On September 19, 2012, nine candidates for San Leandro City Council seats in Districts 2, 4, and 6, were at the Senior Community Center to make their case to a crowd of between 60 and 70 members of the community.
In San Leandro City Council elections, each candidate must reside in a specific district, but the entire City elects the candidate from each district. In District 2, incumbent Ursula Reed is being challenged by San Leandro School Board President Morgan Mack-Rose and Bal Theatre owner Dan Dillman. In District 4, former Planning Commissioner Chris Crow, Senior Commissioner Darlene Daevu, Personnel Relations Board member Benny Lee and Justin Hutchison are vying for the seat that became open when Joyce Starosciak resigned on August 1, 2012 In District 6, incumbent Jim Prola is being challenged by San Leandro School Board Vice President Hermy Almonte.
The questions were the same as those asked of those who applied for the District 4 City Council seat and were provided to the candidates in advance.
All candidates were given three minutes to make an opening statement, two minutes to answer each question, and a two minute closing statement.
In the only direct exchange of the night, Reed said, "It would have been wonderful to work for Measure L for the schools, but our school president wanted to come here and campaign against me...we could have been putting all our efforts in Measure L." Mack-Rose challenged Reed to campaign on behalf of Measure L and indeed, volunteers handed out flyers for Measure L with Mack-Rose's literature outside a recent back-to-school night event.
When asked about the top two issues facing San Leandro, District 2 candidate Mack-Rose answered “the economy and public safety.” Mack-Rose said that the focus should be on crime prevention and noted that crime prevention officers were being re-assigned without consulting the public. For Dillman the top issue is the perception that San Leandro is not a wonderful place. Incumbent Reed said the top two two issues are the budget and safety. Reed said that “in order to have safety, we have to fund police officers” and said that the reason for the re-assignment of the crime prevention officers was because seven officers were out on workman's compensation.
For Daevu, the top two issues facing San Leandro are the potential closure of San Leandro Hospital and Halus Wind Turbines. Crow also mentioned keeping San Leandro hospital open, but focused mainly on fiscal sustainability, including pension reforms needed to “get our fiscal house in order.” Hutchison said that the top two issues are public safety, noting the increase in crime and a decrease in the number of police officers, and businesses that don't want to come to our city. Hutchison said that he knew first-hand that “Criminals perceive our city as a place to go to commit crimes.” For Lee, the top two issues are budgetary and public safety.
District 6 incumbent Prola succinctly stated that the top two issues facing San Leandro are public safety and public schools. Prola pointed out that although crime was up last year, but that was in part because crime in 2010 was at its lowest level in 30 years. He attributed the recent drop in crime to his emphasis on crime prevention. Almonte, as he did in many of his answers, focused on pension reform. Almonte noted that the COPS grant that funds five additional police officers, will expire soon, and the City of San Leandro will have to find an additional $800,000 to fund those positions.
The forum was sponsored by the Halcyon Foothill Neighborhood Association, the Best Manor Homeowners Association, and the Business Association of South San Leandro.
The election is November 6, 2012, and the last day to register to vote is October 22, 2012.
Video of the candidates making their statements and answering questions is available below:
District 2 Opening Statements:
District 4 Opening Statements:
District 6 Opening Statements:
District 2 Candidates on Why They Want to Serve on the Council:
District 4 Candidates on Why They Want to Serve on the Council:
District 6 Candidates on Why They Want to Serve on the Council:
District 2 Candidates on Being Part of a Successful Team:
District 4 Candidates on Being Part of a Successful Team:
District 6 Candidates on Being Part of a Successful Team: