Hayward has a history slyly tamping down public dissent. Former Hayward City Manager Fran David once sent a letter to a resident who frequently questioned the city’s use of no-bid contracts during the public comment portion of Hayward City Council meetings. David accused him of impugning her character with his statements. Councilmember Al Mendall and others routinely sought to embarrass the same resident in public.

A union representative for the Hayward Fire Department last year also publicly rebuked the same resident after he constantly questioned why Hayward’s fire chief got off lightly for drinking on the job.

Then, during a contentious dispute between the city and its city employees three years ago, Hayward’s then-police chief was alleged to have personally videotaped the union’s picket line outside City Hall and a state report found Hayward department heads threatened union workers.

Last year, Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday booted a Hayward school board member from a council meeting after he alleged she was violating the Brown Act by responding to public commenters. Halliday exclaimed, “I am the mayor! I am in charge of this city council and I am always allowed to talk.”

But Hayward’s culture of suppressing opposition is not always so easy to spot. For example, take last Tuesday night’s meeting. The council chambers was packed with students on hand to be recognized for the city’s annual Earth Day poster contest.

When the ceremonial item concluded, Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday moved to the next item which was public comment. Halliday proceeded to call the first speaker, a Hayward teacher named Irazema Guerrero, who would later speak passionately about her students sending fearful letters to President Trump. Guerrero and her story was not new to the city.

Last month, during a meeting of the Hayward Community Task Force, she spoke of the letters to Trump while urging the city to become a sanctuary city. Both Halliday and City Manager Kelly McAdoo presided over the meeting.

But watch the video above and notice McAdoo streak across the dais at the moment she sees Guererro walks to the lectern. McAdoo apparently instructs Halliday to tell the audience about a reception for the youth and their parents in the rotunda downstairs.

After a minute while the room cleared, Guerrero said, “It would have been nice if the kiddos stayed,” to which Halliday nervously giggles.

Guerrero then read some of the letters from her third-graders, one which expressed fear that their parents would be deported. Halliday response to Guerrero’s students was “Unfortunately, though, I can’t tell you to tell them they’re safe.”

The next day, Wednesday, Guerrero issued the same public statement during the Hayward Community Task Force meeting.