This is the second of six profiles of the candidates in the Hayward City Council race. Two seats are up for election on the June 8 ballot.
HAYWARD — A toll booth would go a long way in solving the city’s fiscal problems, Lawrence M. Fitzpatrick said.
Stick it up there on Foothill Boulevard, he said, so drivers using Hayward’s surface streets as a thoroughfare could chip in $1 per trip and help a local economy that right now they’re abusing.
“They’re messing up our city with traffic, and we are getting nothing for it,” Fitzpatrick said. “This could bring in $80 million a year. “… Citizens of Hayward would be issued a card so they wouldn’t have to pay. Only those who are using our streets and don’t live here would pay the toll.”
Fitzpatrick said he would bring that kind of unconventional thinking to the City Council if elected June 8.
He hasn’t previously held office, but he’s taken a couple of shots at landing a spot on the Hayward school board.
He lost the election in a crowded field in 2008, and recently was passed over for appointment along with eight other candidates, in favor of former City Manager Jesus Armas.
Fitzpatrick joined former Assemblywoman Audie Bock, and, calling the appointment process a sham, sought to take the matter to a public vote in a special election.
The petition drive failed to garner the necessary signatures.
The activism is something that he got involved in the past couple years, and he said it was spurred because a teacher and friend of his was treated unfairly by the district.
”He taught at Harder (Elementary), and brought everyone in his class up to the same level, but the district destroyed his program,” he said. “How can you take someone who has excelled beyond all expectations and treat them bad?”
He ran for the school board alongside that teacher, Luis Reynoso, who won a seat.
Reynoso has a reputation for being a firebrand at district meetings, decrying a lack of transparency from his fellow board members and school administrators.
Fitzpatrick says that’s exactly what he wants to bring to the City Council.
“I’d make sure people are informed,” he said. “I really want them to see what’s going on. They need someone vocal. I think (Reynoso’s) got the right idea — it might take me a while to get up to that level, but he’s got the right idea.”
For example, he said Hayward didn’t do enough to let people know about plans to build power plants within the city.
“The city needs to get citizens more involved in what they’re doing,” Fitzpatrick said. “Right now, no one is really involved in what the City Council does. If people were more involved when the plant was planned, they would have understood what was going on and they would have showed up for meetings. People here became lackadaisical.”
He said he has been learning more about where he stands as the campaign progresses.
“When I first started the run, I didn’t have a lot of direction,” he said. “But the more I stay, the more I see the place I want to be.”
He said that if his council run isn’t successful, he might look again for a place on the school board.
“Well, if I think I can win, I’ll probably make a run for school board,” he said. “The kids need somebody on their side.”
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.