Click here for a complete list of our election recommendations.
Hayward’s municipal government made it through the pandemic with a combination of worker concessions, federal bailout money and tapping reserves that city officials had wisely maintained in the years before.
But the city isn’t out of the woods. Not by a long shot.
The city doesn’t enjoy the strong tax base of, say, nearby Fremont. As the pandemic-relief money runs out, Hayward will be left spending more money than it’s taking in and draining the majority of its reserves over the next five years.
Meanwhile, the city continues to suffer from a shortfall of more than $500 million in its worker pension and retiree health plans — a staggering debt equal to more than five years of employee salaries. It’s like a monstrous credit card bill for taxpayers with payments that significantly erode the ability to spend money on needed public services.
It’s against that backdrop that two of the seven Hayward City Council members will be replaced in the Nov. 8 election and a third seat will be filled in the months that follow.
For the upcoming balloting, voters should elect Planning Commissioners Dan Goldstein and Julie Roche, the only choices in the eight-candidate field who bring city government experience and an understanding of Hayward’s financial challenges.
Hayward has an elected mayor and six council members selected citywide. Goldstein and Roche are running for the seats being vacated by Aisha Wahab, who is vying for state Senate, and Sara Lamnin, who will move over to the separately elected Hayward Area Recreation and Park District.
A third council seat will come open after the election when incumbent Councilman Mark Salinas becomes the next mayor, a post for which he is running unopposed. It will be up to the new council to decide whether to fill that vacancy or call a special election to let voters decide.
Goldstein is a cyber security expert who has worked in the tech industry for more than 30 years. He has served on the Planning Commission since 2015 and previously served on the city’s General Plan Task Force. Roche is an attorney who practices family law. She has been a planning commissioner since 2019.
Goldstein and Roche both recognize the tough fiscal decisions that lie ahead in the next few years and that they are likely to have to make choices between cutting jobs or cutting salaries. Neither wants to lose more workers, nor do they want to harm morale of those who have already sacrificed during the pandemic.
Goldstein called it “one of the toughest decisions we’re going to face on council.” Roche says she has talked to current council members about the challenges they’ve faced when confronted with the same tradeoffs. The good news is that they both seem up to the task and appreciate the careful balancing that will be required.
One of the other six candidates, Sunita Rupan, a small-business owner, did not respond to multiple attempts to reach her. The other candidates include Sherman Lewis, who served on the BART board from 1992-96 and is a retired Cal State East Bay professor, and Tom Ferreira, an emergency room technician who ran unsuccessfully for the City Council in 2018 and 2020. Neither made a compelling case for their candidacies.
The other three candidates are George Syrop, a member of the city’s Community Services Commission, a product designer and an advocate of publicly run banks; Amal Issa, who works for a foundation that helps community colleges and students to improve educational outcomes; and Michael Lema, an electrician and formerly an equipment technician for the U.S. Marines who, of the trio, was the most thoughtful about and prepared on city issues. All three need more solid foundations in city government but could be key leaders in Hayward’s future.
In the meantime, the current council must get a grip on city finances so it doesn’t tie the hands of the next generation of leaders with even more debt.
Denial of responsibility! insideheadline is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.