July 31, 2006

Thrift Town Featured in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle

The July 30, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle featured San Leandro's Thrift Town in an article listing places to go for cheap dates and fabulous funk.

From the article:

Thrift Town, 16160 E 14th St. San Leandro. "Thrift Town, the first-class secondhand store. Tina's been going to Thrift Town San Leandro for, like, 20 years. The best in the Bay Area. You can always find something there. She got a Nauga for $1.99 recently. They play awesome oldies tunes -- there really is nothing better on a Sunday afternoon than thriftin' to the oldies."

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Man Killed, Woman Hurt in Shooting at Quik Stop

A man was killed and woman was injured in a shooting early Monday, July 31, 2006, at the Quik Stop Market at 1001 MacArthur Boulevard in San Leandro. According to witnesses, a Chevrolet Tahoe drove up to the market, was approached by two men, an argument ensued, and the driver was shot twice and the female passenger was shot once in the shoulder. A passenger in the back seat helped get the victims to Highland Hospital.

No names have been released and the police have no suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call the San Leandro Police at (510) 577-3201

Update: As of September 13, 2006, there are still no suspects. The driver who was killed is Daryl Lamar Pierson.

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July 29, 2006

Former Deli Owner Opening Elsewhere

According to the July 29, 2006 edition of the Tracy Press, the former owner of the San Leandro deli Vatran's Flying Sausages will be opening a store in Tracy soon.

From the article: "• A man named Peter Vatran, a Tracy resident who hails from western Romania, had a deli in San Leandro and owns the Xenia Bistro in Alamo. He also has the seasoning. In fact, he’s the distributor for Bacchetti and Baier.

Not only that, he plans to open an upscale shop in about a month on Mars Court, which is in south Tracy off Tracy Boulevard. The shop will be called Flying Sausages Charcuterie and Catering Co., and Vatran will sell his homemade sausages, barbecue sauces, vodka, bacon, ham — and the special beef seasoning, along with many others."

The deli Vatran used to own is now Joaquin Deli at 275 Joaquin Avenue.

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July 28, 2006

Joint School Board/City Council Meeting on Monday

The Board of the San Leandro Unified School District and the City Council of San Leandro will conduct a joint meeting on Monday, July 31, 2006, in the Dave Karp room of the San Leandro Library. The meeting will begin at 7pm, but an informal gathering will begin at 6pm. After introductions by Mayor Shelia Young and School Board President Pauline Cutter, there will be an update on joint use projects and finally a presentation by the school district on the proposed school facilities bond. An old version of the presentation is available from the school district web site. For complete details about the bond amount and projects approved by the School Board on July 18, 2006, click here.

The San Leandro Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue, one block east of E. 14th Street.

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July 27, 2006

Mike is Running for School Board

Mike Katz, the author of this blog (San Leandro Bytes) has filed papers to run for San Leandro School Board, District 4. Mike's platform is based on greater community and parental outreach and involvement, transparency and accountability at the board and district level and passing the bond so we can relieve overcrowding at the High School and repair our schools. For more information check out www.electmikekatz.com.

The present trustee for district 4 is getting out of school board politics, and rumor has it that Mike will have at least two opponents in this race. One of them, Gerald Shovlin is a teacher at Bishop O'Dowd High School, a Catholic High School in Oakland. He has children in the San Leandro school district. We don't know who the other person is yet. The filing period closes on August 18th.

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July 25, 2006

San Leandro Has Highest Costs for Installing Solar Panels

The Contra Costa Times reports that costs for installing typical solar panels is highest in San Leandro, according to a survey by the San Francisco Bay chapter of the Sierra Club. San Leandro topped the list with permit fees and inspection costs of $1,100 compared to lows of $3 in Mill Valley and $65 in Walnut Creek. The Sierra Club survey of 48 municipalities found that the average cost was $445.

A similar survey one year ago that found similar variations in other municipalities led to 14 cities lowering their fees.

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Vigil for Slain SL Police Officer Nels Dan Niemi Tonight

One year after the shooting death of Nels Dan Niemi, a vigil will be held tonight at 8 p.m. in front of the police department at 901 East 14th St. The 45-minute vigil will be an upbeat celebration of Niemi's life, according to Police Chief Joe Kicthen.

