By Steven Tavares.
A community task force’s list of nearly 50 recommendations to help foster equity and equality in Hayward was accepted by the council Tuesday night, although three of its most controversial items were set aside for further examination.
Hayward councilmembers unanimously voted to accept the report, which was produced by a 22-person task force created by the council last January to update its 1992 Anti-Discrimination Plan. The group was later tasked with offering a recommendation to the council over whether Hayward should declare sanctuary city status.
But while praising the task force’s effort, some councilmembers politely asserted the document now called the “Commitment for an Inclusive, Equitable, and Compassionate Community (CIECC), or simply, “The Commitment” lacked suitable direction and in many cases included ancillary subject areas and recommendations already covered by current city and council policies.
“Some of the report lacked a little bit of focus,” said CouncilmemberMarvin Peixoto, referencing items, for instance, he believed were outside the task force’s purview, such as charging stations for scooters. “Subtract the extraneous information and move forward with some solid focus and recommendations,” said Peixoto.
The issue elicited “strong concerns” from the task force, said McAdoo. But Urban Shield’s value to the city’s public safety departments, in terms of training and cohesiveness with local and regional law enforcement is too great, she added.While “The Commitment” includes a roadmap for protecting and promoting Hayward’s diverse population, in addition, to lending support for other disadvantaged group, the city administration voiced clear concern with two particular items, both involving the city’s police department.
The task force called for the creation of a Hayward Police Chief’s Advisory Panel. They also urged the police department to withdraw from Urban Shield law enforcement emergency training event and trade show held each year in Pleasanton.
Hayward Police Chief Mark Koller welcomed the prospects of a advisory panel Tuesday night, but envisions the panel as platform for the community to vet new policies and hear concerns from the community, rather than a type of police oversight committee suggested by the task force.
“I want it to be open and with people who represent different facets of our community,” said Koller. “I don’t want people there to tell me what they think I want to hear. I want to hear the truth.”
A clear point of contention, said City Manager Kelly McAdoo, is excluding the potential panel from overseeing issues involving officer discipline. “We think there’s still a lot of work to be done on this topic,” said McAdoo. “At this point, we’re not in agreement with the language in “The Commitment” right now.” The city also need more time to determine how the police advisory panel would be created, including its make up, said McAdoo.
The prospects of pulling out of Urban Shield, meanwhile, appear highly unlikely. A majority of the council offered clear support for the annual event, along with Hayward Fire Chief Garrett Contreras and Police Chief Koller.
Concerns over the trade show portion of the event featuring discriminatory apparel and signs can be addressed by the city if it remains in Urban Shield, said McAdoo. Some councilmembers agreed.
“There’s value to it,” Councilmember Mark Salinas said of Urban Shield. “There’s tactical, highly-specialized training.” Instead, he added, by remaining in the event, the city can take an active role in “de-racializing” it. “I trust our police chief and our fire chief will be strong advocates of that,” said Salinas.
Less controversial was a third recommendation that all city employees participate in annual implicit bias training. The city staff is already working with its Human Resource Department on the details of such training, said McAdoo. One question, however, is whether or not the city’s hundreds of volunteers and short-term employees would also receive training.
The administration will continue studying each item and return to the council with a report on its progress in June 2018. Questions also remain over another recommendation to install the task force as a permanent advisory group, in addition, to how long the current body will be kept intact.
However not all were satisfied by the city’s description of the task force’s concerns. Councilmember Elisa Marquez, who said she attended all but one of the task force’s monthly meetings, pushed back on what she described as a “Everything is fine in Hayward” attitude. “If you were at these meeting for 20 minutes you would know the true feedback at those meeting.”