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February 7, 2012 > Letter to the Editor: Council Priorities

Letter to the Editor: Council Priorities

Hayward City Council has been reviewing their priorities for 2012. I applaud members' continuing efforts to ensure the focus remains on the right things, a process I began in late 2007 when I arrived at the City. We built a strong, clear framework for how the City's resources are allocated to service delivery.

Unfortunately, two things (among others) have occurred to weaken and cloud that framework, established almost five years ago.

First, the two overriding priorities of Public Safety and Cleaning-Up Hayward have been diluted by the addition of a third overriding priority of "greening" Hayward. This has distracted the organization from the core services that must first be delivered before all others. Conservation efforts have always been emphasized at the City through a number of actions and policies but serve to support the other two priorities. Each of us has a personal responsibility to assist in meeting environmental challenges, to be sure; local policies enhancing that ability should be carefully considered. I want my elected Council to stay focused on the most concerning and immediate of issues: Safety and Cleanliness!

Second, the Gang Injunction Program, a priority articulated when I arrived, has languished for the past four years and lost Council support. Interestingly, members of Council now seeking re-election shrank from their commitment to continue to strengthen our public safety efforts. Olden Henson is the lone supporter of the Gang Injunction Program running for re-election. Mayor Sweeney and Councilman Marvin Peixoto also support forging ahead with the effort. The others' support for this important policy decision is eerily silent. A number of very effective initiatives have been implemented but the Gang Injunction Program is a crucial element of a comprehensive strategy for curbing crime.

The community supported the Measure A Utility User's Tax to maintain public safety and to clean-up Hayward. We need a Council that will stay true to that commitment. We certainly have NOT reached our goal of a "safer" Hayward nor have we "cleaned-up" Hayward to the point from which we can move on to other issues that could be considered as important.

Let your City Council know you want them to stay the course. Let's get Hayward safe and clean before we start distracting ourselves with other less specific and measurable endeavors.

Greg Jones
Former City Manager, City of Hayward
City of Hayward Resident

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