The suspect in Niemi's death, Irving Ramirez, has a pretrial hearing scheduled for August 28, 2006, and a jury trial set to begin on October 22.

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July 24, 2006

Escaping the heat in San Leandro

I don't have to tell you that it's been really, really hot in San Leandro. And of course, most of us are not prepared for the heat. Our houses (well, at least my house) are not well insulated, and they don't have A/C. What to do to escape the hotest hours of the day? Go to Zocalo! This most San Leandran of cafes has both air conditioning and working fans - not to mention a plethora of cool drinks. And of course, our presence, as that's where we've been spending much of our time :)

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July 21, 2006

Two Cheers for Stark

We're lucky in San Leandro to have one of the most progressive representatives in Congress, Pete Stark. He's often in the minority, specially in this congress, but he at least stands for his principles and constituency.

I wanted to highlight two pieces of legislation in which he's taken the right position. One is H.Res. 921 which condemned the recent attacks against Israel and ratified Israel's rights of self defense, while being completely silent in the rights of the Palestinian and Lebanese to rise up against tyranny - a right articulated in the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Pete Stark was one of only 8 representatives to vote against it. Even Barbara Lee did not have his courage.

He is also a co-sponsor of H.Con.Res 450 which calls for an immediate cease-fire, multi-party negotiations and an international peacekeeping force.

If you, like me, believe that human rights are an essential part of the progressive agenda, please write to Stark and thank him for his stands.

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July 20, 2006

School Board Approves Intra-District Transfer Policy

In its meeting on Thursday, July 20, 2006, the San Leandro School Board voted 5-0 to appoint Judith Cameron as the Director of Curriculum and Professional Development during a brief closed session. Cameron was previously the principal at Roosevelt Elementary. Board President Pauline Cutter was absent and Board Vice-President Stephen Cassidy was late to the meeting and missed the vote.

During the open session, Mike Katz made some suggestions on the Intra-District Transfer request form and the rules regarding intra-district transfers.

Trustee Louis Heystek asked for the consent calendar item concerning intra-district transfers to be pulled. The only other consent item, approval of the extension of the Community Outreach Specialist position from Dec. 2006 to June 2007, was approved 6-0.

In response to a question from Trustee Heystek, Assistant Superintendent Cindy Cathey explained that it was unusual to specify specific criteria. Cassidy was concerned about the possibility of arbitrary decisions and asked about the criteria for denial of an ongoing intra-district transfer. Cathey explained that very few ongoing intra-district transfers are denied. In cases where students are tardy six to 10 times, parents would be notified of district concerns before an ongoing transfer was denied. In most cases, there were multiple issues (late or unexcused absences, academic performance, and discipline).

The School Board voted 6-0 to approve the form with a slight modification and the intra-district transfer policy with a change to indicate that IEP stood for individual educational program in AR 5116.2

AR 5116.2 governs intra-district transfers and sets the following as priorities for intra-district transfers:

1. Students residing in the school's attendance area.
2. Students diverted from their resident attendance area (Involuntary transfers).
3. Siblings of students diverted from their resident attendance area.
4. Students requesting transfers based on dangerous or harmful special circumstances, including threats of bodily harm. A finding of dangerous or harmful special circumstance shall be based upon a written statement from a law enforcement official or properly licensed professional, or a court order.
5. Siblings of special education students whose IEP [individual education program] has placed them at a specific school.
6. Siblings of students already in attendance at the school.
7. Students whose parent or legal guardian is assigned to that school as his or her primary place of employment pursuant to California Education Code section 35160.5(b)(3)(D).
8. Student placements requesting transfers from Title I schools identified for program improvement as outlined in No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

All other transfers, including academic needs, hardship cases, etc., will be subject to space available at the requested school and assignments will be determined by a lottery.

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July 19, 2006

School Board Decides on $103.5 Million Facilities Bond

After more than four hours of a nearly five-hour meeting on Tuesday, July 18, 2006, the San Leandro School Board decided on an amount of $103.5 million for a facilities bond to be placed on the November 7, 2006, ballot.

The meeting started with Board President Pauline Cutter reporting that no action was taken during closed session.

