July 30, 2010

Dowtown BART Station Gets $4.6 Million MTC Grant for Streetscaping

According to a press release issued today from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a $4.6 million Livable Communities Grant was awarded to improve the pedestrian area on San Leandro Boulevard between Williams Street and the downtown BART station.

The description states,

Construct San Leandro Blvd Streetscape from Williams St. to Davis Street including pedestrian crossings, traffic signals, street lights. Construct bike racks, pedestrian crossings, wayfinding and bus shelter on E 14th St and Downtown Area.

The purpose of the Transportation for Livable Communities program, according to the press release, "is to support community-based transportation projects that bring new vibrancy to downtown areas, commercial cores, neighborhoods and transit corridors, making them places where people want to live, work and visit. Pedestrian- and transit-friendly developments are hallmarks of the program."

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July 21, 2010

Pete Stark Town Halls This Saturday July 24

Pete Stark, San Leandro's Member of Congress, will hold town hall meetings on Saturday, July 24, 2010, in Hayward and Alameda.

The Hayward town hall will be held in the Council Chambers of Hayward City Hall at 777 B Street from 9 - 10:30am.

The Alameda town hall will be held in the Council Chambers of Alameda City Hall at 2236 Santa Clara Avenue from 11am - 12:30pm.

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July 20, 2010

Alameda County Democrats Endorse Marijuana Legalization Initiative

Although the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party decided to remain neutral on July 18, 2010, the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee endorsed the ballot initiative to legalize the sale of marijuana at its meeting on July 7, 2010, with only one member opposed.

The initiative will appear on the November 2, 2010, ballot as Proposition 19, the California Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.

The resolution passed by the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee reads:

Whereas, controlling and taxing cannabis, like we do with alcohol and cigarettes, will generate billions of dollars in annual revenue for California to fund what matters most to Californians: jobs, health care,· schools and libraries, roads, and more.
Whereas, California should stop arresting thousands of non-violent cannabis consumers, freeing up police resources and saving millions of dollars each year, which could be used for apprehending truly dangerous criminals and keeping them locked up, and for other essential state needs that lack funding.
Whereas, if a controlled and taxed cannabis market operated on the same level as the California wine industry, it would generate tens of thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in new yearly wages for workers.
Therefore, be it resolved that the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee endorses the California Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, appearing on this November's statewide ballot, and
Be it further resolved that the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee urges the California Democratic Party to endorse the California Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, appearing on this November's statewide ballot, at its Executive Board meeting scheduled July 16-18, 2010.

After the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996, San Leandro took no action regarding the marijuana dispensaries that were permitted under the new state law until 2004 when the City Council enacted a moratorium on marijuana dispensaries in December to prevent one from opening in San Leandro. Subsequent ordinances were passed in January 2005 and January 2006.

However, the moratorium on marijuana dispensaries ended as of December 4, 2006, because the State of California places time limits on urgency ordinances like the ones San Leandro enacted to prohibit marijuana dispensaries within the City. According to the City Attorney, marijuana dispensaries cannot be licensed in San Leandro because they possess and distribute a federally-controlled substance. San Leandro Municipal Code Sec. 2.2.420 permits the Finance Director to reject a business license application if there is "reasonable cause to believe...that a proposed business will not comply with any applicable laws..." This seems to give the City of San Leandro the flexibility to ban or license marijuana-related businesses depending on the current climate.

Even before California voters decide whether to legalize marijuana in November, the City of Oakland will decide on Tuesday whether to permit four large marijuana growing operations that could generate millions in tax revenues. Meanwhile, discussions about a possible growing operation in San Leandro have faded as quickly as they appeared.

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July 14, 2010

Election Filing Period Begins for November 2010 Election

The election filing period for the November 2, 2010, election opened on Monday, July 12, 2010. In San Leandro, the office of Mayor and City Council seats in Districts 1, 3, and 5, will be decided in November. The Mayor and members of the City Council are elected by all San Leandro voters, but Councilmembers are required to reside in specific District areas.

Numerous candidates have already entered the races for Mayor and City Council, although none of them will be official until the required nomination papers with the signatures of 20 registered voters are validated.

In the Mayor's race, incumbent Tony Santos faces a challenge from San Leandro City Councilmember Joyce Starosciak, former San Leandro School Board member Stephen Cassidy, and newcomer Sara Mestas.

District 1 Councilmember Michael Gregory faces a challenge from former Oakland School Board member David Anderson.

When asked, District 3 Councilmember Diana Souza said that she will seek re-election. For now, Souza has no declared challengers.

With District 5 Councilmember Bill Stephens unable to seek re-election because of term limits, San Leandro School Board member Pauline Cutter, Human Services Commissioner Corina Lopez, and newcomer Ted Kai have all stated their intention to seek the seat.

Candidates have until August 6, 2010, to submit the paperwork required to appear on the November ballot. See http://www.sanleandro.org/howdoi/run/defaullt.asp for more information on running for Mayor or City Council.

3:13pm: Updated to show that Souza is running for re-election.

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July 9, 2010

Family Night at Farrelly Pool Tonight 6:30pm to 8pm

Supporters of Farrelly Pool have once again organized a series of family nights on Thursday nights to encourage attendance at the pool. This year, the pool was kept open with the help of an anonymous $35,000 donation to cover what San Leandro expects to lose by keeping the pool open. The pool had been slated to close in the summer of 2009 and again this year as a result of City budget cuts.

Farrelly is open for public swimming Monday through Thursday from 6:30pm to 8pm and has grills for barbecues.

Openings are still available for swim lessons at Farrelly throughout the summer. For more information and to enroll, visit http://sanleandrorec.org.

Admission is $5. Farrelly Pool is located next to Roosevelt Elementary at 864 Dutton Avenue in San Leandro.

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July 5, 2010

Third Workshop on San Leandro Creek Tree Removal Will be Held July 13

According to a notice from the Alameda County Public Works Agency, the third public workshop on removing hazardous trees from San Leandro Creek will be held on July 13, 2010.

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 third workshop is focused on the area at the end of St. Mary Avenue, and is intended to seek input from area residents on approaches to address tree hazards on District properties in San Leandro Creek." Previous meetings were held on June 22 and June 29, 2010.

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.

The workshop will be held on July 13, 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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