May 31, 2006

Badger Campaign Takes in $17,000 in Late Contributions

Late contributions of $1,000 or more are required to be reported within 24 hours. So far, the only candidate that has reported late contributions is San Leandro mayoral candidate Orval "OB" Badger, with contributions totalling $17,000. Badger's campaign received two loans of $5,000 each from Joseph Flynn and Jeanne Souchak. Flynn is a retired consultant and member of the San Leandro Human Resources Commission. Jeanne Souchak is listed as a retired individual from Pebble Beach.

Contributions of $1,000 each were received from Dale and Donna Reed, Davini & Co., Livermore company Golden State Landscaping, architect Daniel Hale, San Francisco firm D.W. Hilborn, Inc., San Francisco attorney Louis Haas, and Frederick Weissberg.

Dale Reed is the owner of Acme Scale and a member of the San Leandro Planning Commission. His wife Donna is on the San Leandro Library-Historical Commission. Davini & Co. is owned by David D. Davini, the treasurer for Badger's campaign. As of 2004, Frederick Weissberg was Chairman of the Board of Directors and President of Dover Investments Corp., a San Francisco-based residential real estate development company.

Notable expenditures included $2,700 to K. Mitchell in San Francisco for campaign consulting. This appears to be Kaidra Mitchell, who previously received $1,700 for campaign consulting from Badger's campaign.

As of May 25, 2006, Badger reported spending $58,423.04 since January 2006 and had $1,949.49 on hand.

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May 29, 2006

San Leandro School District Fundaising Event Tuesday May 30

The Keep Music Rockin' Foundation will hold a Kick-Off Fiesta Dinner and Silent Auction fundraiser for the San Leandro school district on Tuesday, May 30, 2006, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm at the Marina Community Center.

San Leandro School Board trustee Rick Richards and his wife Pam created the foundation earlier this year to raid funds for repairing old musical instruments and buying new musical instruments and supplies.

For a suggested donation of $20, supporters will get to hear music by San Leandro students, feast on Mexican food, and bid on items like three luxury suite tickets to an Oakland Raiders game and a round of golf for four.

The Marina Community Center is located at 15301 Wicks Blvd.

For tickets or more information, contact Rick Richards or call (510) 569-9405.

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City Council Campaign Finances for Districts 1 and 3

Michael Gregory and Frank Lynn are vying for San Leandro's District 1 City Council seat.

In the most recent reporting period from March 18 to May 20, 2006, Gregory received contributions of $100 for School Board trustee Stephen Cassidy, $250 from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee and $1000 from the California Apartment Association Political Action Committee. As of May 20, 2006, he had $264.45 on hand and had spent $1,734 since January 2006. Click here to download Gregory's campaign contributions in CSV format.

Frank Lynn, as noted previously, does not expect to receive or spend more than $1000.

For District 3, the candidates are Nathan Kleinstein, Julian Polvorosa, and Diana Souza.

In the most recent reporting period from March 18 to May 20, 2006, Souza received $600 from Converters West, her employer, $600 from Christina Robertson of Folsom, California, and $500 from Maria Barnett of Washington, D.C. As of May 20, 2006, Souza's campaign had $427.79 on hand and had spent $4,109 since January 2006. Click here to download Souza's campaign contributions in CSV format.

In the most recent reporting period from March 18 to May 20, 2006, Polvorosa received $500 from R.E. Lee, the owner of San Leandro Rock, $250 from Dan Gray of developer Reynolds & Brown, and $200 from former San Leandro Mayor Jack Maltester. Polvorosa also reported more than $3,500 in contributions of less than $100 each. As of May 20, 2006, Polvorosa had $2,742 on hand and had spent $10,981 since January 2006. Click here to download Polvorosa's campaign contributions in CSV format.

Nathan Kleinstein, as noted previously, does not expect to receive or spend more than $1000.

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May 27, 2006

Conversation with John Bernard

I just talked to John Bernard, who is running for Alameda County Superintendent. He says that what happened at that democratic committee meeting is that someone asking him how he would handle a child who comes into the school from a home-schooled situation where he was tought creationism. He says he answered the question by saying that the child should be told that creationism is not science and that science is what is taught in school, but that the should discuss his beliefs with his parents. What he meant by balance, was balancing the rights of religious freedom of the child, with the school's obligation to teach science. He further says there is no place for religion in schools.

He himself is a Christian, but he is not a fundamentalist.

I have to say that his position sounded very reasonable to me. I myself am an "evolutionist" and a believer in sociobiology - I did a lot undergraduate and graduate-level work on human evolution at Berkeley - but I also believe both in parental rights (as I think I've made clear) and religious freedom, and I think schools must respect a child's belief while teaching him.

So even though I was just about to do a "write in" for Superintendent, I will now vote for John Bernard.

Posted by marga at 2:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Mayoral Candidate Forum June 1 at Zocalo

On Thursday June 1, 2006, at 7pm, Zocalo Coffeehouse will host a Mayoral Candidate Forum to which all of the mayoral candidates have been invited.

This event will be a moderated forum with the Mayoral candidates followed by a social event including candidates for City Council, who have all been invited. This will be one of the last opprtunities for you to meet the candidates and ask them in person about the issues that concern you before the election on June 6, 2006.

San Leandro Community Action Network is sponsoring the event and will post responses to its candidate questionnaires at its web site.