A school district attorney briefly reported on his consideration of a possible conflict-of-interest for Trustee Linda Perry, who lives near one of the properties under consideration for purchase for the freshman campus. He found that there was no economic conflict-of-interest nor was there any conflict that would prevent her from fully participating in discussions or votes concerning the school bond.

Superintendent Christine Lim started a presentation entitled "Potential 2006 Facility Bond, July 18, 2006" that addressed some questions raised by board members at previous meetings. Consultant Connell Lindh spoke first about the tax rate amount for a bond that he thought would succeed at the polls. He acknowledged that previous polling in 2004 and 2005 had resulted in maximum tax rates of $25 and $30 per $100,000 of assessed value, respectively. However, he stated that efforts in support of Measure A had raised awareness of school needs to the community and groups like the Rental Housing Owners Association and the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce to such a level that he recommended that the tax rate for the facilities bond not exceed $40 per $100,000 of assessed value. According to Lindh, the school district passed a 1997 school bond of $54 million and managed to obtain $34 million in matching state funds. He also stated that projects completed as part of that bond were on budget and completed six years ahead of schedule.

After a discussion on tax rates, Leo Ray-Lynch of WLC Architects said that shop renovations for the original SLAM space would cost $600,000 and the entire industrial arts building would cost $3 million. Increasing the capacity of the freshman campus from 750 to 800 students would cost $1 million and increasing the capacity of the arts education center from 450 to 650 seats would cost $5 million.

Mike Murphy estimated annual savings from modernization of lighting at $72,844, heating and ventilation at $10,800, and telephones (voice over internet protocol/VOIP) at $116,500. Removing the portables would save $100,000 in annual leasing costs.

Assistant Superintendent Leon Glaster estimated that matching federal grants from the E-Rate program could total $466,400 for upgrading the data networks at McKinley and Wilson and about $1 million for upgrading to VOIP.

Assistant Superintendent Cindy Cathey covered additional operating costs of a freshman campus and a 7th and 8th grade opportunity school.

Trustee Ray Davis began the discussion by noting that a previous study had shown that some items polled at more than 70% support and questioned Lindh about whether the $40 tax rate was really the maximum that could be sustained. Lindh replied that polls show overwhelming support for many things until they are considered with the associated cost.

Trustee Lisa Hague asked about the operational cost difference between a 750 and 800-student freshman campus. Cathey said that there was none.

When asked by Trustee Stephen Cassidy about the costs and scope of upgrades to the industrial arts center, Glaster responded that the $600,000 estimate would cover three rooms, including equipment. Glaster also noted that matching funds may also be available.

Trustee Rick Richards asked about projected enrollment and Glaster responded that it would be flat until 2025, according to demographic projections. Glaster also answered a question about classrooms by saying that there would be 28 classrooms for 750 students and 30 classrooms for 800 students.

The school board meeting was attended by about 42 people, 29 of whom commented on the facilities bond. Everyone who spoke was in favor of the bond, but for different reasons or for different amounts. Andrew Kopp of the San Leandro Community Action Network read a letter asking the board to support a minimum tax rate of $40 per $100,000 of assessed value along with a detailed list of priorities. John Sullivan, who owns rental property in San Leandro, asked the board to stay below the $40 mark and focus on maintaining and upgrading the existing facilities. Professional musician Laurel Rice spoke in favor of the freshman campus, noting that she had home-schooled her daughter because 9th grade at San Leandro High School was too overwhelming. San Leandro Chamber of Commerce CEO Heidi Finberg praised the School Board and administration for their "wonderful outreach effort" that educated the business community on the state of San Leandro schools.

Sabrina Ramirez, president of the San Leandro Teachers Association, said that while the performing arts center was a wonderful idea, it should not take precedence over modernization needs where classrooms are saunas when it's hot outside and meat lockers when it's cold. She said that 50 new teachers will be hired to replace those that left - many because of the working conditions. San Leandro Council Member-elect Michael Gregory promised to work with the school board on joint-use projects. Leroy Smith of Citizens for San Leandro supported a tax rate of $40 and said that it would be great to have the arts education center, but overcrowding at the high school must be addressed first. Charles Gilcrest pointed out that if there is justification to use a more favorable interest rate, the school board might be able to get another $3 to $5 million out of the same tax rate.

