August 27, 2008

Firefighters Over Police in Charity Softball Game

Alameda County Firefighters and San Leandro Police Charity Softball Game

The Alameda County Firefighters defeated the San Leandro Police 16 to 15 in a charity softball game held at Thrasher Park on Saturday, August 23, 2008. The game was a fundraiser for the family of Nels Dan Niemi and American Cancer Society. The San Leandro Police were leading after the originally scheduled for six innings, but the Alameda County Firefighters managed to come back and win after three more innings.

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August 26, 2008

Teachers Union Endorses Almonte and Mack-Rose for San Leandro School Board

In a press release dated August 25, 2008, the San Leandro Teachers Association (SLTA) endorsed San Leandro School Board candidates Morgan Mack-Rose for the At-Large seat and Hermy Almonte for the Area 1 seat.

Mack-Rose is President of the PTA at Washington Elementary School, where one of her daughters goes to school. She is running against perennial candidate Mark Tichy, Don Grundmann, and current School Board President Ray Davis, who decided not to run for re-election for the Area 5 seat that he currently holds. Mack-Rose has not previously run for office. Davis previously considered a run for San Leandro City Council and sought an appointment to the San Leandro City Council in February 2007. Davis has been on the School Board since 2004.

Almonte is active with the United Parents group at San Leandro High School, where his son goes to school. Almonte is running against Rick Richards, who currently holds the Area 1 School Board seat. Almonte ran for the District 6 San Leandro City Council seat in June 2008. Richards ran for the District 5 San Leandro City Council seat in 1994 and has been on the School Board since 2000.

The SLTA also endorsed Diana Prola and Carmen Sullivan, who were unopposed and will not appear on the ballot.

Editor's note: In the interest of full disclosure, readers should know that I have endorsed Mack-Rose and Almonte.

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August 25, 2008

Sausage & Suds Coming on October 5, 2008

The annual Sausage & Suds Music and Food Festival will be held in downtown San Leandro on Sunday, October 5, 2008. It will be held on Parrott Street between E. 14th Street and Washington Avenue.

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August 22, 2008

Library Has Blu-ray Discs for Rental and Checkout

On August 8, 2008, the San Leandro Library began offering movies on high-definition Blu-ray discs in addition to standard DVDs and VHS tapes.

According to Senior Librarian Penny Peck, the library started with 100 discs and more will be added over time. The library's collection currently includes about 120 Blu-ray discs, including multiple copies of some movies. Like DVDs, the newer Blu-ray discs are available for rental at $3 per movie for three days.

Blu-ray discs require a Blu-ray player and will not play on standard DVD players. Blu-ray gets it name from the color of the laser used to read the disc.

The Blu-ray discs are located near the rental books and DVDs at the library to highlight their availability and reduce the potential for theft.

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August 18, 2008

PACE Seeks Candidates for Leadership Scholarship

The Political Action Committee for Excellence (PACE) is seeking female candidates to apply for a full scholarship to the Leadership San Leandro program run by the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.

PACE is a recipient committee, which is a group that can contribute money in support of (or against) candidates and ballot measures. PACE is composed completely of women and only contributes money to female candidates for office. The goal of PACE is to get more women elected and involved in civic activities. Members of PACE include Councilmembers Surlene Grant, Joyce Starosciak and Diana Souza, California State Senator Ellen Corbett, and former Mayor Shelia Young.

The Leadership San Leandro program consists of a two-day retreat and nine monthly one-day sessions from September to June with the goal of preparing community leaders. The value of the scholarship is estimated at $900.

According to information from PACE, the candidate requirements are:

  • Live or work in San Leandro
  • Female
  • Submit a one-page statement describing yourself, your involvement in the City and/or Civic engagements and why you are interested in participating in the Leadership San Leandro program.
  • Attend at least one PACE meeting
  • Report back to PACE a summary of the program and provide feedback after completing the program
  • Commit to the program attendance requirements

More information about Leadership San Leandro can be found here. Applicants should complete the Leadership San Leandro application and submit it with your one-page statement by August 29, 2008, to Diana Souza, PO Box 1976, San Leandro, CA 94577-0197. Contact Diana Souza for more information.

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August 17, 2008

Clemons Files Campaign Finance Disclosures for June City Council Election

On August 6, 2008, Estelle Clemons, one of the candidates for the District 6 seat of the San Leandro City Council, filed her campaign statement for the last two weeks of the campaign, nearly a week after the July 31 deadline.