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Trader Sports Loses Court Appeal - Ordered to Close June 2

Trader Sports lost an appeal of the ATF's decision to revoke its licence in a decision by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker on May 25, 2006. The judge said that Trader Sports was unlikely to prevail and failed to adequately dispute ATF claims.

The inital date for closure of the store was June 1, but the judge allowed for one extra day so that the owner, Anthony Cucchiara could appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lee, Trader Sports has failed to account for 1,700 firearms, was unable to properly help the ATF trace guns found at crimes scenes 19 times, and guns it sold showed up at crime scenes about once a week for two years.

San Francisco Chronicle article

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Campaign Finance Disclosures for Mayoral Candidates Santos and Badger

As of May 20, 2006, Santos' campaign had $14,627 on hand after spending $17,881 and Badger's campaign had $3,323,94 on hand after spending $47,067.59 during the reporting period from March 18 to May 20.

Major contributions to Badger included $2000 from The Sentinels, $1500 from the Sunol Valley Golf Club, $1000 from John Gooding, a manager at the Quadric Group, $1000 from Madison Marquette, the owners of Bayfair, $1000 from Hayward attorney John Smith, and $1000 from Michael Mugel, CEO of Red Mountain Retail Group, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based developer and owner of shopping centers. Former San Leandro Mayor Jack Maltester and Planning Commission member Tom Dlugosh also contributed to Badger's campaign.

Major contributions to Santos included $2000 from The Sentinels, $1500 from the California Apartment Association PAC, and $1000 from Teamsters Local 70. Three other unions contributed $500 each. Mayor Sheila Young, School Board Trustee Stephen Cassidy, Planning Commision member Esther Holcomb and former City Council members Gordon Galvan and Kent Myers also contribited to Santos.

Notable expenditures for Santos include $2000 to Gilcrest Management for campaign consulting. Charles Gilcrest, who owns Gilcrest Management, is also on the Human Services Commission. Badger expenditures include $1700 to Kaidra Mitchell of San Francisco for campaign consulting, and $15,000 to The Lew Edwards Group for campaign consulting.

You can download CSV format files containing contributions from January 2005 to May 20, 2006 for Badger and Santos.

It is somewhat ironic that Santos voted to appoint Badger to the City Council on July 23, 2001. All city council members voted to appoint Badger, except Glenda Nardine, who voted for Dale Reed.

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May 23, 2006

Campaign Finance Disclosures for City Council District 5 - Bill Stephens

The following are from campaign finance disclosure statements filed at the City of San Leandro for the period from January 2005 to May 20, 2006, for Bill Stephens. As of May 20, 2006, Stephens had $8,226.98 on hand. Click here to download the data in CSV format.

Date      Last Name               First Name     Address                   City           Zip    Occupation   Employer             Amount
04/19/05  Batarse Jr.             Anthony        10550 International Blvd  Oakland        94603  Auto Dealer  Lloyd A. Wise, Inc.  500
04/19/05  Creekside Partners, LLC                3640 Sagunto St. 301      Santa Ynez     93460                                    250
04/19/05  EF Communities, Inc.                   2406 Merced St            San Leandro    94577                                    500
04/19/05  Galvan & Assoc.                        1636 Daniels Dr.          San Leandro    94577                                    250
04/19/05  Hayashi                 Dennis         18410 Buren Pl            Castro Valley  94552  Attorney     Hayashi & Associates 100
06/30/05  Contributions of less than $100                                                                                          1064
04/19/05  Int'l Assoc. of Firefighters Local 55  414 13th St Ste 300       Oakland        94612                                    500
04/19/05  Jacobowitz              Michael        1120 E. 14th St F         San Leandro    94577  Attorney     Self-employed        100
04/19/05  Molinaro                Robert         PO Box 1048               Pleasanton     94566  Retired                           250
04/19/05  Pearson                 Neal           998 Glen Dr.              San Leandro    94577  Dentist      Self-employed        100
04/19/05  Pennebaker              Chad           1273 Gabriel Ct.          San Leandro    94577  Retired                           100
04/19/05  Quadric Group                          PO Box 8400               Emeryville     94662                                    250
04/19/05  Reed                    Dale           1560 Daily Ct             San Leandro    94577  Owner        Acme Scale Co        250
07/25/05  Bayfair Mall                           1850 M. St NW             Washington     20036                                    250
07/25/05  Sullivan                John           17760 Sweetbriar Pl       Castro Valley  94546  Real Estate  Emerald Properties   200
01/31/06  Batarse Jr.             Anthony        10550 International Blvd  Oakland        94603  Auto Dealer  Lloyd A. Wise, Inc.  500
01/31/06  Bernard                 John           452 Mountain Blvd         Oakland        94611  Superintendent   Newark Unified School Dist.   100
01/31/06  Brannan                 Anna           1420 Randy St             San Leandro    94579  Attorney   Gagen, McCoy, McMahon & Armstrong   100
03/03/06  Creekside Associates, LLC              3640 Sagunto St. 301      Santa Ynez     93460                                    250
01/31/06  Evans Jr.               G Britton      22 Presidio Terrace       San Francisco  9418   Executive    EF Communities       250
01/31/06  Finch                   Jerry          302 Fletcher Dr.          Atherton       94027  Executive    EF Communities       250
01/31/06  Galvan                  Gordon         1636 Daniels Dr.          San Leandro    94577  Executive Director   San Leandro Links  250
01/31/06  Ivaldi                  Ronald         36616 Riviera Dr.         Fremont        94536  Restaurateur   Sunol Valley Golf Club   200
01/31/06  Koenig                  Roy            747 Maud Ave              San Leandro    94577  Sales Rep    Plywood & Lumber Sales, Inc. 100
01/31/06  Madison Marquette                      660 Davis St              San Francisco  94111                                    250
01/31/06  Molinaro                Robert         PO Box 399                Pleasanton     94566  Retired                           200
01/31/06  Reed                    Dale           1560 Daily Ct             San Leandro    94577  Owner        Acme Scale Co        250
01/31/06  Smith                   John           22320 Foothill Blvd.      Hayward        94541  Attorney     Self-employed        250
02/07/06  Trumark Companies, LLC                 4185 Blackhawk Plaza Cr 200  Danville    94506                                    500
01/31/06  Wohltmann               James          831 Lee Ave               San Leandro    94577  Mgr          PG&E                 100
01/31/06  Young                   Sheila         14751 Pansy St            San Leandro    94578  Mayor        City of San Leandro  100
03/17/06  Contributions of less than $100                                                                                          886
03/23/06  Int'l Assoc. of Firefighters Local 55  414 13th St Ste 300       Oakland        94612                                    500

