April 28, 2011

San Leandro Teacher Katy McCarthy Honored by President Obama

Katy McCarthy, a science teacher at San Leandro's Washington Elementary, was honored today with the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Education.

The honor includes a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation and "an expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and the Administration."

McCarthy earned National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) in 2008 and received a commendation from the San Leandro School Board in September 2009.

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April 13, 2011

Alameda County Gives $100K to Operate San Leandro's Senior Center

At its meeting on April 12, 2011, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved a measure that will help fund operations at San Leandro's senior center. The measure, mentioned by Supervisor Wilma Chan at her open house on April 9, allocates $50,000 a year for two years.

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April 12, 2011

San Leandro City Council Discusses Faith Fellowship Case

During a closed session held before Monday night's work session on pensions and unfunded liabilities, the San Leandro City Council discussed the Faith Fellowship Church lawsuit against the City.

There was no announcement from last night's closed session. The most recent action came when the City filed a petition for rehearing after a court gave the go-ahead for lawsuit to proceed.

For a complete summary of the case to date, see https://sanleandrotalk.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/a-primer-on-the-san-leandro-vs-faith-fellowship-church-lawsuit/, where Margarita Lacabe [Ed. note: she's my wife] has a lengthy write-up on the case.

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April 11, 2011

Work Session for San Leandro City Council Tonight on Pensions and Unfunded Liabilities

Tonight, the San Leandro City Council meets for a work session on pensions and unfunded liabilities. Unfunded liabilities for current pensions are estimated to be at least $50 million.

An unfunded liability can be defined as a known future cost that is not covered by expected future revenue.

The City of San Leandro has been tracking pension-related unfunded liabilities since 2002 and is documented in its Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports, which can be found at http://www.sanleandro.org/depts/finance/reports.asp

In June 2002, the City's unfunded liability for public safety personnel was $13 million, which translated to 9.7% of the City's obligation. However, for other personnel, the City was actual over-funded by $4 million or 3.2%.

In 2003, the City joined with a group of other entities to pool its risk for public safety pensions. Since then, the City has reported only the collective unfunded liability for the entire risk pool and not the City's obligation. Based on information in CAFR reports, the City's unfunded liability for public safety pensions has increased from 9.7% to 17.43% as of June 2009. That translates to an unfunded liability of at least $24 million, but likely much more, since the size of the unfunded liability of the entire risk pool has increased from $693 million in 2003 to $1.69 billion in 2009.

Tonight's work session will likely clarify the extent of the City's unfunded liability for public safety pensions.

For non-public safety employees, the City has gone from having over-funded pensions to an unfunded liability of $26 million in 2009.

According to the City's CAFR for 2009-2010, "For fiscal year 2009-10 the City’s annual pension costs of $7,339,843 for PERS [Public Employee Retirement System] was equal to the City’s required and actual contribution." Page 77 of the report notes, "Active plan members [city employees] are required by state statute to contribute 8% for miscellaneous and 9% for safety employees of their annual covered salary. The City makes the contributions required of City employees on their behalf and for their account, which amounted to $2,692,173 for the year ended June 30, 2010."

The work session begins at 6pm in the City Council Chambers at 835 E. 14th Street.

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April 10, 2011

San Leandro Proclaims April 10 as Nonito "Flash" Donaire Day

In an event organized by San Leandro School Board trustee Hermy Almonte, Lions Club President Leroy Smith, and State Assembly candidate Jennifer Ong, an absent Nonito Donaire Jr. was honored for his boxing accomplishments and providing inspiration to others. San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy and Vice Mayor Ursula Reed read a proclamation declaring April 10, 2011, as "Nonito Donaire, Jr. Day."

While Donaire Jr. and his father weren't able to make the event, Donaire's brother and fellow boxer Glenn and mother Imelda were on hand to receive proclamations and commendations from a variety of elected officials and their representatives. Representatives from State Senator Ellen Corbett's office, State Assemblymember Mary Hayashi's office, State Assemblymember Fiona Ma's office, and Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan's office all feted Donaire. Finally, Philippine Deputy Consul General Wilfredo Santos thanked the Donaire brothers for "bringing so much honor and glory to the Bay Area Filipino-American community."

