December 28, 2006

Choosing the Next Member of the City Council

The next member of the San Leandro City Council will be appointed by the City Council because District 6 City Councilmember Tony Santos was elected Mayor before he completed his four-year term of office.

At recent City Council meetings, the procedures and timelines were decided and have been posted at the city's web site.

Applications for residents of District 6 will be made available beginning on January 2, 2006. The application form and 20 signatures from residents of District 6 must be submitted by January 27, 2006.

The field of applicants will be narrowed, if needed, at the February 5, 2006, City Council meeting and interviews of the candidates will be conducted at a February 13, 2006, meeting and the City Councilmember will be chosen at this meeting or the February 20, 2006, meeting.

Possible candidates being mentioned include former City Councilmembers, a former and a current member of the San Leandro School Board, current commissioners, and a local campaign consulant and political staffer.

The last City Councilmembers appointed were Orval 'OB' Badger in 2001 (to replace Gordon Galvan), Surlene Grant in 1998 (to replace Shelia Young), and Paul Nahm in 1993 (to replace John Faria).

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December 24, 2006

Two Dead and Six Wounded in Shooting at San Leandro Bar

Daniel Camarillo, a 23-year-old man from Union City and Ruby Vega, a 26-year-old woman from Hayward, were shot and killed outside the Lucky Star Lounge early Saturday, December 23, 2006. The shooting occured after an argument between two groups of people. One group was at the bar for a birthday party. A person involved in the argument left and when he returned, he opened fire on a group of people outside the bar. Six people were also wounded and all are expected to survive.

According to Bay City News, "police are looking for an Asian man, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and in his 20s, who may have played a role in the shooting."

These were the third and fourth homicides in San Leandro in 2006.

Coverage also in the Daily Review, Bay City News, and San Francisco Chronicle.

The Lucky Star Lounge is located at 2090 Doolittle Drive near the intersection with Marina Boulevard.

Update: Johnny Deneng, 21, of Oakley, was arrested on December 24, 2006, at the hospital where he was recovering from injuries suffered at the scene of the shooting. According to police, Deneng was subdued by a group of people after his gun jammed. Police initially believed that he had been a victim.

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December 21, 2006

Small Earthquake Jolts San Leandro

A magnitude 3.7 earthquake was reported by the United States Geological Survey at 7:12pm on Wesdnesday, December 20, 2006. The epicenter of the quake was 2 miles east-southeast of Berkeley on the Hayward Fault.

The quake was reported to cause a brief and light shaking, such that it was noticeable if you were sitting and was missed by many who were moving around at the time.

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December 19, 2006

New Council Sworn In and ACI Rate Increase Approved

Councilmembers Surlene Grant and Glenda Nardine missed the last San Leandro City Council meeting of 2006 held on December 18. The City Council Chambers were filled to capacity with friends and family of the newly elected Mayor and City Councilmembers who were sworn in tonight.

During public comments, Wafaa Aborashed said that she provided a copy of the report "Paying with our Health, The Real Cost of Freight Transport in California" to all the members of the City Council. The report was prepared by the Pacific Institute and released in November 2006. Aborashed asked that the subject of pollution caused by freight transport be placed on a future agenda.

Richard Sequeira asked that the minutes from the December 4, 2006, City Council meeting include the full text of the speeches and comments from people who had spoken against the Site Plan Review and Height Exception for the "Monster House" at 2888 Darius Way. Sequeira was one of the neighbors who spoke out against the house at the December 4 meeting, which was unanimously approved by the City Council.

The City Council unanimously approved a rate increase for Alameda County Industries of 2% on July 1, 2007, and another 2% increase on July 1, 2008. The increase was requested in March 1, 2006, and Public Works Director Mike Bakaldin had presented information about the rate increase at the November 6, 2006, City Council meeting. According to that presentation, the rate increase would fund the collection of recyclable materials (paper, cans, glass and plastic) for single family homes to every week instead of every other week. In addition, ACI would begin pickup of recyclable and food wastes from commercial users.

The City Council also unanimously approved the subdivision of the 13-acre parcel for 15555 Hesperian Boulevard into three parcels. The site is the former location of Target and has been rumored to be a future location of a Wal-Mart or Sam's Club. In-N-Out has applied for a conditional use permit for a drive-through fast food restaurant at this location as well.

When it came time to approve ordinances establishing monthly salaries of $1,260 per month ($15,120 per year) for City Council members and $2,520 per month ($30,240 per year) for the Mayor, Councilmember Bill Stephens was the sole vote against the ordinances. Stephens noted that there was currently a $900,000 budget deficit and that any salary increases should wait until the city has a balanced budget.

Since District 6 City Councilmember Tony Santos was elected Mayor, the City Council will appoint someone to fill out the remainder of his term. Candidates will be required to obtain 20 nominating signatures from registered voters in District 6 and applications will be available beginning on January 2, 2007. Santos expressed concern that some potential candidates were already gathering signatures, but City Clerk Marian Handa said that the nominating signatures would be required to be on forms that are not yet available and Mayor Shelia Young assured Santos that it was not a concern.

During closing remarks, Stephens and Councilmember Joyce Starosciak thanked Councilmember OB Badger and Mayor Young for their years of service. Badger remarked that it had "been a pleasure to serve on this council" and thanked all those with whom he had served. Mayor Young thanked her husband and called the position of Mayor the "best job in the universe."

The City Council meeting concluded with the swearing-in of its newly-elected members, which is what brought most of the crowd to the meeting. District 1 City Councilmember Michael Gregory was sworn in first by former San Leandro City Councilmember, former San Leandro Mayor and newly-elected California State Senator Ellen Corbett. Gregory said that his priorities were 1) education, 2) education, 3) education 4) housing and transportation, 5) balancing the budget and dealing with the Marina, 6) public safety, and 7) seniors and youth.

