April 29, 2008

Automated Buses Get Tested in San Leandro

PATH automated bus The California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways (PATH) is testing vehicle guidance technologies on a bus on a stretch of E. 14th Street in San Leandro from 140th Avenue to 150th Avenue.

The vehicle guidance system consists of "magnetic markers embedded in the lane center" that are detected by magnetometers mounted under the bus as it moves along the street. Based on the strength of the magnetic field, an onboard computer steers the bus to keep it properly positioned within the lane and at bus stops.

Video of the bus being tested in San Leandro has been posted on YouTube:

Testing started in February 2008 and is being performed several times per month, usually during the early morning hours. According to Associate Research Engineer Han-Shue Tan, a driver is always present during the testing, but as can be seen in the video, the driver is only a backup to the computer-controlled guidance system.

According to documentation provided by Tan, the test site was chosen because it is part of the planned route for AC Transit's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service, it is part of SR-185, for which CalTrans has responsibility, and it's a representative urban corridor.

If the testing is successful, it should make BRT "more competitive with rail transit quality of service," reduce the right-of-way needed for buses, and reduce the "width of future truck-only highway facilities so that they should cost less to build and require less right of way."

More information about PATH can be found at http://www.path.berkeley.edu/ and Transit Operations Research at http://www.path.berkeley.edu/PATH/Research/currenttransit.html.

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Local Restaurant Featured in San Francisco Chronicle

Sweet Fingers
Sweet Fingers, a Jamaican restaurant on E. 14th Street in San Leandro, was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle. The articles states that owner Clive Barnes is from Jamaica and "has been in the food business for more than 15 years."

Reviews at Yelp are mostly positive. Local restaurant reviewer Marga Lacabe likes it as well, but she and the Chronicle both note that the service is leisurely.

Live entertainment includes open mic poetry on Thursday nights, In House Sound System on Friday nights, and a reggae band on Saturday nights.

Sweet Fingers is located at 464 E. 14th St. in San Leandro.

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April 28, 2008

Sierra Club Endores Prola for San Leandro City Council

According to the latest edition of the Sierra Club Yodeler, Jim Prola is the only candidate for San Leandro City Council to earn the group's endorsement. In its endorsement, the Sierra Club called Prola "perhaps the greenest councilmember San Leandro has ever seen."

The only other local race in which the Sierra Club endorsed candidates was Alameda County Superior Court Judge, in which the group made a dual endorsement of Dennis Hayashi and Victoria Kolakowski.

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City Council Candidates on Their Vision for San Leandro

SLCAN Candidate Forum - photo by Tim Holmes
On April 4, 2008, the San Leandro Community Action Network (SLCAN) held a candidate forum at McKinley Elementary with all of the candidates for the San Leandro City Council in the June 3, 2008, election. Over the next few days, San Leandro Bytes will post videos of the candidates answering questions at that forum. The first of those questions: "Please summarize your vision for San Leandro, how you can contribute to that vision, and your top three to five priorities."

You can see their reponses by clicking on the links, which will take you to YouTube:

District 2:

Charles Gilcrest
Ursula Reed
Linda Perry

District 4:

Joyce Starosciak
Lou Filipovich

District 6:

Hermy Almonte
Mark Tichy
Jim Prola
Wafaa Aborashed
Estelle Clemons

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April 25, 2008

San Leandro Company Outfits Penguin With Wetsuit

penguin_wetsuit.jpg Kudos to Oceanic Worldwide and their marketing staff for creating a special wetsuit for a penguin at the California Academy of Sciences. If this kind of press coverage generates more sales for them, their marketing specialist, Teo Tertel, is a genuis.

Coverage from CNN, KTVU, etc.

Oceanic Worldwide is located at 2002 Davis Street in San Leandro.

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April 23, 2008

PACE Endorses Reed, Starosciak, and Clemons for San Leandro City Council

Last week, the Political Action Committee for Excellence (PACE) made its endorsements for San Leandro City Council: Ursula Reed in District 2, Joyce Starosciak in District 4, and Estelle Clemons in District 6. PACE also endorsed Victoria Kolakowski for Alameda County Superior Court Judge. In addition to her endorsement by PACE, Starosciak is also a member of the group.

As noted in a previous story, PACE membership is entirely female and has only contributed to female candidates for local office. [Editor: This story has been edited to correct inaccurate information about the group's bylaws.] The purpose of the group is to get more women elected and involved in civic activities.

In District 4, Starosciak is the only woman running and Kolakowski is the only woman candidate for Superior Court Judge. However, just because there is one woman candidate doesn't guarantee a PACE endorsement. In the 2006 campaign for the District 3 City Council seat, PACE did not endorse the only female candidate, Diana Souza, who went on to win.

The endorsement comes with a financial contribution of $999 to each of the candidate's campaigns.

As of December 31, 2007, PACE had $7,124 in its account. Members of PACE were determined from reviewing its financial disclosures and are listed below. Note that membership may have changed since the most recent financial disclosure in December 2007.

  • Anna Brannan, San Leandro Planning Commissioner
  • Esther Collier, San Leandro Planning Commissioner and former San Leandro School Board Trustee
  • Peggy Combs, Recreation and Parks Commissioner, Development Director for Building Futures with Women and Children
  • Deborah Cox, President of Estudillo Estates Homeowner Assocation, Human Services Commissioner, and Co-Chair of Citizens for San Leandro Schools
  • Isobel Dvorsky, Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Trustee
  • Harriet Engberg, retired
  • Heidi Finberg, former CEO of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce and Planning Commissioner
  • Katherine Frates, Director of Clinical Services at San Leandro Surgery Center
  • Faith Frazier, Former City Councilmember
  • Surlene Grant, San Leandro City Councilmember
  • Dale Gregory, Director of Broadmoor Preschool and Board Member of Drowning Darryl's
  • Rose Johnson, Executive Director of the Davis Street Family Resource Center and President of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce
  • Denise Bownds Kaplan, San Leandro Library Historical Commissioner
  • Susan Kleebauer, attorney and former San Leandro Planning Commissioner
  • Alexandra Matteucci-Perkins, Executive Director of the Joseph Matteucci Foundation for Youth Non-Violence
  • Janet Plankenhorn, Former San Leandro School Board Trustee
  • Isabel Polvorosa, computer operator and San Lorenzo School Board Trustee
  • Nancy Pretto, Retired
  • Catherine Ralph, a field work consultant and lecturer at UC Berkeley
  • Pat Raposo, former owner of Broadmoor Electric
  • Diana Souza, San Leandro City Councilmember
  • Joyce Starosciak, San Leandro City Councilmember and former San Leandro School Board Trustee
  • Marie Underwood
  • Dawn Valadez, Development Director for Davis Street Family Resource Center
  • Shelia Young, former San Leandro Mayor
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April 22, 2008

LINKS on Course to Get $165K from Congestion Management Agency

At its April 24, 2008, meeting, the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency has a number of items on its agenda that impact San Leandro: approving $165,000 in funding for San Leandro LINKS, an agreement that will allow work to start on the Interstate 580 soundwall, and an agreement to accept money from the City of San Leandro to start work on improvements to the Marina Boulevard-Interstate 880 interchange.

The San Leandro LINKS shuttle stands to get $165,000 in funding through the Transportation Fund for Clean Air (TFCA). The funding is provided by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and requires that funded projects have a cost effectiveness of no more than $90,000 per ton of emissions that will be eliminated by the project. For the LINKS shuttle, the cost to eliminate one ton of emissions is estimated at $42,840.

The LINKS shuttle provides free transportation during peak commute hours between the San Leandro BART station, industrial areas west of Interstate 880 and Davis Street Family Resource Center.