Donaire was born in the Philippines but was raised in San Leandro and graduated from San Lorenzo High School. After winning three national amateur championships in 1998, 1999, and 2000, Donaire began to box professionally in 2001. In 2007, Donaire won the IBF and IBO flyweight world titles and went on to win the WBA Super Flyweight Interim World Title in 2009. In February 2011, Donaire defeated Fernando Montiel to win the WBC and WBO bantamweight world titles.

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Supervisor Chan Has Plans to Keep San Leandro Hospital Open, Help Fund Senior Center

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Newly-elected Alameda County District 3 Supervisor Wilma Chan held an open house at her Hesperian Blvd. district office on Saturday, April 9. Chan's district office staff includes former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young, Gene Calderon, who worked for Chan's predecessor Alice Lai-Bitker, and Kevin Cunningham. After a flag ceremony by local girl scouts, Chan addressed a crowd of elected officials and constituents of her district.

For San Leandro, Chan said that on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors will vote on a measure that would provide $50,000 each of the next two years to help fund the operation of the newly opened San Leandro Senior Center. Chan said she expects the measure to pass, despite a 19th straight year of budget cuts for the County.

On San Leandro Hospital, Chan sounded optimistic, saying "We're working very hard on San Leandro Hospital and I'm happy to tell you too (it's certainly not done) but we have at least two viable plans to keep the hospital open."

Chan said that she was working to rename the street in front of Bayfair Center and noted that the Chamber of Commerce is interested in this as well. San Leandro Bytes followed up with Calderon, who stated that the street in question is Fairmont Drive. The idea is to give Bayfair Center some extra attention by adding its name to exit signs on Interstate 580. Fairmont Drive runs from Hesperian Boulevard to Lake Chabot.

With recent storms causing at least one large branch to fall at San Leandro Creek, Chan stated, "We'll have three public hearings, probably [starting] in the first week of May" concerning trees in San Leandro Creek so that the beauty of the area can be preserved and homeowners can be safe. To date, there have been five community workshops on trees in San Leandro Creek, after an initial meeting in May 2010.

She's also working with the Chamber to match businesses with local schools, noting the financial situation facing local governments, where local services are being cut.

Update: Corrected the name of Chan's staff member.

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April 9, 2011

Oak Knoll Hospital Implosion Rattles San Leandro

The implosion of Oak Knoll Naval Hospital rattled portions of San Leandro on Friday April 9, 2011, with residents wondering what that loud noise was. The hospital originally opened in 1968 and was closed in 1996. SunCal Oak Knoll LLC,, the owner of the site, filed for bankruptcy in 2009, putting development plans on hold. The footage above was posted to YouTube by the Associated Press.

Update: Corrected the date that the hospital opened and that SunCal Oak Knoll LLC filed for bankruptcy, not SunCal. Thanks Joe!

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April 8, 2011

County Supervisor Wilma Chan Open House on Saturday 4/9

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Wilma Chan, the Alameda County Supervisor representing District 3, which includes San Leandro, is having an open house on Saturday, April 9, from 10am-12pm. This is your chance to meet your new Supervisor.

Chan was elected in June 2010 after Alice Lai-Bitker decided not to seek re-election. Chan held the same County Supervisor seat from 1994 until 2000, when she was elected to the California State Assembly, where she served three terms. In 2008, she ran for California State Senate against Loni Hancock and lost.

The open house will be held at Chan's district office at 15903 Hesperian Boulevard in San Lorenzo. RSVP to Gene Calderon at gene.calderon@acgov.org or (510) 278-0367.

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April 4, 2011

San Leandro Police Officer Re-Appointed to State Commission

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According to an announcement on April 4, 2011, by California Governor Jerry Brown, San Leandro Police Officer Michael Sobek has been re-appointed to the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). Sobek has served on POST since he was appointed in 2006 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

San Leandro is also represented on POST by Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli, who is a POST Advisory Committee Member, representing the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA).

According to a biography previously on the POST web site, Sobek, of Dublin, "has over twenty years experience in law enforcement, serving with the San Leandro Police Department since 1991 and the Alameda County Sheriff's Department from 1984 to 1991. Additionally, Sobek has served as adjunct faculty at Chabot/Los Positas Community College since 2002. Sobek is an American Independent." Sobek is also President of the San Leandro Police Officers Association.

Sobek was the police officer who found the bodies of the USDA and state inspectors at the Santos Linguisa factory after they had been shot and killed by Stuart Alexander in June 2000.

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