District 3 City Councilmember Diana Souza was sworn in by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Yolanda Northridge. Souza reiterated her three campaign goals of keeping seniors engaged, communication and increasing recreational opportunities.

District 5 City Councilmember Bill Stephens was sworn in by California Senator Corbett. Stephens kept his comments brief, stating that he was "humbled by the opportunity to serve all of you."

Mayor Tony Santos was sworn in by California Senator Corbett and promised to add more police officers, look at additional branch libraries, focus on education, address the dredging issue for the Marina, and keep working on "quieting our skies from airport noise." He also promised to hold "Coffee with the Mayor" with the first one scheduled for January 11, 2007, from 10am to 12.

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December 17, 2006

San Leandro Company to Build New Redwood Shores Library

San Leandro's Sausal Corporation was awarded a contract to build a branch library in Redwood Shores for its bid of $14,472,500. The Redwood City Council rejected all bids for the project in September and put it out to bid again in November. Although Sausal's bid was 26% above the initial estimate, it was the lowest of the five bids received.

According to its web site, Sausal Corporation was "licensed as a General Building Contractor in November of 1972" and has been at its location at 422 Whitney Street in San Leandro since the company started.

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Response to Councilmember Starosciak's Fire Department Report

In response to San Leandro Councilmember Joyce Starosciak's report on the Alameda County Fire Department at the November 20, 2006, meeting of the San Leandro City Council, Brian McKenna, President of the Alameda County Firefighters Association, wrote an op-ed in the December 15 edition of the Daily Review.

In his op-ed, McKenna argues, "Our services have resulted in a yearly cost savings to the city of San Leandro of over $1.1 million beginning in 1995 and the savings continue to increase annually." He goes on to compare the annual cost increase to the San Leandro Police Department over the last 11 years, which "has had an average annual budget increase of over 9.19 percent and was forced to eliminate positions." In February 2005, the Alameda County Firefighters Association contributed $2,500 to Starosciak's City Council campaign.

In a December 13, 2006, letter to the editor of the Daily Review, San Leandro resident Paul G. Vargas, applauded Starosciak, stating, "Thank goodness for Councilwoman Starociak's efforts to expose the wanton waste and mismanagement of the Alameda County Fire Department." Vargas ran for the District 3 City Council seat in 2002 and lost to Glenda Nardine.

This was covered in a December 11, 2006, Daily Review article and in a December 14, 2006, San Leandro Times article.

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December 7, 2006

San Leandro Software Company Sues Sun and StorageTek for Copyright Infringement

In a December 4, 2006, press release, San Leandro software company Netbula announced that it was suing Storage Technology Corporation (StorageTek) and Sun Microsystems, Inc. for copyright infringement. Netbula alleges that Sun's LibAttach software infringes on its core technology, that Sun defrauded Netbula and violated a contract.

According to its web site, "Netbula is a technological leader in RPC (Remote Procedure Call) development tools for distributed computing..."

Netbula is located at 2777 Alvarado Steet, Suite C, in San Leandro.

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December 6, 2006

New Trustees Sworn in; Richards is new Board President

The December 5, 2006, meeting of the San Leandro School Board started late as the reception for outgoing Trustee Louis Heystek ran a little bit late. Heystek was feted by his fellow Board Members, San Leandro Mayor-Elect Tony Santos, and Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker.

After newly elected and re-elected Board Members Mike Katz-Lacabe, Lisa Hague and Pauline Cutter were sworn in by Alice Lai-Bitker, California State Assemblywoman and Assistant Majority Whip Mary Hayashi said a few words and that she looked forward to working with the new Board.

Student Martin Pena was presented with a Certificate of Commendation for being selected Student of the Month in the Eden Area Regional Occupational Program. Principal Amy Furtado accepted a Certification of Commendation for Juan Lara-Diaz, who was also named Student of the Month.

Certificates of Commendation were presented by San Leandro Adult School Principal Susanne Wong to custodians Darryl Shields, Monroe/Muir; Alberto Lara, Garfield/Muir; Valentin Reyes, Head Custodian, Monroe; Don Biladeau, Glazier; Greg Dyer, Maintenance and Operations Supervisor; and Billy Campbell, Lead Custodian for their quick after-hours work to get the Adult School ready for its official opening in October.

Certificates of Commendation were also presented to John Muir Middle School Principal
Belen Magers, who was not present, and AVID Coordinator Charles Leming, and San Leandro High School Principal Amy Furtado and AVID coordinator Karl Debro, because John Muir Middle School and San Leandro High School were recently selected as AVID Demonstration Sites.

David Lorden, Director of Student Support Services, presented information on suspensions and expulsions, and school site safety plans. Before school started this year, uniform disciplinary procedures were implemented at the middle schools. Lorden noted that suspensions have decreased at John Muir and Bancroft Middle Schools, but have increased at San Leandro High School, compared to the same time last year.

Because of a 30% increase in health insurance, the School District looked for an alternative insurance plan and the Board unanimously approved enrolled in CalPERS Health Plan Program.

The Board also unanimously approved installation of artificial turf for the Bancroft playing field and a Director position to oversee projects funded by Measure B, the $109 million bond approved in November 2006.

The last agenda items of the night were the selection of Board President, Vice President, and Clerk. Rick RIchards was selected as Board President by a vote of 4-3, Stephen Cassidy was selected as Vice President by a vote of 5-2 and Linda Perry was selected as Clerk by a vote of 4-3.

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