Primary Questions: Hayward City Council

Hayward City Council chambers. Which two of the seven candidates will take a seat at the dais this summer?

THE CANDIDATES Councilmember Marvin Peixoto is seeking re-election to the City Council. Hayward holds at-large June elections with the top two vote-getters winning seats on the council. Four years ago, Peixoto received the most votes following a stint on the Hayward Planning Commission. His strong opposition to the Hayward Loop and the Russell City Energy Center from his days as a commissioner to today appears to be a stroke of genius in this race. Both issues are of great concern to Hayward voters. Peixoto, though, also voted for the controversial five percent wage cut imposition on city employees and has remained resolute in his belief the move was necessary for the city’s financial stability…The controversial vote against workers attracted pro-union candidates Rocky Fernandez and Sara Lamnin into the race. SEIU Local 1021 has poured resources into getting each elected. Fernandez is the only candidate other than Peixoto to hold elected office. He previously served on the AC Transit Board of Directors and currently runs Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski’s district office. In addition to supporting workers, Fernandez said he will seek changes to the Loop and make the downtown area more walkable. Lamnin has faced a series of near misses in recent years. First, for her bid for the City Council two years ago and the city’s school board. She has long been a well-known advocate for the poor and minorities in Hayward…Restaurateur Julie McKillop has also worked with the Hayward Chamber of Commerce and has advocated for changes to the Loop, but as a downtown business owner, she also says the Loop has positively affected her business and that of her neighbors….Rodney Loche has the backing of Mayor Michael Sweeney and is a member of the Hayward Planning Commission. He also an author of children’s books…Ralph Farias, Jr. is the raconteur of Hayward politics, who often stuffs sturdy conservative ideas into a package wrapped in a persona often seen in professional wrestling. Philip Gallegos is a first-time candidate with a belief system in line with Fernandez and Lamnin.

MAIN BEEF The main objects of contention in this race mimics the mayoral race. In fact, absolutely no distinction can be draw between the two other than the appearance of two union candidates in this council race, whereas, none exist in the mayoral campaign. Billboards and mailers sent by SEIU Local 1021 ask voters to help “Heal the Heart of Hayward.” The choice here is whether traditionally labor-friendly Hayward voters were significantly embarrassed by the City Council’s swift anti-worker move to warrant the addition of two union-backed members to the council of seven or not

QUOTABLE “I’ve come from the freeway to get to D Street and taken my life into my hand,” Lamnin said of the Hayward Loop.

BY THE NUMBERS Voter Registration: Democratic 59.0%; No Party Preference 19.2%; Republicans 12.2%.

2010 Election Results: *Peixoto 29.5%; *Mark Salinas 25.6%; Sara Lamnin 20.6%; Ralph Farias, Jr. 9.7%; Steve Oiwa 7.3%; Lawrence Fitzpatrick 6.8%.

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH 1. Fernandez 2. Peixoto 3. Lamnin 4. McKillop 5. Loche 6. Farias 7. Gallegos.

AFTERMATH Labor and management will need to pause and reexamine the new political landscape when it comes to the composition of the new Hayward City Council. Even if Fernandez and Lamnin win seats, the anti-worker bloc will still hold a comfortable 5-2 majority. However, the message will have been sent to incumbents in the future that a similar stance against public employees will result in you being run out of office. Rhetoric between the union and the city needs to be quelled, so here’s a proposal: If Halliday or Zermeno becomes mayor and either Fernandez or Lamnin fail to win a seat on the council, how about appointing one of them to fill out the remaining two years of the mayor-elect’s term? The council’s new math will not change the city’s stance against workers and it’s an olive branch to labor that says, “How about we start working together?”

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