May 23, 2006 > Hank Quintel-Hayward City Council candidate
Hank Quintel-Hayward City Council candidate
by Steve Warga
We met at Tommy's Donuts in Hayward where Henry "Hank" Quintel's more vocal supporters gather. It's a blue collar sort of setting and suits Hank perfectly. Friendly, plain-spoken and direct, this man wants to see some common sense injected into City affairs. He makes a good case for himself.
TCV: What motivates you to run for City Council?
Quintel: When I heard about the plans for a "mini-loop" of one-way streets downtown, I got interested in what was going on and started attending the Council meetings. My intention was to just get involved with that, but I realized a lot more was going on. They started talking about using budget reserves for some project or other and that got my attention. I know budgets and I know what you should and shouldn't do within them.
The city cannot afford to use reserves for anything but emergencies. That's what a reserve is all about. It's only a matter of time before we encounter another earthquake or some other disaster again. What are we going to do if the reserves have been spent?
TCV: Where do things stand with the "mini-loop"?
Quintel: It's hard to say because you're dealing with the City Council. They're in the habit of just letting things slide into where they want them going. Supposedly, they've voted to do the loop, but what have they actually approved? Well, it's with the planners and getting permits and so on. The mini-loop's stuck in limbo and you can't get a direct answer from the City.
I can say that it won't solve the traffic congestion problem. All they'll do with the loop is move the bottlenecks. We don't have room to expand Foothill or Mission and the 238 improvements are stalled, so what can we do? Well, we either go back to the Foothill Freeway idea, or go underneath the city. That sounds far-fetched, but we have no other choices. Hayward is caught between two main thoroughfares, 238 and 92 (Mission and Jackson Streets). Unless we can make it easier for motorists to go around downtown, they'll keep coming through and causing real gridlock headaches.
TCV: What's your opinion of the proposed sale of the City Center Parking Garage?
Quintel: It's my understanding the City paid $4.4 million to build that garage. It's valued by an appraiser at $3.5 million and they now want to sell it to Intercoastal Property Group (IPG) for $1.5 million, that's a $2 million difference. Now, I understand win-win deals and that sometimes you have to give something to get something you want, but $2 million dollars? What kind of business is that? The city can't afford to give away that kind of money.
TCV: What other issues do you consider important?
Quintel: As I said, the City must get their budget in order. They ran a deficit of $2.1 million dollars and they want to use reserves again to cover the shortfall. You can't fund projects and programs and go into the hole every year. Now they're talking about going into business with Calpine, thinking they'll get $10 million dollars for a new library. Calpine is bankrupt!
TCV: Do you believe the Police Department should be fully funded again?
Quintel: Yes I do. In fact, I'd like to see an increase in foot patrols downtown, but it gets back to funding. I oppose using reserves for operating expenses. We must operate on a pay-as-you-go system.
TCV: How do you feel about your chance of winning a seat?
Quintel: I'm at a disadvantage because I have no background in politics. This is the first time I've run for office. When I've met with groups, seeking endorsements, I do well. They like my ideas, but then they turn around and endorse someone else. The political establishment isn't in my corner, because I won't join their team. I've never been a joiner. I will speak my mind and follow my own conscience without being beholden to anyone but the ordinary citizens of Hayward.
Learn more about Hank at www.smartvoter.org or email him at email@example.com.