Hayward’s new Councilmember
Elisa Marquez

HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL | The Hayward City Council is back at full strength after appointing Planning Commissioner Elisa Marquez to serve the remaining two years of Mayor Barbara Halliday’s council term.

The choice of Marquez is a twofer for a council in need of a shot of diversity. She represents a second woman on the council and its second Latino representative. The seat became open after Halliday’s victory in June elevated her from council member to mayor.

Marquez was one of five candidates who interviewed Tuesday night for appointment to the two-year seat. The council also spent roughly three hours questioning two other planning commissioners, Vishal Trivedi and Rodney Loche; Hayward businessman Brian Schott and Mark Salinas, who up until two weeks ago held a seat on the City Council. Instead, of defending his seat this June, he, instead, chose a run for mayor.

Hayward City Council applicants await
their turn Tuesday to be interviewed
for the open two-year council seat.

The choice of Marquez, however, was not unanimous. A majority of the six-person council registered support for Marquez and Loche, who ran for the council this spring and finished a distant fifth for the open pair of seats. The council vote was 4-2, with two Loche supporters from the election, Councilmembers Greg Jones and Marvin Peixoto, voting against Marquez’s bid.

“This is my home. This is where I’ve lived my entire life. I have no other aspirations other than to serve my community,” Marquez said in an interview following her appointment. She was raised and educated in Hayward. Her family owned three restaurants in the downtown area when she was growing up, she said.

For her first order of business, she plans to begin working with her new colleagues, while focusing on the current council priorities. “I’m definitely going to be outspoken and share my ideas, but I think in beginning there’s going to be a learning curve to understand the lay of the land.”

Before Tuesday night, Hayward’s City Council counted only one woman among its ranks since 2010. With Marquez’s appointment it also regains a second Latino to join Councilmember Francisco Zermeno. The lack of Latino representation has been sorely lacking during the same time its population in Hayward has risen to 40 percent—its largest demographic.

“They need a voice,” said Marquez. “They’re the highest population that lives in my neighborhood—South Hayward. They’re my neighbors. They’re the people that I interface at the grocery store. I speak their language and understand their plight and when we make decision we need to really take that into consideration.”