Also on the agenda are the Right of Way and Construction Cooperative Agreements with Caltrans for the I-580 San Leandro Soundwall Project. These agreements will allow work on the soundwall to get started.

The CMA will also authorize agreements related to the transfer of $5 million from the City of San Leandro to the CMA to support the Marina Boulevard Interchange Project. This is the $5 million received from Kaiser to fund improvements for the development of a new hospital at the former Albertson's distribution center.

Councilmember Joyce Staroscisk is San Leandro's representative on the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency Board.

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April 20, 2008

Downtown Will Get a Farmers Market

San Leandro Downtown Farmers Market Logo
On the agenda for the Monday April 21, 2008, meeting of the San Leandro City Council is approval of a seasonal farmers' market that will be located downtown. The $26,000 cost to hold the farmers' market for three years will come from the Joint Redevelopment Project Area Fund.

The current proposal calls for the market to be held on Wednesday evenings from 4pm to 9pm starting on May 14, 2008, and continuing through October 22, 2008. The market would be held on Parrott Street between E. 14th Street and Washington Avenue, the same area where the Sausage & Suds Festival has been held. The Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association will run the farmer's market.

The downtown farmers' market will feature cooking demonstrations on the first Wednesday of the month, music on the second Wednesday, family entertainment on the third Wednesday, and wine tasting on the fourth Wednesday.

A year-round farmer's market is currently held on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm in the parking lot of Bayfair Center.

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April 16, 2008

Financial Disclosure for Newest Planning Commissioner

The newest San Leandro Planning Commissioner, Anna Brannan, was appointed on March 17, 2008, to replace Marcene Nardine, who was removed on March 3, 2008. Brannan works as an attorney in Danville and previously served on the Personnel Relations Board. She has lived in San Leandro since 1977 and is married to Robert Brannan, who serves on the Recreations and Parks Commission and was previously President of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.

According to her Statement of Economic Interests, she is the principal of her own San Leandro law firm and has an interest in Network Professionals, a local computer services business with her husband. She also works for the law firm of Gagen, McCoy, McMahon, Koss, Markowitz & Raines in Danville and receives contractor fees from Lloyd A. Wise Leasing.

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SLCAN Endorses Reed in District 2 and Prola in District 6

The San Leandro Community Action Network (SLCAN) announced late last night that it is endorsing Ursula Reed for San Leandro City Council District 2 and Jim Prola for District 6. In District 4, SLCAN stated that it recommended, but did not endorse, Joyce Starosciak.

The endorsement of Prola was expected as SLCAN endorsed Prola for the District 6 appointment in February 2007 and Prola was a big supporter of the living wage ordinance and affordable housing, which SLCAN also supports.

SLCAN passed over more experienced candidates Charles Gilcrest and Linda Perry to endorse Reed, who has served on the Library-Historical Commission since February 2006. In its endorsement, SLCAN said that "Reed shares our progressive ideals" and described her as "passionate."

In District 4, with Paul Gonzales having pulled out and Lou Filipovich not taken seriously as a candidate, incumbent Starosciak is the only real option. SLCAN expressed concerns about Starosciak's judgment in recommending rather than endorsing her.

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April 15, 2008

San Leandro Golfer Named WAC Golfer of the Week

Cristina Corpus Former San Leandro High School student Cristina Corpus was named the Western Athletic Conference Women’s Golfer of the Week for April 7-13, 2008, and San Jose State University's Student-Athlete of the Week. Corpus tied for third, her best college finish, in the Peg Barnard California Collegiate golf tournament at Stanford held April 11-12, 2008. Corpus lead her San Jose State University golf team to a fourth place finish and her fifth top-20 finish of the season.

Corpus was previously named WAC Women's Golfer of the Week for March 3-9, 2008 and WAC Women's Golf Freshman of the Year in 2007.

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City Council Candidates on What to do About the Marina

At the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce Candidate forum on April 10, 2008, the City Council candidates were asked what they would do about the marina. Here are their responses.

