Hayward City Hall is in many ways a chamber
of secrets masking serious dysfunction.
Hayward’s inability to deal with its dirty laundry was also present earlier that same year when two members of the school board were participating in their own extramarital affair. The same dynamic existed. Like Jones and May, the dalliances between Jesus Armas, also a former Hayward city manager, and Maribel Heredia was not about love or morality, but a lack of government transparency. In this case, it was worse since Heredia was quoted in a deposition saying she relied on another school board member to explain agenda items to her and presumably direct her on how to vote. Later, there were indications votes were reversed to rehire a recently fired principal.
What was Greg Jones'es eventual reward for his affair?
He later became a Hayward councilmember.
So, there’s nothing particularly unique to Hayward City Hall’s decision to withhold the reasons behind Police Chief Diane Stuart’s sudden placement on administrative leave on Monday. It’s a city that consistently and quietly attempts to hide its dirty laundry and, worse, never attempts to remedy the underlining problem.
The public and media looked away from this sex scandal.
Yet, neither ran for certain re-election a few months later.
The Hayward Unified School District, long one of the most underperforming in the East Bay, is similar in its inability to right its own ship. When Hayward Superintendent Stan “Data” Dobbs launched into an angry, verbal attack on two board members in closed session last year leading to each filing police reports, special interests in Hayward, did not distance themselves from Dobbs, but inexplicably taunted the two school board members during one meeting last fall. Somehow, said many public speakers that night, the board members deserved the verbal assault, especially school board member Luis Reynoso, who is the only Hayward public official who has for years railed against the city's inherent corruption. He was right about Armas. He was right about Dobbs. Unsurprisingly, Hayward's business community, teachers' union and even City Council members are frantically attempting to unseat him this November. Curiously, mobilizing against Reynoso is the only time City Hall and other leaders have taken the time to act on an issue.
The new council was in a self-congratulatory mood
in July after three incumbents were re-elected.
However, if you merely watched the Hayward City Council’s inauguration of new and re-elected members in July, you would have been easily persuaded into thinking none of these serious and repeatedly ignored issues ever existed. Councilmember Al Mendall, who won re-election in June, crowed, “This election is an affirmation of the direction the city is moving in.” Councilmember Elisa Marquez, a Hayward native, added without irony, “I’m a product of this environment."
In the meantime, Hayward's future appears aimless while its neighbors retool from an industrial base of yesteryear and more broadly embrace 21st Century manufacturing. Its schools struggle mightily. Voter apathy continues to rise and the marketplace of ideas, like its downtown storefronts, are bare.