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.