Mark Salinas is running for Mayor of Hayward against current Mayor Barbara Halliday. Salinas has been on the Hayward Council since 2010 and is a professor at Chabot. He teaches Ethnic Studies, History, and Sociology at Chabot College and on occasion, lecturers in the Ethnic Studies Department at California State University, East Bay (CSUEB).
“He works daily to make the Hayward community a better place to live and provide dignity to the everyday resident of Hayward.” Says Frank Garcia, recently retired Executive Director of the Puente Project.
You may have seen his signs across town. I went to those houses and establishments that support Mr. Salinas to ask, “How do you know Mark Salinas and why do you support him?”
At a local gas station where one of his signs rests, the operator said, “I don’t know him directly, but he and my manager go way back, back when they went to college together.” I am unsure if he was referencing Chabot College or San Francisco State. Salina’s proudly declares his educational background as it is primarily from Hayward; “I was born at St. Rose Hospital and I grew up in South Hayward in the Schafer Park Neighborhood. I attended Eldridge Elementary School, St. Bede Catholic School, 3 R’s School, and I graduated from Hayward High School. I transferred from Chabot College to San Francisco State University where I earned a bachelor’s degree in La Raza Studies and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration and Public Policy Studies.”
At a house on Gading Road I knocked on the door and asked why they endorse Salinas, “I don’t really know him, but he does a lot for students, especially helping with lunches and breakfast.” They were referring to the breakfast program in which Mark Salinas serves as the executive director.. According to the website, “The Kids’ Breakfast Club is a nutrition and education program, with the mission to improve the quality of life for kids and families in Hayward and the Hayward Area. For 26 years, The Kids’ Breakfast Club has delivered high-quality nutrition and education activities to kids and their families when school isn’t in session.” As a 100 percent program, The Kids’ Breakfast Club has been selected as the 2018 California Nonprofit of the Year by California State Assembly member Bill Quirk.
Upon accepting a time and location to interview Mr. Salinas, I was invited to attend The Kids’ Breakfast Club.
I arrived at Burbank Elementary School, near A Street and saw tables with children and parents eating, student volunteers and Mark Salinas in an apron ready for service.
We touched on several topics such as food deserts, gentrification and the future of Hayward. He spoke of the change that needs to sweep Hayward, “There is an oversaturation of fast food services and over 140 outlets for people to purchase tobacco but roughly 10 grocery stores for people to buy good high-quality food.”
“The best way to combat gentrification is education,” Salinas stated. “Disseminating information around this issue across communities, and re-imagining our city attorney office about educating citizens about laws, policies, ordinances, and our rights. As mayor, I bring that educating orientation to our city government.”
“It is my goal, that every student by age 25 has a degree, a good quality job, and ability to live in Hayward,” Salinas stated as a child came up to him and handed him a picture he drew.
Out of 13 Chabot students surveyed asking what do you know about Mark Salinas? There were three responses that were revealing. “I worked for him in high school when he was director of Kids Breakfast Club, he’s a cool guy …[His] signs are everywhere in Hayward but no endorsements from any elected officials not sure if that is a good or bad thing, … He talks down about the Student Government to classes he teaches at Chabot college.” Given the chance, Salinas has yet to respond to these statements.
On the sample ballot which was mailed home, the endorsements for Mayor Halliday read, “Council Members Elisa Marquez, Al Mendall, Sara Lamnin, and Francisco Zermeno, Congressman Eric Swalwell, Building Trades and Construction Council, Hayward Firefighters 1909, Hayward Police Officers Association, Hayward Chamber of Commerce’s Good Government Now and many others.”
After mentioning the endorsements to Salinas, he replied, “Neighborhoods support me.”
When asked about Mayor Halliday, Salinas replied with, “I am not saying anything bad about her and her accomplishments, but now is time for a change.”