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May 28, 2008 > Hayward City Council Elections A Hot Topic at Stop Power Plant Rally

Hayward City Council Elections A Hot Topic at Stop Power Plant Rally

By Jennifer Falcon

Chabot College's Students for Social Justice Club hosted a STOP The Power Plants Rally on Tuesday May 20th. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the club served refreshments while many speakers came forward to stand up against the two purposed plants. Former city council candidate of 2000 and local Hayward lawyer Frank Goulart entertained the students with his band "The Fab Five," leading them in Beatles songs. Among the featured speakers were Hayward City Council candidate Rob Simpson and Begona Cirera, a health teacher at Chabot.

City council candidate Anna May was also present to show her opposition to the power plants and for Chabot College merely blocks away from the proposed sites. "The Power Plants are against everything we are going for in Hayward." May said.

Chabot Spanish Teacher Francisco Zermeno was also present showing his support to the students of his school. Zermeno who voted for the land trade with CalPines, allowing the Russell City Energy Center to be built when he served on the Planning Commission in 2005, says he regrets that decision now. "The whole irony of the thing is we'll get the pollution but Atherton gets the power. I dislike the fact that we are not making a real effort on going solar. It would be a tremendous investment. That's what you also need to shoot for not just simply down with the power plant but let's go solar."

Missing were current incumbents Barbara Halliday, Olden Henson and Bill Quirk who all voted yes in 2005 for a land trade with Cal Pines in October of 2005. Just a few months before Cal Pines went into bankruptcy.

Members of Hayward's Citizens Against Pollution or CAPS were present passing out flyers which quantified the amount of pollution that would be generated if the plants are built - 1,634,800 pounds of pollutants yearly.

The President of Hayward's CAPS Audrey Lepell was also in attendance and when asked about the elections she was quick to answer. "As for the current incumbents, with the exception of Barbara Halliday, I think anytime a politician is wrong they need to step up and admit they were wrong. Bill Quirk is a friend of mine and when I asked him if he felt the Plants should be reexamined he declined to even comment on it. I think as a politician you need to take a stance on this type of thing for the people who want to vote for you. You took a stance when you voted for it, why wouldn't you now."

When Quirk was asked if the Power Plants were a priority to Hayward he said the courts would decide. He would later elaborate, "We have made 20,000 phone calls; we have actually talked to maybe 4,000 people and if there were even a half dozen calls about the Power Plant I would be surprised. It is about the appearance of Hayward, its about crime and dangerous driving. The number one priorities we have are the response to the neighborhoods and their concerns."
When asked, Hayward Resident Gloria Lake, replied that she hadn't even known about either plant. She felt out of the loop in Hayward elections because she didn't have the time or resources to really know what was going on in the city she has lived in all her life.

Professor of Anthropology Laurie Price also weighed in on who she was going to vote for. "I stand behind Rob Simpson for City Council, he has been working very very hard to defeat these power plants in many ways. I have an interest in the environment I feel this is a time to change our way about generating energy. Elected officials should always be willing to discuss the reasons as to why they should have our votes."

On July 21st the second proposed Tierra or East Shore Energy Center comes before the East Bay Air Quality Management District. CAPS President Audrey Lepell encouraged the community to go the meeting and take a stand against the Power Plants.

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