June 28, 2005

ZunZun to Perform at San Leandro Library July 6

On Wednesday, July 6, 2005, the performing arts group ZunZun will perform at the San Leandro Main Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue. The singing duo of husband and wife Stephen Snyder and Gwynne Snyder Cropsey play a wide variety of folkloric instruments while performing songs in Spanish and English. The event begins at 7:30pm.

ZunZun will help the San Leandro Library unveil the latest additions to its collection of Spanish language books, music CDs and audio books, purchased with a $10,000 state grant from the federal Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) Global Language Materials block grant, which is administered by the California State Library.

The concert will include sing-along songs and refreshments will be served.

According to the City of San Leandro web site, 20 percent of San Leandro's 79,452 residents are Hispanic or Latino.

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Joint Meeting of San Leandro's City Council and Unified School District

On Monday, June 27, 2005, the San Leandro City Council and San Leandro Unified School District Board of Trustees held a joint work session at the San Leandro Main Library.

City Manager John Jermanis gave a 14-slide Powerpoint presentation summarizing the proposed budget for 2005-2006. Proposed expenditueres are $70.5 million and revenue is estimated at $67.4 million. The city is planning to cover a $3.1 million deficit with money from a reserve fund, drawing it down to about $12 million. Possibilities for generating more revenue include increasing the business license tax, which could generate $2 million in revenue. Council members noted that San Leandro has the lower business license tax in Alameda County. Another possible revenue increase could come from increasing the tax for emergency medical service to generate about $1 million in revenue. The bulk of San Leandro's revenue in 2005-2006 is estimated to come from sales tax (31%), property tax (18%), and utility users tax (14%), while the majority of San Leandro's expenditures are for public safety services (55%).

In order to reduce expenditures, San Leandro has signed a five-year-contract with the Fremont Animal Shelter after the Hayward Animal Shelter raised its fees and managed to get the fire services contract reduced from $900,000 to $600,000.

The main library will continue to be closed on Sundays and community activities such as the Cherry Festival won't be funded by the city next year as well. Jermanis reported that the Engineering department estimate for ongoing street maintenance is $5 to $6 million per year, but the city has only been spending $1 million the past few years.

At the end of Jermanis'presentation, San Leandro School Board Member Stephen Cassidy cautioned Jermanis against relying on an increase in the EMS fee for increased revenue and suggested that the city look at increasing the business license fee and the 911 fee. Jermanis responded that the business license tax could only appear on the ballot when member of the city council come up for election and the 911 fee is restricted by law to the actual cost of the program.

By contrast the Powerpoint presentation by Superintendent Christine Lim focused on accomplishments within the San Leandro schools and comparisons of funding with other school districts. Lim noted that San Leandro High School was name as a National Demonstration School for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), five students were National Merit award winners, 72% of high school graduates planned to attend a two- or four-year college, and 53 San Leandro High School graduates were accepted to the University of California.

In one of four slides comparing financials of San Leandro to other school districts, Lim noted that San Leandro's $6.413 revenue per student was substantially less than the state average of $7,276 per student and Alameda County's $7,403 per student. Overall, San Leandro ranks in the bottom 10% of the state in funding per student.

The third item on the agenda was School Board Member Ray Davis' presentation about the planned Bike/Walk to School Day scheduled for October 5, 2005. Davis asked for the support of all those present. Davis noted that in 1969, 48% of students walked or biked to school while today only 19% of students walk or bike to work.

Assistant Superintendent Leon Glaster reported that the state will spend the summer ranking 220 grant applications, including the joint City of San Leandro and San Leandro Unified School District joint grant proposal for a Bancroft Middle School sports field. Glaster said that the 20 grants won't be awarded until the end of summer, but noted that San Leandro was one of only 30 sites visited by the state agency evaluating the grant applications.

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June 23, 2005

Bed Bath & Beyond Opened On Tuesday

Bed Bath & Beyond opened its store at Bayfair Center on Tuesday, June 21, 2005.

This follows the opening of Target and Kohl's in the past few years after Bayfair Center was purchased by Madison Marquette in October 2003. Lady Foot Locker and Champs also opened on Tuesday after moving to different locations within Bayfair Center.

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June 15, 2005

City to Buy Islander Lodge Motel

The owner of the Islander Lodge Motel at 2398 East 14th Street has agreed to sell the 67-unit motel to the City of San Leandro.

The motel will be converted to affordable housing, with Mercy Housing likely serving as the property manager. Built in 1972, the motel has been known for a variety of crimes, including the murder of Shenise McLemore on May 28, 2004.

