Hayward City Council candidate: Steve Oiwa

  • Age: 62
  • Job: Retired businessman
  • Education: Attended College of San Mateo
  • Prior elected offices: None
  • In Hayward: 14 years
  • Family: Wife, five kids
  • Favorite Hayward spot: Akaihana Japanese Restaurant
  • Website: None
  • This is the last of six profiles of the candidates in the Hayward City Council race. Two seats are up for election on the June 8 ballot.

    HAYWARD — It’s been hard to glean what City Council candidate Steve Oiwa is all about.

    He hasn’t spoken at the forums, doesn’t have a website and didn’t submit a candidate statement. It’s as if he doesn’t want to do any of the usual politicking at all.

    That’s because he doesn’t.

    “I don’t want to tell anyone any lies,” he said. “I don’t want to answer and say what I think people want to hear, tell them what I think they want me to do when I don’t know if I can do it.”

    He said he attended one candidate forum as an observer and thought his opponents were doing just that.

    “I was listening, but they were just making sounds,” he said. ” ‘Oh, you better vote for me. I’ll do this, or I’ll do that.’ I say, ‘Yeah, sure. Boo!’ ”

    Oiwa said those claims are moot without the knowledge and wherewithal that comes with an elected position. Before a person is seated, he really has no idea how the city works, what’s going on and what can be done to effect change, he said.

    “No, I don’t know what’s going on,” he said. “That’s why I’m running. To know, you have to be in it. I want to be in it but not be a bad politician.”

    He said he would represent the “average citizen.”

    “People tell me, ‘Steve, you are no politician,’ ” he said. “They say, ‘That’s not for you.’ That’s right. I see things like normal people. With a different angle, like you see it. You know what I mean?”

    Oiwa often repeats that last question, emphasizing “you.”

    He is proud to be an Everyman, lacking a title or a political history and the connections that come with such things.

    “That’s why I don’t have any endorsements,” he said. “No donations. There’s always a little string attached, even the small stuff, don’t you think so? No matter where you go, they’ve scratched your back, and sooner or later you will have to scratch theirs.”

    Oiwa said he would like to see more people involved in the decision-making process, possibly delegating duties performed by the City Council to subcommittees, or otherwise giving them more teeth.

    “Are weeds too high, or is there a fence that needs to be torn down? Maybe (the Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force) could give out tickets,” he said. “Give them more power — spread it out more. Open it up more. A lot of people, they want power. I am not talking about power for myself. I am talking about giving power to more people.”

    Oiwa called Hayward “a challenging place” that has gone downhill in the years since he’s moved here.

    He said while his path may be as yet uncharted, his desired destination is known: a cleaner, safer Hayward where people want to live, work and visit.

    Oiwa said he finds inspiration in the 1939 film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” in which a naive man played by James Stewart refuses to be corrupted by the Washington, D.C., political machine.

    While Stewart’s character was thrust into his lawmaker role, Oiwa said he is seeking out a council spot because not getting involved would amount to unacceptable apathy.

    “It’s better to try than not try and complain about it,” he said. “If something is not working, you got to try to do something. You can’t do nothing.”

    Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Contact him at 510-293-2473. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi. All six candidate profiles — and a forum in which to discuss them — will be available as they appear at www.ibabuzz.com/hayword.


    HUSD childcare services facing massive cut

    The school board voted to go ahead and send pink slips out to employees in 48 full-time-equivalent positions involved in childcare programs at Hayward elementary schools and Helen Turner Children’s Center.

    The reason: The majority of those programs are funded by state grants that might be chopped when a final budget is passed. On Monday, it became clearer to the district which funds could be affected and they had a special meeting Wednesday to announce the pink slips would be issued.

    In addition to the employees, there are a lot of parents who would be affected. At Helen Turner, there are 264 kids in those programs. Out of those, 108 will be going into kindergarten, and 95 would be able to transition into the half-day preschool program there, which has a different funding source and will not be affected. Another 23 are too young for the preschool and have nowhere to go.

    And another rub is that there won’t be any programs for the 3-year-olds who would be newcomers this year.

    Other districts are facing similar cuts, but are waiting to see if it actually happens and have not sent out pink slips. Trustee Luis Reynoso wanted to take that approach and cast the lone dissenting vote. But Board President Paul Frumkin said that given Hayward Unified’s dire fiscal situation, they don’t have that luxury.