Updated May 29, 2006

Posted by mike at 8:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Conversation with Bill McCammon

I stopped by Bill McCammon's fund-raiser at Zocalo this evening to ask him a few questions. He was obviously uncomfortable answering them and cut me short in a rather undiplomatic manner, which of course limits his appeal to me. Clearly the man has not yet refined the political skills of his opponent (who, in our phone conversation, was warm, friendly and inviting).

That's too bad because the positions he expressed weren't bad. He's in favor of decriminalizing at least some victimless crimes, and treating the problems of drug addiction through treatment rather than the justice system. He believes we need to start early and invest more on education and giving kids a future. He'd get more money for schools both by making sure the Federal government gives California all the money it's entitled to under No Child Left Behind and disability programs, and by a putting a proposition in the ballot to allow increases of property taxes to fund schools with a 55% of the vote in favor. He's in favor of enforcing air standards on small engines (like lawnmowers). He would support legislation to stop people who commit crimes as minors from being able to be sentenced to life without parole. And he'd be in favor of the legislation that would make children under 13 and children up to 8 years old have to ride in the back seat. He was also in favor of motorcycle helmet laws on economic grounds (though apparently it seems that the motorcycle helmet law actually increases medical care costs as people who'd be dying outright, are now just get very injured).

I should say that when I asked him about prison reform, the first thing he did was mention his talk with the prison guard union - which of course, have been the ones that are making prison reform very difficult.

Posted by marga at 7:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 22, 2006

Campaign Finance Disclosures for City Council District 3 Race

The following are from campaign finance disclosure statements filed at the City of San Leandro for the period from January to March 17, 2006. As noted before, Kleinstein doesn't expect to receive or spend more than $1,000.

Nathan Kleinstein
Date     Last Name  First Name  Address             City         Zip    Occupation    Employer   Amount
Diana Souza
Date     Last Name  First Name  Address             City         Zip    Occupation    Employer   Amount
03/17/06 Kneer      Katherine   PO Box 2498         Orangevale   95662  Planned Parenthood       300
03/17/06 Robertson  Christina   120 Scheidegger Cir Folsom       95630  Sales Rep     MCI        300
03/17/06 Souza      Clarine     PO Box 3181         Orangevale   95662  None                     500
Julian Polvorosa
Date     Last Name  First Name  Address                City         Zip    Occupation         Employer       Amount
01/29/06 Polvorosa  Dawn        779 Horizon Dr         Martinez     94553  District Attorney  Solano County  100
03/02/06 Ivica      Frank J.    2777 Alvardo St Ste D  San Leandro  94577  CPA                               100
02/21/06 Polvorosa  Isabel      1115 Avon Ave          San Leandro  94577  Computer Operator  Chabot College 1000
Posted by mike at 3:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 19, 2006

Conversation with Michael Gregory

I had a very long and difficult to summarize conversation with Michael Gregory, who is running for city council for my District, 1. I was very impressed with him, he seems to have a real commitment to San Leandro and to the community. He's lived here for 20 years, his wife is the director of the Broadmoor co-op, and he's raised two kids who've gone through San Leandro schools. When they were at Rosevelt, he worked to get a new library for the school, and when they were at Bancroft Middle School, he worked to get a new field. He's still working on that issue. He says the experiences have helped him learn how to work with all sorts of people.

As for his positions, he said he'd support a livable wage but he was more interested in knowing what the actual proposal was. I didn't have the details (does anyone know?). He was also doubtful about DARE, he thought there were better ways for SL to spend its money. When I asked him about the red light cameras, he hesitated on taking a position without knowing what the research on them was. I summarized it for him (they help prevent right-side collissions, but they increase rear-end collissions) and as we discussed this issue and others he gave me the impression that he would be the kind of councilman who'd actually ask questions and analyse proposals, instead of rubber stamping them.

