October 30, 2007

Earthquake Felt in San Leandro October 30

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake centered seven miles east of Milpitas was felt around the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Leandro, at 8:04pm on October 30, 2007. The shallow quake was centered on the Calaveras Fault and knocked items from shelves in areas close to the epicenter. No injuries or damage was reported.

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October 26, 2007

Drawing of Arts Education Center at San Leandro High School

Nearly a month after the first drawings of the ninth grade campus were presented and less than a year after passage of a $109 million bond, drawings of the proposed arts education center were shown at the October 16, 2007, meeting of the San Leandro School Board.

Note that the drawings are subject to change. The full presentation to the School Board, which inlcludes changes to the design over time, is available here. The full presentation also includes drawings of the library expansion and career technology center.

Drawing of Arts Education Center at San Leandro High School

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October 24, 2007

The Mayor's Trip to China

On October 16, 2007, San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos headed a delegation of local business leaders on a 10-day trip to Yangchun, China. In June 2007, the City of San Leandro established a "friendship city" relationship with the Chinese city of more than one million people.

The delegation includes District 5 Councilmember Bill Stephens and Assistant City Manager Steve Hollister. Members of the business community included Ken Pon, Charles Gilcrest, Benny Lee, president of the Asian Community Cultural Association, Arlene Lum, president of the city's Asian Business Council, and San Leandro Chamber of Commerce CEO Diana Gentry and President Robert Brannan.

The itinerary included dinners hosted by Yangchun government officials, Yangjiang government, Zhongshan government, Zhuhai government, and a dinner at a Portuguese restaurant in Macau. Other activities included tours of Macau, Zhuhai, and Hong Kong and visits to Yangchun's development area and tourist attractions, the China Import & Export Fair in Guangzhou, and the Macau Investment & Trade Fair. Councilmember Stephens and Assistant City Manager Hollister opted out of visiting Macau and Hong Kong.

According to San Leandro City Clerk Marian Handa, no City funds are being used to pay for the trip. Former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young visited Israel in May 2004 and according to her financial disclosure form, $3,500 for the trip was a gift from the American Jewish Congress.

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Suspect Arrested in Shooting Death of San Leandro Student

According to the Daily Review, Dwayne M. Stancill, 19, has been arrested for the shooting death of San Leandro High School student Greg Ballard Jr.

Stancill was arrested on October 23, 2007, after he was stopped driving a stolen car and later confessed to shooting Ballard for no reason while he was drunk.

Ballard was shot on October 13, 2007, near the 9200 block of Sunnyside Street in Oakland.

According to police, a MySpace page devoted to the Oakland street gang Hyfee Boyz helped to identify Stancill, who is suspected of being a member of the gang. Perhaps it is this page or this page. Note that these pages are graphic and are not safe for the workplace.

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October 19, 2007

New Team Takes Top Prize at 2007 Trivia Bee

Twenty-four Desperate, Lost Heroes, the winners of Project Literacy's 14th Annual Trivia Bee with Councilmember Michael GregoryThe team "Twenty-four Desperate, Lost Heroes" won Project Literacy's 14th Annual Trivia Bee with The Pontificators taking second place at the Marina Community Center on October 19, 2007. For the first time, a tie was awarded for third place to the San Leandro Police Officers' Association and the Mike Katz Team after the two teams matched wits in more "sudden-death" questions than all of the questions in the last round. There were 27 teams competing this year, down from the 30 teams that compete during election years.

As usual, questions were read by Leslie Frates, a San Leandro resident and professor who has appeared on the television quiz show Jeopardy 14 times. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Kurtz was the official Trivia Bee judge and Kathy Kurtz was the official time keeper. There were 30 questions in the first round, 20 in the second round and 10 in the last round.

In addition to the Trivia Bee, a raffle featured prizes supplied by local businesses including a stay at a Bed & Breakfast in Healdsburg, a GPS system, a $100 gift card from Wal-Mart, $50 towards travel on Southwest Airlines, and dozens of other prizes from local businesses and individuals. Funds raised by the Trivia Bee help Project Literacy to provide literacy services to more than 200 adults and 1,500 kids each year. Last year, the Trivia Bee raised more than $14,000.