District 2:

District 4:

District 6:

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Democrats Endorse Linda Perry for San Leandro City Council District 2

A second try was what Linda Perry needed to secure the endorsement of the Democratic Party over the weekend. At an earlier meeting, the Democrats had been unable to decide on which of the three candidates to endorse. Perry, Charles Gilcrest, and Ursula Reed are all Democrats, but Perry has been on the Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee, Assembly District 18, since 1980. The Central Committee is the group that decides on which candidates to endorse in local races.

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April 14, 2008

City Council Candidates Answer a Question at the Chamber Forum

Here are the San Leandro City Council candidates responding to a question at the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce Candidate forum on April 10, 2008. The question was: Name some specific issues on which the voters may base their decisions to vote for you versus your opponents.

District 2:

District 4:

District 6:

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April 11, 2008

Drawings of the New Ninth Grade Campus Unveiled

New drawings of the Ninth Grade Campus were unveiled at a recent school board meeting. Construction of the Ninth Grade Campus will be funded by Measure B, the school bond passed by voters in November 2006. The campus will occupy a lot at the intersection of 138th and East 14th Street.

Corner view of the 9th Grade Campus
Corner view of the 9th Grade Campus

Exterior elevations of the 9th Grade Campus
Exterior elevations of the 9th Grade Campus

Perspective view of the 9th Grade Campus
Perspective view of the 9th Grade Campus

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Opening Statements of District 6 City Council Candidates at San Leandro Chamber Forum

District 6 San Leandro City Council candidates Estelle Clemons, Wafaa Aborashed, Mark Tichy, and Jim Prola were on hand for a forum at the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon on April 10, 2008. Hermy Almonte was not present at the forum.

These are the opening statements of the District 6 City Council candidates:

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Opening Statements of District 4 City Council Candidates at San Leandro Chamber Forum

District 4 San Leandro City Council candidates Joyce Starosciak and Lou Filipovich were on hand for a forum at the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon on April 10, 2008.

These are the opening statements of the District 4 City Council candidates:

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April 10, 2008

Opening Statements of District 2 Candidates at San Leandro Chamber Forum

Less than a week after the candidates for San Leandro City Council appeared at a forum sponsored by the San Leandro Community Action Network, nine of the candidates were on hand for a forum at the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon on April 10, 2008.

These are the opening statements of the District 2 City Council candidates:

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Bayfair Celebrates 50 Years on Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bayfair Center is celebrating its 50th Anniversary on Saturday, April 12, 2008. Bayfair opened in 1957 at the site of the former Oakland Speedway and was the first two-story open-air mall. The celebration will take place at the center court with the following schedule:

  • 9:00am. . . . . . . . . . . . High School Art Contest begins
  • 1:00pm. . . . . . . . . . . . Unveiling of Celebrate San Leandro photo exhibit
  • 3:00pm. . . . . . . . . . . . The Motown tribute band, Picture Perfect
  • 3:00pm. . . . . . . . . . . . Award winning balloon artists and face painters
  • 4:00pm. . . . . . . . . . . . Mayor Tony Santos and members of the Chamber of Commerce will preside over a ribbon cutting and commendation followed by the announcement of the Art Contest winners
  • 4:30pm. . . . . . . . . . . . Enjoy refreshments by Chevyʼs, Chiliʼs, Fresh Choice, and Jamba Juice and a FREE slice of 50th Anniversary celebration cake for everyone

Prizes will also be given away throughout the day.

For more information, see the Bayfair flyer.

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Sentinels Endorse Gilcrest, Starosciak, and Prola for 2008 City Council

The Sentinels have endorsed Joyce Starosciak for the San Leandro City Council District 4 seat, Charles Gilcrest for District 2, and Jim Prola for District 6. The endorsement of Gilcrest is no surprise since he has been a member of The Sentinels since 2001. More surprising is the endorsement of Prola, who has also been endorsed by the Alameda County Central Labor Council and has been quite active in unions. Philip Daly also received the group's endorsement for District 9 Alameda County Superior Court Judge. The endorsements come with a $1,000 contribution to each of the endorsed candidates.