After a short break, the school board got to work on making decisions about the total amount of the bond and the projects to be funded by the bond. Deciding on the total amount proved to be rather easy, with overwhelming support for $103.5 million, the amount supported by a tax rate of $40 per $100,000 of assessed value assuming a 5% growth in assessed value annually, and a 5.25% interest rate. Trustee Davis wanted more, but Cassidy cautioned that they were already pushing the envelope at a tax rate of $40 and a higher amount would likely fail. Cutter and Perry both expressed concern that the school board stick to the $40 amount so that voters can be certain about the amount the bond will cost each year. The amount works out to $82.78 for the median San Leandro homeowner.

With a total amount of $103.5 million, each school board member listed their priorities on a spreadsheet consisting of 21 options each for new construction and modernization. The consensus choices became apparent very quickly. The final new construction choices totaling $61 million were:

Freshman Campus (off site with gym , 800 Students) - $38 million
Arts Education Center (AEC) - 450 seat capacity (26,260 sf) - $17 million
PG&E lot at SLHS - $4 million
SLHS Library Expansion (2,200 sf) - $0.9 million
Bancroft Parking lot (purchase only) - $0.4 million
Landscaping - SLHS campus - $0.7 million

Hague, Davis, and Richards originally wanted some of the bond to go for Burrell Field, but had to forgo Burrell in order to bring their total project list under the $103.5 million maximum and to gain school board consensus. Heystek was forced to do the same with expansion of the adult school as was Perry with the Jefferson multipurpose room. The landscaping item was the subject of much discussion with the school board trying to better describe the fact that the landscaping item would address making the front of the San Leandro High School and the arts education center into a place that is inviting and beautiful.

The final modernization choices totaling $42.5 million were:

ADA, Fire Life Safety - $2.1 millions
Replace Roofs - $10.7 million
Heating - Alt 2 - Abandon (E) & Install Package Heating - $9.6 million
Data Systems - LAN - baseline standard (Wilson, Monroe & McKinley) - $1 million
Restrooms - Alt 1 - Remove & Replace All - $5 million
Paint Walls - $3.9 million
Technology - Alt 1 - VOIP - $2.4 million
Lighting Modifications (replace classroom fixtures) - $6.3 million
Industrial Art Bldg (Shop Mod & equip) - $1.5 million

The $3.9 million for painting walls and $1.5 million for the Industrial Art Building was the result of a compromise from the $4.8 million original item for painting walls and $3 million for the Industrial Art Building.

Then it was back to normal school board business with the unanimous approval of consent calendar items, except for the approval of an Intra-District Transfer request form, which was pulled by Cassidy. The draft policy for intra-district transfers, which includes specific criteria for priority transfers and a lottery for non-priority transfers.

In closing remarks, Davis noted an article in the Saturday San Francisco Chronicle stating that students do just as well in public schools as they do in private schools. The article is based on a study entitled "Comparing Private Schools and Public Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling."

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July 18, 2006

Brian Copeland on People Magazine!

Brian Copeland continues to make news with his one-man show and his brand new book "Not a genuine black man". He's appearing on this week's People magazine (the one with Jennifer Anniton on the cover). He has his own page with a picture and a review of the book. It got 3 1/2 out of 4 stars!

Here is what Josh Emmons of PEOPLE wrote:

"Comedian Brian Copeland once got a letter accusing him of not being a
genuine black man, and his memoir would seem to support this. He doesn't
play basketball. He quotes James Garner from MAVERICK. He listens to Rick
Springfield. But the book does more than list his tastes; with humor and
pathos it traces a life spent dodging racial epithets from blacks and
whites (he's been called Oreo as often as the n-word) and achieving what
he sees as the true African American atribute: resilience. A native of the
once all-white San Leandro, Calif., he concludes that "no one person or
group...holds the monopoly on what in this society is the 'true' black
experience." He has demonstrated as much in this affecting book."

We weren't the only ones to notice Brian's appearance, The SF Chronicle's Lea Garchnik wrote this in today's paper:

"Brian Copeland's "Not a Genuine Black Man" book gets a 3 1/2-star review, with picture, in this week's People magazine. "I'm walking on air," he writes in an e-mail, "knowing that for the next week, 3.8 million Americans will be sitting in their dentists' offices and on their toilets looking at my mug." "

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July 13, 2006

Olson and Co. Steel Receives $9.5 Million in Financing

Olson and Co. Steel, headquartered in San Leandro, received a $3.5 million loan and a $6 million line of credit, Bridge Finance Group announced on July 13, 2006. The money will be used to expand operations and reduce a backlog of orders.

