June 26, 2012

Benny Lee, Dan Dillman, and Ursula Reed File for San Leandro City Council

Benny Lee made his candidacy for the District 4 San Leandro City Council seat official today by filing paperwork with the San Leandro City Clerk's office. Lee had announced his intention to run for the seat in January 2012.

Lee joins Darlene Daevu and Chris Crow in the race for the seat currently held by Councilmember Joyce Starosciak, who will be termed out of office this year. Crow initially filed to run for the District 2 seat held by Ursula Reed, but filed to run for the District 4 seat on May 4, 2012, after moving to a house on Fleming Street.

Like Daevu, Lee was appointed to a commission by Mayor Stephen Cassidy. Less currently serves on the Personnel Relations Board and was previously appointed to the Recreation and Parks Commission in March 2007. He also serves as President of the Heron Bay Home Owners Association and the Asian Community Cultural Association of San Leandro.

Lee is registered as decline-to-state.

Meanwhile in District 2, Bal Theatre owner Dan Dillman filed to run for Reed's District 2 seat on June 21. Reed filed June 25 to run for re-election. Dillman has been battling the City of San Leandro on permitted uses of the Bal Theatre and was recently convicted of resisting arrest, battery upon a peace officer and interfering with an investigation for a 2010 incident. Dillman is appealing the conviction.

In District 6, Councilmember Jim Prola has indicated that he will run for re-election, but nobody has filed any paperwork yet to run for that seat.

Reed is a registered Democrat and was elected in 2008, defeating Linda Perry in a runoff election. Until recently, Dillman was not registered to vote in San Leandro.
Term limits enacted by voters in 1974 prevent Starosciak from running for a third consecutive term.

The election will be held on November 6, 2012, and will be the second time that ranked choice voting (RCV)/instant runoff will be used for San Leandro elections.

Posted by mike at 2:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 19, 2012

San Leandro Settles One Shooting Death Lawsuit, Avoids Another

At the June 18, 2012 City Council meeting, San Leandro City Attorney Jayne Williams reported the following settlements in the police shooting death of Gwendolyn Killings on December 29, 2010, and the shooting death of Kwame Nunn on October 9, 2010.

Gwendolyn Killings was shot and killed by San Leandro Police after a high speed chase that ended in a crash at the San Leandro-Oakland border. According to police, Killings was driving a stolen Jaguar. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Officer Ryan Gill shot and killed Killings while defending himself and Officer Anthony Morgan. The Alameda District Attorney investigated the shooting and concluded that there was “overwhelming credible and admissible evidence” that Gill acted in self-dense.

Maurius “TJ” Robinson and Kwame Nunn were shot and killed at Wedges Bar & Grill at the Monarch Bay Golf Club while on the dance floor. According to police, the party organizers misrepresented the event as a birthday party. Two 17-year-old boys from Hayward were later arrested for the for the shooting deaths.

The complete statement read by Williams is below:

In the U.S. District Court matter of Jane Doe, Ericka Whitmeyer, Judy Brown and Imaree Cross v. City of San Leandro: the City has reached a mutually agreeable settlement with all four plaintiffs in the total amount of $50,000, including legal fees.  Each plaintiff will receive approximately $12,500.  This was a wrongful death lawsuit against the City and individual police officers arising from an in-custody death (Gwendolyn Killings) following a felony vehicle theft and high speed pursuit instigated by the decedent on December 29, 2010.  Full releases have been executed and the cases are now dismissed.  (claim $15 mil)
In the Alameda County Superior Court case of Paul and Tricia Nunn v. City of San Leandro and the American Golf Corporation:  the City has been dismissed from the litigation with no payment.  A settlement was reached with the American Golf Corporation and the entire case has now been dismissed.  This was a wrongful death lawsuit arising out of an incident at the Monarch Bay Golf Course Wedges Restaurant in which the decedent was shot by a third party while attending an event at the facility.  (claim $5 mil)
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San Leandro City Council Set to Ban Marijuana Facilities until June 2013

After two failed motions, the San Leandro City Council voted 6-1 to direct staff to draft an ordinance that would prohibit “the establishment and operation of medical marijuana cooperatives collectives dispensaries and cultivation facilities in the City of San Leandro” until June 30, 2013. Councilmember Jim Prola voted against the motion.

The original staff recommendation was to draft an ordinance that didn't have a sunset date.

A presentation by City of San Leandro staff included Senior Planner Kathleen Livermore, Assistant City Attorney Richard Pio Roda, and Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli. Livermore went over the recent history, from the original interim urgency ordinance enacted by the City Council on October 4, 2010, to the first extension on November 15, 2010, and the last extension on September 6, 2011. The history actually dates back to December 2004, when the first interim urgency ordinance was passed, with extensions in January 2005, and January 2006.