Members of the San Leandro City Council, including Michael Gregory, Vice Mayor Surlene Grant, Diana Souza, Joyce Starosicak, and Jim Prola were on-hand to present medals and trophies to the top teams. Mayor Tony Santos and Councilmember Bill Stephens are part of a delegation traveling in China and could not attend. Starosciak participated as a member of her own team and Councilmembers Grant, Gregory, and Souza competed as the San Leandro City Council Team.

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October 17, 2007

Hermy Almonte Enters Race for District 6 Council Seat

Hermy Almonte has taken the first step to compete for the San Leandro City Council District 6 seat currently held by Jim Prola. Almonte recently filed a Candidate Intention Statement (Form 501) with the San Leandro City Clerk, which is required before raising or spending any money for the election.

Almonte previously submitted an application in January 2007 seeking the appointment to the District 6 seat. During that process, twelve people applied for the appointment and Almonte was not among the six candidates selected to be interviewed by the City Council.

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October 15, 2007

San Leandro High School Student Killed in Oakland

Greg Ballard, Jr.San Leandro High School senior Greg Ballard Jr., 17, was shot and killed near the 9200 block of Sunnyside Street in Oakland on Saturday night, October 13, 2007. After he was shot, Ballard was found at the back of a house and was taken to Highland Hospital, where he died at 8:49pm.

Ballard had joined the football team this year and earlier in the day, the San Leandro High School football team had defeated Bishop O'Dowd 26 - 21.

Extra counselors will be at the high school today to help students cope with the loss and a fund will be set up to help the family with funeral expenses.

If you have any information about the shooting, the Oakland Police can be reached at 510.238.3821.

Daily Review coverage.

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October 14, 2007

How Much do Elected City Officials in Alameda County Get Paid?

The San Leandro City Council approved monthly salaries of $1,260 for Councilmembers and $2,520 for the Mayor at its December 18, 2006, meeting. For San Leandro, as with most cities in Alameda County, being a Councilmember or a Mayor is considered a part-time position, with the city manager and city staff tasked with running things day-to-day. That difference is reflected in the monthly salary of $15,741 for Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums and $5,742 for Councilmembers in Oakland, which are substantially higher than for cities with a city manager.

San Leandro Bytes requested similar information from 11 Alameda County cities and received responses from nine cities. Monthly Councilmember salaries ranged from $100 in Alameda to $2,116.40 in Hayward. Mayors were paid $200 each month in Alameda and $3,386.93 in Hayward.

The monthly stipends for the Mayor and Coucilmembers in Alameda were established in the City Charter, which was last modified in the 1930s. The Alameda City Council has recently established a subcommittee to review the City Charter.

Councilmembers and Mayors also receive other forms of compensation, such as health insurance. All cities that responded provide health insurance for their elected officials. In San Leandro, health insurance provided by the City ranges from $421 to $1,077 per month. Livermore provides the most generous health insurance, with the City covering up to $1,428 per month.

As one might expect of the largest city in Alameda County, Oakland provides the Mayor with a generous monthly car allowance of $750 and Councilmembers with $550. Union City provides the Mayor with a $400 monthly car allowance and the San Leandro Mayor gets a $250 car allowance. Councilmembers in Union City get a $100 monthly car allowance while San Leandro Councilmembers get $125 each month. Alameda, Dublin, Fremont, Livermore, and Pleasanton do not provide car allowances for Mayors or Councilmembers.

In Alameda, Livermore, Oakland, and San Leandro, elected officials receive cell phones paid for by the city. Only the Mayor in Dublin gets a phone while Fremont and Union City don't provide any phones to elected officials.

San Leandro provides the most generous funds for travel and training with $6,964 for the Mayor and $5,232 for each Councilmember. Hayward provides $6,047 for the Mayor and $3,289 for each Councilmember. Livermore provides a total of $500 for training and $20,700 for travel for the City Council and Mayor.