According to its website, OCS employees "engineer, fabricate, and erect everything from base isolation seismic supports to stainless steel sculptures."

OCS "is the consolidation of Bostrom Bergen Metal Products and Meddco Metals."

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San Leandro Resident Wins at the Alameda County Fair

San Leandro resident Scott Landrey won 1st place for his collection of Nascar driver Tony Stewart memorabilia at the 2006 Alameda County Fair.


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More on the San Leandro Pastor Charged With Poaching Leopard Sharks

The July 12, 2006, edition of the East Bay Express has a lengthy feature article by Robert Gammon about the leopard shark poaching ring operating out of San Leandro. As reported previously, Kevin Thompson, 48, pastor of the Bay Area Family Church in San Leandro, was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 24, 2006, along with five others, of illegal trade in leopard sharks.

The East Bay Express article goes into much greater detail about how Thompson may have been responsible for poaching 6,000 leopard sharks since 1990 or 1991. Testimony from co-defendant John Newberry revealed that Thompson and Newberry "stowed their fishing poles, line, hooks, and bait, along with three of the church's shark boats, at the San Leandro sushi warehouse owned by True World Foods. Newberry also disclosed that at the rear of the True World property was a large shack where they kept their live baby leopard sharks."

The Bay Area Family Church is part of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church and True World Foods is one of the church's commercial enterprises.

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July 12, 2006

School Board Meeting Announced for July 13, 2006

A School Board meeting has been announced for Thursday, July, 13, 2006, at 6pm. The School Board will have further discussions about the planned facilities bond that will appear on the November 7, 2006, ballot. The School Board must approve and submit the measure by August 11, 2006. Since the costs of modernization and projects such as the freshman academy (9th grade academy), high school library expansion, performing arts center, Burrell Field improvements, etc. exceed the funds likely to be generated by the bond, the School Board will vote on what will get funded during its July 18, 2006, meeting.

Here is the agenda for the July 13, 2006, meeting, since it hasn't yet been posted to the School Board's web site:

Phone: (510) 667-3522 Fax: (510) 678-5303

July 13, 2006
6 p.m.

The special session will be held in the San Leandro Unified School District Administrative Office located at 14735 Juniper Street, San Leandro, CA.
Please note that this meeting is being recorded.

* * * * * * * *
I. Call to Order

II. Special Session
1. Pledge of Allegiance
2. Announcement of Action Taken in Closed Session
3. Legal Statement Concerning Suggestions and Comments on Agenda/Non-Agenda Items

Members of the audience who wish to address the Board are asked to complete the yellow card available at the entrance and submit it to the Board President. Speakers who have completed the card will be called when the item is reached on the agenda or, for non-agenda items, during the Public Testimony. Cards are to be turned in before the item is reached on the agenda. Please note that this meeting is being recorded.
State law prohibits the Board of Education from taking any action on or discussing items that are not on the posted agenda except to A) briefly respond to statements made or questions posed by the public in attendance; B) ask questions for clarification; C) provide a reference to a staff member or other resource for factual information in response to the inquiry; or D) ask a staff member to report back on the matter at the next meeting and/or put it on a future agenda. (Government Code Section 54954.2(a))

III. Facilities Workshop

• Additional information regarding facility options
• Preliminary information regarding tax rate

IV. Public Testimony on Non-Agenda Items

V. Board Member Comments

VI. Adjournment

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July 11, 2006

Chronicle Covers Albertons' Closures

In an article published in its July, 11, 2006, edition, the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the impact of Albertsons' store closure on various communities, including San Leandro:

In San Leandro, when Albertsons on East 14th Street closed about a year ago, the community's first instinct was to grieve.

"Obviously when a grocery store closes, there's a lot of disappointment," said Hanson Hom, community development director for San Leandro. "A lot of residents like the choice of having two grocery stores."

Soon after the store closed, people started dumping their furniture and selling old cars on the site, Hom said. Police eventually put an end to that.

