ELECTION '12//HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL
May 10, 2012 | Hayward voters were hit last week with two high profile mailers slamming city council candidate Al Mendall and his decision last month as planning commissioner to block Walmart from opening shop in the city.
One full-page, glossy mailer blared in all caps, “Al Mendall didn’t listen to Hayward’s seniors and mobile home residents.” Amid photo copies of letters from Hayward residents supporting the proposed Walmart Market & Pharmacy on Whipple Road, the mailer asserts Mendall voted against, “lower prices for food, prescriptions, pet food and household products.” It also contends his vote stifled “new jobs in Hayward.” Last part gives a clue to the makers of the political messages.
The mailers were paid for by a political action committee calling themselves, “Good Government Now!” The group is also known as the Hayward Chamber of Commerce. Over the past two years, the PAC has received fundraising from Felson Enterprises, ($5,000); Balch Enterprises, ($2,500); Martin Land Co., ($1,500) and former Alameda County sheriff Charlie Plummer, ($1,600). Earlier this year, Plummer unsuccessfully lobbied the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to approve a permit for a gun and ammo shop on Lewelling Boulevard in nearby San Lorenzo.
Good Government Now! also received $1,500 from Calpine, the corporation constructing the controversial natural gas-fired power plant on the Hayward Shoreline near Chabot College.
A second more sedate piece from the same group advocates for four city council candidates, Mendall is not one of them, and urges for passage of Measure G, the school district’s parcel tax.
Mendall and three other commissioners voted down the proposal in April to replace the vacant Circuit City builing on Whipple with a smaller scale Walmart, which would only cater to grocery shoppers. A larger Walmart rests only a mile away in Union City.
Three incumbents and six challengers are vying for four at-large seats on the City Council this June 5. Mendall was seen as a front runner to snag the last remaining non-incumbent seat left open by Councilman Bill Quirk’s run for the assembly. However, despite the backing of the entire current council, the late candidacy of former Hayward city manager Greg Jones, may make it difficult for Mendall to sneak into the top four.