September 30, 2011

San Leandro Passed Over for Grant for More Cops

SL_police_logo.png The U.S. Department of Justice announced on September 29, 2011, that 23 different California police agencies were awarded nearly $72 million to pay for 190 police officers over the next three years. San Leandro, which was awarded a COPS grant in September 2010 for five police officers, was not among the grant recipients this year.

The COPS grants fund police officers for a total of three years and require the grant recipients to fund the positions for a fourth year. For San Leandro, that means budgeting more than $800,000 in 2013-2014.

According to the COPS Scoring Methodology, the COPS Office tried to balance "the need for federal assistance, as measured by economic and fiscal health questions along with crime rates, with an applicant’s current commitment to community policing and their proposed community policing plan." San Leandro's score of 142.31 placed it 138th out of the 217 California police agencies that applied for a grant, according to the applicant rankings.

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September 17, 2011

Former San Leandro Mayor Ellen Corbett Files Papers to Run for Pete Stark's Seat

corbett_thumbnail.jpg On September 13, 2011, California Senate Majority Leader and former San Leandro Mayor Ellen Corbett filed papers to run for Pete Stark's seat in the 15th Congressional District.

The paperwork submitted to the Federal Election Commission was dated September 9, 2011.

Stark, the longest-serving member of the California Congressional delegation was elected in 1973 and has been re-elected 18 times, only twice with less than 60% of the vote.

Corbett was elected to the San Leandro City Council in 1990, two years after losing a City Council campaign. In 1994, she was elected Mayor of San Leandro, defeating the appointed incumbent Mayor John Faria and six other candidates. Corbett served in the California Assembly from 1998 to 2004 was elected to the California Senate in 2006 after defeating John Dutra and Johan Klehs in the Democratic primary.

Corbett resides in San Leandro with her son.

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September 15, 2011

Take Two of San Leandro's City Manager Search

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Teri Black & Company, the search firm hired by the San Leandro City Council on July 5, 2011, posted the City Manager position on its web site on Thursday, September 15, 2011, nearly six months after the position was originally posted on the City website.

The salary is now listed as DOQE, which stands for Dependent on Qualifications and Experience. The previous brochure also listed no salary but noted that previous city managers have been paid "15% above step five of the salary range of the highest paid City management employee as shown in the City Council adopted Pay Plan" according to their employment agreements. For the previous city manager, that meant 15% more than $14,688 per month, or $202,694 annually.

The previous version of the brochure stated that benefits include "8% City-paid contribution for CALPERS," and "Generous vacation and administrative leave; car allowance provided." The new version of the brochure states, "A portion of the contribution may be employee-paid during the first three years of employment as part of the fiscal stabilization program." and eliminates any mention of a car allowance.

The new brochure adds that "[Relocation] Assistance is available and negotiable and will be dependent on the needs and desires of the candidate selected. Willingness to consider residing in San Leandro will be well received."

Businesses mentioned in the brochure include Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, Coca-Cola, Odwalla, Otis Spunkmeyer, Tri-Net, OSIsoft, and Kaiser.

The application deadline is October 16, 2011, at midnight.

Previous San Leandro City Manager Steve Hollister submitted his resignation, effective June 30, 2011, just after the City Council met in closed session on December 20, 2010. Hollister was hired as Assistant City Manager in 2004 with the help of a search firm. He became Interim City Manager in September 2008 after the retirement of John Jermanis and was appointed City Manager in December 2008. Lianne Marshall was appointed as Interim City Manager on June 6, 2011.

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September 14, 2011

Cops Answer Community's Questions during "Coffee with the Cops"

Tuesday morning, San Leandro Police held the first "Coffee with the Cops" meeting with about two dozen community members and 13 police officers at Main Street Bagel.

The meeting was standing room only as San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli started by addressing a question about the legality of using medical marijuana in an apartment building where children were present. Spagnoli and other members of the police department answered questions on medical marijuana, the recovery of a gun at the high school, loud car stereos and the Nex Cycle recycling facility at the Bancroft Avenue Safeway parking lot.

In response to a question additional safety measures being implemented in response to the gun incident at San Leandro High School, Spagnoli first stated that an additional School Resource Officer will be assigned to the high school, where there is currently one. She added, "You could actually use 3 or 4 School Resource Officers just at the high school." "We're going to be revisiting our daytime curfew which is the curfew that says that kids need to be in school, right, based on the education code. We know that when kids are out of school, they can become victims of crime or they can commit crimes or they can just be away from school, which is obviously a concern from a public safety standpoint. So, we're working on making some revisions to that ordinance, have some teeth in it, that parents have responsibility."

The San Leandro City Council unanimously adopted a daytime curfew for children on July 30, 2007. It applies between 8am and 3pm on days when school is in session. A similar curfew was already in place between 10pm and 5am.

When Stephen Carbonaro asked Chief Spagnoli about police staffing levels, she said that the department had 89 officers but that "you could have over 100 police officers and that would be great." She then asked Captain Stephen Pricco for the highest number of officers that the police department previously had and Pricco responded that the maximum number of police historically was 94. [Editor's note: San Leandro had 98 police officers in 2000 and 96 officers in 1997 and 1998.]