Clemons spent a total of $10,105.27 during the campaign and came in second behind incumbent Jim Prola.

During the last two weeks of the campaign, Clemons reported $1,359 in contributions, including $500 from Madison Marquette Property Investment and $200 from Elizabeth Gomez, Program Manager for the Alameda Food Bank.

Expenses included $2,122 to In & Out Printing for production, postage and mailing of her mailer, $674 to In & Out Printing for design and production of her walking piece, and $300 to California VoterConnect, a voter data service.

As of August 15, 2008, Wafaa Aborashed had not filed her campaign statement for the last two weeks of the campaign.

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August 11, 2008

Local Company Gets $7.4 Million Contract to Build EMP Generator

l3-sign.jpg According to an August 5, 2008, press release from the U.S. Department of Defense, L-3 Services, Inc. recently received a $7.4 million contract from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division "for the design, development, integration and production of a form, fit and function, environmentally sealed, state-of-the-art Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Pulser and its associated control system." The work is to be performed in San Leandro and is expected to be completed by August 2010.

Electromagnetic pulse is a side-effect of nuclear blast and it can be used to disable semiconductor-based electronics, which are in most current electronic products. The pulser will be used to test military systems' ability to survive EMP.

L-3 Services was one of the companies sued on June 30, 2008, by four former Abu Ghraib detainees who claimed that they were tortured by L-3 Services contractors working for the U.S. military in Iraq.

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San Leandro School Board At-Large Race Goes From Five to Three Candidates

While current San Leandro School Board President Ray Davis is running for the School Board again, it won't be for his current seat as the Area 5 Trustee. Instead of running against newcomer Diana Prola, Davis has chosen to run against a potential field of two candidates for the At-Large seat being vacated by Stephen Cassidy.

After the filing period opened, Prola and Davis each pulled papers for the Area 5 seat and the At-Large seat. They appeared to be trying to avoid running against each other - or at least trying to keep the other guessing for a while.

Former School Board Trustee Ken Pon told San Leandro Bytes today that he has decided against running for election. Pon said that he may consider a future run for the School Board, but he's too busy right now and not willing to give up the things that are keeping him busy. Pon is active in the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, San Leandro Downtown Business Association, San Leandro Rotary, Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus, and Bay O Vista Improvement Association.

With Pon pulling out, that leaves Davis to face Mark Tichy and Don Grundmann. Tichy ran unsuccessfully for the School Board in 2002, for the City Council in 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 and for Mayor in 2002. Grundmann hasn't run for local office before, but did run unsuccessfully for Congress in 2000 and 2002, and the U.S. Senate in 2004 and 2006. Grundmann also unsuccessfully campaigned to be the Constitution Party's nominee for President in 2008.

Davis is the only official candidate for the At-Large seat so far. Wednesday, August 13, 2008, is the deadline for candidates to file papers in races where the incumbent is not running.

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August 9, 2008

McKinley Gets New Principal and District Gets New Maintenance Supervisor

At the Friday, August 8, 2008, meeting of the San Leandro School Board, Cher Mott was hired as the new principal for McKinley Elementary. She replaces Geri Isaacson, who took a job as Network Executive Officer at Oakland Unified. Mott was previously the Vice-Prinicpal at Brentwood Elementary School (Brentwood Union School District) in Brentwood, CA, Vice-Principal at Riverview Middle School (Mt. Diablo Unified School District) in Bay Point, CA, and Student Services Coordinator at Riverview Middle School.

The Board also hired Dan Albright as the Maintenance & Operations Supervisor, replacing Jill Popjoy.

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August 5, 2008

Daily Review Reporter Leaves for Grad School

Daily Review reporter Martin Ricard announced today that he will be leaving his post covering San Leandro as of August 8, 2008. In his announcement, Ricard said he's leaving not because of "any lack of commitment to my journalism career or to my beat," but because he will be attending UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism in a few weeks.

Prior to his reporting job at the Daily Review, Ricard was a Diversity Institute Fellow at The The Tennessean. In June 2007, Ricard was awarded first prize in news analysis with fellow reporter Matt O'Brien at the 30th annual Peninsula Press Club Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards. Ricard covered San Leandro for the past two years and had recently begun adding video to some of his articles.

