HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL//NOTES | The key to a Hayward renaissance has always focused on curing its struggling school district, but its future also lies in rehabilitating the areas around the South Hayward BART station. It is not only an unsafe neighborhood, but it is also no good reason to visit other than hopping on the BART trains and virtually escaping to another Bay Area locale.

Greg Jones, Al Mendall

The Hayward City Council last Tuesday pretty much admitted as much while sorting out problems with parking around the BART station. “This is a tough area of town,” said Hayward Mayor Michael Sweeney, who also challenged BART to cooperate with the city to fix this downtrodden part of town. Sweeney said any new revenue from charging for parking had no clear priorities attached to them or which entity gets first dibs on the proceeds. “What about lighting, graffiti, garbage, street sweeping? It sounds to me like there are some issues her to be resolved.”

“There’s some trust going forward here that some of these needs in this part of South Hayward will be taken care of,” Sweeney bluntly said Tuesday night in the direction of two BART officials in attendance. “I hope you will not disappoint us.”

JONES: AIDING AND ABETTING? On two occasions Tuesday night Councilman Greg Jones sounded like he was laying out blueprints for bag guys to commit crimes in Hayward. Jones said creating demand for parking near the South Hayward BART station would likely push more people to park their cars on nearby Mission Boulevard. “This isn’t an advertisement,” said Jones who grinned when he grasped what he was inadvertently saying, “but cars will get broken into.”

Later, during discussion of a moratorium on Internet sweepstakes cafes, Jones again laid out a possible loophole for businesses offering these types of gaming products by noting they could circumvent the ordinance by limiting them to four computers. However, this time Jones led the way in shutting down its possibility by successfully adding a friendly amendment to the motion, lowering the threshold to one computer.

RISE OF MENDALL AND JONES The council two newest members, Greg Jones and Al Mendall, shined Tuesday night. Not only did Jones act decisively with keen insight on what the proposed moratorium on sweepstakes business might not achieve, but Mendall also peppered discussions throughout the night with thoughtful questions. He also showed an innate desire to jump in front of issues rather than sit in the backseat.

Maybe it’s that or Mendall was just enjoying the psychological advantage of standing over his colleagues on the dais Tuesday night. Due to a bad back, Mendall stood for the entire four hour meeting. Either way, the new kids on the block are forcing a positive change in the council’s hierarchy, which may make someone like Mark Salinas seem like yesterday’s story.