February 27, 2007

Mayor's State of the City Address

At a February 26, 2007, special meeting of the City Council, Mayor Tony Santos gave his first State of the City address, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation. Santos tied San Leandro's past to its future using information from the books A Garden Grows in Eden by Harry Shaffer and San Leandro, a history, by Reginald Stuart. Santos said that these books are worth a trip to the library and also recommended Not a Genuine Black Man, by Brian Copeland.

Santos then launched into a history of San Leandro that even longtime resident Councilmember Joyce Starosciak said that she learned new things about San Leandro. The Mayor pointed out that the Pelton Center was the first shopping center in San Leandro and the second shopping center in Northern California. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Works Progress Administration built 40 miles of gutters, curbs and sidewalks in San Leandro. Santos pointed out that former Mayor Jack Maltester still lived in the house where he was born.

As he progressed through San Leandro's history, Santos listed well-known businesses such as TriNet, Otis Spunkmeyer, Betts Spring Company, Peterson Tractor, North Face, and OSIsoft, that were located in San Leandro. Santos stated that San Leandro needs big box stores and pointed out that while there were 2100 businesses generating sales tax revenue in the city, the 100 largest businesses generate 71% of the sales tax revenue.

Santos gave kudos to Madison Marquette for revitalizing Bayfair Center with a $91 million investment in renovations and to Macy's, the oldest Bayfair tenant, about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. As part of the City's effort to revitalize downtown, the City is contracting with Main Street Property Services to create and implement a downtown retail strategy.

The Mayor noted that he is reading a book on eco-cities and encouraged people to get out of their cars and take public transportation, carpool, bicycle or walk at least one day a week.

While mentioning the redevelopment project areas throughout the city, Santos thanked the Estudillo Estates Homeowner Association for its support of the MacArthur Boulevard redevelopment and noted that the group was paying to place a neighborhood monument on MacArthur Boulevard.

Calling the Marina “one of our biggest challenges,” Santos noted that the first boat launch was built in 1959 for $1.5 million and now the Marina needs $8 million to repair the existing infrastructure and $5.9 million to dredge the channel and harbor. Santos said that only 256 of the 455 berths are currently being used.

The Mayor said that he and other members of the City Council will include the Marina when they travel to Washington DC to lobby on behalf of the city, but that the main goal would be to obtain the $12 million was needed to build the Senior Center on E.14th Street near San Leandro Hospital.

Santos concluded his address with his top three goals:

1.Increase police officer staffing to 100
2.Work with the San Leandro Unified School District to implement Measure B
3.Work with the City Council to restore recreation opportunities

During Councilmember comments, Councilmembers congratulated the Mayor on his presentation and expressed support for his goals.

Daily Review also covered the speech.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at February 27, 2007 12:05 AM | TrackBack
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