Pio Roda addressed the current legal cases that could affect how medical marijuana facilities are dealt with by municipalities in California: City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient's Health and Wellness Center, City of Lake Forest v. Evergreen Holistic Collective and Pack v. City of Long Beach. Pio Roda also noted AB 2312, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Control Act, a bill introduced by Tom Ammiano to clarify how cities could regulate medical marijuana facilities.

Chief Spagnoli spoke regarding law enforcement's view on the subject of medical marijuana facilities, claiming that the San Leandro Police Department complies with Proposition 215, which legalized medical marijuana in 1996. Spagnoli said that there were public safety significant issues with sales and distribution of marijuana, citing a shooting on January 18, 2012, a June 16, 2012, home invasion robbery of a medical marijuana user on Castro Street, and several structure fires related to growing operations. Spagnoli cited the California Healthy Kids Survey in which students reported that by 7th grade, 7% had used marijuana, by 9th grade, 20% had used marijuana, and by 11th grade, 29% had used “marijuana in their life time.” Spagnoli stated that “It is clear that marijuana is a gateway drug.”

However, numerous studies, including a 1999 report by the National Academy of Sciences and a 2010 study by the University of New Hampshire concluded that marijuana is not a gateway drug. The New Hampshire study of nearly 1,300 young adults concluded that the biggest predictor for whether someone will use other drugs is race/ethnicity. Employment status and stress were also more important factors than marijuana use.

Five people spoke in favor of banning marijuana facilities, including Deborah Cox and potential District 4 City Council candidate Benny Lee. Those speaking against banning marijuana facilities included a former U.S. Marine suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, San Leandro School Board member Diana Prola, UFCW representative Dan Rush, District 4 City Council candidate Chris Crow and potential District 2 City Council candidate Dan Dillman.

After public comments were finished, Prola asked Pio Roda about Meyers Nave's role in helping Oakland drafting rules for regulating marijuana facilities and Pio Roda admitted that Meyers Nave had “advised” the City of Oakland on how to proceed given the guidance from the Attorney General at the time.

After expounding at length on the benefits of medical marijuana (treating ill people, less crime, safer roads), Prola offered the first motion to delay consideration of any ordinance until after the California Supreme Court rules on two relevant cases. Prola's motion was seconded by Vice Mayor Michael Gregory. Cassidy said that he would like to see an ordinance that would regulate marijuana facilities but that believed that access to medical marijuana was being abused and he would be voting with this in mind. The motion failed 5-2, with only Prola and Gregory voting for the motion.

Councilmember Joyce Starosciak followed with a motion to direct staff to draft an ordinance to ban marijuana facilities right away. That motion failed 3 to 4, with only Starosciak, Councilmember Pauline Cutter, and Councilmember Diana Souza voting in favor of the motion.

After Souza asked questions about whether the City Council could change the ordinance in the future (yes), confirming that not having an ordinance might put the City at risk (yes) and Prola asked whether cities that did have an ordinance had been sued (yes), Cutter offered a motion to delay any action until the last City Council meeting in July (the City Council usually doesn't meet in August). The motion was seconded by Councilmember Ursula Reed, but was subsequently withdrawn and Cutter then motioned for the staff to draft an ordinance that would ban marijuana facilities until June 30, 2013. After that date, the ordinance would expire, unless the City Council took action to extend or modify the ordinance.

The next regular meeting of the San Leandro City Council is scheduled for July 2, 2012.

Posted by mike at 12:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 15, 2012

Michael Gregory Begins Second Term as Vice Mayor

Councilmember Gregory
At the May 7, 2012, meeting of the San Leandro City Council, District 1 Councilmember Michael Gregory was re-elected to the position of Vice Mayor for a second term.

According to the City Charter, "In the absence of the Mayor, the Vice Mayor shall possess and perform the powers and duties of the Mayor." This typically means representing the City and chairing meetings of the City Council in the Mayor's absence.

Councilmember Jim Prola thanked Gregory for serving as Vice Mayor for the past year and made the motion to nominate him, with Councilmember Pauline Cutter seconding the motion.

Reed offered a substitute motion and nominated Councilmember Diana Souza for the Vice Mayor position. Reed explained her nomination by stating that the role was traditionally offered to each one of the council members. Councilmember Joyce Starosciak seconded the motion, "because I believe that, you know, it's her turn. It's time for her to step up into that role." From 2008 to 2010, each Vice Mayor served a single term, but Vice Mayors from 1998 to 2008 each served at least two terms.