Spagnoli noted that the implementation of e911 has resulted in thousands more calls to local dispatchers, leading to installation of an automated phone system for callers to San Leandro's local non-emergency number. Prior to implementation of the e911 system, 911 calls went to the California Highway Patrol's dispatch center in Vallejo.

One resident complained about traffic near Muir Middle School, especially parents and children who crossed the street outside of crosswalks.

Near the end of the meeting, Captain Pete Ballew noted that, "last year, in San Leandro, crime was at the lowest level it's been in 30 years, but if you were burglarized last night, it's not the lowest level in 30 years." Ballew noted that robberies and burglaries are up a little bit this year. Detective Isaac Benabou said that burglaries were up largely because of a person who was burglarizing multiple houses each day.

For those who were not able to ask questions, before time ran out, forms were available to submit questions.

Coffee with the Cops was first announced by Chief Spagnoli at a June 30, 2011, Town Hall Meeting. The next Coffee with the Cops is scheduled for October 11, 2011, from 8 to 9am at Dick's Restaurant, located at 3188 Alvarado Street.

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September 5, 2011

Assembly Budget Release Details Portion of Hayashi Expenses

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Calif. Assemblymember Mary Hayashi
Although the California Legislature recently appeared to blink when it agreed to disclose expenses for each of its members, it may have been more of a wink, since the disclosures fail to adequately account for the total expenses of each member of the Assembly.

For example, according to the California State Assembly Summary of Expenditures for December 1, 2010, to July 31, 2011(8 months), local Assemblymember Mary Hayashi's expenses totaled $207,485.08. The table below shows the breakdown of those expenses:

ExpenseAmount
Staff Salary$62,457.60
Travel & Per Diem (In-State)$914.80
Travel & Per Diem (Out-of-State)$0.00
Staff Travel$297.20
Car Lease$2,296.00
Car Maintenance$301.26
Gas & Oil$2,276.25
Car Rental Staff & Member$49.53
Dist. Office Rent, Mnt., Ut.$41,113.50
Telephone$1,767.40
Telegraph$0.00
Freight$640.51
Postage$3,649.00
Communications$58,598.38
Furniture & Equipment$0.00
Office Supplies$1,814.72
Subscr. & Publications$1,065.56
Misc. Services$5,914.38
Total$207,485.08

The expenses do not include any portion of Hayashi's annual salary of $95,291.00.

However, according to a list of Assembly staff salaries published by the California Assembly and dated May 31, 2011, the expenses for Hayashi's staff for that same time period (December 1, 2010, to July 31, 2011) total $518,264.00, more than double the amount released by the Assembly Rules Committee. The table below lists names and salaries for Hayashi staff members, and excludes a Committee Secretary:

Staff Member NameTitleMonthly Salary
Gin, Joanna M.M-Business & ProfessionsAssociate Consultant$4,167.00
Gutierrez, Jessica MarieM-District OfficeField Representative$1,365.00
King, Sandra LeeM-Capitol OfficeSecretary$4,000.00
Kobayashi, Afton YumejiM-Business & ProfessionsSenior Assistant$5,888.00
Mapp, AngelaM-Business & ProfessionsSenior Consultant$5,612.00
May, Rebecca BeatrizM-Business & ProfessionsAssociate Consultant$3,959.00
Mekata, Leandra K.M-Business & ProfessionsOffice Assistant$3,700.00
Parman, ChristopherM-District OfficeDistrict Coordinator$6,870.00
Ram, Shareen LataM-District OfficeSenior Field Representative$4,500.00
Ryan, Ellen ChristineM-District OfficeField Representative$4,000.00
Silva, Elissa ReneeM-Capitol OfficeLegislative Assistant$5,082.00
Warren, RossM-Business & ProfessionsChief Consultant$10,340.00
Wiant, Marina C.M-Business & ProfessionsLegislative Assistant$5,300.00

San Leandro Bytes has not received a response from Hayashi's District Coordinator Christopher Parman about the discrepancy. But Hayashi's expenses are not alone in being confusing and incomplete.

Judy Lin, in an AP story published on August 27, 2011, wrote …"the committee [Assembly Rules Committee] released documents that present an incomplete and at times contradictory picture. The figures show some rank-and-file Republican lawmakers with more lavish budgets than the Assembly speaker or the Democratic heads of powerful committees….It showed Portantino with the highest Assembly staff salary, having spent $213,263 so far this year. That compares to $160,832 for Perez, who controls the Assembly."

Unlike most of California's government, which is subject to the California Public Records Act, the California Senate and Assembly fall under the Legislative Open Records Act, which was passed in 1975. The Legislative Open Records Act enables the Senate and Assembly to determine which, if any, records, will be released publicly. The recent controversy over the release of the office budgets of members of California's legislature started when California Assemblymember Anthony Portantino refused to vote for the state budget and subsequently had his office budget slashed by Assembly Speaker John Perez. Perez has introduced a bill that would repeal the Legislative Open Records Act and subject the same disclosures as the rest of California's government.

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