He's in favor of Sunday hours for the library and the cherry festival. His position on eminent domain is also a "depends on the case" one, he would like to see some of it used to take some properties where the owners refuse to either sell or develop. He seems very interested in the development of San Leandro as a whole - and not just the downtown area. He mentioned, for example, how he was glad that the merchants in the southern part of town where he lives are getting together and starting some development over there. He seemed opposed to the idea of dedicating a lane to a rapid bus which would go down East 14th (he'd actually heard about this proposal), and he expressed concern as to how AC transit seems to be concentrating on fast and express buses to the detriment of local routes. He was aware that many stops have been cut, so that many people do not have a bus stop close to their home anymore. He thinks AC Transit should serve these populations better.

On the subject of the old Albertsons site, he thinks that what goes there should serve the whole population of San Leandro, which is not just white middle class. He would be opposed to a Sam's Club moving to San Leandro unless Walmart changed its employment tactics and paid their employees both a fair wage and health benefits. I don't remember what his specific proposals were, however :( I asked him about having San Leandro use alternative fuel vehicles on its fleet, and he said he was all for it and indeed the city should undertake the use of bycicles.

His main concern, however, seems to be the state of the schools. He thinks the problems between the district and city council are real, but he's worked with both and he almost guarantees that he's going to get them both on the same page. Indeed, I think this was his one campaign promise: fix this relationship. He has some innovative ideas - such as consolidating the school district with the city (given how small both are).

In all, after talking to him for so long I really liked him. I felt he was motivated and inspiring, and ready to do things. It seemed to me that he was running for city council to accomplish things, not just to pad his resume or for a power trip. I haven't talked to his opponent yet (he hasn't called me back), but I'm pretty sure I'm going to vote for him.

Posted by marga at 4:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

San Leandro Widow Faces Deportation

Today's San Francisco Chronicle reports that San Leandro resident Jacqueline Coats, 26, faces deportation after her husband died while trying to rescue two children who were caught by rip tides at Ocean Beach.

According to the article, Coats' student visa expired in 2003 and on April 6, immigration authorities began deportation proceedings. Eleven days later, Coats married Marlin Coats, which would have guaranteed her legal residency.

Coats is from Kenya and studied at San Jose State University. A hearing is scheduled for August 3, 2006.

Posted by mike at 7:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 18, 2006

School Board Reviews Options for Facilities Bond

The San Leandro School Board began its May 16, 2006, meeting with all members of the board present.

The first item of business was to present Certificates of Commendation to recipients of the Mid-Alameda County Special Education Local Plan Area (MAC SELPA) "Excellence in Special Education Award" to the following teachers:

Meredith Miller, Speech and Language Teacher, Monroe Elementary
Nuna Mingo, Resource Specialist Teacher, Madison Elementary
Sara Mireles, Resource Specialist Teacher, Roosevelt Elementary
Sarah Wood, Special Day Class Teacher, Madison Elementary

During the public comment period, three people spoke: one a teacher that spoke about racial discrimination he had experienced, a parent complaining about the way she and her child have been treated by school staff, and a parent complaining about the letter sent out by the school on April 28, 2006, concerning possible student absences for the "Day Without an Immigrant" protest on May 1.

The bulk of the meeting's four hours were for the fifth facilities workshop, in which the options for reducing overcrowding at the high school were reviewed with a PowerPoint presentation entitled "Planning for Potential Facility Bond."

The options were presented as follows:

Option 1: Build a ninth-grade academy on the current site of San Leandro High School (SLHS) adjacent to current classrooms and the gym at an estimated cost of $25 million.

Option 1A: Build a ninth-grade academy on the current site of SLHS adjacent to the football field at an estimated cost of $31 million.

Option 2: Build a ninth-grade academy on another site near San Leandro High School. Site options discussed included the current adult school office location, a 2.68-acre property a few blocks from SLHS and on the field of McKinley Elementary. The estimated cost of this option is $36 million.

Option 3: In conjuction with either Option 1A or 2, a 450-seat performing arts center and auxiliary gym would be constructed adjacent to existing classrooms and the gym at an estimated cost of $58 million.

Option 3A: In conjuction with either Option 2, a 450-seat performing arts center and new Industrial Arts facility would be combined, replacing the existing Industrial Arts facility. An auxiliary gym would built adjacent to the existing gym. This option relies on the ability to use the adjacent PG&E property for parking. The estimated cost of this option is $64 million.

Option 3B: In conjunction with Option 1A, it would include the performing arts center and auxiliary gym, but not a new Industrial Arts facility. The estimated cost of this option is $53 million.

Option 3C: In conjunction with Option 1A, it would include a combined performing arts center and Industrial Arts facility and auxiliary gym. The estimated cost of this option is $59 million.

Option 4: Build a new building at John Muir Middle School and use it for an Opportunity Program where students most at risk of failure would received personalized instruction. The estimated cost of this option is $3 million.

Also under consideration are a renovation of Burrell Field and a multi-purpose room at Jefferson Elementary.

Some board members felt that presenting all of these options at upcoming community meetings, including those that were opposed by the board, would not be helpful to the process. Other board members thought that all options should be presented at the upcoming community meetings. In the end, the Board voted to remove the McKinley Elementary site from consideration.

The first community meeting will be held at the San Leandro High School gym on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 6:30pm.

With the exception of two items, all consent items on the agenda were approved unanimously by the Board.

Board members Cassidy and Cutter voted against the approval of the Administrative Panel's recommendation for expulsion for student E51-05-06 in a 5 to 2 vote.

