|Clockwise from the top: Councilmembers Barbara Halliday, Mark Salinas, Francisco Zermeno and Hayward businessman Rakesh Kumar Christian.|
MAIN BEEF Curiously, the main issue in this race is not between the candidates, but the group of three who voted for a contract imposition against city workers. Although, SEIU Local 1021 failed to find a union-friendly challenger in this race, they effectively shut off any support from others to Halliday, Salinas and Zermeno. Vote “None of the above” has been the mantra for mayor. But, obviously, one of them will become mayor next week. Hayward residents care about four things: attracting new business downtown, the Loop, crime and schools. The last issue has little relation to what a mayor can accomplish. Salinas opposes the Loop, while the others offer tacit support for the unpopular issue. However, an interesting predicament confronts each candidate. If Hayward is in such bad shape, why hasn’t one of the candidates done something tangible to fix it as a sitting council members? As the candidate with the least experience on the council, Salinas has tried to use this logic to make a case for himself, but it remains to be seen how voters will react to a Hobson's Choice of three candidates, all with a hand in furthering an unappealing status quo in Hayward.
QUOTABLE "Let’s face it, we probably never will in our lifetimes be a very wealthy city like, I don’t know, Piedmont, Palo Alto," said Halliday during a forum in April.
BY THE NUMBERS Voter Registration: Democratic 59.0%; No Party Preference 19.2%; Republicans 12.2%.
Campaign Finance, cash on hand through May: Zermeno $21,834; Salinas $17,046; Halliday $12,132; Christian, no report filed.
2010 Mayoral Election: Michael Sweeney 97.3%; Write-In 2.7%.
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH 1. Barbara Halliday 2. Mark Salinas 3. Francisco Zermeno 4. Rakesh Kumar Christian.
AFTERMATH The first order of business for whoever becomes mayor is reconciliation. A near majority of the City Council running hard-fought campaigns certainly fosters animosity. Furthermore, the loss of Mayor Sweeney in this area could be impactful. Sweeney was often the guiding hand for goodwill and unity on this council. That’s gone and the new paradigm in Hayward will be tested early. First, the new mayor desperately needs to mend the situation with its public employees. Second, if either Halliday or Zermeno become mayor, there is the question of who is appointed to fill out the remaining two years of their council term? Could it be Salinas? After all, he decided to not seek re-election to council this year for a run at the mayor’s office. It’s unclear how well such a scenario would go over with the public.