Push to dismantle Hayward’s school board is about hastening gentrification

For years in Hayward, the school board has been labeled dysfunctional. More precisely, the real criticism is they fight too much. With a little more precision: they fight too much in public. The attack line is as bogus as it was nearly a decade ago. Disagreements among board and council members are actually the norm in the East Bay and everywhere. It doesn’t condone a lack of comity, but the Oakland City Council is routinely roiled in unkind words and backstabbing. Candidates for this Fall’s Berkeley’s mayoral race often reference their city council meetings as the “Tuesday night circus.” Two weeks ago, elected officials in Alameda were seemingly feuding with each other all at once. Keep in mind, all three cities are also home to vibrant communities and a dynamic vision for the future. This doesn’t exist in Hayward.

A plan for the so-called Heart of the Bay has not existed in this decade for sure and began to disintegrate slowly under former Mayor Mike Sweeney. Harmony in Hayward means nothing gets done. The city’s problems have been blamed on the economy. Hayward’s representatives in Sacramento were the culprit too, according to Sweeney and others. Then the schools were the problem. He once estimated the poor quality of schools in Hayward might have cost homeowners about $100,000 in the value of their homes. Good schools, it was said, attract more homebuyers. More homebuyers mean more expensive homes. However, they also bring gentrification and greater difficulty for Hayward large Latino communities to keep pace.

When Hayward elected officials and self-described city leaders are talking about replacing not just the three incumbents on the school board this Nov. 8, but eventually the entire group in another two years, they’re not talking about students, their true aim is to remake Hayward into a bedroom community for the techies soon to be priced out of Oakland in the north and Silicon Valley to the south.

It’s why the group calling themselves CLASS is actually a front for the most powerful, most devious special interest group in the state, the California Apartment Association (CAA). Voters in other Bay Area cities preparing to vote on rent control initiatives next month are well aware of CAA and its various political action committees and local chapters. The landlords’ lobby has poured nearly $1 million into direct-mail pieces in places like Alameda, Richmond.

What kind of branch of the NAACP openly advocates dismantling an elected body comprised entirely of minorities?

One of CAA’s point men in Hayward, Alameda and unincorporated Alameda County is a local real estate entrepreneur named Tom Silva. Though, primarily a San Leandro insider, when it comes to spreading campaign contributions around various candidates, Silva’s name is synonymous with business and real estate interests. Rule of thumb: If you’re a progressive candidate and Silva’s name shows up on a candidate’s campaign finance report, immediately vote for the other person. The Hayward Chamber of Commerce, another red flag for progressives, is also backing CLASS. Together, it appears the backers of CLASS intend to keep the parents of Hayward school children in a constant struggle to pay rising monthly rents at the same time keeping wages extremely low. Keep them down, then move them out of town.

Few did more to create disharmony in Hayward than
former City Manager Fran David, who gave $2,500
to do the same for the school board.

Yet, despite the chamber’s utter incompetence over the years for fostering a credible business environment in Hayward, it nonetheless has been successful in keeping public officials under their thumb. Elections in Hayward over the years constantly lack any sense of sophistication and campaign contributions are scarce. Therefore the chances of candidates becoming beholden to members of the chamber and other business interests are high. There’s a clear nexus between those funding Hayward CLASS and the past campaigns of several city councilmembers. In addition to the chamber’s PAC, real estate and construction interests such as Varni Properties; Felson Companies, Inc.; Paul Martin of Martin Land Company and Associates, R. Zaballos and Sons construction; have spent thousands on Hayward CLASS. And what’s in it for Robert Sakai, a Hayward attorney and landowner who specializes in real estate transactions? Does this aging city leader care about students or his own bottom line?

In addition, former Hayward City Manager Fran David added $2,500 of her own money to Hayward CLASS. David’s participation is yet another red flag for progressives after she twisted the city council’s arms to force upon city workers an illegal wage reduction two years ago. The contribution may be one reason why the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 decided to back the archenemy of Hayward CLASS, school board member Luis Reynoso, even though he used to be a Republican.

This is what makes this Fall’s school board race so important because it’s really a battle of Hayward business interests and its City Council allies enriching themselves at the trough of the school district.
Hayward school board candidate Joe Ramos said it best during a council meeting last month. “Some people see the school district as a pot of gold and they want their piece.” Keep in mind, the school district has a much larger annual budget than the city. And school board member Luis Reynoso is merely a nagging stumbling block for Hayward CLASS.

