SUNDAY COLUMN | On Saturday, Rep. Eric Swalwell opened an office in downtown Hayward. The bit of real estate is important to note. His battle for re-election next year runs right through the Heart of the Bay. But state Sen. Ellen Corbett is also hoping to throw a “loop” in Swalwell’s plans.

During the last few weeks, it has become clear that Swalwell views Hayward’s voting bloc and women voters, in general, as the key to his re-election. You might say it is also his Achilles’ Heel. Corbett is well-known in Hayward and, of course, she is a woman. Not only that, but also one of the most accomplished politicians in the entire East Bay.

Swalwell had one hit in a 22-0
rout of the GOP last week.

This is why, in the last two weeks, Swalwell has donned a Tennyson High School baseball jersey for the annual Congressional baseball game in Washington (nevermind a white boy from Dublin like Swalwell would not last a second at Tennyson) and routinely tweets his doings in the area. Conversely, Corbett has been seen doing the reverse–showing up in the Tri Valley early and often in recent months. Swalwell;s problem is he lost Hayward last year to Pete Stark in a convincing manner and his good showing in nearby Castro Valley may not be replicated with Corbett’s high-name recognition in that town.

However, it is Hayward that is destined to either make or break Swalwell. Can he be liberal enough for Hayward, and Fremont, for that matter, while still catering to Tri Valley moderates? What if Tea Party darling and newly-minted Republican Chris Pareja joins the race and gobbles up rightwingers Swalwell cheerily courted last year? And how will he attract Hayward’s large Latino population? By courting the support of Councilmembers Francisco Zermeno and Mark Salinas and having your events at a Hayward restaurant named “The Mexican Restaurant? Good luck with that. In that case, he would be better off driving around the Hayward Loop in a rented convertible Impala wearing a huge foam sombrero

While Swalwell vs. Corbett is an ideological battle, the literal war surrounds saving the city’s school children from decades of graft and corruption among the Hayward Unified School District and some in the business community. As we saw this week, both those groups showed no shame and suggested the enormous left hook it sustained last year with the deposing of former school president Jesus Armas has forced these shadowy characters to, in effect, go bigger than ever before.

This week, school board members Lisa Brunner and John Taylor used same dangerous cover for these group by urging everyone to again look away from the mess certain to reappear at HUSD and, instead, think about the children.  If you understand Hayward, you will understand how outrageously faulty such logic is when it has been the children, a large percentage of which are minorities have paid the costs with their futures and taxpayers have been duped by exorbitant tax increases.

But that’s why Stan “Data” Dobbs is back as interim school superintendent. He is a respected pillar of the community, his supporters say, and his financial acumen will greatly aid the district’s bottom line. In fact, HUSD again finds itself in the same pickle of mismanagement it faced two years ago when whispers of the state taken over were loudest. Sounds great, except for a report by staff said HUSD is again unable to pay its financial obligations. Did staff simply undo the work Dobbs’ reportedly did in just six-month after his brief sojourn to San Diego? The answer is no. Also, anybody else notice the absence of any rhetoric involving hiring an administrator that can change the educational philosophy at HUSD? Hayward is the most underperforming school district in Alameda County because kids in Hayward are not learning. That doesn’t take money per se, it takes innovative new ideas for helping them understand the curriculum.

However, there is good news. the four-year battle in San Leandro to save its hospital is weeks away from an armistice. The good people of San Leandro have won. Our work is done. The mission statement of the East Bay Citizen calls for underserved areas to again have important news stories at a keystroke. In addition, one huge, overarching issue, not necessarily pertaining to our bread and butter coverage of local government, should be given a substantial amount of our collective bandwidth. With nearly 200 original articles posted over four years detailing the fight to save San Leandro Hospital, we can now declare mission accomplished. Now, we turned our sights on saving Hayward’s schools and I really don’t think they’re much of a match for us. 

