May 19, 2006

Conversation with Michael Gregory

I had a very long and difficult to summarize conversation with Michael Gregory, who is running for city council for my District, 1. I was very impressed with him, he seems to have a real commitment to San Leandro and to the community. He's lived here for 20 years, his wife is the director of the Broadmoor co-op, and he's raised two kids who've gone through San Leandro schools. When they were at Rosevelt, he worked to get a new library for the school, and when they were at Bancroft Middle School, he worked to get a new field. He's still working on that issue. He says the experiences have helped him learn how to work with all sorts of people.

As for his positions, he said he'd support a livable wage but he was more interested in knowing what the actual proposal was. I didn't have the details (does anyone know?). He was also doubtful about DARE, he thought there were better ways for SL to spend its money. When I asked him about the red light cameras, he hesitated on taking a position without knowing what the research on them was. I summarized it for him (they help prevent right-side collissions, but they increase rear-end collissions) and as we discussed this issue and others he gave me the impression that he would be the kind of councilman who'd actually ask questions and analyse proposals, instead of rubber stamping them.

He's in favor of Sunday hours for the library and the cherry festival. His position on eminent domain is also a "depends on the case" one, he would like to see some of it used to take some properties where the owners refuse to either sell or develop. He seems very interested in the development of San Leandro as a whole - and not just the downtown area. He mentioned, for example, how he was glad that the merchants in the southern part of town where he lives are getting together and starting some development over there. He seemed opposed to the idea of dedicating a lane to a rapid bus which would go down East 14th (he'd actually heard about this proposal), and he expressed concern as to how AC transit seems to be concentrating on fast and express buses to the detriment of local routes. He was aware that many stops have been cut, so that many people do not have a bus stop close to their home anymore. He thinks AC Transit should serve these populations better.

On the subject of the old Albertsons site, he thinks that what goes there should serve the whole population of San Leandro, which is not just white middle class. He would be opposed to a Sam's Club moving to San Leandro unless Walmart changed its employment tactics and paid their employees both a fair wage and health benefits. I don't remember what his specific proposals were, however :( I asked him about having San Leandro use alternative fuel vehicles on its fleet, and he said he was all for it and indeed the city should undertake the use of bycicles.

His main concern, however, seems to be the state of the schools. He thinks the problems between the district and city council are real, but he's worked with both and he almost guarantees that he's going to get them both on the same page. Indeed, I think this was his one campaign promise: fix this relationship. He has some innovative ideas - such as consolidating the school district with the city (given how small both are).

In all, after talking to him for so long I really liked him. I felt he was motivated and inspiring, and ready to do things. It seemed to me that he was running for city council to accomplish things, not just to pad his resume or for a power trip. I haven't talked to his opponent yet (he hasn't called me back), but I'm pretty sure I'm going to vote for him.

Posted by marga at May 19, 2006 4:54 PM | TrackBack
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Who is "marga" ????
Darrell

Posted by: Darrell Heppner at July 25, 2009 9:05 AM
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