HAYWARD SCHOOL BOARD SCANDAL | Even if the impropriety of two school board members allegedly having an affair seems like a no-no on many different levels, the Hayward school district’s bylaws are silent on the subject of secret romantic interludes among its members.
The rules are notably silent on the conduct of school board members and have not been updated since, at least, 1993; and on many ocassions, unchanged for more than 20 years.
On Wednesday evening, a first reading of revisions to the bylaws will be read and discussed at a special school board meeting starting at 5 p.m. in the district’s offices on 24411 Amador Street.
The meeting comes at an inconvenient time for some school board members and local Hayward officials, who have come under fire after an article in The Citizen revealed members Jesus Armas and Maribel Heredia were in the midst of an affair. Another story, showed Heredia, in a sworn deposition, did not read materials provided her before voting on agenda items.
Because the special meeting is not being held at Hayward City Hall, it will not be televised. Numerous critics of the dire situation among Hayward schools contend the board’s next regular meeting on Aug. 22 may also be held at the school district’s offices and away from television cameras capturing the likely cacophony of angry parents showering the board with frustrated invective.
JUST THE GOOD OL’ BOYS In the two weeks since text messages showed hanky panky was indeed going on behind doors by two Hayward school board members, the quiet from local leaders have been deafening. Be it shock from the clear preponderance of evidence or the possibility elected leaders are indeed vacationing during the annual August recess, nobody is talking.
Instead, what we’re hearing is public relations schlock. Armas, Heredia and fellow board member Lisa Brunner started it July 25 by portraying the stories as attacks on the schools, the city and–wait for it–the children. Other elected leaders also sidestepped the growing outrage by, forcefully and without much deft, highlighting the better aspects of Hayward.
The fact of the matter is Armas is connected to everyone in Hayward in some form and on many different levels. The beauty of this scandal is that exposed the complexity of Armas’s dealings and begins to show a totally dark and deceitful side to a man who appeared to be cheerful and avuncular in his everyday persona. In the meantime, I continue to hear the same basic comment from observers and sources who marvel about how so many have tried to bring him down, but in the end, it was he who was caught with his pants down.
REYNOSO FILES FOR RE-ELECTION Although most believed Hayward school board member Luis Reynoso would eventually file papers to run for re-election this fall–he did so on Monday–he, nevertheless, was lamenting the exorbitant cost of filing as late as last week.
“I just can’t think of anyone else that will continue the efforts to improve the district no matter what the challenge,” Reynoso said last Monday.
Reynoso is the seventh candidate to pull papers for the board’s three open seats. Incumbent Jesus Armas has filed, while school board member Maribel Heredia has not, as of yet. She has until this Friday to make a determination. Heather Reyes, John Taylor, Wanda Williams and Annette Walker have also filed, as did Sara Lamnin.
Walker unsuccessfully ran for the school board in 2010. The perceived strength of Walker’s candidacy along with Armas’s, at the time, was the stated reason former City Manager Greg Jones and Anna May chose not to run for the open seats and instead they backed both of them.
Aside from Reynoso, the news of the Hayward school board scandal is quite a fortuitous bounce of the political football for Lamnin, one of the city’s most liked and respected community members. Coincidentally, Lamnin was seen in the back row of the City Hall chambers last month when Reynoso and a few Hayward resident begin the public stoning of Armas and Heredia. She said nothing and just watched, but you can tell she was completely giddy inside.