A Hayward school board press conference to
announce its findings against former
Superintendent Stan Dobbs.

The bold-face lie CLASS leaders now tell is their campaign this year was never about disgraced former Hayward Superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs. Since the attack by Dobbs on two school board members in September 2015, the supe’s days appeared numbered. CLASS ramped up their efforts last Spring to keep Dobbs’ job. The refrain was yet again, this is why Reynoso, leader of the axing of Dobbs, needed to be replaced. Getting rid of Dobbs, Councilmember Francisco Zermeno repeatedly said, will hurt the school children. After Dobbs was fired and a school district investigation found the former superintendent had often flashed a violent temper and allegedly battered a former school district employee who was also his mistress, CLASS leaders pulled back. Councilmember Sara Lamnin said the group’s rationale was never about Dobbs.

But, in fact, this is all about Dobbs. Without him, the purging and resulting plan for the school board brought forth by CLASS is like a detailed game plan moving forward without its star quarterback. Time and again, Hayward business leaders and self-interested school employees lauded Dobbs for his administrative acumen, his marketing wizardry. The Hayward teachers’ union was so impressed by Dobbs that they strongly supported his hiring in 2013 even after a raft of blatantly anti-union comments he made while at the San Diego Unified School District. In short, Dobbs was a hired assassin. The fixer that former Hayward City Manager Jesus Armas was before I ran him out of town. But for the teachers’ union and for construction companies in the area, Dobbs delivered.

It appears the backers of CLASS intend to keep the parents of Hayward school children in a constant struggle to pay rising monthly rents at the same time keeping wages extremely low. Keep them down, then move them out of town.

Over the year, demonstrations at school board and council meetings in favor of Dobbs and general opposition to some school board members have almost entirely featured business, special interests groups, teachers union reps and other school employees with financial skin in the game. For instance, ever wonder why a teacher from Contra Costa County would care so much about Hayward schools and whether Dobbs remained as superintendent? Yet public demonstrations, sometimes coordinated to occur when television cameras were present, seem to involve this outsider.

As for the candidates for three open seats on the school board. Not unlike Hayward elections in general, there are slim pickings. The three candidates recruited by CLASS are unacceptable. In fact, if this was the trio they chose, it makes you wonder what the leftovers looked like. Typically, voters should be wary of candidates who are recruited to run rather than seek the office on their personal desire for the job. On that note, former Chabot College president Robert Carlson already appears disinterested in the job even before the possibility of being elected. He’s looked tired at forums and offered very little other than general platitudes and the tried-and-true “The school board fights too much” schtick. Carlson is also part of the “Hayward Education Industrial Complex” following his ties to Chabot College. His connection to the power structure that has too long sapped Hayward of its promise and given it to favored insiders has to stop. For too long, Hayward insiders have pimped out brown and black students in favor pouring profits to special interests.

Daniel Goldstein, a Hayward planning commissioner, appears well-meaning, but oddly uninformed about how elected government operates, given his experience. Like Carlson, Goldstein questioned the veracity of the school district’s report on Dobbs and praised the character of the man accused of striking his mistress during an intimate moment. Comically, during the same forum Goldstein said one of his strengths is that he literally “reads fast.” If elected, Goldstein is going to take at least one year to get up to speed with the rest of the board. Same with the third CLASS candidate Todd Davis, although, he has shown some promise as a future leader in Hayward. Well-spoken, Davis plays the part of a politician, but like Goldstein, he may need some tutoring, if elected. For instance, Davis believed a previously approved school bond was actually funding from the state. Davis’s connection to CLASS comes from his mother Freddye Davis, head of the local NAACP. In addition, there’s this: What kind of branch of the NAACP openly advocates dismantling an elected body comprised entirely of minorities? The current Hayward school board consists of three African Americans, a Mexican American immigrant, and a Pacific Islander. And the NAACP wants to replace 40 percent of this group with two older white men?

Typically, voters should be wary of candidates who are recruited to run rather than seek the office on their personal desire for the job.