In addition to compensation received from the city, Councilmembers and Mayors also receive compensation for intergovernmental agency meetings. For example, Mayor Tony Santos receives $234 for each meeting of the East Bay Dischargers Authority. Councilmember Joyce Starosciak receives $125 for each meeting of the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency and Councilmember receives $50 for each meeting of the Alameda County Housing Authority.

The cities of Berkeley and Newark did not respond for this article. Information was not requested from Albany, Emeryville, or Piedmont. Some cities may provide life insurance and retirement benefits, but San Leandro Bytes did not request information about them.

For comparison, an article in the July 31, 2007, San Mateo Daily Journal, reports that Brisbane, East Palo Alto and San Carlos pay Councilmembers $300 each month while San Mateo and Redwood City pay $750 per month. Rancho Mirage, with a population of 16,700, pays Councilmembers $2,500 per month. Palm Desert Councilmembers are paid $3,500 per month.

See below for a table summarizing City Council/Mayor compensation in Alameda County.

CityPopulation[1]Mayor stipendCouncil stipendHealth InsuranceCar allowanceCity cell phone
Dublin43630$856.06$758.06up to $1,021/monthNoneMayor only
Fremont211662$2,211$1,407up to $450/monthNoneNo
Hayward147845$3,386.93$2,116.40$544.77 to $1416/month$144 for MayorOptional
Livermore82845$1,000$750up to $1428/monthNoneYes
Oakland415492$15,741$5,742$470 to $1223/month$750 Mayor; $550 CouncilYes
San Leandro81466$2,520$1,260$421 to $1077/month$250 Mayor; $125 CouncilYes
Union City72297$2,211$1,474$500 to $841/month$410 Mayor; $100 CouncilNo

1. Demographic Research Unit of the California Department of Finance, STATE ADDS ALMOST 470,000 IN 2006; 2007 POPULATION NEARS 37.7 MILLION, http://www.dof.ca.gov/HTML/DEMOGRAP/ReportsPapers/Estimates/E1/documents/e-1press.pdf, May 10, 2007
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October 12, 2007

San Leandro's Teacher of the Year Honored at Annual Event

Chuck Leming, a math teacher at John Muir Middle School, was honored as San Leandro's Teacher of the Year at an annual event held on October 11, 2007, at CSU East Bay. Leming was one of 17 teachers honored at Alameda County Office of Education's 18th Annual Teacher of the Year Ceremony.

Leming, the AVID Coordinator at John Muir Middle School, was also honored at the June 19, 2007, meeting of the San Leandro School Board. Leming has been teaching since 1984.

Not every kid gets that education is important to him or her today in anticipation of a lifetime of learning and achieving. If I can foster a love of learning by packaging it with loving to be in my classroom one hour a day, with letting them be a part of my life and my being part of their lives, I have truly fulfilled my role as a teacher. --Chuck Leming

All honorees received a cash award of $380, a commemorative crystal bowl engraved with their name, $70 of school supplies from Office Depot, a $25 gift certificate to Lakeshore Learning Materials and a family membership to the East Bay Regional Park District.

Linda Lamoureux of Livermore High School and Juliana Eileen Jones of Montera Middle School in Oakland were selected as the Alameda County Teachers of the Year and will compete to be selected as California Teacher of the Year.

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October 10, 2007

Free Festival at Washington Elementary on Saturday October 13, 2007

Kids Save the Planet FlyerThe Kids Save the Planet/Los Niños Salvan el Planeta festival will take place on Saturday, October 13, 2007, at Washington Elementary School. The bilingual festival will include fun and educational festival for families of all ages. Community education booths will include live animals from Sulphur Creek Nature Center, Crab Cove, and Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center. Energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs and reusable grocery bags will be given away. Entertainment will include latin dance music, Hawaiian singing and dancing, traditional Aztec dancers and more. Complete all four education stations and register to win a kids Raleigh bike valued at more than $250. For kids five and younger, there will be a tot-lot. There will also be a special visit from California State Senator and former San Leandro Mayor Ellen Corbett. The festival highlights Washington Elementary's recent adoption of a Green School Initiative.

The festival is free and will take place from 11am until 3pm. Washington Elementary is located at 250 Dutton Avenue in San Leandro. For directions and more information, visit www.KidsSaveThePlanet.org or call Morgan at 510.589.8056.

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October 5, 2007

Fire Destroys M.A.R.’s Engineering Building in San Leandro

A fire destroyed one of two buildings at M.A.R.’s Engineering Company Inc., on Montague Avenue on Friday morning, October 5, 2007. According to an employee, an explosion ignited the fire, but nobody was seriously injured. Two employees were reportedly treated for minor injuries. The mutiple-alarm fire generated a overwhelming response from the Alameda County Fire Department, ensuring that the fire didn't spread to neighboring businesses.

Firefighter battles MARs fire from above
Firefighters battling MARs fire

According to the company's web site, M.A.R.'s Engineering started in 1964 with two automatic screw machines purchased at an auction. The company produces screw machine products and performs light assembly work. The web site also states, "M.A.R.’s currently employs thirty-six full time employees in two side by side buildings consisting of 15,000 sq. ft."

M.A.R.'s Engineering is located at 699 Montague Avenue in San Leandro.

More coverage from CBS 5, the Daily Review, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Overhead video from NBC 11 and KGO 7.

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October 3, 2007

Not a Genuine Black Man in Walnut Creek Starting Thursday

Not a Genuine Black Man coverBrian Copeland's one-man show Not a Genuine Black Man starts a month-long run at the Lesher Center for the Arts on Thursday, October 4, 2007. Copeland's show will start at 8:15pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights until October 27, 2007. The October 4, 2007, show is already sold out.

The show chronicles Copeland's life from moving into San Leandro in 1972 at eight years old, the year after San Leandro was named one of the most racist suburbs in America, to his adult struggles. In a monologue that's both funny and poignant, Brian explores how surroundings make us who we are. Copeland has remained in San Leandro, helping to make it one of the most diverse cities in California.

Tickets are on sale for $50 each at tickets.com. The Lesher Center for the Arts is located 1601 Civic Drive in Walnut Creek, just two blocks from the Walnut Creek BART station.

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October 2, 2007

Sausage & Suds Festival Returns to San Leandro on Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sausage & Suds logoAfter a four-year hiatus, the Sausage & Suds Festival returns to downtown San Leandro this Sunday, October 7, 2007. In past years, the San Leandro Downtown Association organized the festival, but this year, the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce is working with the San Leandro Downtown Association to bring back this celebration of San Leandro as the "Sausage Capital of California."

This free event features live music and a variety of food and beers. Thirty varieties of beer will be available in the parking lot the of the Englander Pub. Sausages from locals Aidells and Saag's will be served up by the Englander, Buon Tempo Club, Chicago Blues Cafe, D'Gonzalez Meat Market, and Moe's BBQ on Wheels. Pizza, italian ice, smoothies, and kettle corn will also be served up by other vendors.

Live music and a welcome from San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos will be featured on-stage as follows:

10 to 11:00 AMJust Three Guys
11:30 AM to 12:30 PMGin House Band
1:00 PM to 1:15 PMMayor's Welcome
1:15 PM to 2:30 PMPride & Joy
3:00 PM to 4:15 PMLa Ventana
4:45 PM to 6:00 PMLydia Pense and Cold Blood

The Sausage & Suds Festival was first held in 1997. Photographs from previous festivals are available here (2002) and here (2003).

The Sausage & Suds Festival will take place in downtown San Leandro on Parrott Street between E. 14th Street and Washington Avenue between 10am and 6pm. Admission is free.

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October 1, 2007

Encore Screening of The Suburban Wall and The Invisible Wall on Thursday, October 4, 2007

On Thursday, October 4, 2007, the San Leandro Community Action Network will show the "The Suburban Wall" and "The Invisible Wall," both documentaries about housing discrimination in San Leandro. This is an encore presentation of these documentaries, which were first screened in March 2007.

Admission and coffee are free and the documentaries will be shown at Zocalo Coffeehouse starting at 7pm. Zocalo is located at 645 Bancroft Avenue.

The Suburban Wall

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