February 6, 2007

Council Narrows Down Candidates for District 6

At the February 5, 2007, meeting of the San Leandro City Council, the field of candidates was narrowed from twelve down to six candidates: Adan Alonzo, Estelle Clemons, Esther Collier, Ray Davis, Carmen Fewless, and Jim Prola.

One of the candidates, Luster Knight, was disqualified because he had failed to obtain 20 valid nominating signatures,

Nine people spoke in favor of Prola, including Margaret Hanlon-Gradie, the Political Director for the Alameda County Labor Council and Barry Luboviski with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County.

Mark Tichy stated that he deserved the appointment since he was second in the last election for the District 6 City Council seat and had been running for City Council for ten years. Tichy said he was "here to claim this seat as is my right."

Dr. Paul Dancy, chairman of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce's African-American Business Council, said that while he didn't have any candidate to present to the council, he intended to interview all five final candidates and make a recommendation to the City Council.

Mayor Tony Santos noted that he had received a petition signed by 25 members of the Asian American community requesting that either Hermy Almonte or Bo Panoringan be appointed to the vacant District 6 seat.

The City Council voted as follows:

GrantGregorySantosSouzaStarosciakStephensTOTAL
AborashedX1
Almonte
AlonzoXXX3
ClemonsXXXX4
CollierXXXX4
DavisXXX3
FewlessXXXX4
Morris
Panoringan
ProlaXXXXX5
Tichy

Originally, the City Council had decided to narrow the field down to five candidates. However, since there was a tie between Alonzo and Davis, the City Council decided to interview six candidates instead of five.

During public comments, Tom Saunders , Shirley Rocha, Merv Rocha, and a group of residents from Mulford Gardens complained about people parking on sidewalks and property nuisances such as people living in garages and vehicle storage. Randall Pierce asked why the Police Department isn't permitted to tell people whether they live in a high-crime area. Harold Perez complained about the paving on Marina Boulevard, asked for left turn land onto Eden from Davis Street, and thanked Starosciak for her review of the Fire Department contract.

The City Council voted unanimously to strengthen prohibitions on parking of commercial vehicles such as trailers and large trucks on public streets and on private property. The amendments to the San Leandro Municipal Code were in response to complaints from residents about properties with large vehicles such as school buses and ambulances and large tractors being parked on the street or in driveways.

In another unanimous vote, the City Council voted to establish a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below what they were in 2005.

Finally, before Mayor Santos, Vice Mayor Grant and Councilmembers Starosciak and Gregory travel to Washington DC, the City Council voted unanimously to focus their lobbying on obtaining funding for the senior center, improvements on E. 14th Street, and a re-design of the Davis Street-Interstate 880 interchange. Other items under consideration were dredging at the Marina, a competitive swimming pool, and improvements to the Bay Trail.

In closing City Council comments, Stephens asked for the Rules Committee to consider some election changes, noting that it was likely that the date of the California primary would likely be changed, San Leandro's recent history of long elections, and the need to look at the long-term stability of officials, citing another city where there were no term limits. Stephens made the following suggestions:

1. move City Council elections to November
2. implement instant run-off or change elections so that a simple majority is enough to win an election
3. eliminate term limits (Stephens noted that he used to be in favor of term limits but has changed his mind)
4. any member that declares their intent to run for another office should resign their current office so that their replacement can be elected by the voters and avoid having the City Council appoint a replacement.

Stephens' suggestions were referred to the Rules Committee by consent of the Council.

Stephens also said that he would be unable attend the February 13, 2007, meeting when the District 6 City Council candidates would be interviewed. He said he would listen to the interviews in order to be prepared to vote on February 20. However, Mayor Santos informed him that the voting would take place at the February 13th meeting after the interviews were completed since there would still be a quorum. However, four votes would still be required to appoint the new District 6 Councilmember and if there was a deadlock, voting would take place again at the February 20 meeting.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at February 6, 2007 12:33 AM | TrackBack
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