    “We’re tending to be a little more cautious,” he said. “Other districts do not have the same kind of threat of receivership, and we already had to take out a loan to make payroll.”

    Expect a story on this soon.


    The Tweets are now a three-man cacophony

    twitter_logoIt’s been nearly a year to the day since intrepid reporter Kris Noceda announced he joined the world of Twitter.

    That was a good call. After waiting and watching to see if Twitter wasn’t some kind of online flash-in-the-pan, the other Review reporters have joined him. Follow Eric Kurhi at www.twitter.com/erickurhi and Jason Sweeney at www.twitter.com/Jason_Sweeney .

    Twitter serves a different function than either stories or this blog. It’s an instant-information mechanism, good for short bursts. For example, when someone’s out in the field chasing down fire or crime information, or as-it-happens reports from school board or City Council meetings. Expect information to be in very short form and more informal than you’d see in a story or even on a blog.

    You can also find links to other Tweeters, such as the City of Hayward or the Hayward Public Library.

    You don’t have to be on Twitter to read the entries — just visit the sites to see what’s been posted.


    Violent crime is way down in Hayward

    violent_crimeDespite the spate of homicides this year and the disparaging comments you can often find below stories about crime in Hayward, violent offenses are down by nearly 15 percent, according to FBI statistics released this week. That’s about on par with decreases seen in the nearest big cities of Fremont and Oakland, although the per capita crime rate is considerably different in all three.

    The report only has info for cities with a population of 100,000 or more.

    The referenced story gives you all the Hayward info, but if you’d like to compare the stats with other cities, you can look at the FBI report here.


    Hayward City Council candidate: Marvin Peixoto

    peixoto01MARVIN PEIXOTO
  • Age: 64
  • Job: Retired budget analyst for Alameda County
  • Education: Bachelors and masters degrees from Cal State Hayward (now Cal State East Bay)
  • Prior elected offices: None
  • In Hayward: 38 years
  • Family: Wife
  • Favorite Hayward spots: Buon Appetito, Buffalo Bill’s Brewery
  • Website: www.marvinpeixoto.com/
  • This is the fifth of six profiles of the candidates in the Hayward City Council race. Two seats are up for election on the June 8 ballot.

    HAYWARD — Marvin Peixoto said he has something for voters that his opponents can’t offer: a proven track record.

    With six years on the Planning Commission, Peixoto said people can see what he’s done and judge for themselves if they want him on the City Council.

    “I spoke out against the (downtown) loop, ” he said. “I voted against the crematorium on Mission Boulevard. I voted against the Funky Monkey (downtown bar) expansion, against the hip-hop nightclub. “Ah, that makes it sound like I vote against everything.”

    That’s not true, Peixoto said, but he wouldn’t support the plan for a downtown loop of one-way streets because it contradicts the city’s vision for the area.

    “You want to create a pedestrian-friendly downtown?” he asked. “How is that possible when you have a six-lane highway smack in the middle of it?”

    And while the issue of the loop may be moot — it was narrowly approved by the City Council in 2007 — Peixoto said his votes against the nightclub and bar permit underscore his top priority of public safety.
    “I’m not opposed to a nightclub downtown, ” he said. “But that was something that would bring in 245 people. What I’m afraid of is you’ll get people coming in from all over the East Bay, and I don’t think we have the police capacity to handle that.”

    He said the city is “trying to throw a Hail Mary pass to turn downtown around, ” something that could backfire badly.
    “You know, it’s sad that they are willing to take that much risk, ” he said. “What we need to deal with first are the fundamental issues, and that’s crime. You have to do the grunt work first.”

    Peixoto said that’s going to be a huge issue as the city develops the Mission Boulevard corridor.

    “These are very high-density, transit-oriented developments, ” he said. “You need to plan for the police and fire needs that come with that kind of development, and we’re still staffing at an old, suburban model.

    “It’s not just about getting the tax dollars that come with those developments. You also have to accept the responsibility that comes with it.”

    Peixoto, 64, is a fourth-generation Hayward resident and retired Alameda County budget analyst who narrowly lost a City Council run in 2008, his 6,175 votes falling about a half percentage point short of Francisco Zermeno’s 6,411.

    He said the city still has the same issues, although “things might be a little more difficult because of the budget situation.”

    “We’ve done all we can do at the city level, ” said Peixoto, who was involved in last year’s campaign to pass a utility tax for police and fire services. “The city was prepared, we had a reserve, and there were major concessions from employees and a two-week furlough. The question is how to address the big picture issue — the inability of the state to govern its own spending.”

