By Steven Tavares
|Hayward's first couple, former city|
leaders Anna May and Greg Jones
According to May’s Facebook page, the first couple of Hayward is doing extremely well navigating their status as newlyweds, but Jones has made his thoughts public on a range of issues recently as evidenced by a spate of letters to the city council. Jones is also president of the Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association, but the tone of his correspondence definitely trades on his previous job and almost comes across as stern and obviously informed, if not pushy.
In the past six weeks, Jones has submitted letters to the council regarding the Mission Boulevard Specific Plan, the Historical Preservation Program and recent update on the gang injunctions. Jones has interest in the pending preservation program as a real estate agent along with May, who is also one. The issue of gang injunctions was also pushed under Jones’s tenure at City Hall, which along with snuffing out medical marijuana dspensaries in the city, tended to favor law and order.
The recent activity begs the questions of whether Jones is missing his involvement in city politics. His popularity has not waned among city officials, many of whom told The Citizen last year, they would miss Jones’s expertise and appeared to genuinely enjoy his presence. Conversely, many of the same people questioned, in their opinion, why he would drop a nascent career and $200,000 salary in local politics for the vivacious and notoriously relationship-mobile May. At this time last year, he also mulled a possible run with May for the the city’s chronically inept school board, which to this day, remains a candidate for state receivership. In the end, as they say, love conquers all.
TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG If elected, San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy said he would create a personal blog to better communicate with San Leandro residents. That hasn’t happened yet, but he could take some cues from nearby Hayward with apprehension because sometimes too much information can make life harder for politicians.
The City Manager of Hayward, Fran David, has such a blog featured on the city’s web site. While infrequently updated, David’s insights and prose give a keen snapshot of her political beliefs and point to a differing point-of-view from some of the city’s councilmembers. Many of her postings show a public official in touch with her best interests at the local level, but decidedly conservative in her pro-business leanings.
In one essays titled, “Run Government Like a Business” David attempts to lay out the similarities and differences between running a city and running a business. Although she acquiesces on whether one is better than the other in the conclusion, it's clear she favors board room-style government.
Such rhetoric is well within the realm of conservative talk. David’s article posted in October before last year’s general election was likely inspired by GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who campaigned on her perceived business acumen translating well to curing California of its fiscal woes. Liberal loathe the comparison on the basis that business is meant to enrich itself with decisions also made to satisfy the bottom line of its shareholders and not the population as a whole. Earlier this week, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews noted most businesspeople make awful politicians. President George W. Bush was a failed oilman, for instance.
The point here is that while using social media, primarily blogging, is a wonderful way to communicate with your constituents (it should not become a medium to bypass journalists), but it puts some like David in a position to answers to their beliefs many times when it falls outside the realm of any specific city issue. Local politics is often not about ideology, but about more pragmatic issues like health, safety and jobs. Throw in red and blue state discourse and you’re talking about creating headaches for yourself.