The Sentinels are a local group of mostly business people that meet on a regular basis and contribute money to candidates that they decide to support. For more information, see Who are The Sentinels?

Only three of the candidates for the District 6 City Council race were interviewed at the group's meeting on April 9, 2008: Jim Prola, Hermy Almonte, and Estelle Clemons. When asked about her absence from the meeting, Wafaa Aborashed said that she had not been invited. Philip Daly, a candidate for Alameda County judge was also interviewed at the same meeting. District 2 City Council candidates Linda Perry, Ursula Reed, and Charles Gilcrest and District 4 City Council candidate Joyce Starosciak were interviewed at an earlier meeting in March 2008.

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Update on Financial Disclosures

On April 8, 2008, San Leandro Bytes reported on the Statements of Economic Interests filed by members of the San Leandro Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA). Today, the City Clerk received the annual Statement of Economic Interests from BZA member Melody Marr. which was due on April 1. Planning Commissioner Heidi Finberg has yet to file any Statement of Economic Interests since she was appointed in April 2007.

Marr has been on the BZA since August 1996 and is the CEO of the Alameda Chamber of Commerce.

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April 8, 2008

Annual Financial Disclosures for Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Adjustments

In California, members of the Planning Commission are required to complete a Statement of Economic Interests (Fair Political Practices Commission Form 700), to disclose financial interests that could lead to a conflict-of-interest. In San Leandro, the Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) is also required to complete Form 700. Members are required to complete the disclosures annually and within 30 days of assuming office.

These disclosures are public documents and any member of the public can inspect and obtain copies ($0.10 each) of these disclosures. San Leandro Bytes obtains copies from the San Leandro City Clerk, scans them, and publishes them here to increase local government transparency and to save you from a trip to City Hall.

Below are the disclosures for 2007 for current members of the San Leandro Planning Commission and San Leandro Board of Zoning Adjustments:

Board of Zoning Adjustments

Planning Commission

BZA Member Marr has not yet filed her Statement of Economic Interests for 2007. The Statement is due by April 1 every year. Marr is the CEO of the Alameda Chamber of Commerce. Planning Commissioner Finberg has not filed a Statement of Economic Interests since she was appointed in April 2007. Finberg is the former CEO of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce. Planning Commissioner Brannan was appointed in March 2008 and has not yet filed a Statement of Economic Interests.

Previous filings can be found here and here.

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San Leandran to Carry Olympic Torch in San Francisco

Robin Luo Robin Luo, 21, of San Leandro, will be one of 80 people to carry the Olympic torch through San Francisco on April 9, 2008. Luo was selected as part of an essay contest called "Sustainable Journey" in which she wrote about her battle with cancer. Luo was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer in 2006.

Luo attended San Leandro High School, where she competed in cross country.

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Annual Financial Disclosures for City Council, City Manager, Police Chief, and Others

Members of the San Leandro City Council and others are requird to complete Statements of Economic Interests (California Form 700) upon being elected, each year thereafter, and upon leaving office. Certain city staff, including the City Manager, City Attorney, Police Chief and police captains are also required to file these documents. These are public documents on file at the City Clerk's office at City Hall and are available to anyone who requests them for $0.10 per page.

City Council:

Surlene Grant, District 2
Michael Gregory, District 1
Jim Prola, District 6
Tony Santos, Mayor
Diana Souza, District 3
Joyce Starosciak, District 4
Bill Stephens, District 5

City Staff:

City Manager John Jermanis
City Attorney Jayne Williams
Police Chief Dale Attarian

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April 7, 2008

Attempted Carjacking Ends With Shooting Death and Manhunt

An apparent attempted carjacking on Monday morning, April 7, 2008, ended with the shooting death of the victim who was being carjacked. The incident unfolded in the parking lot of Washington Plaza near the intersection of Estudillo Avenue and E. 14th Street. The suspect escaped a police manhunt that focused on the area near the intersection of Marina Boulevard and San Leandro Boulevard. Police were unable to locate the suspect.