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August 3, 2008

Community Meeting on Downtown San Leandro BART TOD Development

A community meeting will be held on Thursday, August 7, 2008, to discuss San Leandro Crossings, the first Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) project in downtown San Leandro. According to a letter from Westlake Development Partners, the purpose of the meeting "is to introduce the project team, development concept and to gather input from the community that will be used as the planning and design process moves forward."

The development includes two sites: the BART parking lot east of the downtown BART station at San Leandro Boulevard and West Juana Avenue and the empty lot just west of the BART station.

The meeting will be held at 6:30pm in the Karp Room at the San Leandro Library, 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro. For more information, contact Gaye Quinn at 415.970.9821.

For the complete text of the letter, see below:

San Leandro Crossings


When: Thursday, August 7, 2008
Time: 6:30 pm
Where: The San Leandro Main Library, 300 Estudillo Avenue - Dave Karp Room
For: San Leandro Residents and Interested Parties

Westlake Development Partners LLC, BRIDGE Housing Corporation and BUILD, LLC cordially invite you to attend a community meeting to discuss the proposed San Leandro Crossings Project. The purpose of this meeting is to introduce the project team, development concept and to gather input from the community that will be used as the planning and design process moves forward.

The project includes two sites located in the City's Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Strategy Area and is being designed to be fully consistent with the City's recently approved TOD Area requirements.

Site 1 is located at the northeast corner of San Leandro Blvd and Juana Street (site of the current BART East Parking Lot) will include 200 market rate residential units, 5,000 square feet of retail space and associated parking. The residential units will include a mix of studios, one and two bedroom units. The existing public BART parking spaces will be relocated to a new parking structure to be constructed on property owned by Westlake on the west side of the BART station. The project architect is Thomas P. Cox Architects, Inc.
Site 2 is located on the west side of the BART station and will include 100 affordable residential units with a mix of one, two and three bedroom units and associated parking The project architect is David Baker + Partners Architects.

Light refreshments will be served. For further information, please call Gaye Quinn at 415.970.9821.

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August 2, 2008

Prola Top Spender in June 2008 City Council Campaign

San Leandro District 6 Councilmember Jim Prola was the biggest spender in the recent City Council elections, according to campaign finance disclosures that were due on July 31, 2008.

Prola spent a total of $34,787 for his City Council campaign and managed to avoid a runoff election, despite four other opponents in the race. Estelle Clemons, his closest competitor, received less than 18% of the vote, and was likely outspent by about five to one.

In District 2, newcomer Ursula Reed spent $18,000 but until Charles Gilcrest files his disclosure, it's a toss-up as to which of them spent the most money in that race. Although Reed and Gilcrest each outspent Linda Perry, neither could overcome Perry's name recognition. Perry was held to 41.52% of the vote and now faces a runoff against Reed on November 4, 2008.

District 4 incumbent Joyce Starosciak faced no serious opposition from perennial candidate Lou Filipovich and still spent more than $10,000 to defend her seat.

As of June 30, Prola reported $3,849.55 in his campaign account and a campaign debt of $8,000. Recent expenditures include $4,254.87 to Handled With Care for campaign mailings, $2,772.98 to Alliance Campaign Strategies for campaign consulting, $2,469.60 to Autumn Press for campaign literature, and $1,903.65 to Ken Pon for campaign consulting.

Recent contributions to Prola's campaign include $500 from AFSCME Local 2428 and $250 from Teamsters Local 853.

Hermy Almonte, who campaigned for the District 6 City Council seat, reported an expenditure of $400 to Vo's Vietnamese Restaurant. As of June 30, 2008, Almonte reported a zero campaign account balance with an outstanding campaign debt of $2,631.72.

District 6 candidates Clemons and Wafaa Aborashed had not submitted their campaign disclosures by the July 31, 2008, deadline. Mark Tichy stated that he would not spend or raise more than $1,000 and was exempt from campaign finance disclosure requirements.

In District 2, Reed reported a campaign account balance $2,271 as of June 30. Reed listed no recent expenditures and a recent contribution of $500 from John Gooding of the Quadric Group.

Perry reported spending $6,810.18 from January to June 30, 2008, and ended with a campaign balance of $1,009.82. Perry listed an expenditure of $264 for a print ad in the San Leandro Times. There were no recent campaign contributions and Perry reported an outstanding campaign debt of $6,250.

