Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hayward continues slow track toward easing growing housing crisis

Hayward Councilmember Elisa
Marquez pushed for a moratorium
on rents Tuesday, but gained only
tepid support from her colleagues.
The Hayward City Council gave direction to staff Tuesday night to study a menu of new protections for the city's renters, including non-binding mediation to resolve rent increases and possibly a moratorium, also on rent hikes. It was the third such council discussion since late January without any concrete movement toward a short-term plan for struggling renters.

But as increased pressure by local grassroots organization and a growing perception among some Hayward residents that rental prices are rising, the outreach appears to be moving the council, if ever so slightly. Tuesday night's direction to city staff may return a set of proposed policies and additional information, particularly on various moratoriums sometime in May, said Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo.

However, time is of the essence, said a number of Hayward residents Tuesday night. Some detailing fears of displacement from the city and others critical of the council's perceived intransigence over their plight.

A trio of prescriptions for limiting the hurt on the city's renters has been offered since the beginning of the year by a grassroots group calling itself the Hayward Collective. They have consistently asked the council to enact changes to the existing rent stabilization ordinance to allow for vacancy decontrol; a moratorium on rent increases; and just cause eviction protections.

An additional issue, allowing for mediation to resolve rent dispute, albeit non-binding, appeared to have support from a majority of the council Tuesday. Assistance in the form of just cause and a moratorium was less clear.

Hayward Councilmember Elisa Marquez voiced exasperation with the slow speed of movement over the issues. Twice she made passionately pleas to her councilmates to support a moratorium and place a "pause" on rent hikes, she said. "The only way we're going to stop these issues is to do it immediately."

In response to an often repeated notion that a "few bad apples" exist among landlords, Marquez said the line is false and far more pervasive in Hayward than is being acknowledged.

Councilemember Mark Salinas also suggested support for a moratorium. "I want to make sure there is a pause... and give it a year and work with landlords to come to a clear policy on what we're going to do because I think what is going on right now is not good," he said.

The stance is somewhat out of character for Salinas, who has fashioned himself as one of the more moderate members of the council. Salinas is also a declared candidate for mayor this November. In a bit of passive aggressive jousting, Councilmember Al Mendall, during the meeting, called Salinas' comments "political grandstanding."

For Mendall, the root problem of Hayward's housing woes is the lack of supply over excessive demand in the Bay Area over the past few decades. "The long-term fix is building more housing, period," said Mendall. "Everything else that we're talking about is, for me, what I term as a short-term Band-Aid, but many will make them worse in the long-term." Instead, said Mendall, some of the proposals Tuesday night will lower incentives for developers seeking to build new housing in Hayward.

Councilmember Marvin Peixoto echoed the sentiment. Specifically, he predicted if a moratorium is approved by the council, a series of extension would ultimately become "de facto rent control" in Hayward. However, Peixoto is also willing to listen, he added, "Most of what I see on the table tonight are Band-Aid approaches, but if there is any way to stop the bleeding I'm willing to do it," said Peixoto.


  1. So you have Hayward residents about to get thrown out into the street hoping the City Council will save them now. The City Council does nothing NOW. They don't agree on anything either. And, they have no idea what happens when a renter complains. Don't rent in Hayward unless your room at home is still open.

  2. By MW:

    In regard to the next to last paragraph, specifically Al Mendall's position that even if some of the ideas under consideration did manage to improve things, or at least temporarily, still they would make things worse in the long run, I thought that was a major function of government, in other words kicking the can down the road and letting someone else, and in the future, worry about it.

    In fact speaking of future "bombs" that will eventually blow up, and due to the tendency of politicians to: one, come up with short term "solutions;" and two, kick the can down the road, eventually the cities, counties, and states will be hit with the bills for burgeoning pension costs that will be so huge, that it will make everything else seem to minor to even be concerned about.

    In fact since the only way government will be able to pay the bills of those exploding pension costs will be by devaluing the dollar and printing more money, starting right now I am not going to invest in auto industry stocks, or iron, steel, energy, or pharmaceuticals, but instead in manufacturers of ink, printing presses, and paper.

  3. The best thing that can happen to Hayward is for Hayward to begin to understand that the limited number of homes available need to go to those that can afford them. Renters who cannot afford the rents need to go somewhere else so that those of us who live in Hayward can enjoy it instead of having to be surrounded by illegals and criminals and other folks who really belong in Redwood East Palo Alto, Union City or other places for those people.

  4. City council and the mayor felt sorry for the city manager because she could not afford to buy a home in Hayward. They quickly approved a loan for her to buy a home in Hayward. The city manager earns 5 times what the average resident earns. Your city council doesn't care, period! Foot dragging for the people, chop chop for their own kind! Poor people pay taxes too.

  5. Someone who actually want to live in Hayward!

  6. Maybe it beats commuting from Walnut Creek or the Valley. Spending hours behind the wheel, when you can drive home in 15 minutes, tops! Brand new housing development of million dollar homes in the Hayward Hills. Bet she still gets a city vehicle and free gas too. Must be nice getting perks, bells, whistles and an icecream Sunday too. Charter school for the kid. Skip the Made in Hayward education, shop in Castro Valley and it won't be half bad.