Earlier this month, Hayward Councilmember Elisa Marquez and Mark Salinas – two of three incumbents seeking re-election this November – flashed moments of anger and disdain toward their more progressive opponents when challenged about their respective records.
In one exchange, Marquez belittled her opponent’s portrayal of her record on the council as inattentive to the city’s needs. In another outburst, Salinas questioned the entire makeup of the progressive movement and lashed out at an unidentified member of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee, along with unrelated social media comments hostile to his candidacy.
Lacei Amodei and Elisha Crader, the progressive candidates in the race running as a slate, described the record of Marquez, Salinas, and the other incumbent, Councilmember Francisco Zermeno, as ineffective as the housing and homelessness crisis, fostered unaccountability of the local police department. The comments came during an endorsement meeting held by the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee on Sept. 12.
“We had to drag them to pass the most basic of tenant protections,” said Amodei, who has been a strong voice over the past two years advocating for affordable housing and more stringent protections for renters in Hayward. She also charged the council incumbents with approving “mega-mansions” for a parcel of land near Cal State East Bay. “They just got around to a Residential Rent Stabilization Ordinance last year. Some councilmember have been on the council 12 years,” Amodei said, in reference to Zermeno, who was first election in 2008.
Later, when the council incumbents were again slammed, this time, about perceptions they dragged their feet on reforms to the police department amid several fatal shootings by officers in Hayward, Marquez said, “Just because we haven’t made an immediate response, doesn’t mean we’re not working on it.”
Exasperated by the attacks by Amodei and Crader, Marquez, with contempt, told them, “These attacks are not helpful.” Marquez added that she, along with Salinas and Zermeno, are more in tune with the community.
Salinas’ meltdown earlier this month was far more perplexing. He has served 8 of the past 10 years on the Hayward City Council. The missing two years occurring after he did not run for re-election and, instead, ran unsuccessfully for mayor. Salinas won back a seat on the council in 2016.
Although relatively calm for the most part of the endorsement meeting, Salinas reserved his entire brief closing statement to respond to abrasive comments made against him on a private live chat room made up of Democratic central committee members. It is unclear how Salinas had access to the live chat since he is not a member of the central committee.
Salinas was angered by one member who described him as a “nazi”, “macho,” and a “dick” in the chat. Salinas uttered each word to the dismay of some central committee members participating on the video conference.
He later questioned the integrity of the Alameda County Democratic Party for allowing such discourse before taking aim at progressives. “If this is what the new wave looks like,” Salinas said. “I think we can do better.” Once his allotted time had run out, Salinas expanded his rant to nasty discourse against him on social media. The meeting’s moderator then cut him off.
In recent months, as Amodei and Crader have ratcheted up their criticism of Marquez, Salinas, and Zermeno on social media and during council meetings. Each council incumbent has shown an inability to brush away the attacks and, instead, have lashed out. On several occasions, Salinas has directed council comments towards his opponents, Amodei and Crader, along with the housing advocacy group, the Hayward Collective, where each is a member.
The endorsement meeting’s final outcome, however, did not have a material affect on Marquez and Salinas. Marquez retained the endorsement she had conditionally received weeks earlier, and Salinas, despite his participation in the meeting, was never seriously considered for the endorsement. But, Zermeno, who refrained from participating in the political fistacuffs earlier this month, paid a price after his conditional endorsement was lost after a vote by the entire central committee.
The other endorsed Hayward City Council candidate is planning commissioner Angela Andrews. No endorsements were given for the two other open seats on the council this fall.