The Hayward school board, and one pesky board member in particular, is adding pressure on the Hayward City Council to become a sanctuary ahead of their June 6 meeting on the subject.
The school board unanimously approved a resolution last week urging all levels of government in the state to become sanctuaries. Earlier this year, the Hayward school board voted to declare its schools “safe havens” for immigrants. In contrast, the city government has not broached the subject despite nearly every neighboring East Bay cities doing so over the past four months.
The board’s resolution, approved on Wednesday, however, includes one line in the resolution subtlety urges the Hayward City Council to become a sanctuary city. “Resolutions passed by school districts are strengthened and most effective in cities that also pass sanctuary city resolutions and that join their school district(s) in taking strong steps to ensure that all families are welcome and safe.”
While the resolution’s language may represent a gentle nudge to city leaders, the Hayward school board member who moved to place the resolution on its agenda was far more blunt in his public comments during the board meeting last week and in an interview.
Hayward school board member Luis Reynoso said Mayor Barbara Halliday and the City Council has been derelict in protecting its large Latino population in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s well-known rhetoric against immigrants during last year’s presidential campaign.
“In my opinion it is pure negligence in leadership,” said Reynoso. “They were voted in to protect the community. We’ve heard all this hate speech and they haven’t done anything.”
He added, “They fail to see the symbolic gesture of protecting undocumented residents and they know that many of the people are undocumented.”
It’s also a “cop out” for the mayor and city council to rely on a citizens’ task force to first tackle the sanctuary city issue, said Reynoso. “They control the agenda, not the staff. The staff isn’t the leader, the council is.”
In the Greater East Bay, Hayward is the only municipality other than Piedmont, not to take a stand on the hot-button sanctuary city issue after Richmond first took the lead back in February.
It’s slow move on the issue is additionally perplexing since Hayward’s Latino population is the largest in the East Bay. Forty percent of the Hayward residents are Latino, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
Reynoso, though, has continually clashed with the Hayward City Council over the years. But the level of vitriol increased last year when six of the seven members of the City Council, including the mayor, advocated and campaigned against Reynoso’s and other school board incumbent’s re-election last year. Nonetheless, Reynoso was re-elected for a third term on the school board.
In addition, during a large event this month organized by the school district to honor Latino students, Reynoso added additional pressure on the Hayward City Council and its three Latino representatives when he called each out for not yet becoming a sanctuary city during a short speech. He then led a chant in favor of sanctuary city.
The incident apparently embarrassed Councilmembers Elisa Marquez, Francisco Zermeno and Mark Salinas, who were in attendance. However, based on public comments, Marquez and Zermeno support Hayward becoming a sanctuary city, while Salinas’ stance is not yet clear.