May 30, 2010

Small Earthquakes Shake San Leandro

A series of small earthquakes shook San Leandro beginning just before midnight with a magnitude 3.0 earthquake. That was followed, less than five minutes later, by a magnitude 2.6 earthquake, and a 1.7 magnitude earthquake at just after one in the morning.

According to the US Geological Survey, the epicenter of the earthquakes was along the Hayward Fault, in unincorporated San Leandro in the area of Fairmont Ridge, between the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center and Lake Chabot.

Earthquakes with a magnitude smaller than 4 are not expected to cause any damage and news reports about the quakes have not indicated that there was any damage.

On October 21, 1868, a magnitude 7 earthquake at the southern end of the Hayward Fault destroyed the Alameda County Courthouse, which was located in San Leandro near the present site of St. Leander Church. In Hayward, "almost every building was damaged extensively or wrecked."

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May 19, 2010

Aspiring Rapper Enters Race for San Leandro Mayor

Sara Mestas San Leandran Sara Mestas, a.k.a. Mo Wiley, filed paperwork on May 17, 2010, indicating her intention to run for Mayor of San Leandro. The Candidate Intention Statement is the first step needed for a candidate to begin raising money and incurring expenses towards a campaign. On the form, Mestas indicates she is a registered Democrat and resides in the Washington Manor area of District 4, the same district fellow mayoral candidate currently Joyce Starosciak represents on the City Council.

Current San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos resides in the Marina Faire neighborhood in District 6 and mayoral candidate Stephen Cassidy resides in Estudillo Estates in District 1. [Full disclosure: I have endorsed Cassidy for mayor.]

Mestas became active in San Leandro politics last year after the San Leandro City Council eliminated funding for crossing guards for all San Leandro elementary schools. Mestas organized a press conference, spoke at a City Council meeting, and volunteered as a crossing guard until the City Council accepted a proposal from the San Leandro School Board to split the cost of crossing guards with the San Leandro and San Lorenzo School Districts.

In late 2009, Mestas had considered running for Mayor until she spoke to Santos and subsequently wrote on her web site, "I endorse Tony Santos for Mayor, 2010-2012, also council persons Prola and Gregory." Asked about her decision to run for mayor after endorsing Santos, Mestas replied, "I have came to the realization that the Mayor is up against many opposing and proposing forces, I just believe I am the better person to stand tall against those forces…"

In December 2009, Mestas was appointed to the City of San Leandro Rent Review Board. The Rent Review Board last met in September 2008 and despite discussions at the City about possibly eliminating it, the board will be retained for now.

In an undated press release sent May 12, 2010, Mestas said she will officially announce her candidacy on May 25, 2010 in front of San Leandro City Hall. According to the press release, her motivation to run for Mayor was "resistance from the San Leandro Police Department and City Manager when I tried to start a San Leandro Police Activities League. They were uncomfortable with me being the face of the organization because the video for my single 'You Can’t Touch It'..." Mestas is an aspiring rapper under the name Mo Wiley. A biography for Mestas' alter-ego Wiley can be found at Luck Media & Marketing.

Mestas' priorities include "A major overhaul on the current education system," "Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Strategies," "incentives for quality new businesses and residents to move to San Leandro," and the environment.

On a possible 0.25% sales tax increase that has been discussed by the San Leandro City Council, Mestas said, "I have mixed feelings I will tell you raising taxes alone will not fix our problem, we are going to have to have a stable plan to create steady revenue streams." When asked about the City's fiscal situation, Mestas replied, "The first thing I think is necessary , is to look at all of the spending my first 30-days of office, and come up with a proposed budget within 90-days of taking office for the entire City, a budget that will support my platform..."

Mestas wants people to know, "I am for the people, and my track record over the past 13 years shows a track record of action, I am ready and willing to do the neccessary work to bring action to the job of Mayor. I understand that by squeezing the life out of my people during hard economic times is not the answer, but to provide solutions for them to get back on track through education, opportunities, and support. If we fostered and environment that welcomed our community, there would 87,000+ ways for us to move towards peace, and prosperity."

