Hayward council lashes out as councilman blames them for ruining downtown

A rift between Hayward Councilmember Mark Salínas and most of the Hayward City Council–long whispered among East Bay political circles–flashed into full relief Tuesday night during a brief, but charged exchange over Salínas’ contention the council has continually hindered development of its moribund downtown.

During a lengthy, although not uncommon for Salínas, and winding comment explaining his decision to oppose the selection of three retail cannabis dispensaries for Downtown Hayward, several members of the council attempted to cut him off. When Salínas protested and demanded more time to finish his comments, Councilmember Al Mendall exclaimed, “You’ve been talking for seven minutes already. How much more time would you like?”

“A few more. Thank you,” Salínas coolly responded

Just prior to the blowup, Councilmembers Francisco Zermeño and Elisa Márquez, who sit farthest from Salínas on the dais, appeared to scoff at Salínas’ assertion that the rest of the council had made decisions that are ruinous to the downtown, especially the freeway-like Hayward Loop, and now approval of three dispensaries in the same neighborhood. Zermeño twice loudly and, somewhat theatrically, cleared his throat during Salinas’ comments.

Salinas Mendall
During happier times. Hayward Councilmembers Mark Salínas and Al Mendall prior to a council meeting in 2013.

Minutes later, Márquez also challenged Salínas, asserting that his claim of consistently voting against cannabis in Hayward is false. Salínas had voted for cannabis testing labs in Hayward and other ancillary cannabis businesses, she told him, while searching on an iPad to find the exact dates of his votes.

The scene Tuesday night assuredly contained election overtones. Salínas is challenging Mayor Barbara Halliday this November. The race is a rematch of their 2014 campaign, along with Zermeno, for what was then an open seat.

On several occasions during Salínas’ speech, Hayward councilmembers appeared uncomfortable with Salínas litany of assertions against them And some peered across the from each other to catch the eye of another.

Hayward Councilmember Elisa Márquez Tuesday night questioning Salínas’ assertion that he his votes have consistently opposed cannabis in Hayward.

Salinas labeled the council as opportunistic in allowing the cannabis industry into Hayward, suggesting their motive was primarily revenue driven. “They are just following the opportunity,” said Salínas. “Cannabis coming to Hayward is falling squarely on the seven of us–or, on the six of them.”

Salínas renewed an argument he has made several times over the years that Hayward is inundated with stores selling cigarettes and alcohol, while lacking establishments, for instance, selling fresh produce. “Cannabis is only adding to the list of all of these stores that simply we don’t need more of,” he said.

Cannabis coming to Hayward is falling squarely on the seven of us–or, on the six of them, said Salínas

His comments though also sounded much like a campaign speech, extolling his work in improving many areas of the city, while laying out his stance against cannabis in the downtown areas.

“I’ve been the only guy up here saying this,” he said, referring to his opposition to dispensaries, “but I guess my voice–as someone who lives downtown–I guess my voice is not loud enough because this is going to be a 6-1 vote tonight.” His prediction was proven accurate.

“Downtown Hayward has been clobbered over the years,” he continued. “We have a freeway in the middle of our downtown.” Cannabis dispensary will also deter families from purchasing or renting new homes and units in the area, he added.

When it came to the Loop, later vilified by Hayward residents and visitors alike, Salínas said the council did not listen to their concerns then, he said. “Seven years later we have cannabis in one neighborhood when it has been struck out from every other neighborhood in this city.”

Among Salínas’ colleagues, it is unlikely he will receive much support for his mayoral campaign. But in recent months, the frostiness exhibited by some of his council mates toward Salínas has grown increasingly noticeable. Seated at the far right of the dais, he often appears visibly isolated from the rest of council. In addition, rarely does the council interact with him during meetings.

And when they do, its is typically reserved for an off-hand comment rebutting his rhetoric. In recent months, both Zermeño and Mendall have forcefully disagreed with Salínas during council meetings. In both cases, Salínas did not respond, but glared at each.

Antipathy toward Salínas has also been evident among elected officials in other East Bay cities, and particularly within the Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee. Salinas is often described as aloof and more pointedly, as “arrogant.” His public opposition to cannabis industry is apparently not a show only for public comsumption. According to two representatives of cannabis operators, Salínas was either rude or openly hostile to them even being in his office to discuss their plans for Hayward.