“We’re lawless.”
Luis Reynoso, the Hayward school board’s rapier-tongued board member said June 19, and with dramatic exasperation, after he charged his colleagues with violating the Brown Act last week by calling a special meeting to discuss the contract details for its interim superintendent. Doing so, is expressly forbidden in the state sunshine law.

The Week That Was

Cisco Field: future home of the A’s?

>>>Opening A Way To San Jose?: The City of San Jose apparently had enough and made good on a threat to sue Major League Baseball in hopes of forcing a determination on the future home of the Oakland Athletics. In general, the move seems to enforce a new perception that MLB would rather have the A’s stay in Oakland rather than get into a messy battle with the Giants over rights to the South Bay. Nevertheless, this game probably isn’t even near the seventh-inning stretch. And, oh, yeah, there was a major sewage leak in the locker rooms at the Oakland Coliseum making matters a bit more…messy.

>>>’Dro TV: In a week when government transparency took a hit on a statewide level, San Leandro joined the 20th Century and approved a $395,000 remodel of its council chambers to install high-definition video and improved audio. San Leandro is the only city in Alameda County that does not televise its government meetings over the air or online. It currently livestreams audio-only on its Web site. Don’t expect must watch T.V., however, from the San Leandro City Council, other than witness Councilmember Jim Prola’s biweekly 15-20 item rundown of every single meeting he attended in the past two weeks, along with an update from Alameda County Mosquito Abatement Committee of which he proudly serves.

>>>As Hayward Turns: First the Hayward School Board appointed former employee Stan Dobbs interim superintendent. Then just days before offering him a contract, he suddenly drops out citing the blitzkrieg leveled by The Citizen surrounding his resume. A few days later, a potentially illegal special meeting is called regarding his contract and the next day, the man who calls himself “Data” Dobbs is pulling in a contract commensurate with his vastly more experienced predecessor. In the meantime, a bevy of issues fail to pass the smell test, meaning, stay tuned for a summer of wild antics in the Heart of the Bay.

>>>Hospital moves: Alameda Health System, former Alameda County Medical Center, is going big in advance of Obamacare changing forever the business landscape of health care in the county. AHS this week entered into an “affiliation” with the struggling Alameda Hospital. The deal follows a similar move last month for San Leandro Hospital. Both deals would maintain the emergency rooms, involve no changes in staff and provide hope to the county’s safety net hospitals. In addition, the Eden Township Healthcare District approved adding $20 million to the operating costs for AHS to run San Leandro Hospital.

>>>Young is back!: The notorious former assembly candidate and current AC Transit board director who allegedly hit his former girlfriend is the target of a scathing internal report charging him with potentially breaking board bylaws and state law. Young, according to the report, may have used his privileged duties as an AC Transit board member for his own profit and that of the law firm he is employed. His use of insider information for his own benefit is nothing new. Just ask SEIU, who revoked their endorsement last year when he peddle its confidential questionnaires to potential supporters to undermine his opponents who also had the backing of the powerful union.

Tweet of the Week
“The asshats at @SFGate think Wolff selling #Athletics to group that would keep them in #Oakland would be a bad thing”
-@HarryElephante, tweeting June 18 about a San Francisco Chronicle editorial in favor of San Jose’s lawsuit against Major League Baseball. Of course, everybody in Oakland already knows the Chronicle hates Oakland.

Best Reads
>>>Cal State East Bay’s iconic Warren Hall, is due to be imploded within the next two months, but scientists plan to use the event to study the potentially dangerous Hayward Fault. (NBC News, June 21.)

>>>Having trouble understanding the legal underpinnings of San Jose’s lawsuit against Major League Baseball in hopes of freeing the team to move from Oakland to the South Bay? Here’s a highly-detailed primer of the case. (Baseball Prospectus, June 20.)

Voice of the People
“I too love this blog. We have the [Voice of] San Diego but yours is more entertaining because your politics are more crooked. Thank you for taking Dobbs back from us.”
Anonymous, commenting June 22 on “Hayward School President Admits They May Have Broken The Brown Act.”