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LWV forum notes, part 2

Here are the rest of the notes from the League of Women Voters forum, held last Monday. Five of the six candidates for Hayward City Council attended.

Q: Talk about the need for bringing jobs to Hayward. What plans do you have, what have you contributed?

Sara Lamnin: We need good jobs, not just any jobs. Jobs that will be good in the long term. Worked in Oakland on the Cypress Mandela project, in which a workforce with an already basic skill set got trained. Worked with downtown homeless population to get them out of the City Center area by making them more self-sufficient. That makes the downtown area more attractive.

Marvin Peixoto: My entire career has been in employee training, from the Alameda County training board to CAT outplacement manager. Got 300 people jobs with Lockheed, United Airlines. Two reasons for joblessness: One is that the person does not have the skills for a job, or the support services, such as child care, that would allow for a job. Interventions, classroom training helps in those cases. But what we have now is a lack of jobs, we need job creation programs. That’s what I am all about, I am a jobs candidate.

Mark Salinas: Been involved with the South Hayward BART project and the Mission Corridor plan. One thing that can be done is to write a strong (Project Labor Agreement) component, hire Hayward first. Teach young people to write solid, workable business plans. Look at the (Crepes de Art) crepery in downtown — those are Hayward high school graduates who opened up that shop. That’s a great example of work that should be encouraged, and looking at Hayward first.

Lawrence Fitzpatrick: There’s enough vacant space in the area for businesses to grow. Should be able to attract some companies. Could put in some factories — there’s nothing wrong with that. Need to do something to attract a tax base.

Ralph Farias: My specialty is marketing and brokering, and the city needs aggressive brokering. We need to really sell Hayward. There’s culture, there’s diversity … Foothill and Jackson streets have more traffic than Lombard and Van Ness (in San Francisco). We need to aggressively go for retail, restaurants, right now we just have drive-thrus.

Q: Good schools — how can the city support them?

Peixoto: Three’s no ability to intervene directly, but we do have a connection. There are School Resource Officers, and school performance is directly tied to city performance. One of the most coveted demographics for a city to have move in is a young couple with children. They’re not coming to Hayward because of the schools. We’re dead last in API scores, that’s not acceptable. (Luis) Reynoso has doen a great job, trying to ask the tough questions at HUSD meetings. I don’t subscribe to the idea that (city and HUSD) are seperate. There are artificial barriers that we need to break down. Going to see some great changes, with the candidates (for HUSD) who are stepping up.

Salinas: Need to define the working relationship between HUSD and the city. There are a lot of existing mechanisms, a lot of good places to work from. Need to use brainpower to pool together areas to work on. We need to show up at school events. For the Kids’ Breakfast Club, I’ve been writing grants for free, and delivering on them, in areas of nutrition and education. We need to pool our communal resources.

Fitzpatrick: At Harder Elementary, one teacher brought everyone up to speed. They were not previously. And the district destroyed that program. This has to end. Failing in a lot of ways. In bilingual programs, we’re failing. Fact that we have so many failures is overwhelming. We need teachers (like the one at Harder), they should not be chased out of the district.

Farias: Going into my senior year I had no credits, but I worked my butt off. When principals said I wouldn’t graduate, I laughed. I knew I could. We need to unify by inspiring. Not just bring everyone together, but need to inspire. Need to have programs that kids are interested in — Photoshop, Illustrator, Propel (?), that’s what kids are into.

Lamnin: The fact that Measure I passed by such a margin was historic. It showed that this city cares about its schools. If it didn’t, this question wouldn’t have come up. We need to rebuild the relationship, and hold each other accountable. Find what we can do together to make students feel like they do matter. Could do within the city with internship programs. What if every sector of city govt had a program where kids could watch and learn. City council, maintenance workers — kids could follow and learn by doing.

Q: What about accessibility? Will you be accessible to residents?

Salinas: I’m very accessible. I’m a college instructor, always find time to talk to students, and on Saturday mornings you’ll find me cooking and serving pancakes and eggs (with KBC). Bring same to residents.

Fitzpatrick: Very accessible. It’s an important part of the job to find out what people need and what they want.

Farias: Growing up, I was always the person that friends came to when they needed a shoulder to cry on. I’ve always been a Dr. Drew who never got paid. We’re here for you, here to serve you. I love Hayward, and I’m damn proud of it. Come knock on my door, you can come in and we’ll eat some lumpia.

Lamnin: I believe in leading by listening. That’s part of my commitment, you have to hear from people regarding the decisions that will be made that affect their lives.

Peixoto: I’m proud of my term as a planning commissioner, and you can ask any developers, or ask residents of woodland knolls, or the ones who had a gate problem. It’s not just a promise with me — I have done it and that’s what people will get with an experienced candidate running for City Council.

Q.: Closing statements. Some of the cards received with questions we didn’t have a chance to ask deal with the Calpine power plant, affordable housing and improving the city’s image. You may or may not address any of those issues. (Statements were confined to 2 minutes.)

Salinas: I don’t remember ever having a weekend or holiday without involving community service. I was Zuke the Zucchini at the Zucchini festival, dancing around. Continue that service. We need to make serious plans and look ahead to what the city is going to look like in 25 or 30 years.

Peixoto. Look at my record of service. Hayward can be better if we find the issues that plague the city, like crime. We need to address gut level funding issues. There’s this idea of a hail Mary pass, that one magic type of business will save downtown, not true. Need to do tough, grunt  work, that’s the only way the city will get better, by adding to the fundamentals.

Lamnin: As part of a project, I was repainting a mural, and the wall beneath was crumbling. We can’t do that — just putting on a new coat of paint won’t work. Have to make sure it’s solid underneath. For image, we should work on the gateways. Great location, have signs “If you lived here, you’d be home by now.” There’s a lot of work to do, and I hope to be elected so I can do that work with you.

Farias: Hayward has an image portrayed by the media that we’re bad, we’re tough. We need to change that. Need to go gung ho. I will be your pit bull, with a passionate person behind it.

Fitzpatrick: Russell City was a bad idea. If it was a good idea, every community would be asking for a power plant. There are a lot of start ups and shutdowns that are going to affect the area. I would fight it as much as possible.

Eric Kurhi