August 3, 2007

Who are The Sentinels?

The Sentinels logoThe oldest recipient committee (similar to a political action committee) in San Leandro is a group called The Sentinels (ID #782563) that most local residents know little or nothing about. The Sentinels are largely a group that exists to exert its influence on local politics by contributing financially to political campaigns.

While the name of the group may seem somewhat ominous, it was formed in October 1978 by former San Leandro Mayors Jack Maltester, John Faria (Faria Bros. ACE Hardware), and others as a way to be politically active and influential after Maltester was forced out of office by term limits.

It is just one of a number of similar groups that are focused on San Leandro politics. Other active groups include the Political Action Committee for Excellence (P.A.C.E.), San Leandro Teachers Advocating New Directions (S.T.A.N.D.), and Citizens for San Leandro Schools.

Until recently, The Sentinels were probably one of the most influential political groups in San Leandro. For example, after Gordon Galvan, a member of The Sentinels, resigned from the City Council in June 2001, the final choices to replace him were Orval 'OB' Badger and Dale Reed, both members of The Sentinels. OB Badger was appointed to replace Galvan by a vote of five to one. Although it remains one of the single largest sources of local campaign contributions, many of the candidates it endorsed in 2006 failed to win, including Shelia Young, OB Badger, Jill Buck, Julian Polvorosa, and Pete Lismer. Its $4,000 contribution to Julian Polvorosa's 2006 City Council campaign and $2,000 contribution to Pete Lismer's 2006 School Board campaign were the largest contributions to each campaign.

Pat Raposo of Broadmoor Electric appears to have been the first female member of The Sentinels in 1998, based on records reviewed at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

Those same records indicate that each member of The Sentinels contributes $125 per quarter or $500 per year to the group. All of the group's funds appear to come from member dues, although Pacific Union Ventures contributed $1,000 to the group on one occasion in 1998. Meetings are held at Vila Cereja restaurant (formerly Jake's Lion). Some of the group's meetings have included speakers such as Chronicle columnist Phil Matier, former Alameda County Sheriff Charles Plummer and Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker.

Despite attending meetings of The Sentinels and being listed as a member in a City of San Leandro press release, former San Leandro Chamber of Commerce CEO Heidi Finberg hasn't been listed on the group's financial disclosures since 2001. Current CEO Diana Gentry does not appear in any of the group's financial disclosures.

During each election cycle, The Sentinels invite each candidate for contested local offices to a meeting where the members can ask questions and the candidate has an opportunity to make their case for The Sentinels' endorsement and financial support. During the June 6, 2006, election, The Sentinels contributed $2,500 to Sheila Young for District 3 County Supervisor, $2,000 each to Tony Santos and Orval "OB" Badger for San Leandro Mayor, and $1,500 to Michael Gregory for District 1 City Council. During the November 2006 election, The Sentinels contributed $4,000 to Julian Polvorosa for District 3 City Council, $2,000 to Jill Buck for the California State Assembly, $2,000 to Pete Lismer for San Leandro School Board, and $1,000 to Measure B, the school facilities bond. After the election, The Sentinels contributed $500 to help OB Badger and Tony Santos to pay down their campaign debts. As of June 30, 2007, The Sentinels had more than $26,000 in their account.

The members of The Sentinels consist of mainly former elected officials and business people. Approximately 75% of the members are San Leandro residents. Former mayoral candidate OB Badger was a member of The Sentinels until he was appointed to the City Council in 2001. Badger attended meetings as an honorary member while he was on the City Council. The most recent financial disclosures for the group are from October 1 to December 31, 2006 and January 1 to June 30, 2007. Members of the group were determined from these most recent financial disclosures and are listed below:

