April 10, 2012 | When Ralph Farias, Jr. ran for the city council in 2010 he finished a distant fourth among six candidates with nine percent of the vote. Undaunted, the first-time candidate, a Republican, is back for another try. He has already ruffled the feathers of local Hayward leaders, too. At a forum two weeks ago, he personally called out Mayor Mike Sweeney for the sad state of empty storefronts downtown and mocked his challenger Councilman Francisco Zermeno with the incumbent's signature catchphrase, "Hayward On!"
There is also an undercard to the congressional main event held by the League of Women Voters Tuesday night. The at-large June election holds four spots open on the council. Three incumbents are running along with a former city manager and member of the planning commission. Among the challengers Farias is likely the most outspoken and rambunctious candidate for any office in the entire East Bay.
Although brash and entertaining, Farias has shown discipline in continually hammering away at Hayward's growing economic disparities and lack of new businesses coming to the area. His histrionics, though, are also hard to ignore. Along with a host of conservatives last week urging the planning commission to approve Walmart moving to an empty space on Whipple Road, Farias spoke on the retailer giant's behalf.
"I think this guy watches too much wrestling," a union member there to oppose Walmart turned and said.
You can't fault Farias for his enthusiasm, but nothing personifies his gumption than a campaign flyer he put out recently featuring a large photo of Farias mugging the camera in a pork pie hat along with a shot of himself, hands on his hips, peering steadfast into the future. "You ever seen Citizen Kane?" said Farias. "That's what I'm talking about."