ELECTION ’12//HAYWARD SCHOOL BOARD |
By SHANE BOND, The Citizen
Peter Bufete, the 22-year old former candidate for the Hayward City Council, will file for one of the three open seats on the Hayward school board this fall. The move comes after the board’s president, Jesus Armas, chose not to seek re-election following a salacious scandal with a fellow board member.
Bufete was praised as an energetic and impressive candidate by local political officials during his run for Hayward City Council last June, but lost by a wide margin to fellow competitors, Councilmembers Barbara Halliday and Francisco Zemeno, along with Greg Jones and Al Mendall. Bufete captured only five percent of the vote.
He would be the seventh candidate to file for the open seat, which has a Wednesday deadline for potential applicants. The initial filing process ended last Friday but when an incumbent doesn’t file for re-election the date is extended by five days.
“I ran on an education platform for City Council so I think joining the board would be the best way to get my ideas across and be able to make changes I originally wanted to do. I got a lot of encouragement from community leaders to apply for election so going into it, I know I have a lot of support,” said Bufete.
Some of that support comes from the current incumbent, Armas. Bufete admits that Armas suggested he run for the school board. Bufete also happens to have been friends with Armas’s son and attended high school together. Bufete declined to comment on the recent controversy involving Armas’s affair with board member Maribel Heredia.
Hayward Councilwoman, Barbara Halliday, said she thinks well of Bufete’s application and encouraged him to run. “I was very impressed when he was running for council and I think he was somewhat inexperienced and young but he is certainly someone who would work hard and be willing to learn,” said Halliday.
According to Bufete, Paul Hodges, a board member for the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District, was his biggest influence to apply for the Hayward school board. “He said I should really consider it and it got me thinking about it,” said Bufete who made his decision to apply as early as last Friday.
Luis Reynoso, a critic of Armas and member of the Hayward school board, thinks fondly of Bufete’s application. “It is a great idea to have incumbents challenged and the more candidates only gives the community better choices,” said Reynoso.
Reynoso then added that Bufete’s influence, Hodges, is a friend of Armas. Reynoso added that Armas’s encouragement is suspicious and may be an effort to still maintain political clout in the Hayward Unified School District. Nevertheless, he said he isn’t that worried about Bufete’s candidacy.“The community will have to decide,” said Reynoso.
Armas was contacted for comment but has not returned phone calls at this time.