On resolution #06-24, which would certify that Board Member Ray Davis was absent from the April 25, 2006 Board meeting due to hardship, Morgan Mack-Rose spoke against the approval of the resolution noting Davis' absence from previous board meetings. David defended himself, stating that he had a job that sometimes obligated him to miss School Board meetings. In fact, the date of the April 25, 2006, board meeting was scheduled with the Board's knowledge that Davis would be unable to attend, as it was not a regularly-scheduled Board meeting. The Board discussed the possibility of defining what exactly was meant by "hardship" and also whether to note that the meeting was a "special" meeting that was in addition to the regularly scheduled meetings. The Board voted 6 to 1 to approve the resolution with Cassidy dissenting. According to Board policies, Board members receive $240 per month for their service, which is cut by 50% if a Board member misses a meeting.

The decision on approval of the Board's regular meeting schedule was entertaining as Board member Heystek emphasized the need to meet on the first and third Tuesday's of the month and to deviate from the schedule as little as possible. Cassidy requested that the Board reschedule its November 7 meeting, since that would be the day of the election and Board members were likely to be working to support the bond measure. Heystek responded that he felt Cassidy was "jinxing the election." With a few exceptions, the Board approved the revised calendar in a 6 to 1 vote with Cassidy dissenting.

The last item concerned the creation of the San Leandro Community Alliance for Education, an advisory committee that is intended to give more of the community input to the school administration through Superintendent Christine Lim. Board member Perry stressed that the the alliance would be completely advisory and would not be a second school board. She asked Superintendent Lim for more information about how much it would cost in resources and staff time. She was especially concerned by a handout provided by Heidi Finberg that included a draft of an invitation list of more than 40 local organizations and groups, an invitation letter, an application, and an agenda.

Board members Richards stated that something like the alliance was "overdue in our community" and Cassidy recommended that it go forward. Richards, along with Perry and Davis, also expressed a desire to have the purpose and scope of the alliance defined more clearly. Ms. Finberg noted to the Board that her handout was based on a second-hand account of an earlier meeting, she apologized for any confusion, and stated of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce (of which she is CEO), "we want to be partners" with the schools.

In the end, the Board voted unanimously to table discussion of the alliance until the June 20, 2006, School Board meeting, in which Superintendent Lim promised to provide additional information.

Posted by mike at 8:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 17, 2006

Reviews of Copeland's "Not a Genuine Black Man" in New York

Associated Press drama critic Michael Kuchwara reviewed Brian Copeland's Not a Genuine Black Man on Wednesday, May 17, 2006. Kuchwara liked Copeland's show and described Copeland as "a genial, accomplished raconteur..." and concludes, "The man refuses to be categorized. And it is that refusal to be stereotyped that makes "Not a Genuine Black Man" such an intriguing and entertaining evening."

In his review, New York Times critic Jason Zinoman writes, "But a funny thing happens when Mr. Copeland switches to his own voice. He sounds overwrought, false and, when the script calls for anger, oddly unconvincing. His personal tales are riveting, but the manner in which they are told makes it seem that Mr. Copeland might have been better off casting someone else to play himself. Sometimes a bit of artifice can seem more authentic than the real thing."

New York Post critic Frank Scheck's review is even more harsh: "It's a thematically ambitious concept and, while he has some interesting stories to tell, he doesn't quite manage to weave his disparate strands together...There's an awkwardness to the piece's structure and transitions that reveals his theatrical inexperience... Not helping matters is his forced delivery, infused with a comic overemphasis..."

Michael Summers' review in the Newark Star-Ledger lamentsn that the show "...for all of its honest humor and candid social insights has its occasional lulls..."

From the New Yorker: "...this one-man show has a motormouth verbal energy and an appealing emotional honesty. Copeland moves past the distracting rhythms of standup comedy early in the show to let his gift for ambiguity take over."

And a similar summary of the reviews from

And finally, this item from Leah Garchik in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Copeland's show at the DR2 Theater continues until July 30. Tickets are available at or by calling (212) 239-6200/

Posted by mike at 11:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 16, 2006

Mercator MedSystems Raises $2.25 Million in Venture Capital

In a May 15, 2006, press release, San Leandro-based Mercator MedSystems announced that it had raised $2.25 million from Palo Alto Investors and Crocker Capital.

Mercator MedSystems is named after Gerardus Mercator, a 16th-century cartographer and mathematician. Accoridng to its website, "Mercator MedSystems has developed a medical technology that enables the safe and accurate delivery of therapies anywhere in the body, ranging from drugs for diseased blood vessels, to stem cells that regenerate ailing tissues and organs."

Mercator MedSystems is located at 3077 Teagarden Street in San Leandro, California.

Posted by mike at 4:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 15, 2006

Student Perspective on the San Leandro High School Disturbances

New American Media is a news service for ethnic youths and is a project of the Pacific News Service. Elliot McGregor, a 16-year-old writer and video producer, penned a commentary entitled "Rules of Engagement -- Black Versus Brown in High School" on May 15, 2006.

Since it's been more than 20 years since I've attended high school, I found his perspective illuminating and somewhat disturbing.