At the May 16, 2005, meeting of the San Leandro City Council, the vote was 7-0 to authorize "pre-acquisition expenses in an amount not to exceed $205,000" for the Islander Lodge Motel. At the subsequent City Council meeting on June 6, 2005, Resolution No. 2005-009 RDA was passed, approving a letter of intent between the City of San Leandro and Mercy Housing California. The City Council also proclaimed June 4 – 12, 2005 as Affordable Housing Week in San Leandro.

The purchase agreement was soon followed by news that the City of San Leandro faces a $3.1 million budget deficit in the next fiscal year.

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June 12, 2005

Motorcycle Dealer Opens in San Leandro

Monroe Motors, a dealership known for it British and Italian motorcycles has opened a store in San Leandro this past week. Its at the former location of AA Office Equipment at 15296 E. 14th Street, near the northeast corner of E. 14th Street and Fairmont Drive. For now, Monroe Motors is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday.

Although the store has been open for about a week, the signs aren't up yet and the store is still under construction. But there are motorcycles in stock, including the Ducati 999S, 999, 749, Monster S4R, Monster 620, and Multistrada and a variety of KTM models including the 950 Adventure, 525 EXC, 450 SMR SuperMoto, 65 SX, and 85 SX.



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Plans for Casino Near Oakland Airport are "Dead"

According to a letter received Friday, June 10, 2005, from the owners of the proposed Oakland casino site to Oakland City Council President Ignacio de la Fuente, plans for the casino are "dead." The casino proposed by the Lower Lake Rancheria Koi Nation had been opposed by the cities of Oakland, San Leandro, Alameda, and Berkeley and Alameda County.

The tribe had an option to purchase the site, which expired at the end of May, according to Legacy Partners, owners of the site.

See the Oakland Tribune article for the full story.

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June 10, 2005

Chilis coming to Bayfair

Chili's Grill & Bar is coming to Bayfair Center if you haven't already heard. According to the May 13, 2005, Business Development Update, Chili's is scheduled to be completed by December 2005.

As we've noted before, Bed Bath & Beyond is scheduled to open at Bayfair in July 2005.

Speaking of food, Ono Hawaiian Barbeque, a chain with 22 stores in California and Arizona, will be joining Quiznos and Strabucks at Palma Plaza.

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June 9, 2005

Marina Auto Mall Sign Keeps Crashing

As seen below, the huge electronic sign for the San Leandro Marina Auto Mall has been crashing recently. If you have ever used Windows 95, 98 or ME, the message is familiar: "This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down. Quit all programs, and then restart your computer. If the problem persists, contact the program vendor."

The Marina Auto Mall Sign has peformed an illegal operation...

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June 6, 2005

Open House This Weekend at San Leandro Historical Railway Society

The San Leandro Historical Railway Society will hold an open house on Saturday June 11, 2005 from 10am to 5pm and Sunday, June 12, 2005, from 12pm to 5pm.

The San Leandro Historical Railway Society features HO scale trains running through mountains and miniature California towns with a controller that can be used to automate the trains and add sound effects.

The San Leandro Historical Railway Society is located in an old Southern Pacific Railroad passenger depot that was built in 1898 and was used until World War II, when the Southern Pacific passenger agency was no longer deemed essential.

The open house typically coincides with the annual Cherry Festival, but the Cherry Festival was cancelled this year because of city budget cuts.

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San Leandro Teen Dies After Inhaling Aerosol

Josh Edmond, a 17-year-old from San Leandro, was found dead on Wednesday, June 1, 2005, by his father at their home on Oaks Boulevard. A can of aerosol was found next to his body and investigators determined that he was trying to get a high from inhaling the product.

Edmond had been expelled from high school and had a history of drug use, but had recently begun volunteering and planned to join the Navy.

The inhalant was Maxell Blast Away, an aerosol used to blow away dust from computers.

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June 1, 2005

San Leandro Native a Likely Force in Softball College World Series

San Leandro's own Saskia "Ski" Roberson is likely to play a big role when the DePaul Blue Demons take on the #1 seeded Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA Softball 2005 Women's College World Series on Thursday June 2, 2005.

Roberson, a senior at DePaul, plays first base, is a switch-hitter and slugged 15 home runs during the season. Her batting average was .360 and she has DePaul's school record for total home runs, with 51.

You can catch the game on ESPN2 at 4:30pm local time (6:30pm Central).

Update: Michigan beat DePaul 3-0.

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