As for the incumbents, school board member John Taylor has given up. He hasn’t even showed up for a meeting in the months after being caught for using school district resources for his city council campaign earlier this year. His contempt for the public is outrageous and his lack of remorse is a strong signal that, if re-elected, he will again use the school district for his own personal gain. Meanwhile, school board member Annette Walker may be one of the most blatantly dishonest elected officials south of Oakland. It’s beyond belief that Walker would tell reporters she was unaware the school board was about to vote on whether to fire Dobbs last month. The issue of Dobbs’ employment had been discussed by the board in closed session earlier that evening and was clearly about to resume following the open session. Yet, Walker tried to play both sides of the issue: placating Dobbs supporters while playing stupid about the decision the board was about to make that night. It’s that type of dishonesty that has been a hallmark of Walker and a scenario often privately described by her fellow board members. As far as the other candidates, they’re mere sideshows that have done a good job of shedding light on some of Hayward’s inherent sins. But then there’s school board member Luis Reynoso.

Sure, he’s combative and uncompromising at times; however, never has an opponent been able to attach some type of immorality to him. His methods for changing the culture of politics in Hayward could be more refined, but the supposed chaos he brings is merely the childish push back of a political system finally being held accountable for decades of corruption. Reynoso’s rhetoric risks the bottom line of Hayward’s business interests and their ability to suck money out of the school district and city. Why wouldn’t they want him out? But Reynoso also represents something very important and constantly overlooked in Hayward, Latinos in Hayward and their seemingly voiceless 40 percent of the city’s population. No other Latino elected official in Hayward speaks to this community. Losing Reynoso will be the first domino to drop leading to the type of housing unaffordability and gentrification issues seen all over the East Bay.

But in the end Reynoso might have the last laugh. After all the money and energy spent on defeating him, the outcome of the election may just come down to two seemingly innocuous elements: ballot placement and surname. Reynoso is placed among the top three choices on the ballot for the same number of open seats. He also has a Latino last name. As an indication that Hayward’s Latino communities are waking up ever so slightly from years of voter apathy, just look at the most recent Hayward City Council race last June. The top three vote-getters were Zermeno, Salinas and Marquez—all Mexican Americans.

Categories: California Apartment Association, Hayward, Hayward City Council, hayward school board, latinos, Luis Reynoso, Michael Sweeney, real estate, Robert Sakai, Stan Dobbs, Tom Silva

73 replies

  1. Good article. Welcome to high rents and low wages if council gets there way with the school board.


  2. Hey 11:16! Why don't you ask why teachers don't have health insurance? Because they choose not to. They are so powerful they can twist the arm of anyone at the DO. Teachers can easily afford insurance, admins too. It is the rest of their employees that can't afford it. The Great HEA keeps it that way because they choose to, the rest just follow, like puppets. Bunch of baloney!


  3. @10:20
    you are so right!!
    So if any teacher complaints about it,they should do it the their union !! not the board,HEA presindent,Mercedes make this deal whit the board, so go and complaint to her in sted of blaming the board members


  4. Was Mellissa Sigars sleeping with Dobbs? Is she into S&M? He didn’t hit her hard enough. Why is she going out of her way to support a corrupt, violent and potty mouth person? She acts like she is a union leader, on a quest, with the illiterate College Bound group, in the name of saving Dobbs’ butt. Let’s check her emails and the College Bound vender’s, on conspiring to discredit the investigation. They all have a copy of it. If not, it is on EBCitizen.com for the rest of HUSD. Why would anyone want that Ebonic bully back? That principal, the Reverend, and that College Bound group are the shame of Hayward. They need to go to church in another town to learn morals and ethics, which they are lacking.
    “In addition, Dobbs is asking for a non-disparagement clause to be applied to all members of the school board who might publicly criticize his tenure as Hayward superintendent of schools. Dobbs also wants to be indemnified against any legal claims against him while serving as superintendent.” Hayward superintendent Dobbs offered school district terms for his resignation
    Dobbs knew he was doing things wrong, or he wouldn’t have suggested this. Why support a crook? Fire the College Bound vendor. Contact the IRS on the political reverend because of her church involved in politics. Find Mellissa a better lover so she will forget Dobbs and his lawn furniture apartment. Hayward residents help clean up Hayward, by restraining these Dobb supporting fools. Thank God Dobbs is gone!