Posted by mike at 10:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Planning Commission Recommends Blocking Traffic at Dangerous Intersection

In its meeting on May 11, 2006, the San Leandro Planning Commission decided to recommend blocking Castro Street traffic from being able to cross San Leandro Boulevard. This solution was recommended by the Engineering staff after a report completed by Dowling Associates, Inc. in February 2005 entitled "Analysis of High Collision Locations in San Leandro."

The recommended solution, estimated to cost $50,000, consists of a concrete S-shaped barrier that will allow left turns from San Leandro Boulevard onto Castro Street, but will prevent traffic from Castro Street from crossing San Leandro Boulevard. The propsed barrier is shown in the following photo from the report:


The report noted, "A possible cause of the collisions may be poor judgment of the crossing distance by drivers on Castro Street. This theory is supported by the fact that over half of the right-angle collisions occurred at the far side of the intersection. The remaining collisions mostly involved eastbound Castro Street traffic and northbound San Leandro Boulevard traffic, with poor sight distance considered a possible cause. High speeds on Castro Street and violation of stop controls may also contribute to the high collision rate. It was observed that some vehicles did not abide by the stop sign if there were traffic gaps on San Leandro Boulevard wide enough for more than one vehicle to cross."

The council's recommendation was unanimous.

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May 12, 2006

Fire Destroys Family Home

A fie reported at 3:10am on May 12, 2006, at 2621 W. 133rd Avenue destroyed a house and all of the family's boxed-up belongings. The family was in the process of moving at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported.

Posted by mike at 9:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pete Stark Open Forum

May 20th
10:30 -- 11:30 am
San Leandro Library
Dave Karp Senior Facility
300 Estudillo Avenue

Posted by marga at 9:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 11, 2006

Starosciak asks community to support library/cherry festival

The following is a letter sent by District 4 city council member Joyce Starosciak to her supporters. In the letter Starosciak argues that there will be money in the city budget that can be allocated to re-open the libary on Sundays and to fund the Cherry Festival (cut from last year's budget). She asks the community to let other city council members know they support these expenditures.

Dear Friends,

The City Council work session on the budget last night left me with a very disturbing sense that I need your help to understand and to respond.

The City looks to be in good fiscal shape for the 2006-07 budget year. While costs are increasing, the passage of the Measure I Business License Fee will help us increase our revenue to compensate for the additional costs. In fact, even the most conservative projections show that our ending balance will be $238,000 in the black.

The disappointment is that even with this strong and conservative projection, the Cherry Festival and the Sunday Library Hours are not proposed to be restored in this budget.

Last night I implored my colleagues on the Council to consider using a modest $200k of our budget to restore these very important community assets. With the exception of Councilmember Nardine, the Council was completely silent on this issue. Councilmember Nardine shared my opinion that these were very important services to restore. The Mayor instead suggested that we wait until September or October to review our revenue before considering funding these programs.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we cannot wait until September to fund these programs. They are vital now. In fact they have been sorely missed for 2 years. Even if funded now, the Cherry Festival will not happen until 2007. I do not want to pass up this opportunity and push it out until 2008! In addition, the City staff must start working now to pull the festival together for next year. They cannot sit in limbo until October, they deserve a firm commitment from the City Council.

So I am asking you, the active members of the community, to get involved. There are two things that you can do.

1) Contact the rest of the Council to tell them how you feel about the Cherry Festival and the Sunday Library Hours. Each program costs less than (or equal to, there are no firm numbers) $100,000. Let them know how their leadership can make a difference. If you feel very strongly, let the Mayoral candidates hear that your consideration of their leadership depends on this issue. How can they abandoned two of the most important programs in San Leandro and at the same time say they want to lead this City in a better direction? Let them know how you feel.

There are other budget issues that I will discuss in future updates. This one, however needs your attention right away.

Our Council meets again on May 15, which is our regular meeting date. The next consideration of the budget will be June 5, where we will be reviewing the Draft Budget. We hope to approve the final budget on June 19.

It is important for your voice to be heard before May 15. That is where the Council has final input before the Draft Budget is presented. Calls and emails are good; personal letters are even better. Please let me and the other Councilmembers know how you feel.

As always, I appreciate your feedback on these issues.

Joyce Starosciak

City 510.351.5876

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Conversation with OB Badger

I just had a long talk with OB Badger, who is running for Mayor of San Leandro. He says he supports having the library opening on Sundays, he thinks the library is the community center of San Leandro (I agree) and if they can find the money for it, he'll put it into the library. He also thinks it's very important to re-fund the Cherry Festival as it's the one event that brings all of San Leandro together. He says he supports education, supported Measure A, and has worked as a liaison with the school board. He thinks the city council should support schools, but has a limited role. He claims there isn't a bad relationship between the council and the board, he thinks that there used to be one before his time and the impression has remained.

His vision for San Leandro is to keep it "clean and green" and bring stores and businesses people want to patronize. In particular, he wants to see one of the big consumer electronic retailers in downtown San Leandro - given that San Leandrans now go outside the city to buy electronics and the city loses that tax revenue. He was at first reluctant to commit himself on the issue of eminent domain, but he said he'd support it for places such as the old First Interstate bank on East 14th. It belongs to WAMU, which has refused both to sell it or do something with it. On the other hand, he says he'd be reluctant to use eminent domain on residences.

He supports a living wage for San Leandro. He is in favor red light cameras, but he says the city was not informed about the fact that red light cameras increase rear-end collisions. I think that I will have to bring this issue up to city hall as a whole.

