September 24, 2004

Man Killed at Bayfair Bus Stop

Two men were shot in the head with a handgun at approximately 4:15am on Friday, September 24, 2004, at a bus stop on E. 14th Street near Bayfair Center. A 27-year-old man was killed and another man was in poor condition at Eden Medical Center. Witnesses reported two people running from the bus stop and getting into a dark four-door vehicle.

This is San Leandro's second murder of the year. The first murder occured on May 28, 2004, at the Islander Lodge Motel.

9/26/04 Update: The Alameda County Coroner's Office identified the man who was killed as William Simpson.

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September 23, 2004

Kohls at Bayfair to Open Oct. 7, 2004

The new Kohls at Bayfair Center is set to open on Thursday, October 7, 2004, at 8am. Ten other Kohls stores around the Bay Area are scheduled to open at the same day and time as well.

If you're interested in working for the San Leandro Kohls, you should fill out an application (Solicitud de Empleo) and bring it in to the store at 15555 E. 14th Street, San Leandro, CA 94578.

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September 22, 2004

Neighbors of Proposed Development Speak Out at Community Meeting

Neighbors of the proposed low-income housing development at the corner of Estabrook Street and E. 14th Street spoke out against the development at a meeting Tuesday night at the First United Methodist Church.

The September 21, 2004, meeting was the second of four community meetings held by Resources for Community Development (RCD) to discuss the development proposal for the southwest corner of the intersection of Estabrook Street and E. 14th Street across the street from McKinley Elementary School.

The 2.2-acre site is currently occupied by Sir Richard's, a used car lot, and a Salvation Army Thrift Store. RCD is proposing to build 94 units of low-income rental housing along with ground-floor retail space at the location. The development would also include 171 parking spaces, just meeting the City of San Leandro requirement for the number of parking spaces per unit. The 94 units would be a combination of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. Rents for the apartments would range from $430 to $740 for one-bedroom units, $514 to $979 for two-bedroom units, and $601 to $1,235 for three-bedroom units. According to RCD, their typical tenants have one to two cars and two and a half children per household. Occupancy of the units would be four people in a two-bedroom unit and six people in a three-bedroom unit.

Community Development Director Hanson Hom, Senior Transportation Engineer Reh-Lin Chen, and Planning Manager Debbie Pollart were among the City of San Leandro staff on-hand to answer questions about the proposed development. Sergeant Tom Overton of the San Leandro Police Department was on hand to answer questions about crime and related issues.

The first question from the audience was about the presence of members of the San Leandro City Council and specifically, Vice-Mayor Orval Badger, who represents the area in which the proposed development is located. Neither Vice-Mayor Badger or any other members of the San Leandro City Council were present. Vice-Mayor Badger was present at the beginning of the August 19, 2004, community meeting, but appeared to have left when the meeting was moved to a larger meeting room at the San Leandro Library.

The next question from the audience was from man who noted that he worked two jobs in order to buy a house in San Leandro and move his family from Oakland. However, he was unable to enroll his children at nearby McKinley Elementary School for nine months because of overcrowding. He asked whether there were any representatives from the San Leandro Unified School District, but there were none.

One member of the audience spoke up in support of the proposed development, claiming that housing projects in San Francisco and Berkeley did not bring down property values of nearby homes. The audience expressed skepticism at her claim and she was nearly drowned out in the resulting din.

Dan Sawislak, Executive Director for RCD, said that City of San Leandro regulations would allow up to 140 units to be built at the proposed location while RCD had only proposed 94-units. He also said that no study has shown that projects similar to that proposed by RCD have brought down nearby property values and that some studies have shown an increase in nearby property values. He challenged the audience to use an Internet search engine to search for studies about the impact of affordable housing projects on nearby property values. He also sought to answer a question that he has been asked repeatedly: Why did RCD choose the location at the intersection of E. 14th Street and Estabrook Street? His answer: because the City of San Leandro had identified the site for the type of housing project that RCD develops.

Information provided by RCD included a printout of the document Myths and Facts About Affordable & High Density Housing, a report by the California Planning Roundtable and California Department of Housing & Community Development and a handout making RCD's case for the project. On display at the meeting was a drawing showing an aerial view of the area of the project, poster boards of statistics about the housing, and pictures of tenants at other RCD projects.

Lauren Sanborn of the John Stewart Company, stated that her company would provide property management services. She said that her company managed 20,000 units of housing with a focus on affordable housing. In response to concerns about possible increases in crime from the new development, she stated that tenants are subjected to rigorous screening including a credit check, criminal background check, and two landlord references.

In response to concerns about parking in the area, Rick Williams, the architect from the architectural firm Van Meter Williams Pollack designing the project noted that he looked at surrounding apartment buildings and estimated that they needed between 70 and 77 more parking spaces to meet current parking City of San Leandro parking requirements. Existing buildings do not to meet the current parking requirements. This helps to explain why it is difficult for visitors to park on Estabrook Street and Estabrook Circle. The architect also noted the problem of traffic that cuts through the neighborhood on its way from Marina Boulevard to Sybil and suggested that speed bumps on Estabrook Street or a stop sign at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Estabrook Street could be a possible solution to the problem.

