Centered between all the bay area cities, Hayward is known as the heart of the bay. With open hearts, we create a unique environment inviting and welcoming all cultures. Hayward sometimes gets overlooked, but we can’t ignore that Hayward is ranked number 3 in most ethno-racially and linguistically diverse city in America and number one in California!
Cultural diversity allows people to express themselves, feel respected and become more engaged knowing that they and their differences are valued. Our cultures provide a variety of perspectives and experience which can help contribute sustainable and efficient results when looking for solutions on any scale. From a series of studies documented by Scientific American, diversity inspires creativity and enhances innovation.
Our cultural diversity is only one measure of success. How else do we measure the success of Hayward? Crime statistics, average median income, and affordable housing play a role in determining a successful city.
According to the City of Hayward´s website, ¨Hayward saw a 10 percent reduction over 2016 in violent crimes, such as homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, while burglary, larceny, vehicle theft, arson and other property-related offenses increased 9 percent.¨ With roughly 300 members in Hayward´s police department and 158,937 population equals a ratio of 1 to 529. In comparison to San Jose with a ratio of 1 to 597 and San Francisco with a ratio of 1 to 311. Safety is always a concern, feeling safe in your own home is a necessity.
According to a study conducted by the office of Kelly McAdoo, City Manager, “57.3 percent Hayward renters experience a housing cost burden, spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.”
Compared to other bay area cities, Hayward has the most legislation protecting tenants; Mobile Home Rent Stabilization, Control Mediation, Rent Review and Rent Stabilization. Alameda, Berkeley, and Oakland only have Rent Stabilization Control. Fremont and Union City only have Mobile Home Rent Stabilization and Control Mediation. Dublin, Newark, and Livermore do not have protections for tenants.
When it comes to the amount of rent-controlled units, Hayward is lacking with only 1,000 units compared to Alameda with 11,870, Berkeley with 27,000, Oakland with 79,000 and San Francisco with 170,000.
Rent controlled units are built before a particular year and provide protection for rent increases to exceed no higher than a certain amount or percentage. In Hayward, the properties must be built before 1988, and annual rent increases cannot exceed 5 percent each year, except up to 10 percent if the rent was not increased the year prior.
Hayward’s plan of action is, “Improving the city’s role in providing resources, information, and establishing mandatory mediation and rent review.” According to a presentation by Christina Morales, Housing Manager, at March 30 city council meeting, “the city is pushing for an affordable housing requirement equaling 30 percent of total units.”
Median household income for 2016 in Hayward is $68,138, and in Alameda County, it is $79,831 according to City Manager Kelly McAdoo. Average rent in Hayward for a one bedroom apartment is $1,946.
How is the city representing all of its diverse citizens? What is the depth of their connection to the city? Do they live in our city? Speak our languages?
“Several city staff members live in Hayward. However, the majority of the employees live in other cities which could create a disconnect between the city itself and the workers who run the city. Sometimes workers who don’t live in the city don’t understand the community and the challenges they face,” said Chabot Professor Eric Heltzel.
In search of this statistical data, I was not able to locate city employee demographics on the city of Hayward’s official website. It does list 793 total municipal employees. However, during my visit to city hall to request the city staff information, I spoke to five personnel, two at security, city clerk, Human Resources Assistant and Human Resources technician. Visually, each employee´s ethnicity was completely different from the last.
With 793 city employees and a population of 158,937 (United States Census Bureau 2016) roughly equaling a ratio of nearly 200 people per 1 city employee, is there enough assistance to go around? Is there enough information and statistics available for citizens to make a complete and honest judgment of its civil servants?
Before we become too critical of our city employees, we are always welcome to voice our opinions, solutions, and concerns at City Council meetings held every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at City Hall.