Hayward: Wahab calls out mayor to place Asian anti-discrimination referral on the agenda

Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab.

A proposed resolution in Hayward to call out documented increases of discrimination against Asian Americans is facing difficulty getting on the city council agenda.

Hayward beatA referral by Hayward Councilmember Aisha Wahab asking the council to discuss the proposed resolution was offered last week to the mayor and city administration for inclusion on the May 19 city council agenda.

Wahab, who is an Afghan-American, and like many of similar ancestry, identifies as Central Asian. “As the only Asian American on Council and out of respect for Hayward’s 27.8 percent population made up by Asian and Pacific Islanders, earlier this week I made a referral to condemn all forms of anti-Asian sentiments, and reaffirm our commitment to prosecute and curb hate acts, and honor Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month for the month of May,” Wahab wrote, in a posting over weekend on various social media platforms.

In the same posting, Wahab called for Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday to place it on a future agenda. “Now, it is the responsibility of the mayor to allow it on the agenda, and the council to vote on it and acknowledge the importance of standing up to injustice and honor a large segment of our community. An injustice to one is an injustice to all,” Wahab wrote.

One of the issues behind the resolution is a recent decision by Halliday to halt the practice of councilmember-generated referrals. The new policy came after the covid-19 pandemic hit the region in full-force in late March, and allows the council to focus solely on the virus. The suspension of the referral policy came just over a year since Wahab led a push to reform how the city council approves items for its agendas.

Wahab, in an interview, said the referral was offered for the May 19 council agenda in a timely manner, typically prior to the end of business on the Thursday before a scheduled Tuesday night meeting.

Wahab’s use of the council referral process in the past year has been used with great effect to shift Hayward’s politics sharply to the left through rent control legislation, police accountability, and help for low-wage workers. Her critics on the council, however, have suggested her repeated use of referrals has added significantly to the city staff’s already heavy workload.

UPDATE: