May 11, 2006

Conversation with OB Badger

I just had a long talk with OB Badger, who is running for Mayor of San Leandro. He says he supports having the library opening on Sundays, he thinks the library is the community center of San Leandro (I agree) and if they can find the money for it, he'll put it into the library. He also thinks it's very important to re-fund the Cherry Festival as it's the one event that brings all of San Leandro together. He says he supports education, supported Measure A, and has worked as a liaison with the school board. He thinks the city council should support schools, but has a limited role. He claims there isn't a bad relationship between the council and the board, he thinks that there used to be one before his time and the impression has remained.

His vision for San Leandro is to keep it "clean and green" and bring stores and businesses people want to patronize. In particular, he wants to see one of the big consumer electronic retailers in downtown San Leandro - given that San Leandrans now go outside the city to buy electronics and the city loses that tax revenue. He was at first reluctant to commit himself on the issue of eminent domain, but he said he'd support it for places such as the old First Interstate bank on East 14th. It belongs to WAMU, which has refused both to sell it or do something with it. On the other hand, he says he'd be reluctant to use eminent domain on residences.

He supports a living wage for San Leandro. He is in favor red light cameras, but he says the city was not informed about the fact that red light cameras increase rear-end collisions. I think that I will have to bring this issue up to city hall as a whole.

He is also in support of restoring funding to DARE, he knows that the program's success is questionable (indeed, I mentioned a study that shows that kids that go through DARE are more likely to use Drugs that kids that don't) but he thinks the issue of drug addiction needs to be addressed in schools. He says they've looked for alternatives to DARE and haven't found them.

He agreed that the city needs to do something to bring blacks and Latinos together. He says as mayor he will outreach to the Latino community - he already does so to the Asian community. It gave me the impression that he hasn't found a way to reach out to the Latinos yet, which I can see might be difficult. He did make it sound like there are resentments against Latinos in the black community. He tried to walk a very tight rope in answering my questions about whether he supported the May 1st boycott - it was clear that he did not understand what the boycott was about (which, I must say, seems to be a very common position - I think we failed miserably in explaining this one point). He seems to support immigration reforms that would let some Mexicans come to this country to work legally. But he was mostly oblique about this and as this is not a local issue per se, I didn't push him.

He says that he will be an independent mayor and will not follow the Chamber's line. On the other hand, it's clear that he's very much in favor of bringing new businesses to San Leandro.

Our conversation was very long, so I didn't ask him everything I wanted to - I'll leave that for a follow up.

BTW, he seems to be non-tech savvy. I told him I'd put my notes on my blog, and he had no idea what I was talking about.

Posted by marga at May 11, 2006 10:49 AM | TrackBack
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