June 29, 2010

Ted Kai Files to Run for San Leandro City Council District 5

Burkhardt "Ted" Kai filed his Candidate Intention Statement for the District 5 San Leandro City Council seat on June 16, 2010. Kai is a registered Green Party voter and seems to be new to local politics.

Kai joins San Leandro School Board member Pauline Cutter and Best Manor HOA President Corina Lopez in the race for the City Council seat currently held by Bill Stephens. Stephens has held the seat since 2002 and will be termed out this year.

Candidates can file nomination papers to run for office from July 12 until August 6, 2010, but candidates for three of the four seats have already gotten a head start. The election will be held on November 2, 2010.

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June 8, 2010

Chan Wins Her Former Supervisor Seat and Other Local Election Results

With all precincts reporting, former Alameda County Supervisor and member of the California State Assembly Wilma Chan has been elected as the District 3 Alameda County Supervisor with 54.6% of the vote, avoiding a November run-off. Her closest competitor, former Alameda Mayor Beverly Johnson, received just 30.8% of the vote. Oakland businessman Harold Lowe and perennial candidate Lou Filipovich were a distant third and fourth. Click here for current results from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters (ROV).

State Senator Ellen Corbett and Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi were unopposed in the primaries and can now cruise to their re-elections in November. Similarly, U.S. Congressman Pete Stark cruised to an easy victory over San Leandro resident Justin Jelincic with 83.5% to 16% of the vote and all precincts reporting. Click here for current results from the Alameda County ROV.

In the 18th Assembly District Democratic Central Committee race, former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young received the most votes of the 13 candidates vying for the six seats. Young was followed by incumbents Linda Perry and Ryan "Rocky" Fernandez, newcomer Margarita Lacabe [Full disclosure: Margarita is my wife], and incumbents Robin Torello and Diana Prola. Click here for current results from the Alameda County ROV.

San Leandro resident Don Grundmann lost out to Edward Noonan in the American Independent U.S. Senate primary. Grundmann unsuccessfully ran for San Leandro School Board and U.S. President in 2008, the U.S. Senate in 2004 and 2006, and U.S. Congress in 2000 and 2002.

Further south, Nadia Lockyer (38%) appears headed for a run-off with former California State Senator Liz Figueroa (25%) for the District 2 Alameda County Supervisor seat being vacated by Gail Steele. Union City Mayor Mark Green finished a strong third with 23.8% of the vote, just 263 votes shy of Figueroa. With late absentee ballots still to be counted, Green still has a chance at a run-off with Lockyer. Hayward Councilmember Kevin Dowling was a distant fourth with less than 13% of the vote. Click here for current results from the Alameda County ROV.

Updated at 11:19pm and 6:53am.

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June 7, 2010

City Council to Vote on 2010-2011 Budget at Tonight's Meeting

The San Leandro City Council will vote tonight on whether to approve the budget for 2010-2011 at its City Council meeting on June 7, 2010. The total budget of $125.2 million for the City of San Leandro includes the $69 million General Fund, plus the Redevelopment Agency, and Public Financing Authority.

A public hearing will be held to "take public testimony regarding the City Manager's Proposed Budget" prior to input from the City Council and the vote on whether to adopt the budget.

According to the staff report, "The Proposed Budget for the General Fund revenues are projected to be $66.5 million," and expenditures are "now projected to be $69 million in 2010-2011." One-time funds from reserves and a $0.5 million transfer from the City's self-insurance fund are being used to close the $2.5 million difference between expenditures and revenues.

The City Council has used reserves to balance the City's budget for the previous three years as the deteriorating economy has cut into sales and property taxes, which provide the bulk of the City's revenue. City Manager Steve Hollister and the City Council have agreed to maintain at least a $5 million emergency fund, which is technically part of the reserve, but with the intent to only use that money for emergencies such as earthquakes.

The City Council will also vote on whether to approve the budgets for the City of San Leandro Redevelopment Agency ($15.2 million) and the City of San Leandro Public Financing Authority ($2.47 million). Each of these agencies has separate budgets that are not intermingled with the General Fund, but are still controlled by the City Council.

