January 30, 2007

More on the District 6 City Council Applicants

Twelve people have applied for the District 6 City Council seat vacated by current San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos. On February 5, 2007, the six members of the San Leandro City Council will choose which candidates will get one step closer to an appointment. Since the public won't get much of a chance to learn about most of the candidates prior to that meeting, here are the completed applications:

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January 27, 2007

The Applications are in for the Vacant City Council Seat

On Friday, January 26, 2007, the deadline passed for the submission of applications to fill the District 6 City Council seat vacated when Tony Santos was elected San Leandro Mayor in the November 2006 election.

Twelve residents of District 6 have completed applications for the vacant seat. They are:

  • Wafaa Aborashed
  • Hermy Almonte
  • Adan Alonzo
  • Estelle Clemons
  • Esther Collier
  • Ray Davis
  • Carmen Fewless
  • Luster Knight
  • Jean Morris
  • Bo Panoringan
  • Jim Prola
  • Mark Tichy

Esther Collier formerly served as a trustee on the San Leandro School Board and Ray Davis currently serves on the San Leandro School Board. Carmen Fewless has served on the Human Services Commission since June 2005, Luster Knight has served on the Recreation and Parks Commission since 1998, and Collier has served on the Planning Commission since 2001.

Mark Tichy and Wafaa Aborashed both campaigned for the City Council seat in 2004 and Tichy also lost out in 2000.

Jim Prola has served on the Alameda County Central Labor Council Executive Board and has been a labor activist.

At this time, little is known about the other applicants.

The current City Council members will meet on February 5, 2007, to narrow down the list of candidates prior to interviews on February 13, 2007. The new Councilmember for District 6 will be appointed at the February 20, 2007, meeting of the City Council.

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January 25, 2007

Corbett Assigned to Senate Ethics Committee

State Senator Ellen Corbett was assigned to the recently revived Senate Ethics Committee. Corbett is the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and only the second freshman senator to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee (the first was John Burton.) Corbett was also appointed to the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Transportation & Housing Committee.

According to Capitol Weekly, the members of the Ethics Committee "enjoy reputations as the goody-goodies of the Senate." The other members are Chair Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, Vice-Chair Dick Ackerman, R-Irvine, and Tom McClintock, R-Thousand Oaks.

Ellen Corbett was elected to the San Leandro City Council in 1990, was elected Mayor of San Leandro in 1994, and went on to serve in the California State Assembly from 1998 until she was termed out in 2004.

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San Leandro Pastor Sentenced to Jail for Poaching Sharks

In a press release issued on January 23, 2007, US Attorney Kevin Ryan announced that San Leandro pastor Kevin Thompson was sentenced on January 22, 2007, to one year and one day in jail for poaching juvenile leopard sharks.

"The indictment specifically charged that approximately 465 juvenile leopard sharks were sold to companies in Miami; Chicago; Houston; Romulus, Michigan; Milford, Connecticut; the Netherlands; and the United Kingdom."

Thompson was also ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution.

Thompson is the pastor at the Bay Area Family Church, Holy Spirit Association for Unification of World Christianity, located at 2305 Washington Avenue in San Leandro. He is scheduled to surrender into custody on March 19, 2007.

According to the press release, "Hiroshi Ishikawa, 36, of San Leandro, was a member of the Church and was sentenced on October 11, 2006, to three years probation, and $40,000 restitution."

Others who were charged and pleaded guilty are John Newberry, 34, of Hayward, California, Ira Gass, 53, of Azusa, California, Vincent Ng, 43, of Oakland, and Sion Lim, 39, of San Francisco, California. Lim was sentenced on June 6, 2006, to one year probation, a $5,000 fine, and $20,000 in restitution. The others are awaiting sentencing.

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January 24, 2007

Pete Stark's response to the State of the Union

WASHINGTON – Representative Pete Stark (D-CA), Chairman of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, issued the following statement in response to President Bush’s State of the Union:

“Tonight, President Bush missed a historic opportunity,” said Stark. “Rather than accept the will of the American people and announce the phased withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, President Bush again pledged to escalate the war. But endangering the lives of 20,000 more soldiers won’t make us more secure. Instead, the ‘surge’ will make an already terrible situation worse, and cost America more lives and more money.”

“Much like his plan for Iraq, the President’s domestic policy proposals are based on incorrect assumptions and dangerous logic.” Stark continued. “There is no crisis in either Social Security or Medicare that a Congress dedicated to preserving these vital entitlements couldn’t easily solve. Our health care system is broken, but not because we provide too much health care to our people. Our system is broken because we provide too little.”

“Bush’s new tax proposal would shift health care costs to working families,” said Stark. “It would eliminate employer-provided coverage, through which 160 million Americans are covered today, and force people into an individual insurance market that regularly denies coverage because of family history, existing illnesses, or genetic makeup. And like the trillion-dollar tax breaks that turned Clinton’s budget surpluses into Bush’s budget deficits, it would benefit the wealthiest among us significantly more than low- and middle-income Americans.”

