Intriguing Hayward Mayoral, City Council Races Set for June Election

City employees picket Hayward City Hall
last August. 

CAMPAIGN 2014 | HAYWARD | It’s been eight years since Hayward had a competitive race for mayor. In 2006, Michael Sweeney topped Brian Schott and subsequently won re-election four years later against a write-in candidate. Sweeney, though, announced last August he would not seek re-election. The decision leaves a wide-open race to replace him featuring three of his colleagues on the City Council.

Councilmembers Barbara Halliday, Francisco Zermeno and Mark Salinas qualified for the June 3 election. The deadline for filing ended Wednesday. Hayward businessman Christian Rakesh Kumar is the fourth candidate. Kumar is also running for governor, according to the Alameda County registar’s Web site.

Since three of the four candidates have similar accomplishments serving on the same council, the imminent fight to create daylight on issues has already brought some passive clashes during recent council meetings. None was more evident than last month, when Zermeno latched upon a statement by Salinas describing the city’s youth as unhealthy. In public comments afterward, Zermeno attempted to portray the remarks as anti-Hayward.

In addition, the two open seats on the City Council also contain a host of interesting angles following a controversial vote by the council last month to impose a five percent wage cut on nearly 300 city workers. The action had members of the Service Employees International Union, Local 1021 fuming. One SEIU Local 1021 representative labeled the action “an act of war” and vowed to end the political careers of every council member. Although there appears to be no alternatives for labor to support in the mayoral race, the same cannot be said for the at-large council race.

Councilmember Marvin Peixoto, elected in 2010, is the lone incumbent in the seven-person race. His contract vote may make him vulnerable this June. Salinas would have been the second incumbent in the race had he not run for mayor this year. Among the potential front runners is Sara Lamnin, a well-known community activist in Hayward, who ran unsuccessful campaigns recently for the school board and city council. Lamnin finished third in the race for two seat in 2010, albeit over 1,200 votes shy of a spot on the council.

In addition to Peixoto and Lamnin, Hayward businessman Ralph Farias, Jr. is the third repeat candidate from four years ago for the City Council. Farias finished a distant fourth and is one of the most colorful public speakers in the East Bay. In past campaigns (he also ran in 2012), Farias has often been critical of the city’s record in attracting businesses to its moribund downtown and advocated two years ago for the building of a Walmart grocery store on the Union City border.

Ryan “Rocky” Fernandez, a well-known East Bay politico and current district director for Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, may also be an attractive alternative for labor, as is Hayward Planning Commissioner Rodney Loche. Two prospective candidates with ties to the Hayward Chamber of Commerce were eyeing runs for the City Council, but only one qualified for ballot.  Julie McKillop, the owner of Hayward restaurant Neumanali is another candidate for City Council. Moreover, Brian Schott, who faced Sweeney for mayor in 2006, pulled out of the race shortly before the deadline this week. A seventh candidate, Phillip Gallegos is a political newcomer listed on the city’s list of candidates as a performing arts technician.

Despite two contested and intriguing race, it remains to be seen if it will awaken voter apathy in Hayward. Just over 30 percent of registered voters participated in the last mayoral election four years ago, according to the city clerk. As the leading vote-getter in 2010, Peixoto needed only 7,140 to secure a seat on the council. June elections typically attract fewer and more ideological voters than the pool of participants in November general elections. However, voter participation in a presidential primary year in 2012 returned an even lesser degree of excitement in Hayward with just 27.78 percent of registered voters visiting the polls.

14 thoughts on “Intriguing Hayward Mayoral, City Council Races Set for June Election

  1. A community divided is a community destroyed. The biggest mistake was for Salinas and Zermeno running against each other for Mayor. Are they really different in their views of the city and the direction the city should go in? Instead of working against each other they should have worked together to identify individuals in the community that could join them on the Council. They should have worked together to support the city workers and pushed for continued negotiations. Instead their supporting the full council in not negotiating and their running against each other for the title of Mayor. A position that is in actuality no stronger than that of a council member. A losing position all the way.


  2. Some on the council have advocated to change the name at Bart's Hayward station to “Downtown Hayward” at a cost of $600,000. This requests comes from council which just voted to have a tax increase on the ballot and reduced salaries of city workers. Whow! What are these people thinking ? Where are the priorities? Let's vote now to get 3 new people on council in June and get 3 others in 2016.


  3. Why does city council cut the wages of the lowest paid employees when they give themselves lifetime health insurance. It's total abuse. Throw them out!


  4. Throw this council out! They are all liars and hypocrites. The cops drive around in battle tanks and the lowest paid workers get their wages cut. It's a disgrace.


  5. Mayor Mike put his foot in his mouth when he called the Tyrell/Mannon area a “horrible, tough little area, poorly constructed, and poorly maintained.” Zermeno trolls for votes in the South End of town. Did he stick up for Tyrell/Mannon residents? Of course not. People live where they can afford to live-we all can't live in Twin Bridges or on historic Prospect St. We need a Mayor and Council who actually care about Hayward, all of it's citzens and it's City Workers.


  6. A tax increase not to save or give back to the city workers, but to pad the pockets of the administration and protect their phony baloney jobs.


  7. Lot of old dirt than runs Hayward, including ” silent influencing parties or families, that don't know how to use their hands like a blue collar worker to earn an honest wage, but rather rip off those that do.


  8. Opportunity for new ideas and direction at Hayward city hall. New Mayor and possibly 3 new councilmembers if Halliday wins the Mayors seat and Piexoto loses. Great.


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