Councilmember Francisco Zermeno takes the
oath of office Tuesday night in Hayward.

Hayward was in a self-congratulatory mood Tuesday as it celebrated the inauguration of four city council members and said goodbye to another.

Councilmembers Francisco Zermeno, Elisa Marquez and Mendall were sworn-in for four moreyears, while Mark Salinas, a former councilmember who eschewed certain re-election in 2014 to run for mayor, made his return to the Hayward dais.

Mayor Barbara Halliday who edged out Salinas two years ago, lauded the new council, which is one of the most veteran groups in the entire East Bay. “This is an experienced council and dedicated to moving this city forward,” said Halliday.

The results of the election, she added, prove Hayward residents believe the city is on the right track. “We have been recognized for our efforts and all of this work is done for our city and our children and youth,” said Halliday.

The new Hayward City Council with returning Councilmember Mark
Salinas assigned to the far right of the dais.

Zermeno, who is now beginning his third term in office, following his first place finish last June—by just three votes over Salinas—described his priorities for the next four years. They include strengthening Hayward’s local economy, education and the environment. Zermeno used much of speech Tuesday night to offer “kilos of thanks” to his family, campaign team and fellow council winners.

However, Zermeno made no mention of Salinas in his remarks. The two are known rivals and the renewal of their council interactions will be a subtext to follow in the coming months and years.

“This election is an affirmation of the direction the city is moving in,” said Councilmember Al Mendall, who finished fourth for the four open seats last month. He, too, thanked his campaign team and family, He joked,“I’ve been the worst father and husband for the last six months.”

Marquez, a Hayward native, said, “I’m a product of this environment… I’m honored to serve the citizens of Hayward.” Tuesday night’s ceremony represents the start of Marquez’s first full term on the council. She was appointed two years ago to serve the remainder of Halliday’s council term upon election to mayor.

Salinas is sworn-in Tuesday night at the Hayward
City Hall chambers.

Salinas’s triumphant return follows a failed mayoral run and denial of the appointment given to Marquez. Notably, many of the same people who thwarted his appointment are now his colleagues.

“I’m ready to get back to working for the city of Hayward,” said Salinas. He promised to focus on bringing quality jobs to Hayward along with positioning it as an education hub. “I am relying on our greatest asset in our city and that is our students,” he said.

The council also bid farewell to Greg Jones, who declined to run for re-election after just one term. The former Hayward city manager was honored with a video presentation and later received the perfunctory parting gift for all exiting Hayward councilmembers—the personalized sign designating his City Hall parking place. “This feels like a funeral,” Jones joked. He plans to focus on his real estate business, he said, and continue participating in city issues.

Meanwhile, Hayward voter participation, such a sore spot that a ballot measure was also approved last month to move its mayoral and council elections to November starting in 2018, topped out at 41.3 percent, said Hayward City Clerk Miriam Lens. The figure is much higher than the 2012 presidential primary when a paltry 28 percent of Hayward voters went to the polls. However, Hayward’s voter participation this June was still far below Alameda County’s overall tally, which was 49.3 percent.

Also, Tuesday, the new council voted to name Councilmember Sara Lamnin as its next mayor pro tempore, a ceremonial position similar to vice mayor in other East Bay cities.