The driver of a white Land Rover, who was the apparent target of the attempted carjacking, was taken to Eden Hospital, where he later died. This is the first murder in San Leandro since December 23, 2006, when two people were shot and killed at the Lucky Star Lounge on Doolittle Drive.

The Land Rover owned by the victim of the attempted carjacking

Carjacking scene

News coverage from the local CBS station and the Daily Review.

Update: The shooting victim was identified by San Leandro Police as Ernest Ray Sauceda, 25, who recently moved to San Leandro from Fremont.

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April 6, 2008

Democrats Endorse Prola and Starosciak

The Democratic Party endorsed San Leandro City Council candidates Joyce Starosciak (District 4) and Jim Prola (District 6) at its meeting on April 2, 2008. According to the Alameda County Democratic Party web site, the endorsements are "an effort to encourage and support good local candidates." Although the City Council is non-partisan, former City Councilmembers such as Johan Klehs and Ellen Corbett have subsequently been elected to the California State Assembly and Senate.

As with the Alameda County Central Labor Council, there was no endorsement in the District 2 City Council race, where Linda Perry, Ursula Reed, and Charlie Gilcrest are competing. Perry is a member of the Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee for the 18th Assembly District, which makes the endorsements under authority granted by the by the California Democratic Party. The Democrats will meet again and attempt to reach an agreement on an endorsement in the Distict 2 City Council race.

In 2004, the Democratic Party endorsed Surlene Grant in District 2, Joyce Starosciak in District 4, and Tony Santos in District 6.

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April 1, 2008

San Leandro Company Takes First Step Toward IPO

er_logo.gifAccording to an S-1 filing on April 1, 2008, with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Energy Recovery, Inc. is planning an initial public offering (IPO) of common stock. The amount of the IPO may total $175 million, but the company said that it is subject to change.

Energy Recovery is "a leading global developer and manufacturer of highly efficient energy recovery devices utilized in the rapidly growing water desalination industry. We operate primarily in the sea water reverse osmosis, or SWRO, segment of the industry. In the SWRO process, high pressure is used to drive sea water through filtering membranes to produce fresh water."

In the filing, the company said that its product, the PX Pressure Exchanger, reduces the amount of energy needed for SWRO by 60%. Its product has been installed in more than 300 desalination plants. The company claims a "green" component to its product as well, stating that its products shipped as of last year will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 1.5 million tons per year based on reducing electricity consumption by 300 megawatts.

Revenue has increased from $10.7 million in 2005 to $35.4 million in 2007 with almost 94% of that revenue from international sales. Earnings more than doubled from $2.4 million in 2006 to $5.8 million in 2007.

Energy Recovery was incorporated in Virginia in April 1992 and reincorporated in Delaware in March 2001. The company is located at 1908 Doolittle Drive in San Leandro.

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Tiger Mauling Victim Arrested for Shoplifting in San Leandro

Amritpal Dhaliwal On Thursday, March 27, 2008, Amritpal "Paul" Dhaliwal was arrested on suspicion of shoplifting at the Bayfair Center Target store. Normally, shoplifting arrests aren't newsworthy, but Dhaliwal was one of the brothers mauled by an escaped tiger at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day in 2007.

San Leandro Police said that Dhaliwal hid two Nintendo Wii controllers in his pants and was placed under citizen's arrest by Target store security. According to a police report by Officer Warren DeGuzman, Dhaliwal "admitted to selecting and concealing the merchandise." Dhaliwal was released from jail the next day after posting $1,500 bail.

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