    He said the council will have to do more than issue statements opposing state grabs.

    “We need to become really active, and when discussions are going on about a particular budget problem, we’re going to have to go up there,” he said. “We need to make those trips to Sacramento.”

    Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Contact him at 510-293-2473. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi. All six candidate profiles — and a forum in which to discuss them — will be available as they appear at www.ibabuzz.com/hayword.


    HUSD community outreach meeting!

    Information from the HUSD website:

    May 18, 2010

    Dear Hayward Community:

    janisduranOn Thursday night, June 3, 2010, from 7:00-8:30 pm, I will be holding a Community Outreach Meeting at Burbank Elementary School to get community input on the state of HUSD. 

    I highly encourage all interested parents and community members to attend.  The purpose and agenda points are below.

    Thursday, June 3, 2010 / 7:00-8:30 pm / Burbank Elementary

    · To reach out to the community to discuss the state of HUSD
    · To answer questions regarding the fiscal crisis, high academic student achievement, & campus safety
    · To seek assistance & continued support for Hayward Schools
    · To listen to Hayward parents/community regarding their public schools
    · To clarify that the school situation is of concern & the responsibility of all

    · Welcome & Purpose of Community Outreach Meeting:  Janis Duran, Superintendent HUSD
    · Introductions:  Maribel Heredia, Vice President of HUSD School Board
    · Greetings from the City:  Mayor Michael Sweeney
    · Greetings from Alameda County Office of Education:  Sheila Jordan, Superintendent ACOE
    · Panel Moderator: Fran David, Hayward City Manager
    · Questions from Audience / Panel Answers
    · Ways You can Support HUSD, Students & Families
    · Raffle—DONATED Prizes
    · Child Care / Donated Refreshments


    Hayward City Council candidate: Sara Lamnin

    lamnin01SARA LAMNIN
  • Age: 39
  • Job: Nonprofit program director
  • Education: San Francisco State, masters from Cal State Hayward
  • Prior elected offices: None
  • In Hayward: 16 years
  • Family: Husband
  • Favorite Hayward spots: Japanese Gardens, La Paradis, Ray’s Sushi
  • Website: www.saralamnin.com
  • This is the fourth of six profiles of the candidates in the Hayward City Council race. Two seats are up for election on the June 8 ballot.

    HAYWARD — For Sara Lamnin, a little communication goes a long way in solving problems — and she says she’s a great communicator.

    “By engaging people, you find solutions,” she said. “Some people may know only part of the answer, others may not know how to implement it. But by listening and building collaboration, it will all come together.”

    That idea is the thrust of one of Lamnin’s main tenets: “Leadership through listening.”

    The 39-year-old program director for the Hayward Community Action Network and head of the city’s Citizen’s Advisory Commission used an example from when she was just out of college, working as a therapist at a South Hayward nursing home.

    “There was a lady there, and she just loved games,” Lamnin said. “She would beat the pants off you at checkers anytime.”

    One day the woman sat at the checkerboard, just staring at it. Something appeared to be terribly wrong.

    “I asked her what was going on,” Lamnin said. “Well, the black checkers were on the black squares. Her vision was poor, and she couldn’t see them. The idea is that we make assumptions when we should be asking questions.”

    She said the same approach is applicable to city issues, such as deciding where to make budget cuts: “Go to the people involved and ask them where cuts should be made.”

    And for revitalizing downtown: “Are rents cheap enough? Vacancies are hurting everybody — maybe some peer pressure from other landlords would help. Ask the (possible tenants), ‘What is it you need to move in?'”

    Lamnin used the same logic to determine her top priority — creating quality employment opportunities for residents.

    “People understand that in order to bring in the funding we need to support schools, to support police and fire and maintenance services, that we need people to be able to work,” she said. “Nobody buys here if they don’t have a job. You can’t keep a home without a steady income.”

    She said the losses of Mervyns and NUMMI were great blows to the area’s job base, but that resources exist to explore fields such as high tech and renewable energy.

    “We have great facilities, great spaces in Hayward, and it’s a great location,” she said. “We need to be a player in the local and regional sustainability scene. There’s an emerging green industry and Hayward is not at the table.”

    Lamnin said she found her calling in public service while working in the health care field. She saw that on one side of the table were the individuals and families with their needs, and on the other were the legislators in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., who could help.

