hayward. And, indeed, she has been fighting on the ground for progressive issues as an activist for many years. She has been endorsed by Our Revolution national (despite having been a Clinton supporter), the Democratic Party and the Green Party. We recommend that you vote for her solely on this race, as it would make it more likely than she be elected.
Her main opponents are incumbents Sara Lamnin and Marvin Peixoto. We supported Sara in the past, believing that her experience as a homeless advocate would lead her to bring real solutions to the issue, however she has shown no initiative on this issue or any other. Peixoto is even worse.
We were very unimpressed by the non-incumbents in the race.
Tom Ferreira doesn’t seem to have much in-depth proposals and he seems to have been absent from the campaign field. Mekia Fields, a newcomer to Hayward, seems intelligent and has potential, but she has many misconceptions about City government founded in a lack of experience. She should probably spend some time attending Council meetings and perhaps serving in a commission before running again. Didacus Ramos is seemingly unaware of the powers – and lack thereof – of the City Council. Plus his enthusiasm for small communities led him to express support for the privatization of city streets. Joe Ramos, meanwhile, is the sort of lovable character that is fun to watch but would be totally unsuitable for governing. At a candidate forum he expressed opposition for Measure T simply because Peixoto was in favor of it.
School Board (Vote for 2): McGee, Davis or Oquenda
We started this endorsement process by attending the Hayward Democratic Club’s candidate forum where we listened to (almost) all the candidates for School Board. Our conclusion was that incumbents Lisa Brunner and William McGee did not make the case for why they should be re-elected to a third four-year term, but neither did challengers Ken Rawdon, Todd Davis or April Oquenda made the case as to why they shouldn’t be.
Almost two months later and having spoken at length to most of the candidates, as well as listen to them in other fora, we are no closer to having a sold view on who should be elected. We can easily discard non-Democrat Nicholas Harvey from consideration, as he is running for five different offices. We are less inclined to vote for Ken Rawdon, a retired music teacher, as he favors dress codes and police resource offices in schools. Incumbent Lisa Brunner seems extremely dedicated and knowledgeable of the schools, but perhaps not as progressive as the rest. But it’s hard to chose between McGee, Davis and Oquenda . The disagreements over the former Superintendent does not bring any clarity to the matter. We therefore recommend you chose two of the three.
April Oquenda for Hayward School Board
I'm incredibly grateful for all the support we're getting in our campaign for Hayward School Board. We're out talking to voters and doing all we can to engage our community. Please help spread our message! Thanks to the Creative Lab at MIMA LLC and @Dillon Wall. #oquenda4opportunity
Posted by April Oquenda for Hayward School Board on Monday, September 3, 2018
Measure T – Transfer Tax: Yes
Cities have few ways of raising revenue, and transfer taxes are among the most progressive ones. If Hayward is going to tackle social problems, including homelessness, it needs the revenues to do so.
Measure H – School Bonds: Yes
If we want good schools, we need to pay for them, and bonds are the only way for schools to raise the money to pay for repairs and remodeling.