  • Mike Betts, President of Betts Spring Co. and a member of the 2006 Board of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.
  • George Bischalaney, CEO of Eden Medical Center
  • Burt F. Boltuch, a lawyer who serves as VP of Legal Compliance for the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.
  • Robert Brannan, General Manager of Marina Mediavision, President of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, and a San Leandro Recreation and Parks Commissioner since 2005. Marina Mediavision is owned by Anthony Batarse.
  • Charles Bray, a consultant
  • David D. Davini, a CPA and treasurer for The Sentinels
  • Henry P. Deadrich, owner of Deadrich Realty.
  • Tom Dlugosh, owner of Dlugosh Cabinet. Dlugosh has also served on the San Leandro Planning Commission since 2005.
  • John Faria, former San Leandro Mayor and former owner of Faria Bros. Ace Hardware. He ran unsuccessfully for the Board of the Oro Loma Sanitary District in 2006.
  • Joe Flynn served on the Human Services Commission from 2001 until early 2007 and served as campaign manager for OB Badger's 2006 mayoral campaign.
  • Gordon Galvan, President of San Leandro Transportation Management Organization and former San Leandro councilmember. Galvan has also worked as a lobbyist for Eastshore Energy a subsidiary of Tierra Energy, a Texas-based energy company that has been trying to site a power plant in Hayward.
  • Charles Gilcrest, campaign consultant. Gilcrest is on the San Leandro Board of Zoning Adjustments and served on the Human Services Commission from 2002 until 2006. He is also a director for the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce and was Tony Santos' campaign manager.
  • Dan Gray, co-owner of developer Gray & Reynolds
  • William Howard, owner of Berkeley Asphalt/Ready Mix
  • Robert Jones, owner of Robert Jones & Associates.
  • Laython Landis, former San Leandro Councilmember, Ora Loma Sanitary District board member
  • Don Lee, owner of San Leandro Electric Supply.
  • Jack Maltester, former San Leandro Mayor
  • Milton Murray, a self-employed engineer
  • Ron Musgrove, owner of Applied Fusion
  • Kent Myers, controller at D.W. Nicholson. Myers is a former San Leandro Councilmember. Myers has also served on the San Leandro Personnel Relations Board since 2001.
  • Gary Naman, owner of Gans-Trans Trucking and former Port Captain for the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club
  • Louie Pellegrini, Alameda County Industries
  • Pat Raposo, owner of Broadmoor Electric. Her husband, Gil Raposo, served on the Board of Zoning Adjustments from 2001 until early 2007.
  • Dale Reed, owner of Acme Scale. Reed has also served on the San Leandro Planning Commission since 1987. He is part of the Executive Board of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce. His wife has served on the Library-Historical Commission since 1986.
  • Jon Reynolds, co-owner of Reynolds & Brown
  • Robert Smith, a consultant
  • Dan Walters, Copper Harbor and Past President of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.

Former members, based on the group's filings dating back to 1997, include:

  • Jeff Abramson, a project manager with Pacific Union Ventures

  • Herman Alexander, Santos Linguisa

  • Orval Badger, former member of the San Leandro City Council

  • Joseph Bellini

  • William Biggs

  • Leland Bruner, owner of Bruner & Nash

  • John Chovanes, former owner of Chovanes Ford

  • Gerald Cockrill, owner of Cockrill & Low

  • Ed Cryer, Manager at Peterson Tractor

  • Timothy Dam, President of Saags Products

  • Bob DeBorba, Cooper & Cook

  • Frank Denevi, Denevi Cameras

  • Oliver DeSilva

  • Bill Dobert, Treasurer of San Leandro Disposal

  • Heidi Finberg, San Leandro Planning Commissioner and former CEO of San Leandro Chamber of Commerce. Finberg pulled papers in 2002 to run for City Council against Bill Stephens and in 2006 to run for the School Board against Pauline Cutter, but in both races did not complete the paperwork to become a candidate.

  • Richard Gorkosky, Merritt Tire & Brake

  • Donald Kane of Mark Container Corp.

  • Richard Karn, Bissell & Karn

  • J. Dudley Knapp

  • Kati Knox, Owner/CEO Senior Assisted Living and Transportation and KMJ Associates

  • Lawrence E. Martin, General Manager of Martin Land Co.

  • Ben Moal of Ben Moal Investors

  • Rene Moal

  • Dale Munson, Manager at Peterson Tractor

  • Ken Papierniak, Bridgeport Associates

  • William Peluso, President of Pel-Mar, Inc.

  • Meryl Pethan, Realtor

  • Albert P. Russello, Pacific Electric Supply

  • George Samson, Samson Construction

  • Cliff Sherwood

  • Joseph Smith

  • James Strauch

  • Karen Thompson, Project Manager for Pacific Union Ventures

  • Terry Tinsley, self-employed with Howe Insurance

  • Raymond Ward, Oakland Coliseum

  • Gerald Wen, a manager for San Leandro Disposal

  • Jim Wilburn, Sr., Orlando Homes, Inc.

  • Jim Wilburn, Jr., Orlando Homes, Inc.

  • Gil Zaballos, a general contractor and developer

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at August 3, 2007 9:09 PM | TrackBack
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