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May 23, 2006 > Gary Steinberger-Hayward City Council candidate

Gary Steinberger-Hayward City Council candidate

by Steve Warga

Last week we sat down with Gary to talk about his shoestring candidacy for the City Council. Earnest and sincere, he'd like to make a difference for the citizens of his hometown.

TCV: What motivated you to run for City Council?

Steinberger: We're spending too much money and attention to downtown while neglecting our older, established neighborhoods. In the process, we're chasing away old line businesses who have worked long and hard to help Hayward succeed. I will work for the "little guy" whose voice isn't being heard.

TCV: This would be your first public office, have you considered starting with an appointed position, say on the Planning Committee?

Steinberger: I've thought about it, but my activism and my work with other local campaigns in 2002 convinced me that I shouldn't just stand on the sidelines. I want to make a difference and being a Councilmember seems like one of the best ways I could make a difference.

TCV: What issues stand out in your mind as priorities?

Steinberger: We need to think in the long run of two things. One is the idea of a convention center. It has to be close to the freeway, not off on Mission or somewhere that would leave out-of-towners lost and stuck in traffic.

Second, we need to look smartly at constructing buildings that can be adjusted to the demands of the market. For instance, we can't just keep putting up housing because that market isn't always going to be strong. If we think ahead, we can have buildings that can be changed to reflect changes in the market.

TCV: Any other hot button issues?

Steinberger: Affordable housing. We do still need to have housing available that younger people can afford. We built the condos near City Hall that were supposed to be affordable, yet they were listed in the range of $500 to $600 thousand dollars. How does a young couple, just getting started afford that? Let's convert some apartments to condominiums so that a young family can afford to own one and build some equity in it.

TCV: Under-funding in the Police Department is a major concern of your opponents. Where do you stand on this question?

Steinberger: I've been asking myself long and hard why City officials decided to reduce our police staffing. You look at other cities where the police have a strong presence and find that people shop in those cities because they feel safe. More shoppers means more tax revenues. This tells me that a strong law enforcement presence pays for itself and more.

I think canceling D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) was a bad idea. When D.A.R.E. officers interact with kids, they can help turn that child's mind away from the temptations of drugs before they face it.

TCV: Do you have any thoughts about the proposed sale of the City Center Parking Garage?

Steinberger: My first question is why we're doing business with a developer who refuses to even comment to our local papers. Is that the kind of "open" government we want?

In addition, that's a large piece of land to sell for just $1.5 million. I believe the land alone is worth more than that. I think the city can do better and they should be more open with the citizens of Hayward who want to know more of what goes on at City Hall.

TCV: Why do you believe people should vote for you for City Council?

Steinberger: I stand up for others; I fight for others. I stand for equality and fairness and I try to look at things from a long-term perspective. We need more foresight at City Hall.

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