He is also in support of restoring funding to DARE, he knows that the program's success is questionable (indeed, I mentioned a study that shows that kids that go through DARE are more likely to use Drugs that kids that don't) but he thinks the issue of drug addiction needs to be addressed in schools. He says they've looked for alternatives to DARE and haven't found them.

He agreed that the city needs to do something to bring blacks and Latinos together. He says as mayor he will outreach to the Latino community - he already does so to the Asian community. It gave me the impression that he hasn't found a way to reach out to the Latinos yet, which I can see might be difficult. He did make it sound like there are resentments against Latinos in the black community. He tried to walk a very tight rope in answering my questions about whether he supported the May 1st boycott - it was clear that he did not understand what the boycott was about (which, I must say, seems to be a very common position - I think we failed miserably in explaining this one point). He seems to support immigration reforms that would let some Mexicans come to this country to work legally. But he was mostly oblique about this and as this is not a local issue per se, I didn't push him.

He says that he will be an independent mayor and will not follow the Chamber's line. On the other hand, it's clear that he's very much in favor of bringing new businesses to San Leandro.

Our conversation was very long, so I didn't ask him everything I wanted to - I'll leave that for a follow up.

BTW, he seems to be non-tech savvy. I told him I'd put my notes on my blog, and he had no idea what I was talking about.

Posted by marga at 10:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 10, 2006

City Council Campaign Finance Disclosures

The candidates for the District 3 City Council seat are Nathan Kleinstein, Julian Polvorosa, and Diana Souza.

As of March 17, 2006, Polvorosa had just $200 on hand after spending much of the $1,000 loaned to his campaign by his wife Isabel Polvorosa.

Souza reported $1,100 on hand after receiving a $500 campaign contribution from Clarine Souza and $300 each from Katherine Kneer and Christina Robertson.

Kleinstein declared that he did not expect to receive nor spend more than $1,000 during the campaign

In District 1, the candidates are Michael Gregory and Frank Lynn.

As of March 17, 2006, Gregory reported no campaign contributions. Lynn declared that he did not expect to receive nor spend more than $1,000 during the campaign.

Curiously, although Bill Stephens is running unopposed for the District 5 seat, he had more than $7,000 on hand as of March 17, 2006, and had raised $4,736 of it since January 1, 2006. Substantial donors include Anthony Batarse, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Lloyd A. Wise Inc., who gave $500, Trumark Companies of Danville with a $500 contribution, Madison Marquette, the owners of Bayfair Center, with $250, former council member Gordon Galvan with $250, and current mayor Sheila Young with $100.

Trumark Companies is the residential developer of 70 single family homes on the north end of Preda Street and the 66-unit Medallion development.

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Conversation with Mary Hayashi

I just had a nice, long conversation with Mary Hayashi, who is running for state assembly for this district. I was unprepared when she called, in fact I was nursing, and I didn't have a list of questions I wanted to ask her. So I asked about my pet topic (prisons) and some of the issues brought up on this list.

Mary seems to be fully devoted to the issue of health, and mental health in particular, so most of what she had to say concerned the health and mental health implications of other issues. For example, she emphasized that many people end up in prison because their mental health issues are not addressed, so her emphasis would be on tackling that problem. She is particularly concerned about how difficult it is to find people to work at mental health facilities, even when they exist. She clearly would like to see more attention and money going that way.

She also showed interest on the issue of child health and in particular the obessity epidemic. She'd like to see junk food banned from schools, as well as more systemic changes.

She seems very concerned about education (she said she worked to pass Measure A), would like to increase funding for education, close the loopholes on taxes for corporations, provide equitable funding to schools but also return local control of school finances.

I asked her about Stephen's point she had endorsed the law which caps punitive damages in the case of death through malpractice (forgive my bad phrasing) and she said she indeed supported this law as a way of keeping insurance rates at a manegeable rate. She says most of the members of the assembly support it. I have to say that I'm not sure what I think about that particular issue so I won't editorialize.

I also asked her about Stephen's question of whether she had two jobs at the same time, and she told me that both the foundations she funded have consolidated into one, for which she works drawing one salary. In the past she has worked as a consultant for several organizations.

All in all I got a very good impression of Mary. She sounded like a real person, very enthusiastic and very passionate about the issue of mental illness. She sounds like someone who is not going to be just warming a seat at the assembly but actually going and doing something. Of course, as an activist myself I am quite biased in favor of other activists, I want to see people in politics who want to make the world a better place.

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Man Shot in Leg Near Bayfair Mall

A 19-year-old man was shot in the leg near Bayfair Center at approximately 10:15am on Wednesday, May 10, 2006. The police believe that the victim knew his assailant. The shooting occured adjacent to the San Leandro Bay Fair BART station and the Century Theatre multiplex. The victim is expected to recover.

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Mayoral Campaign Finances

In the interest of public disclosure, San Leandro Bytes obtained copies of campaign finance disclosure documents for all the mayoral candidates. These documents cover the period from January 1, 2006 to March 17, 2006.

Orval "OB" Badger has the biggest campaign warchest, with $32,050 on hand at the end of the filing period. He received a total of $1,098 in campaign contributions, with $300 from former San Leandro Mayor Jack Maltester and $500 from the Local 55 of the International Association of Firefighters.