  5. Carlston, Davis and Goldstein have never been at a school board meeting in the last year, since the council has gotten involved and got corporations to donated and control the trio.” If they can do it better”, why haven’t they spoken at the Board meetings? They don’t have concern for the students or community. Dr. Carlston shed doubt on the Dobbs investigation, during the debts. Goldstein said, “ He admired Dobbs.” Do these three support corruption and cheating on their spouse? Will they lie as much as Dobbs, Taylor, and Walker, on public record? How can they fix the students’ learning ability and teach the parents English? You have seen what the planning commission has done to Hayward. Do you like the loop and down town Hayward? Will Goldstein bring that poor planning to the measure L projects?
    Fran Davis bankrupted the city and she was the highest paid government worker in Hayward. When measure D went through, to tax us all for another twenty years, it gave her money to retire and help fix the debt she caused the city. From retirement Davis donated a little under three thousand, to her comrades. She is still controlling Hayward and she doesn’t work here anymore. Fran doesn’t live in the city she bankrupted poorly served. I wouldn’t vote for anyone Davis supports.


  6. John Taylor is conducting Bible studies at the board meetings. That has to stop. He told of the two moms, a king, and fighting over a baby at the last meeting; a Bible story. He never apologized for using the school print shop and forging Dobb’s name as his Treasurer for his city council race. Should we believe Dobbs or Taylor about this? Taylor lied to the cops about Dobbs chest bumping Reynoso and McGee. Taylor thinks praising God and “It’s for the children” will get him votes. He doesn’t have my vote. Taylor doesn’t know you separate church from state. He needs to be censored and removed from the School Board, now. He needs a new church that teaches, “Thou shall NOT lie!”


  7. Wow, “he didn't hit her hard enough?” Really? Is there a moderator here? 1:29 should be banned. Also, 1:29 how about you get a JOB instead of trolling at 1:29 on a Friday? And if you have a job, how about you do it instead of spewing venom anonymously online, you misogynistic coward?


  8. @1:26, you sound like Trump, trying to twist things so as not to address the real issues. Nobody is complaining to the board about not getting health insurance. We understand that our union negotiated that. We understand where to address our complaints about that if we have them. What people are saying, if you are READING, is that certain board members, including St. Reynoso (the patron saint of obstruction), received health insurance at no cost to them, which violated THEIR OWN BYLAWS. How can I make this any clearer for you? If their bylaws had allowed them to have the benefits, this would not be a discussion. Whether or not they deserve the benefits is also not the discussion. The point, which is NOT ARGUABLE, is that were NOT entitled to them and so, $75K later, (Reynoso) stopped taking them. If you still do not understand, you need to visit the Friends of the Library for one of those learn-to-read tutors.


  9. @ 7:40 AM
    Prove what your sayig!!you are just assuming this, which bythe way make an ass of your self!!


  10. @7:40 am
    Ok Melissa Siggars, you are not even teaching in HUSD!! So everythig your saying is just BS!!You are probably getting you data from your idol, datta corrupt dobbs so don't throw this crap without proof!!!


  11. The Religious Leaders of Hayward should be busy saving souls in Hayward. Not meddling in politics. Unfortunately Hayward politicians are souless so the bible thumpers have jumped on the CLASS ASS bandwagon. There has never been a stranger band of misifits who have comprised a phonier PAC than this one! Luring people to their candidates forum with “free food” At Eden Church. Don't drink the Kool-Aid people.


  12. Look you all I know who Melissa Sigars is and she is like that one person describes her at another postings. She is one ugly fat crazy nut of a hairy principal at WCCSD at Sheldon Elementary. At the school she is always making wild accusations against the teachers parents and students. She should not be spreading lies and accusations here either. I don't think people in her school know what she is doing in Hayward.


  13. @5:09PM – You don't even KNOW me, you moron. How the hell do you know what I've been complaining about? I starting to feel sorry about you????? OK, now I know what I'm dealing with here.


  14. City council doesn't want the poor folks of Hayward using the beautiful new library when it finally gets completed. Its okay for them to get taxed and pay for it though. Bring back Dobbs, shuffle the poor out of Hayward and grab folks with the tech dollars so they can snag all the new housing projects being built in Hayward.Show city council that the only trash that will be taken out of Hayward is their Trash CLASS Pac Moe Goldstein, Curley Davis and Larry Carlson.