“Every individual should have quality health care,” continued Stark. “States that attempt to cover the uninsured should receive financial incentives to do so, but not at the expense of existing programs that provide coverage to poor children and senior citizens.”

“Not all of the President’s suggestions are without merit,” said Stark. “But those that have value may not have teeth. Increasing fuel economy standards and the use of renewable and alternative fuels, for example, would protect our environment for future generations. A guest worker program would similarly improve our immigration policy. But this President has time and time again spoken about energy independence and comprehensive immigration reform. I’ll believe his commitment when I see him persuading Republican Members of Congress to go along.”

“For the most part, President Bush delivered tonight’s State of the Union in a state of denial. I’m glad it’s his second-to-last,” Stark concluded.

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January 23, 2007

Transit-Oriented Development Strategy Meeting Tonight at 6:30pm

The ninth meeting of the Downtown Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Citizen Advisory Committee will take place at 6:30pm on January 23, 2007, at the Sister Cities Gallery at San Leandro City Hall.

The committee is in the process of assisting in the development of a strategy for developing land use plans and policies for areas immediately surrounding bus, ferry and train stations.

Click here for an agenda.

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January 22, 2007

Marrow Donor Registration Drive for Local Boy

Harrison Leonardo
A marrow donor registration drive will take place at Creekside Church on Saturday, January 27, 2007, from 8am to 1:30pm.

Harrison Leonardo is a two-year old boy from San Leandro who is fighting Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) and needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. Harrison spent most of 2006 fighting cancer, which went into remission in August. Unfortunately, the cancer has relapsed. Harrison is hospitalized and undergoing another round of chemotherapy while his doctors and family search for a donor.

To donate, you must be between the ages of 18-60, meet the health guidelines, fill out a form, give a cheek cell swab and be willing to donate to any patient in need.

You must be between the ages of 18-60, meet the health guidelines, fill out a form, give a cheek cell swab and be willing to donate to any patient in need.

Asian and ethnically diverse donors urgently needed! Patients are more likely to match donors of the same racial and ethnic heritage. More donors of all races and ethnicities are needed.Patients are more likely to match donors of the same racial and ethnic heritage. More donors of all races and ethnicities are needed.

For more information, please visit www.marrow.org, or call Cynthia Carlson at 510-495-4021 (email: ccarlson@nmdp.org)

Creekside Church is located at 951 MacArthur Blvd. at Dutton Avenue in San Leandro.

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January 17, 2007

San Leandrans Protest Iraq Troop Surge

On Monday, January 15, 2007, more than 150 people gathered at Root Park in San Leandro to rally against the war in Iraq and honor Martin Luther King Jr. The rally featured local politicians and religious leaders, including an inspirational closing by Byron Williams, a pastor at Oakland's Resurrection Community Church and a columnist.

After a brief introduction by Stephen Cassidy and invocation by Reverend Kathy Huff, speeches were made by Mayor Tony Santos, Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, Vice Mayor Surlene Grant, and finally Byron Williams. Amy Cassidy also read a statement by Congressman Pete Stark, who was unable to attend the rally. The complete text of Byron Williams' speech can be found here.

The rally ended with six religious and community leaders ringing a bell to symbolize the American troops killed in Iraq.

Crowd at the January 15, 2007, rally
The crowd gathered at Root Park for the January 15, 2007, rally against the war in Iraq (photo - T. Holmes)

San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos
San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos (photo - T. Holmes)

Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker
Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker (photo - T. Holmes)

San Leandro Vice Mayor Surlene Grant.jpg
San Leandro Vice Mayor Surlene Grant (photo - T. Holmes)

Byron Williams.jpg
Byron Williams (photo - T. Holmes)

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January 12, 2007

San Leandro Police Department Fails to Obey Public Records Law

According to a newly issued report entitled "Audit Report 2007: Public Access to Law Enforcement Information" by Californians Aware, the San Leandro Police Department failed to respond to a written request as required by the California Public Records Act (CPRA).

Californians Aware is a non-profit organization devoted to protecting open government laws and First Amendment rights. In December 2006, Californians Aware conducted a state-wide audit of how well California’s law enforcement agencies comply with the CPRA. The CPRA was enacted in 1968 to ensure public access to information on how state and local governments conduct business.

According to Richard P. McKee, president of Californians Aware, the requests were for "information expressly identified by law as available to the public (e.g., the police chief’s employment contract and Form 700; the officers’ salary schedule; the most recent death in custody report; and the name, occupation, birth date, and sex of all persons arrested for robbery, burglary, or sexual assault during a two-week period, along with the date, time, and location of the arrest)."