The Redevelopment Agency is funded by a portion of the property tax growth in San Leandro's three redevelopment areas: Plaza, West San Leandro/MacArthur Boulevard, and Alameda County-City of San Leandro. According to the Staff Report, Revenue for the Redevelopment Agency declined by 3% last year and is expected to be flat next year. As part of California's efforts to balance the state budget, the Redevelopment Agency has had to give the state $4.2 million this year and will give the state $900,000 next year. The Redevelopment Agency purchased the former Albertson's site at 1550 E. 14th Street, funded construction of the new Senior Community Center on E. 14th Street, and provided a loan to Bridge Housing for the now-stalled San Leandro Crossings Project.

The Public Financing Authority receives revenue from lease payments from the General Fund, which are listed as "Use of money and property" in the Staff Report. Projects undertaken by the Public Financing Authority include seismic retrofitting of City Hall, three fire stations and the Police Department building, and expansion of the Main Library and acquiring two replacement fire stations.

In other actions, the City Council will vote on calling for bids for repair of walkways at city parks, street repairs of Bancroft Avenue between 138th and 148th Avenue, and replacing the existing 2-story parking garage between Estudillo and Callan with a 4 or 5-story garage with 395 to 475 parking spaces.

The agenda for tonight's meeting can be downloaded from http://www.sanleandro.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=6419. The meeting is scheduled to start at 7pm and will be held in the City Council Chambers at 835 E. 14th Street.

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June 6, 2010

Pee Wee's is now Papa John's

Papa Johns in the former Pee Wee's location

Pee Wee's Pizza on E. 14th Street has been replaced by Papa John's, a chain of more than 3,000 restaurants based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Pee Wee's Pizza had been serving pizza for more than 50 years when it burned down in September 2006. A fundraiser was held weeks later at Tommy Ts to raise money for the owners to rebuild since the property was not insured. For a time, it appeared that the owners were rebuilding.

Papa John's is open every day from 11am to 9:30pm and is located at 2198 E. 14th Street in San Leandro.

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June 3, 2010

First Workshop on San Leandro Creek Tree Removal Will be Held June 22

According to a notice from the Alameda County Public Works Agency, a public workshop on removing hazardous trees from San Leandro Creek will be held on June 22, 2010. [Note: The notice incorrectly states that the meeting is on Thursday, but it is on Tuesday.}

These workshops are in response to the outcry from San Leandro community members who felt that Alameda County failed to properly the notify neighbors of San Leandro Creek about the tree removal plans. According to the notice, "The first meeting is focused on the area near Huff Avenue, and is intended to seek input from area residents on approaches to address tree hazards on District properties in San Leandro Creek."

A request for qualifications/proposal was issued by the Alameda County Public Works Agency in February 2009. That document stated, "It is anticipated that as many as 500 to 1,000 or more [hazardous and non-native] trees will be removed." in three phases over 3 to 5 years in the area from Ramona Way and Interstate 580 in San Leandro. The first phase included three locations at "(1) Huff Avenue, (2) Carey Drive, and (3) St. Mary Avenue."

A subsequent specifications document (Specification No. FC 13-37) that was part of a bid proposal, stated that a total of 46 trees would be removed: 10 trees from location 1 near Huff Avenue, 11 trees from location 2 near Carey Drive, Haas Avenue and Bancroft Middle School, and 25 from location 3 near St. Marys Avenue.

After a meeting held at the San Leandro Library on May 20, 2010, Daniel Woldesenbet, the Director of the Alameda County Public Works Agency, sent an email to residents, stating:

This is to inform you that the District has decided to suspend the proposed Hazard Tree Removal Project, and start the process again. In the past we heard a lot more from those who would like the trees removed, and assumed that it was the desire of the overall community. However, from what we heard last night, that assumption was not entirely correct. Therefore, based on the feedback from the community meeting, yesterday evening, I have decided that it would be better to re-start a new process that will better engage community members along the creek. To this end, we will arrange for a series of separate meetings with residents along St. Mary's Avenue, Huff Avenue and Cary Drive.


We will communicate with community members that left contact information yesterday as well as mail out letters advising of the upcoming meetings.


Note: The hazard associated with this trees remains, and the need to address this hazard in a timely manner is essential. As such, we will initiate the community process in the very near future.

Gary Molitor, a vocal critic of the County's plan, asserts that the County's real goal is to get rid of all Eucalyptus trees in San Leandro Creek. Molitor has formed a group called San Leandro Creek Conservation Group with a web site at http://www.sanleandrocreek.org/. He plans to to "be a continued presences in scrutinizing their [Alameda County Public Works] plans for the creek."

The workshop will be held on June 22, 2010, from 7 to 9pm at Bancroft Middle School. Bancroft Middle School is located at 1150 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.

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