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May 18, 2010

Democratic Committee Incumbents Face Numerous Challengers

The race for the 18th Assembly District Democratic Party Central Committee has been a quiet affair in the previous three elections, with seven candidates running for a total of six seats on the committee.

This year, Democratic voters will choose from 13 candidates for just six seats, the most candidates for the committee since 2002, when supporters of Lyndon LaRouche campaigned heavily for seats on the committee.

The committee represents the local arm of the California Democratic Party. One of its most important functions is to endorse local candidates for offices such as City Council, School Board, and County Supervisor.

This year, five incumbents and eight challengers will vie for the six seats.

The incumbents are Rocky Fernandez, Linda Perry, Diana Prola, Robin Torello, and Rick Trullinger.

Fernandez was elected to the Central Committee in 2004. In 2006, he was elected to the AC Transit Board and currently serves as President. He has served as a member of former Assemblymember Johan Klehs' staff.

Perry was elected to the Central Committee in 1980. She served on the San Leandro City Council from 1988 to 1996 and on the San Leandro School Board from 1996 to 2008. Perry previously headed the Halcyon Foothill Neighborhood Association.

Prola was elected to the Central Committee in 2006. In 2008, she joined the San Leandro School Board after running unopposed. Her husband serves on the San Leandro City Council and she has served as a delegate to the California Democratic Convention.

Torello was elected to the Central Committee in the early 1990s. She is the chair of the Alameda County Democratic Party and the Eden Area United Democratic Campaign.

Trullinger was elected to the Central Committee in 2000, lost in 2002, and was re-elected in 2004. He was previously president of the Hayward Demos Democratic Club and has served as a delegate to the California Democratic Convention

The challengers are Tom Kersten, Susan Kleebauer, Margarita Lacabe [editors' note: Margarita is my wife], Julie Lind, Jennifer Ong, Helena Straughter, Mary Warren, and Shelia Young.

Kersten was President of the Hayward Demos Democratic Club from 2007 to 2009. In 2008, he was selected to serve on the Hayward Citizens Advisory Committee. When asked why he was running, Kersten noted "a serious lack of communication between the Democratic Central Committee and the local democratic clubs" and that "it is time for some new voices to emerge and serve as voting members of the committee."

Kleebauer previously served on the Central Committee from 1996 until 2001, when she resigned "out of frustration with the Committee's inability to take positions on important issues." She served on the City of San Leandro's Library Historical Commission from 1995 to 2002 and the City of San Leandro's Planning Commission from 2002 to 2007. When asked why she was running, Kleebauer stated, "I am once again excited and encouraged by the changes in Washington and the chance to elect a democrat as Governor." Kleebauer also supports legalizing and regulating marijuana, ending the death penalty, and bringing "an infusion of new ideas and new leadership" to the committee.

Lacabe is a human rights activist that founded the human rights group Derechos Human Rights. Her work with Equipo Nizkor led to the unprecedented detention of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in England in 1998. Lacabe was one of the founding members of the San Leandro Community Action Network, which has been active in supporting progressive candidates for office in San Leandro. When asked, Lacabe said that she is running "to inject new blood and new ideas into what has become an old-boys-and-girls network" and "have a committee that is more in touch with the grassroots and the true concerns of Democratic voters."

Lind served on the Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee from 2004 to 2008. She currently serves as a field representative for California State Senator Ellen Corbett and was on the City of Hayward's Human Services Commission from 2008 to 2010. When asked why she was running, Lind replied, "I want to make sure that young people have a voice in our County party, are part of the decision making process, and have a seat at the table."

Ong is an optometrist in Alameda and currently serves as Vice President of the Hayward Demos Democratic Club and the Eden Area League of Women Voters. Ong is one of the few candidates with a campaign web site. When asked why she was running, Ong stated that she wants to "contribute my efforts and experiences as a health care provider, environmental activist and advocate for underrepresented communities to further diversify the values represented in the Democratic Party."