Homeowners associations have frequently requested information about crime in their areas from the San Leandro Police Department, with limited success.

Police departments in Fremont, Santa Clara, Pleasanton, and St. Helena also failed to respond to written requests. Police departments in Oakland, San Jose, Los Gatos, American Canyon, Berkeley, Redwood City and San Mateo wouldn't accept written requests at all. The Sacramento County Sheriffs Office asked for the Social Security number of the requestor, which is against the law, while the San Mateo Police Department asked for $50 to lookup each arrest and crime record. The law only permits charges for photocopies.

Other links:
Californians Aware press release
Op-ed by Californians Aware president Richard McKee
Daily Review coverage

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January 11, 2007

Rally to Bring Troops Home at Root Park on Monday

On Monday, January 15, 2007, a rally will be held at Root Park in San Leandro calling for US troops to be pulled out of Iraq. Featured speakers include San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos, San Leandro Vice Mayor Surlene Grant, Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, and Byron Williams, pastor of the Resurrection Community Church in Oakland, CA.

The rally starts at 3pm. Root Park is located on E. 14th Street near the intersection with Hays Street. It is adjacent to San Leandro Creek and just south of City Hall.

Click here for a flyer.

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January 9, 2007

Lai-Bitker Elected Vice-President of Board of Supervisors

County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker was unanimously elected as Vice President of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, January 9, 2007. Scott Haggerty was unanimously elected President.

Lai-Bitker was first elected in 2002 and was re-elected in June 2006. She represents San Leandro, Alameda, San Lorenzo, Ashland, Hillcrest Knolls and the Fruitvale, San Antonio, and Chinatown portions of Oakland.

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Coffee with the Mayor Begins on Thursday

Newly elected San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos will begin his "Coffee with the Mayor" open door meetings beginning on Thursday, January 11, 2006, from 10am to noon.

Following up on one of his campaign promises, anybody who wants to discuss issues or concerns related to the City can meet with Santos in the Sister Cities Gallery at the San Leandro City Hall.

Santos plans to hold these sessions on the second Thursday of every month with the next "Coffee with the Mayor" scheduled for February 8, 2006.

The Sister Cities Gallery is located on the first floor of City Hall at 835 E. 14th Street, to the left, if you're looking at the City Council Chambers.

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January 8, 2007

Souza Promises More Communication to District 3 Constituents

In an article in the January 8, 2006, edition of the Daily Review, some District 3 residents complain that former City Councilmember Glenda Nardine was unresponsive. Bonaire Civic League President Virginia Boepple is quoted as saying, "We could place phone calls to her and they were never returned, so we looked to someone else for information. ... We just never had any contact with her." In her defense, Nardine writes, "To state that I wasn't that visible is truly an insult." Joan Maramonte, president of the Floresta Homeowners Association, also disagreed and said that Nardine "always gave me an answer." Diana Souza, who replaces Nardine in the District 3 City Council seat, made communication one of her campaign platforms.

Nardine was subject to term limits after serving two terms on the City Council, ran for County Supervisor in the June primary and came in fourth behind winner Alice Lai-Bitker, former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young and Jim Price.

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January 7, 2007

San Leandro Library Open on Sunday Starting Today

The San Leandro Public Library will be open today, January 7, 2006, from 12pm to 4pm for the first time in two years.

Sunday hours were eliminated when the library's budget was reduced about $450,000 when the City was facing a $9.35 million deficit.

The San Leandro Public Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue.

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January 5, 2007

Official Response of Alameda County Fire Chief to Councilmember Joyce Starosciak

On December 12, 2006, Alameda County Fire Chief William McCammon sent his official response to concerns raised by San Leandro Councilmember Joyce Starosciak at the November 20, 2006, City Council meeting.

At the meeting, Starosciak raised concerns about the terms and the costs of the City's contract with the Alameda County Fire Department.

The official letter and attachment are belatedly published here with the permission of William McCammon.

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January 2, 2007

Video of Jill Synnott, San Leandro Unified School District's Teacher of the Year for 2006-2007

Here's a short video of Jill Synnott, San Leandro Unified School District's Teacher of the Year for 2006-2007 from the Alameda County Office of Education.

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City Council Approves Committee Assignments; Finishes in 18 Minutes

The San Leandro City Council began the year with what may have been its shortest meeting ever: 18 minutes. The January 2, 2007, meeting was presided over by new Mayor Tony Santos and included new Councilmembers Michael Gregory and Diana Souza.

During public comments, Joe Collier, a former Planning Commissioner, invited Councilmember Diana Souza to attend a meeting of his homeowners association.

The consent calendar consisted largely of administrative tasks related to establishing speed limits, approving amendments to the bylaws of San Leandro's Parking Authority, Public Financing Authority, and Redevelopment Agency.