Democratic Party officials still harbor clear resentment toward Salinas for his strong stance in support of the City Council in 2014 unilaterally imposing a five percent wage cut on nearly 300 public employees represented by SEIU Local 1021. The act not only rendered Salínas persona non grata among labor and Democratic Party circles, but also still affects Councilmembers Marvin Peixoto, Zermeño, Mendall, and Mayor Halliday–the four remaining elected officials who also voted for the controversial wage cut.

12 thoughts on “Hayward council lashes out as councilman blames them for ruining downtown

  1. I agree Mark Salinas is an excellent person to be the Mayor of Hayward. Nicest guy I have everlosharvey63@gmail.com met. I called him about some issues on my block last year. He answered the phone, and a few days later an entire crew was out there working on the issues I spoke to him about. He even followed up with me. His professionalism and heart for Hayward is obvious. My family (big) are all going to vote for him, as well as all my friends. I am not letting this opportunity past us by, and neither should all of you. Lets all go on November 6, 2018 and do the best for Hayward and vote for Mark Salinas for Mayor.


  2. I am not sure where these character assassinations of Mark Salinas are coming from, but they are dead wrong. Mark is one of the nicest persons you will meet. He cares so much about Hayward, that he was willing to be ostracized by other elected officials, to try and preserve the well being of Hayward. He had the courage to say no. He does a lot of good out in the community, and he has both the energy and good heart to be the Mayor of Hayward. Lets bring back hope to the City of Hayward. Vote Mark Salinas November 6, 2018 and lets make Hayward a better and brighter place to work, live or visit.


  3. Zermeno, nor Halliday will ever have the courage to have an independent voice (unrestrained by special interests) as Salinas does. That is why Salinas is a better candidate and council member. To make such a pact would have been politically advantageous to Zermeno but not good for Hayward.


  4. Salinas made his bed. Now he gotta lie in it. He could have made an alliance with Zermeno in 2014 by allowing Zermeno to be the only Latino candidate for Mayor and would have bested Halliday. Zermeno could have agreed to serve only one term and Salinas could have ran now in 2018 with a unified Latino community. Instead he got greedy and pretty much backstabbed his former mentor. Now he is ostracized on council and most elected shun him. He does come off as arrogant which isn’t something that endears him to the community. wish him the best of luck but as stated he made this bed.


  5. Clean Up … There are dispensaries in the unincorporated areas of the County. Two that border the downtown area of Hayward.


  6. A lot of us are in favor of cannabis dispensaries being located in Hayward. Currently we have to go to Oakland or Berkeley to purchase products. I like the locations because they are located in neighborhood.


  7. Deplorable behavior on behalf of the Halliday disciples towards council member Salinas. Instead of actually having independent thoughts and entertaining a variety of perspectives and seeking the most ideal legislation, they practice petty childish antics. Whenever there is a point of view outside the memorized script Hallidays disciples chant, the Mean Girls Crew (Mendall, Zemeno and Marquez) move to interrupt, discredit and ignore in perfect synchronicity, rather than doing what is best for ALL of Hayward. The election is a few months away, but Halliday’s heroes have already received the gameplan and are practicing hard every Tuesday to attack other council members rather than serve their community. Washington has come to Hayward, perhaps soon, the city council will be as disgustingly entertaining as the school board.


  8. So a ton of other Hayward neighborhoods who are more affluent and with larger voting blocks shoot down a cannibis clubs in their neighborhoods and the council abides. However, when it comes to the less affluent sourounding downtown communities (Burbank, A Street) particurlaly communities of color, it’s OK??!! Sad but only a continuing saga of a tone deaf council who wants to chase dollars at the cost of communities of color! If they cannabis club were to set-up shot next to the mayors house, or Elisa Marquez’s house, or Zermeno house would they still vote yes? doubt it! SO there is a voice that is an independent thinker and not a lamb running with the pack under the staff of shepard Halliday and the all White demos, what a calamity! We need MORE independent thinkers and voices making decisions on ISSUES, BLIND NOT PARTY OBEDIENCE! Hayward, are you in love with empty store fronts, and abandoned lots, canabis, higher taxes for younger home buyers, and zombie council members vote Halliday! If you want, something different where more communities are heard, advocated for and the actual future is a priority, VOTE Salinas! That simple.


  9. What’s the matter Salinas, the new Hayward weed business are going to compete with your cartel member buddy’s? …this scumbag is as low as a politician gets.


  10. Councilman Salinas will make the November primary a key event for Hayward. At last there is a real candidate against Mayor Halliday! Whether Salinas can maintain his support the traditional Union Support, Democratic Party, and Anti-Loop remains to be seen. If he manages to get out the vote he could win. Of course that has not happened for a long time in Hayward. We shall see who buys him.


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