  15. I hope whoever gets voted in on the school board unifies this district. Why would anyone want to run for the school board, when the adults in this city are so nasty and the children are not learning enough to start community college? Teachers are not based on merit or whether they can teach or NOT. Anyone who steps up to the plate to take on this challenge is a real hero.
    Corporate/union money with obligations should not be the mitigating factors for choosing candidate puppet rubber stampers. If the Class three are so great, why didn’t they go to the board meetings and speak through the last year. Why haven’t they offered any suggestions, on public record, if they can do it better? Since Dobbs has been booted out, Taylor and Walker exposed as corrupt fools, the Board gets along. What is the vision of the phony class threesome? They haven’t said how they are going to fix things so how could anyone vote for them?
    This city is almost bankrupt. Does the council want their candidate picks to be like them? Will they bankrupt the school district further with over spend?
    I want to see the budget maintained, stop over spending, save for the unfunded pensions, and get rid of the College Bound group. Use the College Bound money for the teacher’s pensions. Aren’t all the children college bound? What makes those few children worthy of the outrageous amount of money, the district gave them, to protest the investigation findings and chant Fire the Board at the news cameras, when Dobbs was fired?
    The school board needs to pick city council candidates for the next election. Do not re-elect the mayor and the council. Don’t go to church in Hayward. Other cities have finer churches with better morals and value; who actually follow the law of not getting involved in politics.


  16. Right on @ 10:08 pm. The school board needs to interfere with the city council elections. Maybe even run for council. Vote out Halliday when her term is up. She plays at being mayor. By the way, what's going on with the Police Chief? Is the city waiting until after the election to air their own dirty laundry? Two more murders in Hayward this weekend. Not good for residents and future tech residents who are priced out of Oakland, Silicon Valley and Fremont. Make our neighborhoods safe first, city council.


  17. People are being murdered in Hayward. Lamnin says “we are safe.” She and city council are safe. The rest of us are not safe. Council is more interested in getting the TRASH Pac elected. Hey city council, hayward residents have to be alive to vote for your Pac of Trash candidates. Take care of business and run the city, not your mouths.


  18. It’s official. Stan Dobbs is suing Hayward school district for 10 million dollars. This is going to cost a lot of money, to fight this egoistical nut job. The teachers got the students to say, “Mr. Dobbs did so much for us.” Now they will be saying, “Mr. Dobbs took so much from us.” If the city council’s Trash Pac get voted in and they support Dobbs, will they give him millions? Will Walker and Taylor still lie for Dobbs when they go to court? Will we get to find out what doctor and what drug Dobbs was on when he chest bump Reynoso and McGee? Will Dobbs doctor sue Dobbs for slander? Stay tune for the next addition to the Trash Pac saga in Hayward.


  19. Dobbs can join the throngs of people suing Hayward. The city has citizens, businesses, families of victims, and city worker lawsuits to deal with. Don't know how quick HUSD is to settle their lawsuits, but Dobbs has Swalwell, Zermeno, Lamnin, Marquez, Mendall, Halliday, Sweeney and Salinas praising him for his lies and lack of ethics. Dobbs has a good chance of winning his lawsuit thanks to his city hall fan club and our clueless politicians. Ridiculous in Hayward. The joke of the bay.


  20. I'm so glad that voters in hayward did they work in research the running candidates for school board.And the results? everybody knows !!!
    TRASH CLASS AND CITY COUNCIL know by now that no money can buy elections !! at least not in hayward..


  21. City council got pissy with the PAC that wanted to unseat a few of the incumbents running for re-election a few years ago. So they tried to use the same tack to unseat the school board incumbents. Out of council's 3 puppets only one was elected. Kind of what happened with the PAC who tried to oust city counil. No lesson learned. Do you really want these people running our city or running school board campaigns for their puppets.


  22. Do not vote for the cucumbers. Do not vote for the cucumbers… that is what Reynoso has been joking about the Trash PAC campaign literature ( do not vote for the incumbents). Reynoso can be a funny too. Congrats Dr. Reynoso and thank you for your titanium balls in all of your board meetings. I really really enjoy you letting people have it when they do not do their job or try to cheat the district. You kick ass!!


  23. Excellent article. You could rehash this article for this year’s election.


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