December 19, 2006

New Council Sworn In and ACI Rate Increase Approved

Councilmembers Surlene Grant and Glenda Nardine missed the last San Leandro City Council meeting of 2006 held on December 18. The City Council Chambers were filled to capacity with friends and family of the newly elected Mayor and City Councilmembers who were sworn in tonight.

During public comments, Wafaa Aborashed said that she provided a copy of the report "Paying with our Health, The Real Cost of Freight Transport in California" to all the members of the City Council. The report was prepared by the Pacific Institute and released in November 2006. Aborashed asked that the subject of pollution caused by freight transport be placed on a future agenda.

Richard Sequeira asked that the minutes from the December 4, 2006, City Council meeting include the full text of the speeches and comments from people who had spoken against the Site Plan Review and Height Exception for the "Monster House" at 2888 Darius Way. Sequeira was one of the neighbors who spoke out against the house at the December 4 meeting, which was unanimously approved by the City Council.

The City Council unanimously approved a rate increase for Alameda County Industries of 2% on July 1, 2007, and another 2% increase on July 1, 2008. The increase was requested in March 1, 2006, and Public Works Director Mike Bakaldin had presented information about the rate increase at the November 6, 2006, City Council meeting. According to that presentation, the rate increase would fund the collection of recyclable materials (paper, cans, glass and plastic) for single family homes to every week instead of every other week. In addition, ACI would begin pickup of recyclable and food wastes from commercial users.

The City Council also unanimously approved the subdivision of the 13-acre parcel for 15555 Hesperian Boulevard into three parcels. The site is the former location of Target and has been rumored to be a future location of a Wal-Mart or Sam's Club. In-N-Out has applied for a conditional use permit for a drive-through fast food restaurant at this location as well.

When it came time to approve ordinances establishing monthly salaries of $1,260 per month ($15,120 per year) for City Council members and $2,520 per month ($30,240 per year) for the Mayor, Councilmember Bill Stephens was the sole vote against the ordinances. Stephens noted that there was currently a $900,000 budget deficit and that any salary increases should wait until the city has a balanced budget.

Since District 6 City Councilmember Tony Santos was elected Mayor, the City Council will appoint someone to fill out the remainder of his term. Candidates will be required to obtain 20 nominating signatures from registered voters in District 6 and applications will be available beginning on January 2, 2007. Santos expressed concern that some potential candidates were already gathering signatures, but City Clerk Marian Handa said that the nominating signatures would be required to be on forms that are not yet available and Mayor Shelia Young assured Santos that it was not a concern.

During closing remarks, Stephens and Councilmember Joyce Starosciak thanked Councilmember OB Badger and Mayor Young for their years of service. Badger remarked that it had "been a pleasure to serve on this council" and thanked all those with whom he had served. Mayor Young thanked her husband and called the position of Mayor the "best job in the universe."

The City Council meeting concluded with the swearing-in of its newly-elected members, which is what brought most of the crowd to the meeting. District 1 City Councilmember Michael Gregory was sworn in first by former San Leandro City Councilmember, former San Leandro Mayor and newly-elected California State Senator Ellen Corbett. Gregory said that his priorities were 1) education, 2) education, 3) education 4) housing and transportation, 5) balancing the budget and dealing with the Marina, 6) public safety, and 7) seniors and youth.

District 3 City Councilmember Diana Souza was sworn in by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Yolanda Northridge. Souza reiterated her three campaign goals of keeping seniors engaged, communication and increasing recreational opportunities.

District 5 City Councilmember Bill Stephens was sworn in by California Senator Corbett. Stephens kept his comments brief, stating that he was "humbled by the opportunity to serve all of you."

Mayor Tony Santos was sworn in by California Senator Corbett and promised to add more police officers, look at additional branch libraries, focus on education, address the dredging issue for the Marina, and keep working on "quieting our skies from airport noise." He also promised to hold "Coffee with the Mayor" with the first one scheduled for January 11, 2007, from 10am to 12.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at December 19, 2006 12:14 AM | TrackBack
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