In the subsequent session of questions and answers, every person that was selected spoke out against the proposed project or asked questions that indicated they were concerned about the impact of the project. Most members of the audience were very passionate about their opposition to the proposed development, including one young woman who spoke of her concern that the 1930s art deco house built by her father might be devalued. Audience members expressed concerns about traffic, overcrowding at McKinley Elementary School, parking, crime, vandalism, visitors to the development, and depressed property values. While RCD intended to answer some of the community's concerns expressed at the first meeting, it was unable to assuage most of the concerns expressed by the audience. So many people wanted to ask questions or make statements opposing the proposed project that the meeting ended with numerous audience members not having had the chance to ask a question or make comments.

Community Development Director Hanson Hom noted that the project is in a very preliminary stage and that RCD has not yet purchased the property, but information from RCD indicates that RCD has entered into a purchase contract with the current property owner.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

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September 18, 2004

Mayor Opens Booktique Store at Library

San Leandro Mayor Sheila Young ceremoniously cut the red ribbon to open the new Friends of the San Leandro Library Booktique bookstore this morning. The Mayor was joined by Vice Mayor Orval Badger, Councilmember Tony Santos, Friends of the San Leandro Library Vice President Stephanie Jones, San Leandro Library Services Director David Bohne, and members of the board of the Friends of the San Leandro Library.

Mayor Young noted that the bookstore was funded completely by the Friends of the San Leandro Library. After Mayor Young introduced Friends Vice President Jones, Ms. Jones presented the mayor with a check for $11,000 for the City of San Leandro.

Booktique will be open 11am to 4pm during the week and 1pm to 4pm on Saturday.

San Leandro Mayor Sheila Young and Friends of the San Leandro Library Vice President Stephanie Jones
San Leandro Mayor Sheila Young and Friends of the San Leandro Library Vice President Stephanie Jones
San Leandro Mayor Sheila Young and Vice Mayor Orval Badger
San Leandro Mayor Sheila Young and Vice Mayor Orval Badger just before cutting the red ribbon to open Booktique.
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September 16, 2004

San Leandro School Teacher on Survivor: Vanuatu

Washington Elementary teacher and Oakland resident James "Chad" Crittenden will be one of the contestants featured in the latest Survivor series. Crittenden lost one leg below the knee to cancer but he was able to complete a triathalon just nine months later. He competed in Survivor while taking a year-long absence to be a stay-at-home dad.

Survivor Vanuatu airs tonight at 8pm on CBS channel 5. Click here to read his bio from the CBS website. He's also featured in this article from ANG Newspapers.

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September 11, 2004

Community Meeting for E.14th St. Development Proposal on Sept. 21

The second community meeting to discuss the proposed "workforce housing" development at the corner of E. 14th St. and Estabrook St. will take place at the First United Methodist Church on September 21, 2004, from 7pm to 8:30pm.

The previous meeting was held on August 19, 2004, and local residents expressed numerous concerns about:

  • parking, which is already in short supply
  • increased crime
  • lower property values
  • increased traffic

The reason that people expressed these concerns is because "workforce housing" is a euphemism for low-income housing. According to its website, the developer, Resources for Community Development (RCD) "is a nonprofit housing development corporation with the mission of creating and preserving affordable housing..." RCD has built more than 900 units of housing since 1984.

According to RCD's flyer, at this second meeting, RCD "will focus on:

  • Responses to neighborhood concerns
  • Response to questions regarding workforce housing
  • Presentation of RCD's work/track record
  • Discussion of potential design concepts
  • Next steps"

If you live in the area and need an enticement to come to the meeting, refreshments will be provided.

For more information about the meeting, call Maryann Leshin at (510) 635-2778 or Natalie Bonnewit at (510) 841-4410, extension 19.

You can see pictures and descriptions of RCD's projects here.

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Friends of the Library Bookstore Opens Sat., Sept. 18

The grand opening of the Friends of the Library Bookstore at the San Leandro Library is Saturday, September 18, 2004. According to their flyer, new, used, and collectible books will be available for sale beginning at 10:30am. The bookstore is located inside the main San Leandro Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue.

On October 16, 2004, the semi-annual book sale takes place starting at 9am for members of Friends of the Library and 11am for everyone else.

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September 7, 2004

Greens Campaign at San Leandro Public Library

The Green Party ticket for 2004 consists of David Cobb for President and Pat LaMarche for Vice-President. The Green Party's presidential campaign national fundraising director, Leslie Bonett (from Oakland), will stump for the Cobb-LaMarche ticket at 7pm on Thursday, September 9, 2004, at the San Leandro Public Library. The library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro.

For more information, contact Bob Fox at (510) 562-3606 or

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