The City Council held the first of at least two priority-setting workshops last night. This one was a sort of brainstorming session, the City Manager will take input back to the drawing board and return with a revised version next month. In the end, it’s these priorities that are used to formulate where dollars will be spent when it comes time to create the budget for FY 2011-12.
Main goals carry over from last year. City Manager Fran David wanted to take the “Crime and Public Safety” and “Cleanliness” priorities from last year and also give a nod to the city’s work to be environmentally conscious, packaging it together into “Safe, Clean, Green.”
“I’m very proud of our accomplishments, and we’ve done a lot of good things,” he said. “But I’m not sure I’m comfortable to say it’s an overriding priority.”
He said that what he’s heard over and over again at Neighborhood Partnership Program meetings is the need for the city to address crime and safety conerns, and that they need to listen to those voices.
“It doesn’t mean we’re not going to continue (with sustainability objectives), but we need to keep our eye on the ball,” he said.
Councilman Bill Quirk said the extensive time spent by staff on environmental measures makes it seem a top priority regardless if it’s listed as such or not, and Councilwoman Barbara Halliday said she believes Hayward residents want it up there based on what she’s seen and heard.
“It may not come up at Neighborhood Partnership meetings when we’re asking them what’s wrong, but we do have a community that is very supportive of being green and the environment,” she said.
There was a some difference in opinions on the Gang Injunction Program, which has been in the works since 2009. Councilman Bill Quirk said he has concerns about how effective such programs have been in other cities.
“I don’t know if it has been shown to work,” he said. Quirk said there have been other approaches, such as CeaseFire, which provides counseling, services and support to get people out of the gang lifestyle. “If there’s a better approach, I would like to do it.”
Councilman Marvin Peixoto, who stressed public safety as the city’s top priority throughout his campaign, talked about the importance of a gang injunction then and said it is still a vital goal.
Gang activity is increasing, he said, and an injunction remains “a top priority. We could complement the Gang Injunction program with alternative programs.”
Fiscal stability was cited by numerous members as being of key importance given the times. Councilmembers Mark Salinas and Olden Henson talked about the need to revisit the downtown plan — according to the staff report, “tension exists between those wanting it to return to its former glory as a retail destination and those who see the future as an arts, entertainment and dining center.”
Other goals brought up by the city manager include addressing what’s going to happen with the Caltrans land that was once slated to be a freeway. Not so much how single-family residences will be sold, but rather the clustering of parcels for development, resale of multi-family housing units and resolving issues in the Bunker Hill area.
Also, David said continued attention needs to be paid to the S. Hayward BART project. She said it takes time to figure out how to get funding sources in the current market to make it a reality. Project success hinges on getting a sizable neighborhood supermarket in there, and that’s been hard to do. Staff report states the whole project “is under imminent threat given the Governor’s most recent state budget proposals.”
Speaking of which, in other actions, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing the state’s proposed elimination of local redevelopment agencies. They also told city staff to go ahead and start negotiating agreements related to $30 million worth of redevelopment projects, including nearly $13 million for the South Hayward BART development, $5.5 million for property acquisition related to Mission Boulevard redevelopment, and $4.5 million toward the City Center area (Centennial Tower, etc.)
Other cities all over the state, including San Leandro and Fremont, have also taken measures to lock in such projects before the state dissolution of redevelopment agencies.