Now the main concern is what will happen to the property, which is in the hands of the Red Mountain Retail Group in Southern California, a company that specializes in recycling old shopping centers and supermarkets for new use. Eric Nelson, director of entitlement for Red Mountain, said he is working with another grocery chain to fill the space, although he would not name the retailer.

Officials in San Leandro are hoping that whatever ends up in the former Albertsons will fit it with the city's bigger plans to create a mixed-use transit development, with bus stops along East 14th Street. But Hom pointed out that because the store is an awkward size -- 23,000 square feet -- it has been difficult to find a replacement. Many retail chains lean toward the 50,000-square foot range. Smaller chains typically measure around 10,000 square feet.

"There's not a whole lot of retail chains looking for that size of a space," Hom said, adding that sometimes the best option is to simply tear down those types of buildings and start from scratch.

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City Council Adopts Reimbursement Policy, Goes After Spartina

San Leandro Vice Mayor Surlene once again presided over the City Council on July 10, 2006, as Mayor Shelia Young was reported to be on city business and did not attend the meeting.

During the public comment period, Don Enriquez, who stated that he was raised in San Leandro and was here during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, lamented the frequent use of foul language and suggested that it was linked to violence. He asked the City Council to take actions to prohibit the use of foul language, especially in public, where it may be heard by children.

Republican nominee for State Senate Lou Filipovich turned the tables on the City Council when he said that he would "not make any statements" and instead gave the City Council the opportunity to ask questions of him. When his offer was greeted with silence, Filipovich repeated his offer and eventually gave up, stating, "let the record show" that none of the City Council took him up on his offer.

Harold Perez asked the City Council to refrain from planting a certain type of tree because one near his house was raising the sidewalk and had forced a neighbor to spend $6,000 in sewer repairs. Perez again complained about his neighbors with the pit bulls, noting that his drug-dealing neighbor was leaving the lights on all night long.

Vice Mayor Grant and Council Member Glenda Nardine both had questions about the approval of a contract with Neighborhood Solutions and it was removed from the consent calendar.

On a vote of 6 to 0, the City Council approved the remainder of the consent calendar, which included minutes of the June 5, 2006, meeting, the August recess for the City Council, the city's participation in the Alameda County Climate Protection Project, membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, and two resolutions approving non-competitive procurement of chemicals and aerial treatment of spartina.

Charles Gilcrest asked the City Council to open up bidding on the contract awarded to Neighborhood Solution to organizations like the Davis Street Family Resource Center. In response to a question from Vice Mayor Grant, City Finance Director Jesse Baloca observed that $25,000 is the informal threshold for putting city contracts out to bid and $50,000 is the formal threshold. City Manager John Jermanis noted that there are exceptions to the threshold as in the case where a qualified company has successfully fulfilled similar contacts in the past. Council Member Bill Stephens stated that the California Contract Code has a threshold of $65,000. Council Member Tony Santos also expressed support for putting the contract out to bid so local organizations such as Davis Street could bid. Jermanis said that he would get a statement of qualifications from Davis Street and similar organizations, but it was too late for this year.

The resolution approving the $92,000 contract with Neighborhood Solutions was subsequently approved on a vote of 6 to 0.

The last item was a resolution establishing a policy regarding the reimbursement of expenses for city council members, members of boards and commissions, and city employees. As summarized by Assistant City Attorney Stephanie Stuart, this policy was required by AB 1234 the "Local Government Sunshine Bill," which went into effect on January 1, 2006. It requires greater transparency in local government and covers ethics, expenditure reporting, and formal training requirements. Jermanis noted that Meyers Nave, the law firm of the City Attorney and Assistant City Attorney is certified to provide the AB1234 training. Council Member Joyce Starosciak noted that she attended training at the League of California Cities conference in January while Council Member Nardine said that all members of the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District Board, except her, had already received training. Council Member Santos stated that he was interested in the policies for conflict of interest and and gift and travel restrictions, because "we are not following" the code of ethics. Vice Mayor Grant agreed with Santos' sentiments.

During City Council Comments, Council Member OB Badger asked that the meeting be adjourned in the memory of Yvonne Miranda, who recently passed away from cancer. Council Member Nardine spoke at length about fireworks issues, suggesting that the city provide more information about how much enforcement costs the city each 4th of July. Jermanis said that despite the 115 fireworks-related calls, the police and fire chiefs said that it was better than last year and credited proactive notifications about the city's zero-tolerance policy for fireworks.

