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LWV forum notes on Hayward city candidates, Part 1

LWV_logoThe League of Women Voters held a fairly well-attended forum for Hayward City Council candidates last night at City Hall. It wasn’t a debate, and candidates were instructed to avoid negative speak against each other. All in all, a very civil affair where the most outrage was generated by the moderator’s repeated mistake of thinking she was in Fremont (to her defense, she is from the southerly chapter of the LWV and said she was falling victim to habit).

These have been cleaned up a bit in transcription, but I tried to include as much information as possible. Here are introductions and answers to the first question. Next three questions and concluding comments will be in a post-to-come.

Candidate Steve Oiwa did not attend. He has said he is running a “different kind of campaign,” doesn’t want to make promises before he knows what’s going on in city government and will not accept any contributions or spend any money on his campaign. “All money comes with strings attached, and at some point, those strings will pull back,” he said. He has agreed to an interview with the Review in coming weeks, more on him later.

Also, the League flier for the event said the forum will be televised at some point, will advise when more specifics are given.

Introductions

Lawrence Fitzpatrick called himself the “working people’s candidate.” Hayward is not just hills and flatlands, but a community of both. We need to work together, emphasizing honesty, transparency in government, and public safety, with an emphasis on children and keeping schools safe. He doesn’t believe a parcel tax is needed to support schools.

Ralph Farias Jr. said he is a “locally grown” and “organic” candidate. He said he lives below the hills, while other candidates live in the hills. He sees what is going on among Hayward residents. As a broker, he visits many downtowns, and believes Hayward must network successfully to make it a destination for leisure and a place to call home and be proud. Bridge the gap between HUSD and local govt. Keep Hayward dollars in Hayward. We built a state of the art movie theater but it’s only 30 percent occupied. There’s too much red tape for businesses. Need more programs for youth and seniors.

Sara Lamnin said she is an experienced organizer, and was involved in such events as an intergenerational dance, the Heart of the Bay homeless summit and the South Hayward Stroll. She has lived in many areas of the city including Montgomery Street, the Hesperian corridor, and now lives behind the university. Believes in sustainable decisions, including those regarding jobs. Solid foundation as a city includes support not only of police and fire services, but also maintenance programs, grafitti removal.

Marvin Peixoto has served for six years on the Planning Commission, also had four years on the Citizen’s Advisory Commission, and serves on the Council Sustainability Committee. Third generation Hayward resident, Vietnam veteran. Graduated Cal State Hayward while working at cannery. Lived on Torrano, Spring Drive, 10  years in Southgate, Woodland Estates for past 21 years. Crime is priority. Six homicides this year, some gang related, some not. It’s clear that gang violence is problem, support Police Chief Ron Ace and gang injunction program.   Public safety — we hear how Hayward is becoming more and more an urban community, never hear how that impacts public safety. South Hayward BART project will bring 3,000 units — that will require more public safety workers. Council has done a good job on the budget issue, but need to address dysfunctional government in Sacramento.

Mark Salinas said he has an academic background, as a lecturer at CSUEB and college instructor and also spent years working in community on all sorts of activities with various organizations. Born at St. Rose Hospital, raised in Schafer Park, now lives downtown, is the only downtown Hayward candidate. Born in 1970, part of a resilient generation that has coped with dwindling resources. Go to school, get a job, strive for more tangible results with less and less support from state and county sources. Priorities are fire and police services, keeping Hayward clean and safe, bringing businesses to Hayward, building a stronger relationship with the school district, integrate all colleges into the town.

Q: City faces a an ongoing deficit. What would you recommend: Increase taxes, make cuts, protect fire and police services?

Farias: There’s a ton of wasteful spending in the city. Hayward is divided. You have south Hayward, the Tennyson area, where not much has happened. There’s downtown which has been improved. There could have been a Whole Foods on Hesperian. I would want to allocate funds with equal distribution to all areas, but not be wasteful. There are not enough volunteers these days. We have to be able to ask for money from different companies, and there’s a lack of community solidarity. Need to unite everyone, and stand together.

Lamnin: I would take an inclusive, transparent approach. When cuts are needed, go to people involved and ask them where cuts should be made. Find out what is working, what is not. The city has done a good job, but may have to do more. Position the city for future growth — green market is booming, we know solar, wind, hydro will grow. Need to attract jobs related to those kinds of businesses. Provide opportunities in schools geared in that direction.

Peixoto: It looks like the city is facing bigger cuts. Property and transfer taxes account for much of the budget, and the state continues to take from those areas. We won’t build out of it with high density housing. City has done all it can do with cuts, employees have taken furloughs, there have been union concessions and voters passed Measure A. Would follow the values-based budget that the city already has implemented. The real problem is in Sacramento. Got to become more engaged in the political process. It’s not enough to write resolutions deploring the conduct, it’s not going to work. Would like to hear from citizens of Hayward, where do they think the cuts should come from.

Salinas: Mother and father taught me the difference between what we need and what we want. We need to define the core services and to what extent Hayward is obligated to provide the services. Define to what extent the citizens expect the city to provide the services. Before cuts are made, must explore what impact those cuts will have.

Fitzpatrick: Can’t take any more from fire and police. Must look at other things. I don’t think we need a power plant to pay for things. $10 million for a library is an awful lot of money. We’ll probably have some taxes going up.

Eric Kurhi