HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL | Two of the Hayward City Council’s longest tenured city council members will make room tonight for an infusion of new blood with the swearing-in of former City Manager Greg Jones and Planning Commissioner Al Mendall.
“We’re losing our two geeks,” joked Mayor Michael Sweeney.”There’s a lot of knowledge going out the door.” Sweeney said the expertise of both Bill Quirk, who is a scientist, and Olden Henson, a computer data consultant, on the city’s technology committee over the years was invaluable. “Olden and Bill, we’ll miss you, but probably more after the tenth,” the mayor said, referring to Tuesday night’s swearing-in ceremony, that also includes the election of a new mayor pro tempore, or vice mayor.
Al Mendall, Greg Jones
Jones, despite a late wave of negative news stories about his past role as city manager, finished second in the June 5 election, behind Councilwoman Barbara Halliday. Mendall finished a close third in the at-large race that also re-elected Councilman Francisco Zermeno. The inclusion of Jones late in the race may have pushed soon-to-be former Councilman Henson out of the picture. Henson’s fifth-place finish ends an 18-year career as city councilman. Quirk with two terms on the council under his belt, did not run for re-election and his running for the Assembly in the 20th District this fall. During the duos final working council meeting June 26, parting was sweet sorrow for some members long affiliated with both members, not so much for one.
“I’m going to miss it more than I thought,” said the normally emotional distant Quirk June 26. Sweeney lauded Quirk’s involvement over the years in beginning to tame Hayward’s seemingly annual budget problems. Quirk, who won the primary for the 20th Assembly District last month and is the favorite to win in November, can afford to be more sanguine. However, his personality, sometimes read by other members as gruff and dispassionate, still rubbed some the wrong way.
To illustrate this, after Quirk’s short words of farewell, Councilman Marvin Peixoto quickly followed, saying, “On a more serious note…” and went on to describe satiating his post-workout appetite recently with a couple tamales, whole beans and rice at the new Chavez Market on Mission Boulevard, all for a mere “$6 bucks,” he added. Less animosity, though, was evident for the more soulful Henson.
“I have appreciated all the support from this community,” he said in his comments two weeks ago. “I always put Hayward first. That was my foremost objective.” Although some attribute Henson’s downfall in last month’s election to anger in city’s business community over his vote against Walmart setting up shop in Hayward, some are now saying he had become distant over the years from his constituents. Henson’s work on regional transportation boards, albeit extensive and fruitful, they say, slowly pulled him away from the day-to-day aspects of Hayward to the bigger picture over the years. One Hayward insider told The Citizen, you just didn’t see Henson around town at events anymore.
The addition of Jones and Mendall may pose an initial shock to the usually harmonious Hayward City Council. A few council members still familiar with Jones from his time as city manager ending in 2010, voiced considerable discontent with his behavior involving a somewhat secret affair with then-Councilwoman Anna May. Conversely, Mendall, who can sometimes come across and stiff and overly cautious, may have an easier time meshing with the remaining council members and mayor. His candidacy was endorsed by the entire council.