Vice Mayor Grant wanted the city to consider specific regulations that would prohibit the parking of cars on the street that were there for the sole purpose of being sold. She asked that the minutes be published in a more timely manner, but acknowledged that the staff was already working very hard. Grant mentioned that she attended an event at the Chinese Art Gallery and reported that an elderly calligrapher will create a piece of art for the city.

The meeting was adjourned in the memory of Patty Price, Hayward City Council Member Matt Jimenez, who died on July 3, 2006, and Yvonne Miranda.

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July 6, 2006

Notes from July 5, 2006, School Board Meeting

After a closed session in which no actions were taken, the San Leandro School Board began its July 5, 2006, meeting with the presentation of an award from the Alameda County Board of Education to the "Yes on Measure A Campaign" committee. Committee chair Deborah Cox was on hand to accept the award.

During public comments, Mike Katz asked the Board to be more proactive in providing information to the community about the mailbox lawsuit between the school district and the San Leandro Teacher's Association.

School Trustee Linda Perry reported that she had asked for legal advice about her participation in discussions of the freshman campus (9th grade academy) since she lives close to one of the properties. After consulting counsel, Perry said that she would not participate in discussions or votes involving the reshman campus.

Dana LeSher of Harris and Associates, Assistant Superintendent Cindy Cathey, Assistant Superintendent Leon Glaster and Superintendent Christine Lim ran through a PowerPoint presentation entitled "Potential Facility Bond, Research and Information." The presentation covered why the district wants to focus on 9th grade and reviewed the options under consideration, their advantages and disadvantages.

After the presentation, public comments were made by 17 people, most of whom spoke in support of a performing arts center. Roxanne Ansolabehere, the San Leandro High School librarian spoke out in favor of expanding the high school's library, noting that "our students deserve a fully stocked, fully staffed" library. San Leandro High School theater arts teacher Megan McKinley noted that San Leandro placed second this year in the Ohlone College High School Drama Competition as she expressed her support for a performing arts center. Arguments in favor of the performing arts center included the arts' positive effect on academic performance, the potential for joint use of the facility, and wider support among San Leandro residents.

During subsequent comments and questions from the board, Perry again expressed concern about the acquisition of the adjacent PG&E property, which was required in order for the performing arts center to be built. School Trustee Stephen Cassidy noted that a performing arts center together with industrial arts facilities was important because of the many San Leandro residents that worked in the trades. Noting that the school bond would not cover all of the projects that the Board would like to see completed, School Trustee Louis Heystek emphasized that modernization should focus more on restrooms, heating, roofing, fire and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements first and less on floors, painting and ceilings. Cassidy remarked that he would rather "solve one problem [overcrowding at the high school] fully rather than two problems [overcrowding and modernization] halfway."

Cassidy reported that the Communication Committee discussed a mailing list, which would be used to inform the public about upcoming events, but he noted that it would not be ready in the short term. He hoped it would be ready when the upgrade of the district web site was completed by the end of the summer.

Consent items approved unanimously by the Board included extending the contracts of Cindy Cathey, Assistant Superintendent of Education Services, Leon Glaster, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, and Michael Martinez, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, to June 30, 2008. Superintendent Christine Lim's contract was also extended, but there was no date listed on the agenda. However, Lim reported that it was extended until 2009.

The board discussed the possibility of another meeting on July 13, 2006, to further discuss the facilities bond, but there were questions about the availability of the consultant that will provide guidance on how much money should be in the bond measure. Cassidy also expressed concern that the community would not have had an opportunity to provide its input if such a meeting were held. The board decided not to hold a meeting on July 13. Trustee Heystek also noted that he will be late to the July 18, 2006, school board meeting because he will be in Davis for the swearing in of his brother to the Davis City Council.

Last week, Superintendent Lim and School Trustees Pauline Cutter, Stephen Cassidy, and Ray Davis met with San Leandro Chamber President-elect Robert Brannan and San Leandro Chamber CEO Heidi Finberg to seek the Chamber's support for the school bond measure. Brannan and Finberg were reported to be enthusiastic, but the San Leandro Chamber's Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on the issue on July 27, 2006.