Gilcrest did not submit his campaign disclosures by the July 31, 2008, deadline.

In District 4, Starosciak reported a campaign account balance of $21,278 as of June 30, 2008. Starosciak spent $10,600 from January through June 30, 2008, including $1,000 to Luke's Grill for a fundraiser and $911 to herself for postage and campaign paraphernalia.

Recent contributions to Starosciak's campaign included $750 from Operating Engineers Local 3, $500 from Teamsters Local 853, $500 from the Teamster DRIVE Committee, $500 from Sheet Metal Workers Local 104, and $500 from Madison Marquette, the owners of Bayfair Center.

Filipovich, Starosciak's opponent stated that he would not raise nor spend more than $1,000 and was exempt from campaign finance disclosure requirements. Filipovich is running for the California State Assembly and for a seat on the Board of the Oro Loma Sanitary District in the November 2008 election.

Other City Council members who did not run for election in June 2008 but still have open campaign committees are also required to file disclosures.

Mayor Tony Santos reported a campaign account balance of $5,415 as of June 30, 2008, and an outstanding campaign debt of $25,084. Santos reported a contribution of $1,000 from the Rental Housing Owners Association of Southern Alameda County. Expenditures included $300 for the Alameda Labor Council Awards dinner and $100 to San Leandro Teachers Advocating New Directions (STAND).

Councilmember Michael Gregory reported no campaign activity. As of June 30, 2008, Gregory had $1,613 in his campaign account and an outstanding debt of $7,222.94.

Councilmember Surlene Grant reported expenditures of $500 to Barbara Lee for Congress and $200 to Black Elected Officials of the East Bay. Grant ended June 30, 2008, with a campaign account balance of $1,328.07. Grant reported no contributions.

Former Mayor Shelia Young had a campaign account balance of $9,989 as of June 30, 2008, and reported expenditures of $135 to PACE, and contributions of $300 to Davis Street Family Resource Center, $200 to United Parents of San Leandro High School and $100 each to San Leandro Boys & Girls Club and San Leandro Players. Young reported no contributions.

Councilmember Bill Stephens ended June 30, 2008, with a campaign account balance of $2,707.42. Expenditures included a contribution of $200 to the San Leandro Boys & Girls Club, a $150 contribution to Martin C. Kauffman 100 Club of Alameda County and $125 for an office expense to the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.

See below for the original documents:

Recipient Committe Campaign Statements:

Jim Prola
Hermy Almonte
Ursula Reed
Linda Perry
Joyce Starosciak

Tony Santos
Michael Gregory
Bill Stephens
Surlene Grant
Shelia Young

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August 1, 2008

Five Possible Candidates for San Leandro School Board At-Large Seat

The field of candidates for the At-Large seat on the San Leandro School Board grew by three candidates this week when Ken Pon, Mark Tichy, and Don Grundmann pulled papers for the race. Together with Diana Prola and Ray Davis, a total of five people may be competing for this seat in the November 2008 election.

Ken Pon Pon, who has his own accounting practice, held the At-Large seat from 1996 until 2004, when he lost to Stephen Cassidy. Cassidy has announced that he will not seek re-election.

Mark TichyTichy works at Chicago Blues Cafe in San Leandro and campaigned unsuccessfully for the District 6 San Leandro City Council in June 2008. Tichy was also one of 12 applicants for the appointment to the District 6 City Council seat when Tony Santos was elected Mayor in November 2006 but he was not one of the six finalists interviewed by the City Council. Tichy ran for the District 6 seat unsuccessfully in 1996, 2000, and 2004. Tichy also lost his run for Mayor of San Leandro and the Area 5 seat on the San Leandro School Board in 2002.

Don GrundmannGrundmann is a local chiropractor and herbalist who unsuccessfully ran for the 13th Congressional seat held by Pete Stark in 2000 and 2002, and the U.S. Senate in 2004 and 2006. He also unsuccessfully campaigned to be the Constitution Party's nominee for President in 2008.

As of August 1, 2008, none of the five candidates had submitted completed papers to become an official candidate. Any resident of the San Leandro Unified School District (which includes Oakland's Sheffield Village) who is a registered voter is eligible for the At-Large position. The deadline for submitting nomination papers, which includes the signatures of 20 registered voters who live within the SLUSD, is Wednesday, August 13, 2008.

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