Tony Santos is not too far behind with $21,961. During the filing period, he received $9,462 in campaign contributions. Local 55 of the Firefighters hedged its bet by giving $500 to Santos' campaign and Anthony Batarse, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Lloyd A. Wise Inc. gave $500 as well.

Candidates Marcene Nardine and Lou Filipovich both submitted statements declaring that they anticipate receiving and spending less than $1,000 during the campaign.

The next campaign finance disclosure statements are due on May 20, 2006. Of course, we'll get copies of those as well and post a summary.

Posted by mike at 12:34 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Conversation with Diana Souza

I had a very pleasant conversation with City Council candidate Diana Souza who called me after I left an e-mail in her website. We talked about eminent domain, and she says that she would evaluate those situations in a case by case basis. She wouldn’t be opposed to using it on a single house in the middle of an industrial zone, but she doesn’t like the idea of using it on multiple houses in areas marked for redevelopment. I mentioned the proposed “Bus Rapid Transit”, a rapid bus which would occupy a dedicated lane of East 14th street beginning on 2009. She hadn’t heard about this AC Transit proposal before but felt it was probably not a good idea. I also mentioned the use of red light cameras, an issue she supports. She was under the impression they improve safety at the intersections with them, something which several studies done on the matter question. I will e-mail her those studies so she can evaluate them. She believes improving relations with the School Board is very important, and says she has worked on this issue within the Parks & Recreations Committee. She didn’t give me any specific examples of how she’d make communication with them more effective. Finally, she supports extended hours for the library and re-funding the Cherry Festival.

Posted by marga at 11:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 9, 2006

San Leandro City Council Candidates' Forum

On Tuesday, May 9, 2006, three of the candidates for San Leandro City Council sat down for lunch and a forum co-sponsored by the Business Association of South San Leandro and the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.

Diana Souza and Julian Polvorosa are running for the District 3 seat being vacated by Glenda Nardine. Nathan Kleinstein was unable to make the forum because of medical reasons. Michael Gregory is running for the District 1 seat being vacated by Orval “OB” Badger. Frank Lynn, who is also running for the District 1 seat, had indicated he was going to attend but never showed up. Bill Stephens, who is running unopposed for the District 5 seat, was invited but decided to yield to the other candidates.

The Eden Area League of Women Voters moderated the forum. Candidates made an opening statement, answered eight questions, and made a closing statement. The forum was attended by about 25 people, including Mayor Sheila Young, Vice-Mayor Surlene Grant, and City Council Member Joyce Starosciak.

Ms. Souza decided to run after working against the elimination of the school board representative to the San Leandro Recreation and Parks Commission. If elected, her priorities would be keeping seniors involved in the community, increasing recreation opportunities, and positive relations with businesses and schools.

According to Mr. Polvorosa, friends approached him to run again to represent them. If elected, his priorities would be the children of San Leandro, seniors, and a strong manufacturing base.

Mr. Gregory decided to run after attending Leadership San Leandro through the Chamber of Commerce. If elected, his top priorities would be education, the city budget, and affordable housing.

All three candidates were unsure of what can be done about parking problems caused by the MacArthur Boulevard construction, endorsed Measure I, the business license tax, were in favor of the red light cameras recently installed at five intersections, and promised their doors would always be open to constituents at neighborhood meetings. All candidates expressed their support for better schools, with Souza stating she would build connections between the city and schools and Gregory stating that he would join subcommittees that liaison with the schools.

When questioned about how they would promote harmonious relations with respect to ethnic diversity, all three expressed support for ethnic diversity, but were vague on how they would promote harmonious relations. Gregory noted the importance of getting students comfortable with ethnic diversity and Souza stated that it was important to accept diversity and to understand why diversity sometimes leads to conflicts.

Souza and Gregory both mentioned bringing the Cherry Festival back as one of their goals and Gregory added the Sausage and Suds Festival and having the library open on Sunday once again.

The election will be held Tuesday, June 6, 2006. The last day to register to vote for the June 6, 2006 election is May 22, 2006. Registration forms are available in English and Spanish.

Posted by mike at 10:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 5, 2006

San Leandro Company Gets $30.5 million of venture capital

According to a report in the Contra Costa Times, ePAC, a San Leandro-based provider of printing and logistics solutions for the high-tech industry, has received $30.5 million of venture capital in its third round of funding. Menlo Ventures is one of the funders. The second round of funding totaled $12.8 million back in September 2003.

ePAC is located at 2561 Grant Avenue in San Leandro, but according to the web site, "ePAC is headquartered in Silicon Valley."

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May 2, 2006

San Leandro Resident Stephanie Mathews Reported Missing

Stephanie Mathews, a 19-year-old San Leandro resident, was last seen in the parking lot of the Union Jack Pub, in unincorporated San Leandro.

According to the KTVU web site:

"She was last seen getting into a blue 2002 Chrysler Sebring with four or five black males. The car bears the California license plate 4VAJ479.

Mathews is described as a white female, 5 foot 5 inches tall, 150 to 160 pounds, with red hair. She was last seen wearing a black shirt, blue denim skirt and stretch pants with silver shoes.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the 24-hour dispatch number of the Alameda County Sheriff at (510) 667-7721, Sgt. Tom Madigan at (510) 667-3667, Detective Lauren Tucker at (510) 667-4907 or the anonymous tip line at (510) 667-3622."

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