The main order of business was to approve the assignments to internal committees and intergovernmental agencies. Mayor Santos and Vice Mayor Surlene Grant were appointed to an ad-hoc committee to develop interview questions for the District 6 City Council applicants. The full committee assignments are listed below.

Vice Mayor Grant asked that the meeting be adjourned in memory of Carter Gilmore, who was a member of the Oakland City Council and was active in the NAACP. Mayor Santos noted that he had served with Gilmore during his first term on the City Council.

Councilmember Joyce Starosciak said she felt that there were more houses displaying holiday lights and specifically noted Chapel Ct. and Elko Ct.

Mayor Santos adjourned the meeting in the memory of former President Gerald Ford, Rosetta Rosinga, and Carter Gilmore.

Internal Committees:

Airport Committee
Mayor Santos
Councilmember Starosciak
Councilmember, District 6

Business and Housing Development Committee (formerly Business
Development Committee)

Vice Mayor Grant
Councilmember Souza
Councilmember Stephens

City and San Leandro Unified School District Liaison Committee
Mayor Santos
Vice Mayor Grant
Councilmember Gregory

City and San Lorenzo Unified School District Liaison Committee
Councilmember Souza
Councilmember Starosciak
Councilmember, District 6

Disaster Council
Mayor Santos
Vice Mayor Grant

Facilities and Transportation Committee (formerly Facilities Committee)
Mayor Santos
Councilmember Gregory
Councilmember Souza

Finance Committee
Vice Mayor Grant January 2007 to January 2009
Councilmember Starosciak January 2006 to January 2008
Councilmember Stephens January 2007 to January 2008

Human Relations Committee
Mayor Santos
Councilmember Gregory
Councilmember Souza

Joint Oakland/San Leandro City Council Committee
Mayor Santos
Vice Mayor Grant
Councilmember, District 6

Marina Committee (formerly Marina Ad Hoc Committee)
Mayor Santos
Councilmember Starosciak
Councilmember, District 6

Rules and Communications Committee
Mayor Santos
Councilmember Gregory
Councilmember Starosciak

Intergovermental Agencies:

Alameda County Congestion Management Agency (appointment of one Representative and one Alternate; term of office is indefinite)
Representative: Councilmember Starosciak
Alternate: Vice Mayor Grant

Alameda County Fire Commission – Representative Trustees (appointment of two Representatives; staggered, four-year terms of office)
Representative: Councilmember Souza
January 2, 2007 to June 30, 2009
Representative: Councilmember Gregory
January 2, 2007 to June 30, 2011

Alameda County Housing Authority, Board of Commissioners (appointment of one Representative; four-year term of office – January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2010)
Representative: Vice Mayor Grant

Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District, Board of Directors
(appointment of one Trustee; two-year term of office – January 2, 2006 to January
1, 2008)
Trustee: Glenda Nardine

Alameda County Waste Management Authority (appointment of one Representative and one Alternate; term of office is indefinite)
Representative: Vice Mayor Grant
Alternate: Councilmember Santos

Associated Community Action Program (ACAP), Governing Board
(appointment of one Representative and one Alternate; term of office is indefinite)
Representative: Councilmember Souza
Alternate: Councilmember Gregory

Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), General Assembly and Regional Planning Commission (appointment of one Representative and one Alternate; both are two-year terms of office expiring on June 30, 2008)
Representative: Vice Mayor Grant
Alternate: Councilmember Gregory

East Bay Dischargers Authority (EBDA) (appointment of one Representative and one Alternate; term of office is indefinite)
Representative: Mayor Santos
Alternate: Councilmember, District 6

League of California Cities, East Bay Division, Board of Directors (appointment of one Representative and one Alternate; term of office is indefinite)
Representative: Councilmember Starosciak
Alternate: Councilmember Stephens

Oakland Airport-Community Noise Management Forum (appointment of one Representative and one Alternate; two-year terms of office – January 17, 2006 to July 31, 2007)
Representative: Mayor Santos
Alternate: Councilmember, District 6
Community Representative: Will Fernandez
October 2, 2005 to July 31, 2007

San Leandro Collaborative Executive Committee (appointment of two Representatives; term of office is indefinite)
Representative: Mayor Santos
Representative: Councilmember Starosciak

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San Leandran Marches as Stormtrooper in Rose Parade

San Leandro resident Ian Hiebert marched in the 118th Rose Parade on January 1, 2006, as one of 200 Stormtroopers from the 501st Legion. The 501st Legion is a group of Star Wars fans that makes their own costumes and Hiebert is the commanding officer of the legion's Golden Gate Garrison.

The 200 Stormtroopers from 22 countries preceded the Parade's Grand Marshal, George Lucas. The selection of Lucas as the Grand Marshal coincides with the 30th anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars in 1977. The Rose Parade also featured Star Wars-themed floats of the planet Naboo and the Ewok forest from the moon of Endor.

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