CITY ADMITS IT HAS NO PLAN TO OUTSOURCE LIBRARY OPERATIONS, WANTS SACTO TO LEAVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ALONE
By Steven Tavares
There was hardly any debate Tuesday night as the Hayward City Council unanimously approved giving Mayor Michael Sweeney the go-ahead to compose letters of opposition against an assembly bill that the city admits has no relation to anything it plans to do here in the future. The impetus instead is ideological, they say.
City Manager Fran David said there is no plan whatsoever to outsource operation of any of its libraries. In fact, the thought never even crossed her mind, she said, until learning the details of Santa Barbara Assemblyman Das Williams’ bill calling for a vote of the people if a city chooses to outsource to a for-profit library vendor.
David again said the bill would “usurp” the power of local government. She believes the bill is just another power play by lawmakers in Sacramento to dictate to cities without giving local municipalities the support and tax dollars to achieve those goals. David said any decision to outsource services based on the current economy is the call of elected council members and no different than the process the community goes through to change any other type of city contract.
Sacramento’s chronic habit of financial takebacks from local communities is a quite prevalent criticism in nearly all city council chambers, but the amount of discontent in Hayward has been slowly simmering for months and Sweeney again took a shot Tuesday at the capitol’s perceived hypocrisy. “Given that the state like to take our money, it’s particularly outrageous for them to start telling us what we can and cannot do,” said Sweeney.
Not a public meeting has gone by in Hayward without a similar comment from Sweeney, who easily won re-election last November despite rising crime and apathy along with a school district teetering on the verge of a state takeover. It is also both ironic and telling that Sweeney would become the East Bay’s most vocal mayor against tyranny from Sacramento. Maybe he knows best? Afterall, Sweeney did serve in the assembly over a decade ago before becoming mayor.