    “I realized that it was important to make people heard to those who can do something for them,” she said. “That is the voice that matters.”

    Now Lamnin wants to be a willing listener on the other side of the table.

    “I’ve spent my life learning how to work with people of all different socioeconomics, people in all different industries and public jurisdictions,” she said. “I have experience and commitment. We need somebody to help listen and build collaboration, make voices be heard. That’s what drives me.”

    Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Contact him at 510-293-2473. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi. All six candidate profiles — and a forum in which to discuss them — will be available as they appear at www.ibabuzz.com/hayword.


    Meanwhile, in Hayward schools…

    In case you missed it, here’s our story on Janis Duran becoming the district’s permanent superintendent.

    API rankings released last week were not kind to Hayward, which was second to last in Alameda County. The only district that fared worse was the Emery Unified School District. There are two schools in that district. Here’s the breakdown for Southern Alameda County:

    API Rankings
    Percentage of schools in each district that received a ranking of 6 or higher (on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being highest):
  • Castro Valley: 100
  • Fremont: 90
  • Hayward: 6
  • New Haven: 60
  • Newark: 20
  • San Leandro: 18
  • San Lorenzo: 44
    Source: California Department of Education
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    Hayward City Council candidate: Mark Salinas

    salinas01MARK SALINAS
  • Age: 39
  • Job: College professor, nonprofit director
  • Education: Chabot College and San Francisco State
  • Prior elected offices: None
  • In Hayward: 39 years
  • Family: Wife
  • Favorite Hayward spots: Buffalo Bill’s Brewery, Acapulco Taqueria
  • Website: http://salinasforhayward.com/
  • This is the third of six profiles of the candidates in the Hayward City Council race. Two seats are up for election on the June 8 ballot.

    HAYWARD — On a Thursday morning during spring break, Mark Salinas was riding herd on a couple dozen young volunteers and about 100 younger charges.

    There was French toast and scrambled eggs to be served and literacy to be taught — the usual fare dished up hot and educational at The Kids’ Breakfast Club.

    “You hear there aren’t any success stories coming from Hayward schools,” he said, and then gestured at the volunteers. “I have 30 of them right here. They’re on break, and they’re donating their time and efforts to community service. “… This right here is the future of Hayward.”

    Salinas, a college professor and executive director of The Kids’ Breakfast Club, said he shares a core value with those volunteers — leadership through service — and will keep their interests close to his heart if he is elected to City Council in June.

    “These kids are going to be living with the legacy of the decisions we make in the next five to seven years,” he said. “The next City Council will have an impact for at least 25 to 30 years. You cannot get more future-minded than that.”

    Children in Hayward need to be encouraged to stick around, he said, and young families need to be given a fair shake.

    Salinas, 39, was born in Hayward and said he intends to spend the rest of his life in his hometown. He wants it to be a place where other people are encouraged to do the same.

    “If you look at the development projects being conceptualized today, around South Hayward BART and the Mission (Boulevard) Corridor, those two planning projects are going to be key to the future,” he said. “We have young families, and they’re going to be looking for good, clean, healthy, affordable places to live, so they can raise a family and send them to good schools.”

    He said he’s got a lot in common with people in such a place in life, and they need representation.

    “Every decision I make, I’m going to think about people like me,” he said. “Those young families, with good jobs, and still living month to month. I have a lot of respect for my colleagues, but I can speak to experiences. This is a living reality for me.”

    Salinas believes that forming new partnerships with existing nonprofits, the business community and academia will go far to foster new ideas and make them realities, and that his experience working with such entities — in addition to the director of a nonprofit, he is on the Measure I Bond Oversight Committee and a founding member of the Latino Business Round Table — make him an ideal facilitator.

    “We can take existing mechanisms and collaborate,” he said. “For example, we have a premier business school at (Cal State East Bay). Why not invest more there? Have a student competition for business plans in downtown Hayward. Get ideas from potential entrepreneurs for different products and services, and give the winner some seed money.”

    Salinas said he knows the city has its share of problems, but is very optimistic.

    “I really believe there’s a lot of good in Hayward right now,” he said. “A lot of things could be better, but we need to build on what’s good. “… It’s about thinking about the next generation, what kind of city they would like us to give them.”

    Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Contact him at 510-293-2473. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi. All six candidate profiles — and a forum in which to discuss them — will be available as they appear at www.ibabuzz.com/hayward.