Updated on July 10, 2006, to reflect that Stephen Cassidy and Ray Davis were at the meeting with Lim, Cutter, Brannan, and Finberg. Thanks Stephen.

Posted by mike at 2:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Free Electronic Waste Drop-off July 14 and 15, 2006

On Friday and Saturday July 14 and 15, 2006, you can drop off your electronic waste for free at the Bayfair Mall southern parking lot on E. 14th Street.

Items you can drop off:

  • televisions and computer monitors
  • laptop computers,, parts, and accessories
  • computer parts, towers, desktops, hard drives, CD ROM drives, loose PC boards, cables, discs
  • any other electronic waste

Microwaves will not be accepted.

The event is sponsored by Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay, the City of San Leandro, and the Bay Fair Mall.

For more information, call Goodwill at (888) 4-GOODWILL.

Posted by mike at 1:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 5, 2006

"Not a Genuine Black Man" now in stores

Not_a_Genuine_Black_Man.jpgNot a Genuine Black Man, Brian Copeland's autobiographical account of growing up black in all-white San Leandro, is now in (some) stores. The book's release date was/is July 11th, but some stores have it available already. So go and buy it!

The book is based on his one-man show, though it contains more details about San Leandro's history of discrimination. Early reviews on Amazon.com are glowing. They call it touching and humorous, it makes you laugh and cry - just like the reactions people have had to his show.

The book may also stand as the only serious account of this period in San Leandro's history. Earlier, the City of San Leandro commissioned an outline for a book on its history, but apparently cancelled the project when the writer proposed to write about housing discrimination in San Leandro during the 60's and 70's (see White Washing History in San Leandro).

If you haven't caught Copeland's show during its long run in San Fracisco, keep checking here as I hear he may do a few more shows later in the year, and of course we'll write about them if that's the case. There should also be book signings in the Bay Area later on.

More info on http://www.briancopeland.com/

Update: A World of Books at Pelton Center received copies of Copeland's book last week but has already sold out. More are scheduled to arrive on Monday, July 10, 2006.

Posted by marga at 9:10 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

San Leandro Schools Get Grant to Encourage Kids to Walk and Bike to School

On June 16, 2006, the Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program awarded $171,900 to install in-pavement crosswalk lights, curb extensions and curb ramps at four San Leandro schools. The schools are Jefferson, Corvallis, McKinley, and Roosevelt and the work will be perfomed at Bancroft Ave., Corvallis St. at Oberlin Ave., Blossom Way, and Dowling Blvd. The total cost of the projects is $191,000. Measure B Bike and Pedestrian funds will provide the additional $19,100 needed to pay for the projects.

The SR2S program was established by legislation passed in 2000. It provides $20 to $25 million per year for projects that help to encourage children to walk or ride bicycles to school. In the first three years of the program, between 400 and 700 grant applications were received. The projects are divided into the following categories:

  • Sidewalk improvements
  • Traffic calming and speed reduction
  • Pedestrian/bicycle crossing improvements
  • On-street bicycle facilities
  • Off-street bicycle/pedestrian facilities
  • Traffic diversion improvements

Posted by mike at 1:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Drake's Brewing Co. to Hold Fundraiser for Jefferson Elementary

San Leandro's Drake's Brewing Co. will hold a fundaiser for Jefferson Elementary School on Saturday July 8, 2006, from noon to 6pm. Proceeds from the first annual Beer Festival & Washoes (horseshoe) Tournament will go to the Rogers Charitable Fund, which will match the funds raised at the event, doubling the donation for school supplies.

The event will take place at Drake's Brewery located at 1933 Davis St., Suite 177, in San Leandro. Live music and beers from 15 local breweries will be included. Tickets are $35. For more information, call 510-562-0866.

According to its web site, Drake's Brewery was "founded in 1989 as one of the Bay Area's first microbreweries, Drake's Brewing Company is a small, family-owned business dedicated to the art and science of craft brewing." Drake's is one of numerous companies owned by the Rogers Family, which also owns San Francisco Bay Coffee, The Organic Coffee Co., Fairwinds Coffee, Audobon Coffee, Cafe Jerusalem, and East India Tea Co..

Posted by mike at 1:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack