December 30, 2007

Turkey Vultures Atop Downtown Buildings Sunday Morning

A group of about 30 turkey vultures makes the trees or Memorial Park and near San Leandro Creek is resting spot most nights. On Sunday morning, December 30, 2007, the turkey vultures tooks to sunning themselves atop the First Presbyterian Church of San Leandro, Santos & Robinson Mortuary, and Wells Fargo Bank.

Turkey vultures atop the First Presbyterian Church of San Leandro
Turkey vultures atop the First Presbyterian Church of San Leandro

Turkey vultures sunning themselves on Wells Fargo Bank
Turkey vultures sunning themselves on Wells Fargo Bank

Turkey vulture atop the Santos & Robinson Mortuary
Turkey vulture atop the Santos & Robinson Mortuary

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Former Mayor Shelia Young Featured in East Bay Business Times

Former San Leandro Mayor Shelia YoungFormer San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young is profiled in an East Bay Business Times article in the December 31, 2007, issue.

Young served as the San Leandro District 2 Councilmember from 1996 to 1998 and as Mayor of San Leandro from 1998 to 2006. She ran for Alameda County Supervisor in 2006 and lost to Alice Lai-Bitker.

According to the article, Young is currently working towards an associate degree in liberal arts.

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Former Mayor Jack Maltester's Testimony Before the US Commission on Civil Rights

On May 6, 1967, San Leandro Mayor Jack Maltester testified at a hearing of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which was investigating housing discrimination.

The complete text of Maltester's testimony follows.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. The next witness is the Hon. John D. Maltester. Whereupon, the Hon. John D. Maltester was sworn by the Chairman and testified as follows: )

TESTIMONY OF THE HON. JOHN D. MALTESTER, MAYOR OF SAN LEANDRO, CALIFORNIA

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Would you please state your full name and address for the record.

MAYOR MALTESTER. It's Jack D. Maltester, 715 Woodland Avenue, San Leandro.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. What is your occupation?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Half owner in a printing business and mayor of the city of San Leandro.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. How long have you been mayor?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Since 1958.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Are you also a member of the city council ?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Yes.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. What is the population of San Leandro?

MAYOR MALTESTER. The last official population was 69,000, close to 70,000, and anticipated at this time probably closer to 75,000.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. You think it's about 75,000?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Yes.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. How many Negroes live in San Leandro?

MAYOR MALTESTER. I cannot tell you to the exact amount. I get two different reports. I would guess it's between 20 and 25, 26.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Twenty or 25 persons or families?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Persons.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Are Negroes employed in the industries in San Leandro.

MAYOR MALTESTER. Yes.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Do you have any idea how many?

MAYOR MALTESTER. No, I haven't. We haven't asked for that type of a survey, although lean tell by the plants when the shifts go off duty that there are quite a few Negroes employed in our industries.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. We have some statistics, Mr. Mayor, a study we did that indicates that the companies in San Leandro employing 100 or more persons that report to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and that report to the office of Federal Contract Compliance, provide approximately 13,500 persons, of whom about 572 are Negroes, about 5 percent or so. Does that sound as though it might be right?

MAYOR MALTESTER. That might be right. I presume that some plants according to the type of work may employ more than others. I wouldn't question that.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. And those are companies of 100 employees or more. Companies with less than 100 employees are not included in those statistics. Are Negroes employed in stores and small businesses in San Leandro?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Yes, they are.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. How would you account for the fact that just across the border of San Leandro in Oakland there are large numbers of Negro families, and yet there are just 20 to 25 Negroes in your city?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Well, basically the question in the past has been one of prejudice. San Leandro grew from a farming community to a bedroom community for people who mainly worked in San Francisco. I guess prior to World War II there were about 20,000 people in the community.
Industry started to come in. Half of our present land area is zoned industrial. I don't think there is any question but what there was prejudice involved.
Although some of the families, Negro people who live in San Leandro, have lived there for many years. We have a very heavy Portuguese, Mexican American, Spanish people living in our community. At the present time the families that are moving in are moving in different areas of the town.
As you just heard Mr. Lucot state that the one property on the Hills at some $75,000 or $80,000. We have other families that moved into the Marina Fair and different areas which, from a personal standpoint is good for everybody, and in other words we don't get any ghetto, or where it's white or dark or anything else. It is spread throughout the community. One other thing that has, I'm sure, kept an awful lot of minority races out has been the cost of property.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. The cost of property?

MAYOR MALTESTER. The cost of property in San Leandro. I do not have facts to back this up. I get this statement from real estate people and appraisers, that the same property on one side of Durant Avenue, which is our dividing line with Oakland is worth $1,000 to $1,500 more than this property is in Oakland. The reason for that, I don't know. One has been that we have had a reduce in tax rate, and we have increased our services to the people. Beyond that I can't say, I'm just guessing.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Do you think that the fact that two cities so close to each other, and one of them has such a large Negro population and the other has such a small one, might lead to friction of some sort?

MAYOR MALTESTER. I'm certain it will some day unless something is done. As I say, it is--I feel something is being done now, but it is being done slowly.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Is the city concerned that racial disturbances in Oakland might affect San Leandro?

MAYOR MALTESTER. I might say as the mayor I'm concerned, yes.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. What actions or plans do you have to deal with the problem?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Well, we haven't any plans to deal with the problem. You must understand that in our community, although the mayor is directly elected by the people, we are a little different than some of the Eastern cities.
We do not have the authority as mayor, I technically do not have any more authority than any city councilman, so it is just a problem as to what you can do. We hope that we are getting, I think, more and more people in our community that realize the problem and are willing to recognize that it is there and help do something about it, but it's an awfully slow process.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Do you have problems in your community with white racists groups?

MAYOR MALTESTER. No. In fact, the only time I knew one existed was a series of articles in a local newspaper.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. But the groups themselves you don't consider terribly significant or a force in molding opinion in the community?

MAYOR MALTESTER. No, I've checked this out with our own police department and they feel that it does not pose any problem at all in the community.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. There has been some testimony about the meeting that you held with business and religious leaders to discuss problems of racial integration in San Leandro. Have there been many such meetings ?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Well, no. That was probably the largest where we've brought industry into the picture and the banks.
I have attended three or four meetings with various clergy groups and I would think that the clergy has been the most interested in the problem in the community, and probably not only the most interested but probably the most knowledgeable as to what does exist.
There have just been unofficial meetings over a cup of coffee talking about the problems as they would see one or the others that would come up.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. But in December you had a meeting which included a larger number of individuals?

MAYOR MALTESTER. That is correct. I was asked if I could get together some of the industrial people to join some of the clergy and the banks. We thought it would be a good thing to sit down and talk to them and just see what they felt.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Has that meeting been followed up with additional similar meetings?

MAYOR MALTESTER. No, it hasn't been. It was left on the basis that see how things are going for a while and then we would get together again unofficially. When you try to get a group together like that, sometimes it takes a little time to get them together. Everybody is busy, but we undoubtedly will have other discussion. That is, if I have my way about it and they show up.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. How long have you lived in San Leandro?

MAYOR MALTESTER. I was born in San Leandro.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. On the basis of your knowledge in general, and on the basis of your experience as mayor what factors in the local real estate market do you think have kept Negroes from buying homes in San Leandro?

MAYOR MALTESTER. I don't think it is the real estate people nor the lending institutions. I think it's the people themselves. I'm quite sure that any real estate man would sell any home in San Leandro to a Negro if the seller of that home gave them the go-ahead.
There is still the fear that if one home is sold to a Negro, the whole block will be sold to Negroes and then the next block. This is a fear, I think--and I am not a historian--which grew up over many, many years which ultimately, I guess it did happen in the West Oakland area. And this, I think is the basis of fear.
I really don't--oh, there may be one or two real estate people, maybe one or two lending institutions, but I think the basic problem is with the people themselves, not only in our community but in any other community,

MR. GLICKSTEIN. But you have had some large tract developments in San Leandro where the homes were sold new by the developer.

MAYOR MALTESTER. Right.

MR. GLICKSTEIN, Not by individual sellers. Yet, those developments have turned out to be predominantly or, exclusively white. Isn't that correct?

MAYOR MALTESTER. It is correct, and yet probably the largest and latest development and the last one from the land standpoint that is available now has three Negro families living in it, and the development is only five or six years old and all of the three--and one I know was sold through the developer of the tract.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. One was sold through the developer of the tract?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Definitely to the Negro.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. That is the Marina

MAYOR MALTESTER. Marina Fair.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. That is a new area that is being developed?

MAYOR MALTESTER, Right.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. How do you account for the older tracts that were developed that were not integrated?

MAYOR. MALTESTER. This, again, I cannot account for except for the fact that I think it goes back to the people themselves. I've talked to apartment house owners that the rest of their tenants have threatened to move out if they rent one apartment to a Negro family. So then who do you blame, the people or the apartment house owner?

MR. GLICKSTEIN. When Negroes have moved into San Leandro how have they been received by their neighbors?

MAYOR MALTESTER.. Normally very fine. We've had one bad incident that you have undoubtedly picked up on us. This happened to be on the most expensive one we were talking about, but it had nothing to do with racial problems, just outright hoodlums, but outside of that they are well accepted.
In fact, I would think exceptionally so. The reports that I get from this Marina Fair area is that the people in the area are happy with these families. They have gone in and fixed up their homes better than they were before and joined the Home Owners Association, become active in the area. This is what I think is tending, as I say, to break down this barrier that is built up, but I don't think it will be broken down politically. It's got to be through people.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. And I gather from what has been said that you as mayor have been exercising some leadership in the direction of breaking these barriers down?

MAYOR MALTESTER. I try as much as possible, in fact maybe a little more than I am supposed to, but it has to be persuasion and on a friendly basis. Yes.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. One of the witnesses said you had proposed to the city council that a human rights commission be set up and you were unsuccessful in getting that through.

MAYOR MALTESTER. I went beyond the human relations commission. I also tacked the word responsibilities in there because this had been proposed right after President Kennedy addressed the United States Congress of Mayors in Honolulu and asked for this type of support throughout the country because I think every city has areas where the property is getting run down, and this is not always Negroes' areas. In fact, most of the time it isn't.
So we wanted not only the human relations commission aspect, we wanted some responsibilities put into it. Unfortunately, the city council decided on a five to two vote that it was not necessary, that we didn't have any problems, and I don't blame the city council because, believe me, when that proposal was put out in the press --before I made the proposal I had six votes, and when the people got through with the telephone calls I wound up with one besides my own.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Informally, then, your fellow councilmen agreed with your position, but when they had to indicate publicly what their position was they voted differently.

MAYOR MALTESTER. That is correct.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. How many persons does your city employ?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Approximately 365.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. How many are Negroes?

MAYOR MALTESTER. One.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. And he is a--

MAYOR MALTESTER. Police officer. We did have two. We had a young lady that was a police assistant, but she decided she would rather work for the telephone company.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Does the city require its employees to be residents?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Yes and no. The rule is, the civil service rule is that all employees must be residents. The civil service board has the right to suspend that rule for all examinations. In checking our records we find it has suspended for all operations except three, they're always putting the rule to one side.
Those three operations that they have not suspended the rule for was a garbage collector, a maintenance man and the parks people, and in checking back and asking the Civil Service Commission why these three were not also allowed to not have to live in the community it is a fact that they class them in three emergency categories. I don't know, this is the answer that I got.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Those three categories have to live in the community?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Right, and the others have to--the examinations are open. In fact, the young Negro police officer we had lived in Berkeley. Now he lives in San Leandro with his family.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. He now lives in San Leandro?

MAYOR MAL TESTER. Right.

MR. GLICKSTEIN, Did he have any difficulty in finding a place to live?

MAYOR MALTESTER. I haven't talked to him. He hasn't said anything to me.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. But he did move into the city?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Yes.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Does the city recruit employees outside the city?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Yes. This is what I was talking about on the recruitment. These are the only three that are supposed to live in the city, The rest of the recruitment comes from all over.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. And actually you make affirmative efforts to go outside of the city? You advertise outside the city?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Yes. It's advertised in all the journals, a notice is sent to the department of employment. We give it a broad advertising effect.

MR. GLICKSTEIN. Thank you. I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIRMAN HANNAH. Mrs. Freeman?

COMMISSIONER FREEMAN. Mayor Maltester, does your city attempt to recruit industry, large industry, to come in? Have you ever in the past attempted this?

MAYOR MALTESTER. The city as such hasn't. The Chamber of Commerce is always, of course, working to bring new industry into San Leandro, and this is where our growth assessed valuation wise has come from, new industry over the past years.

COMMISSIONER FREEMAN. Do the majority of the persons who are employed by the industries that have come in in the past few years reside in San Leandro?

MAYOR MALTESTER. I wouldn't know. I would have to say as a guess, no. It's a pretty educated guess.

COMMISSIONER FREEMAN. Would a significant number of those that are white reside in San Leandro?

MAYOR MALTESTER. No. Again, I don't have any figures, but in my opinion no, because we have an awful lot of people that live in San Lorenzo, Hayward, Castro Valley.

I have had people tell me that even working for the city they can't live there because they can't afford it in their own city and they moved to Castro Valley.

COMMISSIONER FREEMAN. And these houses range in price from $18,000 up. Is that right?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Yes.

COMMISSIONER FREEMAN. Let me pose to you a hypothetical question that if a government agency or a government contractor indicated an interest in shelter for its employees and said to you as mayor, the leading official of the city, that, "We cannot come here because there is not a free and open housing market" what would then be your responsibility as the mayor?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Well, I would certainly want to sit down with the contractor or whoever he was and find out what the facts would be, and then sit down with our city council, so I would say that--

COMMISSIONER FREEMAN. Do you think it would make any change with respect to the--and this of course is an estimate-would the council then care enough about having a white-only ghetto to change it?

MAYOR MALTESTER. I would say that as individuals they would, and then when it got out into the newspapers I don't know where they would stand when the heat went on.

COMMISSIONER FREEMAN. I'm sorry, I didn't hear you.

MAYOR MALTESTER. I say that I am sure that as individuals the city council would be interested. I think that our city councilmen still are interested, but I would say that when the people themselves started to protest-

COMMISSIONER FREEMAN. These people, then, are so racist that they would still keep the industry out?

MAYOR MALTESTER. In my opinion if this were the issue, yes,

COMMISSIONER FREEMAN. Thank you.

CHAIRMAN HANNAH. Mr. Mayor, there are seven councilmen you say?

MAYOR MALTESTER. Six and the mayor.

CHAIRMAN HANNAH. Are you elected as mayor or as a councilman and then the councilmen elect the mayor?

MAYOR MALTESTER. I'm elected as mayor.

CHAIRMAN HANNAH. You are elected at large?

MAYOR MALTESTER. At large. Following through, we have the six councilmen who represent six districts. They have to live in the district, but they are also elected at large.

CHAIRMAN HANNAH. In your testimony this morning you've indicated that your views with reference to the presence of Negroes in your community is at variance with the views of most of the people that live in the community. When you have run for re-election has this been a handicap to you?

MAYOR MALTESTER. I couldn't say that because in the last election I didn't have any opposition, which was last year.

CHAIRMAN HANNAH. Mr. Taylor?

MR. TAYLOR. No questions.

CHAIRMAN HANNAH. Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor. We appreciate your enlightenment, and we hope that you may be able to prevail upon some of your colleagues. Having watched this development in the areas of civil rights all over the country it is as certain as anything can be that a city like San Leandro is going to move in the direction of an orderly acceptance of desirable Negroes and members of other minority groups or face, as you suspect, unhappiness and this myth that has been built up that when good citizens who happen to be black, or Mexicans or something else, move into communities, nothing really happens. There are fine people of all races and colors and religions, and somehow or other we have to get our citizens to recognize that what is important is the individual.
It is basically an educational process and if you and other enlightened leaders can follow along with the attitude that you have expressed here this morning Maybe you can make progress, although it gets discouraging at times.

MAYOR MALTESTER. I hope so. I would like to thank the Commission and would like to make, one statement, if I may, because I have read where the Commission has been criticized, and I would like to say that I think the most important thing that this Commission is doing is to allow the light of day to be put on some of these problems around the country, and I just hope that your job is accomplished along with the rest of us.

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December 28, 2007

Pat Bouligny Chosen as Interim CEO of San Leandro Chamber of Commerce

Pat BoulignyThe San Leandro Chamber of Commerce announced today that Pat Bouligny has been chosen as its interim CEO. Bouligny is the President of Bouligny & Associates, which seems to be a human resources consulting firm. Bouligny has served on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts of San Francisco Bay Area for six years and is also the current President of the Board. According to her biography, Bouligny was the first African American President of the Bay Area Girl Scouts. She also served on the Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Directors for the Tampa Boys & Girls Club.

Dan Walters, the Chair of the San Leandro Chamber's CEO Search Committee, is also on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts of San Francisco Bay Area.

The other members of the Search Committee are Bernard Ashcraft, President Robert Brannan, Burt Boltuch, and President-Elect Rose Padilla Johnson.

Bouligny replaces Diana Gentry, who was CEO just less than a year.

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December 24, 2007

Red Mountain Gets out Some Holiday PR

Red Mountain Retail Group recently placed this sign on the former Albertson's at 1550 E. 14th Street.

Red Mountain Retail Group holiday banner on former Albertsons
Happy Holidays "We can't wait to give the gift of a Grocery Store."

The Albertsons site has been vacant since 2005 and Red Mountain has filed a legal action to force the city to accept Grocery Outlet as the tenant of the property. Red Mountain lost an appeal of its classification as a supermarket before the San Leandro City Council in July 2007. The City Council decision came just days after Red Mountain and Grocery Outlet held a "picnic" at the site, where items from Grocery Outlet were handed out for free and recipients were encouraged to sign a petition in favor of Grocery Outlet.

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December 19, 2007

OSISoft Software Recognized by Microsoft for Contribution to Environmental Sustainability

According to a Microsoft press release dated December 17, 2007, local software company OSISoft was one of the winners in its Ingenuity Point contest. The contest recognizes "software solutions that are making a meaningful difference in the areas of education, healthcare and environmental sustainability."

OSISoft was recognized in the environmental sustainability category for PI System, a software product designed for managing and monitor the infrastructure of plants and facilities. According to the press release, "OSIsoft’s PI System helps companies in manufacturing, energy, utilities and other process industries monitor, manage and track performance indicators in real time. Several water utilities have used the PI System to more closely manage their water supplies and reduce the cost and energy associated with treating water and wastewater."

According to OSISoft, PI System is used by more 11,000 installations around the world. OSISoft is located at 777 Davis Street in San Leandro.

Posted by mike at 8:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 18, 2007

City Council Gets Report on Revenue Measure Feasibility Survey

From November 7 to 11, 2007, Godbe Research conducted a telephone survey of 400 San Leandro voters. The purpose of the survey, commissioned by the City of San Leandro, was to assess the use of the San Leandro Shoreline Recreation Area, assess voter awareness of the harbor and its dredging needs, determine voter support for a parcel tax to support the boat harbor, prioritize community issues based on voter response, and identify differences in responses due to demographic and/or voter behavioral characteristics.

The results of the survey were presented at the December 17, 2007, meeting of the San Leandro City Council. Councilmember Jim Prola summed up the conclusion of the survey at the meeting as "It's clear to me that residents want to keep the Marina [boat harbor] open, they just don't want to pay for it."

Support for a parcel tax $60 per parcel was 49% of voters who said that they would definitely or probably support such a tax. Support increased as the amount of the tax per parcel decreased, from 50% support at $52 per parcel, 56% at $44 per parcel, 60% support at $36 per year to 66% support at $28 per parcel. Godbe noted that even at $28 per parcel, in order for the tax to succeed in an election, it would have to be a perfect campaign, which occur, but very infrequently. This was the portion of the survey covered in Monday's Daily Review article.

Some of the more interesting results include the results for the question "In your opinion, what is the single, most important issue facing San Leandro in the next five years?" Public schools/education was cited by 21% of the respondents, with growth and development cited by 15% and public safety (including crime) cited by 14%. The closure of the boat harbor was cited by just 2% of the respondents.

To gauge voter priorities, the survey asked, "For each issue, please tell me if it is very important, somewhat important or not important to you personally." Reducing crime was the frequent response, cited by 89% of respondents as very important, followed by improving the quality of education at 83% and maintaining streets and roads at 76%. The item cited by the least number of the respondents was keeping the boat harbor open and maintained, at 27%.

The survey cost $19,230 and it was based on a total population of 30,311 likely November 2008 voters. The survey did not include eligible voters who are not registered or registered voters who were not considered likely to vote in the November 2008 election.

Of the 400 respondents, 62% were caucasian/white, 10% were Hispanic/Latino, 10% were Asian-American, and 8% were African-American/Black. Only 7% of the respondents owned a boat. The respondents were 61% Democrat and 18% Republican and 70% were homeowners.

Bo Johanson and Audrey Albers were both critical of the survey, noting that neither of them knew someone who participated in the survey. Johanson said that the survey should have focused solely on the Marina and should have been mailed to all residents. Godbe responded that mail surveys are not as accurate. Albers said that "I have no confidence in it" but acknowledged that she had not seen the report. Lou Filipovich, a former Republican nominee for the California State Senate, said that he agreed with all of the comments made by Johanson and Albers.

The City Council voted 6-0 to accept the report. Vice Mayor Surlene Grant was not present at the meeting.

Here are the summary results from Godbe:

December 6, 2007
TO: Cynthia Battenberg, Assistant to the City Manager, City of San Leandro
FROM: Bryan Godbe, M.A., President
Amelia Caine, Ph.D., Senior Research Manager
RE: City of San Leandro Revenue Measure Feasibility Survey

Godbe Research is pleased to present the summary results of a survey conducted for the City of San Leandro. A total of 400 voters who reside in San Leandro participated in the study, and telephone interviews took place from November 7 to November 11, 2007. The margin of error for this survey is plus or minus 4.9 percent.

A majority of voters are aware of the boat harbor; however, it is among the relatively least used features of the Shoreline Recreation Area by voter households .

  • Approximately 87 percent of voters are aware that the Marina has a boat harbor, and 59 percent are aware of the need to dredge the boat harbor and a two-mile channel leading to the central bay.
  • Although voters widely know about the boat harbor, only 12 percent of voter households have used the harbor within the past 12 months and only 7 percent have used the boat launch ramp.
  • The features with the relatively highest use by voter households are the restaurants (74%); Shoreline trails, walking paths, and parcourse (71 %); and the play areas and picnic facilities (54%).

Overall, keeping the boat harbor open and maintained is a relatively low priority for San Leandro voters:

  • When asked to name the most important issue facing San Leandro, the voters surveyed most frequently mentioned public schools and education (21 %), growth and development (15%), and public safety (14%). In contrast, the boat harbor was mentioned by just 2 percent of voters.
  • When read a list of 10 issues, voters rated reducing crime, improving the quality of public education, and maintaining streets and roads as the relatively most important. In contrast, the boat harbor was rated as the relatively least important issue.

The results indicate that the City of San Leandro should not move forward with placing a parcel tax measure on the ballot to fund keeping the boat harbor open and maintained.

  • Without any mention of the funding source, 75 percent of voters support a plan to keep the boat harbor open and maintained
  • However, support for the spending of City funds to keep the boat harbor open and maintained is significantly lower, at 68 percent.
  • Finally, only 49 percent of voters support a $60 parcel tax measure to fund the dredging and maintenance of the boat harbor.
  • Although a majority of voters support a plan to keep the boat harbor open and maintained, there is not sufficient voter support to fund this plan with a tax increase.

The staff report by Cynthia Battenberg, follows below.

CITY OF SAN LEANDRO

STAFF REPORT

APPROVED AND FORWARDED
TO CITY COUNCIL

DATE: December 11, 2007
TO: John Jermanis, City Manager
FROM: Steve Hollister, Assistant City Manager
BY: Cynthia Battenberg, Assistant to the City Manager

SUBJECT: PRESENTATION BY GODBE RESEARCH ON THE RESULTS OF THE REVENUE MEASURE FEASIBILITY SURVEY

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATION

The City of San Leandro retained Godbe Research (Godbe) for polling services to evaluate public support for the boat harbor. Godbe collected data in early November 2007 and will present the detailed results at the December 17, 2007 City Council meeting. Staff recommends City Council make a motion to accept Godbe Research's Revenue Measure Feasibility Survey report. No further action is required.

BACKGROUND

The Shoreline-Marina Committee has been meeting monthly since its formation in January 2007 to discuss the future of the boat harbor and development of the approximately 40 acre opportunity site. The City held two Town Hall meetings to share information and gain public input on how to fund the approximately $2 million annual shortfall and what type of development citizens would like to see at the Shoreline-Marina Area.

To assist the City in evaluating public and registered voter support for a revenue measure to fund the annual shortfall in the boat harbor's budget, the City retained Godbe. Godbe is a full-service public opinion research agency with extensive experience in public opinion research for ballot measures, community needs assessments, public education, and strategic planning efforts. Godbe is a certified WEE and registered small business and completed a public opinion poll "Survey of Residents" for the City of San Leandro in 2000.

A task force of the Shoreline-Marina Committee, which included Mayor Santos and Councilmember Starosciak, reviewed the survey questions prior to data collection. The survey was approximately 12 minutes in length. Data collection occurred in early November 2007 with calls typically between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Although the main survey questions focused around support for a revenue measure, the survey also included general questions regarding what people liked best about San Leandro, what they thought San Leandro's challenges were, and which issues were of greatest concern to them. The survey questionnaire is included in Appendix C of the report.

The summary results are included in Godbe's memo which is attached. The report, excluding Appendix D: Crosstabulation Tables, is also attached. A bound copy of the full report was distributed to Councilmembers under separate cover and will be made available to the public on the City's website. A copy will also be made available at the main Library and Mulford Branch library along with Environmental Science Associate's Opportunities and Constraints Analysis of the San Leandro Marina.

Current City Council Policy - N/A

Previous City Council Action(s) - N/A

City Council Committee Review and Action - On November 13, 2007, the City Council Shoreline - Marina Committee received an update on the City of San Leandro 2007 Revenue Measure Feasibility Survey.

Applicable General Plan Policy - N/A

Permits and/or Variances Granted - N/A

Environmental Review - N/A

Code Compliance Review - N/A

Board/Commission Findings - N/A

Summary of Public Outreach Efforts - N/A

Fiscal Impact - The Shoreline Enterprise Fund covered the $19,230 cost of the survey.

Budget Authority - N/A

Attachments - N/A

CONCLUSION

Staff recommends City Council make a motion to accept Godbe Research's Revenue Measure Feasibility Survey report.

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December 17, 2007

San Leandro Chamber Announces Nominees for 2008 Board of Directors

The San Leandro Chamber of Commerce recently announced its 2008 Board of Director Nominees for terms that will end in 2010. The nominees are:

Officers for the 2008 Term:


Directors for the Term ending 2008:
African American Business Council Representative
Latino Business Council Representative

Directors with Continuing Terms Not Requiring Election:

December 13, 2007

Crime in San Leandro by the Numbers

Is crime up in San Leandro as some people believe? Is crime down, as San Leandro Police Chief Dale Attarian said in his December 3, 2007, letter to the San Leandro Times? The answer depends on how you look at it.

Crime statistics for the years 1996 to 2006 are available at the FBI’s web site as part of the Uniform Crime Reports at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm#cius. These statistics include the population of San Leandro and the number of police officers in the San Leandro Police Department.

From 1996 to 2006, San Leandro’s population increased by 12%, from 70,478 to 78,882, according to the FBI data.

The good news: During that same time period, murders and non-negligent homicides decreased 50% from 6 to 4, with only one murder reported in 2000 and three murders in 1999 and 2003. Larceny-theft decreased by 29% from 3,073 to 2,176 and arson decreased by 57%, from 28 to 12. Robberies increased by only 1.3% from 305 to 309 and burglaries increased by 1.2% from 764 to 773. Aggravated assaults increased by 11%, from 278 to 309.

The bad news: Forcible rape increased 33% from 21 to 28 and motor vehicle theft increased by 72% from 725 to 1247.

More recent data isn’t available yet, so recent trends may not be apparent yet. Larceny-theft and arson are down in recent years, but all other crime categories are up.

From 1996 to 2006, the number of police officers in the San Leandro Police Department has varied from 92 to 93, with a high of 98 officers in 2000 and a low of 88 in 2001. If there’s a correlation between the number of police officers and crime, it doesn’t readily appear in the statistics. Mayor Tony Santos campaigned for increasing the number of police officers and repeated this at the December 3, 2007, City Council meeting. However, if San Leandro were able to increase the number of officers by four or six, it’s not clear that it would have any significant impact on crime.

The following graphs summarize crime, population, and the number of police officers in San Leandro from 1996 to 2006. Here's the data for those of you who want to play with the numbers yourself.

After looking at the statistics, what do you think?

Arson, Rape, and Murder in San Leandro from 1996 to 2006

Aggravated assault and robbery in San Leandro from 1996 to 2006

Burglary, larceny-theft, and auto theft in San Leandro from 1996 to 2006

San Leandro Population from 1996 to 2006

Police officers in San_Leandro from 1996 to 2006.

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San Leandro Teacher Achieves National Board Certification

Erika Johnson, a teacher at Jefferson Elementary, recently received National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The accomplishment was highlighted in a December 10, 2007, press release from the California Department of Education.

In order to achieve board certification, a teacher must undertake intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment and peer review. Certification takes between one and three years to complete. According to National Board for Professional Teaching Standards President and CEO Joseph A. Aguerrebere, "Research demonstrates that National Board Certified Teachers consistently outperform their peers in knowledge of subject matter and ability to create challenging and engaging lessons."

The other board-certified teachers are Karla Ball, a teacher at McKinley Elementary who was certified in 2003 and Ruby Smart, a teacher at San Leandro High School, who was certified in 2006. Ball and Smart were presented with Certificates of Commendation at a June 2007 meeting of the San Leandro School Board.

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December 11, 2007

Retired Librarian Writing New History of San Leandro

San Lorenzo book coverRetired San Leandro Librarian Cindy Simons is writing a new book on the history of San Leandro. The book, to be published by Arcadia Publishing, is part of the Images of America series. The series also features Castro Valley, Hayward and San Lorenzo. The book will build on an earlier history of San Leandro she wrote in July 2004 for the Alameda County Historical Society.

According to Simons, “The book will cover the stories of San Leandro from the time of the Jalquin and Yrgin Ohlone tribes to the 21st century. There are so many great stories in San Leandro's past -- cherries, oyster pirates, tractors, and Portuguese Holy Ghost festivals to name just a few.” Unlike “A Garden Grows in Eden” by Harry Shaffer or Reginald Stuart’s “San Leandro...A History,” Simons’ history will use about 200 photographs to tell the story of San Leandro’s history, including important recent events and issues.

The book is expected to be published in September or October 2008. If you have pictures of old San Leandro or stories of the “good old days,” contact Simons at (510) 910-3215 or by email at simons6589@comcast.net.

Simons was a librarian for the City of San Leandro for 11 years and was responsible for the History Room at the library and the Casa Peralta. Simons also took on curatorial responsibility for the exhibits at the history museum when funding was approved by the City Council.

In September 2005, the City of San Leandro commissioned an outline for a book on the history of San Leandro, but cancelled the project when the writer proposed to write about housing discrimination in San Leandro.

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Judge Decides San Leandro Police Should Get Paid for Time Spent Dressing

In a ruling issued Friday, December 7, 2007, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel decided in favor of San Leandro Police in a lawsuit asking for 30 minutes of paid time for getting into and out of their uniforms.

In the lawsuit filed by Greg Lemmon, president of the San Leandro Police Officers Association, San Leandro police estimated that they needed 25 to 35 minutes each day to get in and out of their uniforms and gear.

Patel noted that the decision conflicts with rulings by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer against the Richmond Police and a federal judge against police in San Diego and would probably have to be taken up by an appeals court.

San Francisco Chronicle coverage

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December 9, 2007

Portuguese Delegation Coming to San Leandro on December 10

Ponta Delgada HeraldA delegation from Ponta Delgada, Azores Islands, Portugal, one of San Leandro's sister cities, will arrive on Monday, December 10, 2007, for a week of official visits and activities.

Berta Cabral, Mayor of Ponta DelgadaThe delegation will include Ponta Delgada Mayor Berta Cabral and members of her staff. The delegation will visit the União Portuguesa do Estado da Califórnia (UPEC) office on E. 14th Street in San Leandro, attend a banquet with City officials on December 11, and other activities until December 13, 2007.

According to the City press release, former Mayor Shelia Young visited Ponta Delgada in May 2000. Young also visited Ponta Delgada in July 2006 for the Festivities of the Holy Ghost. On June 5, 2006, the City Council approved up to $2,000 from the Mayor's Community Fund for Young's travel and expenses.

The Ponta Delgada press release, in Portuguese, is here.

Many of San Leandro's early immigrants were from Portugal. San Leandro and Ponta Delgada established a sister city relationship in 1970 and a delegation from Ponta Delgada last visited San Leandro in 2001.

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December 5, 2007

On Crime in San Leandro

Local crime has been in the news recently with Jot Mangat, the owner of the Englander getting shot outside his restaurant, an attempted robbery of a teenager's iPod and bicycle, and two robberies that occurred while customers were present.

As a result, a letter written to the San Leandro Times in November 2007 describes the current situation as a "rampant increase in crime" and claims that it is something "our leaders don't want to talk about." However, crime is discussed by the City leaders on a regular basis, including at its most recent meeting.

At the December 3, 2007, City Council meeting, Councilmember Bill Stephens made the following remarks about crime:

However, in the past few months several high profile events have occurred which have created a perception of a shift in public safety. Perception, as we know is reality. I am talking of:
  • A robbery in which a prominent restaurant owner was wounded.
  • Robberies at two downtown establishments during a time when patrons were present
  • Strong arm robberies of children on their home street
  • Vandalism – Broken windows at a restaurant, barber shop and hardware store in my neighborhood
  • Auto thefts
  • Increased vagrancy and pan-handling
  • Traffic violations
Now, I recognize that statistics may support the fact that the city is safer, but I submit that we must evaluate this and confirm. I think we need to both ensure and assure our citizens of their individual safety. We need to both project protection and promote an image of a safe community. We need to make San Leandro synonymous with that of being the safest city in the East Bay. We can do this.
First, I would ask that we receive a report of crimes over the past five years. Broad categories. Auto Theft, Robberies, etc.
I ask that this report be provided to the Council prior to its January retreat. I also ask that the police provide their view on what they need to combat crime. I would like to hear how they may use community assistance, technology, lighting, communications, new deployment and tactics to advance crime prevention.
With this information, the city council can take strong and appropriate action to enhance community safety. I am not talking of symbolism, but action that will result in quantifiable reduction in crime in one year. I do not have all the answers. None of us on the council have all the answers. But together, all of us – the community, the staff, and the police have the needed solutions.

In addition, City Manager John Jermanis delivered a copy of a letter-to-the-editor prepared by Police Chief Dale Attarian to each member of the City Council at the December 4, 2007, meeting. This letter will likely appear in the December 6, 2007, edition of the San Leandro Times:

In response to a recent letter ("SL's Mounting Crime Problem" 11/22), I think it is important to clarify for the community what the actual crime trends in San Leandro have been and San Leandro's high priority for public safety.
As Police Chief for San Leandro, I regularly review crime reports and statistics. The most recent San Leandro statistics, which are based on 2006 numbers, actually indicate that crimes such as assaults have dropped 6 percent this past year compared to last year and incidents of even more egregious physical crimes such as rape have dropped by 60 percent.
Although the state and federal reports compile vast quantities of crime statistics, the rankings they create are typically based on a limited number of crime types and may not reflect the full picture of how a community is faring. For instance, what is clear from the latest report is that crimes against property have increased, some by as much as 10 percent (which is also a trend throughout Alameda County), but crimes against persons have dropped substantially. Since the 1990s, San Leandro's overall crime rate has dropped nearly 25 percent and, so far in 2007, San Leandro has seen the lowest crime rate in the past five years.
While even one crime is too many, it should be noted that the San Leandro Police Department works diligently to ensure the safety of our citizens. The City's dispatch center handles roughly 70,000 to 80,000 calls per year and the City's sworn police staff take some 16,000 police reports each year. We provide 24/7 police services and have a strong record of responding to calls for immediate assistance within minutes of receiving them.
We certainly understand the concerns of community members, and want to make sure the community knows that the San Leandro City Council ranks public safety as their very highest priority. We continually monitor crime trends in the city and will apply the necessary resources to effectively combat crime so that our city remains healthy and safe.
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School Board Consider Designs for Arts Education Center

The San Leandro School Board reviewed three possible designs for the front of a new arts education center at San Leandro High School at its December 4, 2007. The designs were presented by Leo Ray Lynch of WLC Architects based on ideas from a committee of community members, teachers, adminstrators, and students.

The drawings are still subject to change and the final design will be approved by the San Leandro School Board at its December 13, 2007, meeting.

San Leandro Arts Education Center front - G6
San Leandro Arts Education Center - Option G6

San Leandro Arts Education Center front - H
San Leandro Arts Education Center - Option H

San Leandro Arts Education Center front - I
San Leandro Arts Education Center - Option I

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December 4, 2007

City Council Approves Updated List of Groups that can Receive Community Empowerment Funds

On Monday night, December 3, 2007, the San Leandro City Council approved a list of community empowerment fund recipients. Under Mayor Shelia Young, there was also a Mayor's Community Fund, which came from a separate City account that was funded by donations and fundraisers, including an annual golf tournament. Community empowerment funds come from the city's general fund and can be used by members of the City Council to support community projects. Each councilmember will have $2,500 each year at their discretion while the Mayor will have $5,000 each year at his discretion, for a total of $20,000 per year.

Councilmember Diana Souza ensured that the Washington Manor Swim Team was added to the list prior to its approval by the City Council.

The complete list of groups follows:

Alta Mira Club of San Leandro
American Cancer Society "Relay For Life" - San Leandro Annual Event
Arts Council of San Leandro
Boy Scouts of America - San Leandro Education and Training Center
Building Futures With Women And Children San Leandro
Calico Center of San Leandro
Community Resources for Independent Living
Davis Street Family Resource Center
Deaf Counseling Advocacy Referral Agency (DCARA), San Leandro
Floresta Baseball League
Friends of San Leandro Creek
George Mark Childrens House
Girls Inc
Homeowner and Neighborhood Associations within San Leandro which are registered with the City of San Leandro (limited to public benefit projects or programs)
Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, San Leandro
Leadership San Leandro
Monarch Bay Junior Golf
San Leandro Adult Day Care Center
San Leandro Art Association
San Leandro Boys and Girls Club
San Leandro Buccaneers
San Leandro Chamber of Commerce
San Leandro Crusaders
San Leandro Historical Society
San Leandro Kiwanis Club
San Leandro Lions Club
San Leandro Little League
San Leandro Players
San Leandro Police Explorer Program
San Leandro Police Officers Association
San Leandro Public Library Foundation
San Leandro Rotary Club
San Leandro Scholarship Foundation
San Leandro Swim Team
San Leandro Unified School District Schools and the Student Teacher and Parent Clubs affiliated with those schools
San Lorenzo Unified School District Schools and the Student Teacher and Parent Clubs affiliated with those schools
Senior Services Foundation - San Leandro Friendly Visiting Program
Spinnaker Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program
Stepping Stones Growth Center, San Leandro
Washington Manor Junior Baseball League
Washington Manor Swim Team

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December 3, 2007

Former San Leandro Football Player Named PAC-10 Offensive Player of the Year

According to a December 3, 2007, press release from the Pacific-10 Conference, former San Leandro High School football player Dennis Dixon was unanimously chosen as Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year. From the press release:

Dixon, a senior from San Leandro, Calif., was a unanimous choice for Pac-10 offensive player of the year despite missing the final two games of the regular season with a knee injury. Dixon led the Pac-10 in passing efficiency by completing 172 of 254 passes (67.7%) for 2,136 yards and 20 touchdowns with just four interceptions. He also was dangerous as a runner with 105 rushes for 583 yards (5.6-yard average) and nine touchdowns. Under Dixon's direction, Oregon led the Pac-10 in both scoring offense (36.7) and total offense (462.1). He was named Pac-10 offensive player of the week three times this season following Oregon victories against Michigan, Stanford and Arizona State. Dixon has been named one of three finalists for both the Maxwell Award and the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award. In addition, he has been selected as one of 15 National Scholar-Athletes by The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame and is a finalist for the Foundation's Draddy Trophy.

Dixon was the quarterback for the San Leandro High School football team from 1999 to 2002. He was also drafted by the Cincinnati Reds baseball team in the 20th round in the 2003 draft and by the Atlanta Braves in the 5th round in 2007.

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December 2, 2007

Davis Street's Rose Padilla Johnson Featured in Oakland Magazine

Rose Padilla JohnsonRose Padilla Johnson, Executive Director of Davis Street Family Resource Center, is featured in the December 2007 edition of Oakland Magazine as one of its Hometown Heroes. According to the article, Davis Street provides "childcare, food and health care to more than 10,000 low-income residents in East Oakland, San Leandro and Castro Valley." The article notes that "Davis Street was originally founded as a ministry of the First Christian Church in 1970." Johnson joined Davis Street in 1991 and the organization moved into a new office on Teagarden Street in 2002.

Johnson will be President of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce in 2008 and she also serves on the San Leandro Rotary Club.

Johnson has three children and lives in Pleasanton with her husband, former Alameda County Fire Chief Bill McCammon.

Davis Street Family Resource Center is located at 3081 Teagarden Street in San Leandro.

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Santa at Zocalo today

Santa is visiting Zocalo today, Sunday, December 2, 2007, until 1pm.

That's right, Santa and Mrs. Claus are at Zocalo right now visiting, having a hot cocoa and meeting children!

With a donation of $5 or a toy to exchange ($5 value max), you can join in on the gift exchange as well!

Come on down and your kids can get a Free Hot Chocolate!

Just head on back to the JavaGym to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus!
There's Christmas music, cookies and snacks.

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San Leandro Lights Tree, Greets Santa

Kids decorated cookies with frosting and sprinkles, drank hot chocolate, and created ornaments while Girl Scouts handed out bags with energy-efficient flourescent light bulbs as hundreds gathered to watch the City of San Leandro's tree lighting on a chilly November 30, 2007.

After Mayor Tony Santos welcomed the crowd and introduced the City Council, the St. Felicitas Catholic School Choir peformed a number of Christmas carols for the crowd. The winners of the Gingerbread House contest were announced and were given awards by Mayor Santos and Councilmember Bill Stephens.

A gingerbread replica of St. Leanders ChurchGingerbread contest entriesGingerbread contest entries

The winners were:

  • Mommy & Me Category: Lily and Mom Nicole Flaner

  • 3-8 year-old Category: Gabriel Riley

  • 9-12 year-old Category: Athina Delacruz

  • Traditional Adult Category: Peter Cleveland

  • Nontraditional Aduly Category: Patricia Millar

  • Group Category: Brownie Troop #306 led by Leslie Pestana

After the DC Dancers performed a few numbers, the very tall Christmas tree was lit to the delight of the crowd.

San Leandro Tree Lighting 2007

Soon after, Santa Claus arrived on an antique fire engine and sat down to hear what the excited children wanted on Christmas morning.

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