Straughter is a member of the Hayward Demos Democratic Club and currently works as a real estate broker. She was elected as a delegate to the Democratic Party in 2009.

Warren previously served for more than 15 years on the Central Committee, including ten years as Chair. She was Vice Chair of the California State Democratic Party for two years and served on the Democratic National Committee for four years. Warren says she is "running to enhance the role of the Party in Alameda County and the State of California."

Young previously served on the Central Committee in the 1990s. Young was elected to the San Leandro City Council in 1996, elected Mayor of San Leandro in 1998 and re-elected in 2002. Young has served on the Physician Assistant Committee of the Department of Consumer Affairs since June 2007, when she was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. When asked why she was running, Young replied that "the Party needs to pay more attention to local issues and candidates and to demonstrate fairness and consistency in their activities on behalf of the Party."

More information about the candidates can be found at

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May 14, 2010

Bancroft Principal Hired by Castro Valley

Mary Ann Valles, the Principal of San Leandro's Bancroft Middle School, was hired as Castro Valley High School's Principal by the Castro Valley School Board at its meeting on May 13, 2010. Valles has served as Bancroft's Principal since 2003.

In other news, Vincent Matthews, the former Principal of John Muir Middle School was recently appointed as Superintendent of the San Jose Unified School District.

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May 12, 2010

Business Fair for Local Businesses on Tuesday, May 18

The Alameda County Redevelopment Agency announced in an undated press release last week that the second annual Mid-County Business Fair will be held on May 18, 2010. This event offers free seminars for small businesses in Hayward, San Leandro, and the surrounding unincorporated areas.

According to the press release, "The fair will offer seminars including Accessing Capital in Challenging Times and Increasing Sales via the Web and E-Networking, along with Peer Networking."

The business fair is sponsored by the Alameda County Redevelopment Agency, the City of Hayward, the City of San Leandro, the Castro Valley/Eden Area Chamber of Commerce, Hayward Chamber of Commerce, San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, and the Alameda County Small Business Development Center.

Participants can register at

The event will be held from 4:30pm to 7:30pm on May 18, 2010, in the Public Hearing Room, #160 at 224 W. Winton Avenue (part of the Alameda County Building Complex) in Hayward.

For more information, contact Cynthia Battenberg at (510) 577-3352 or Amy McDonough at (415) 215.3399.

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May 4, 2010

Eat out for Education Wednesday

Fourteen local restaurants are supporting the San Leandro Education Foundation by donating 10% of sales on the first Wednesday of each month to the foundation. Bon appetit tomorrow night as you support local businesses and the education foundation.

The restaurants are:

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May 3, 2010

Ursula Reed is new Vice Mayor

After a motion by Councilmember Michael Gregory to elect Councilmember Jim Prola as Vice Mayor failed, Councilmember Ursula Reed was unanimously elected San Leandro's Vice Mayor at the San Leandro City Council meeting on May 3, 2010. Councilmembers Joyce Starosciak, Diana Souza, Bill Stephens, and Reed voted against Gregory's motion, which failed 4 to 3. Stephens then nominated Reed for Vice Mayor and Reed received a unanimous vote.

The Vice Mayor, according to the City Charter, "shall possess and perform the powers and duties of the Mayor." This typically means representing the City when the Mayor cannot and chairing meetings of the City Council in the Mayor's absence.

Until recently, Vice Mayors had served for at least two terms. That ended with the selection of Stephens, who served one year as Vice Mayor. Below is a recent history of San Leandro's Vice Mayors:

  • 2000 - Bob Glaze (District 4)
  • 2001- Bob Glaze (District 4)
  • 2002 - Bob Glaze (District 4)
  • 2003- Bob Glaze (District 4)
  • 2004 - Orval "OB" Badger (District 1)
  • 2005 - Orval "OB" Badger (District 1)
  • 2006 - Surlene Grant (District 2)
  • 2007 - Surlene Grant (District 2)
  • 2008 - Bill Stephens (District 5)
  • 2009 - Joyce Starosciak (District 4)

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