Before the vote on the substitute motion, Gregory expressed surprise at the nomination and said, "I'm delighted and flattered to be considered."

Starosciak, Souza and Reed voted for Souza, but Mayor Stephen Cassidy, Cutter, Prola, and Gregory voted against Souza and the substitute motion failed.

Since the substitute motion for Souza as Vice Mayor failed, the City Council proceeded to vote on the original motion for Gregory as Vice Mayor. Starosciak joined Cassidy, Cutter, Prola, and Gregory in voting for Gregory with Reed and Souza abstaining.

Gregory will serve as Vice Mayor until June 2013.

In 2010, Reed was elected Vice Mayor after a failed motion by Gregory to elect Prola Vice Mayor. In 2011, Gregory was elected Vice Mayor. No councilmembers from Districts 3 or 6 have served as Vice Mayor for more than 14 years. Below is a recent history of San Leandro's Vice Mayors:

  • 1998 - Gordon Galvan (District 1)
  • 1999 - Gordon Galvan (District 1)
  • 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)
  • 2010 - Ursula Reed (District 2)
  • 2011 - Michael Gregory (District 1)
  • 2012 - Michael Gregory (District 1)
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June 14, 2012

Kevin Leichner to Succeed Dale Reed on San Leandro Planning Commission

Nearly three months after San Leandro Planning Commissioner Dale Reed passed away, the San Leandro City Council will take the first step to appoint his replacement at its June 18, 2012, meeting. According to the agenda for the meeting, Kevin Leichner will likely be nominated to replace Reed. Councilmember Michael Gregory is responsible for nominating a resident of his City Council district to fill the seat.

Leichner is a project manager for Bridge Housing Corporation in San Francisco. He has a BA in Architecture with a minor in City Planning from UC Berkeley, an MS in Urban Planning from Columbia University, and an MBA from Columbia Business School. He has previously worked at the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Heritage Partners, and the National Park Service. As a fellow at the Federal Reserve Bank in San Francisco, Leichner authored a paper entitled "Enhancing New Markets Tax Credit Pipeline Flow: Maintaining a Continuous Deal Flow In Spite of Funding Gaps and Market Volatility."

According to the Boards and Commissions Application submitted on May 29, Leicher lists his qualifications as, “Nearly 15 years of planning and development experience in the areas of affordable housing, economic development, and park facilities. Graduate degrees in urban planning and business from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in architecture and planning from UC Berkeley. Currently a project manager at BRIDGE Housing Corporation, focusing on new investment, restructuring, and rehabilitation of existing affordable housing portfolio properties.”

Leichner's employer, Bridge Housing Corporation, is one of the project developers for the recently revised San Leandro Crossings project. The project consists of 200 units of affordable housing (or workforce rental units).

The nomination is part of the agenda's consent calendar for the June 18, 2012, meeting and a vote on Leichner's appointment will be take place at a subsequent meeting.

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June 12, 2012

Ghirardelli Celebrates 160 Years - 45 in San Leandro

Nearly 68 banners were recently installed on poles along E. 14th Street and Washington Avenue to celebrate 160 years since Ghirardelli opened for business in 1852. Ghirardelli has been in San Leandro since 1967, when it moved its corporate offices and factory from San Francisco.

San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy proclaimed June 2012 as Ghirardelli Chocolate Month and Ghirardelli as the official chocolate of San Leandro in a proclamation at the May 21, 2012, City Council meeting.

Ghirardelli CEO Marty Thompson, after handing out bags of chocolate at the meeting, noted that Ghirardelli was the sixth largest chocolate manufacturer in the United States and the second largest U.S. baking chocolate manufacturer. Thompson proudly noted that every Ghirardelli product sold is produced at the San Leandro factory and said, "We're investing very heavily into our facility...This is where we're going to make our chocolate going forward."

Installation of the banners required that the San Leandro Administrative Code be changed to allow a commercial organization to install decorative banners. Previously, section 1.8.110 stated, "Banners that are strictly of a commercial nature shall not be installed in the City of San Leandro."

The cost of the banners and installation is solely the responsibility of the organization and not the City of San Leandro. StopWaste.org, the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, and the San Leandro Boys and Girls Club are some of the organizations that have previously installed banners.

Ghirardelli employs nearly 400 employees at its corporate office and factory at 1111 139th Avenue in San Leandro. It also has a factory outlet store, which is open Monday to Friday from 9:30am to 5:30pm, Saturday, 9:30am to 5pm and Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

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Election Results for June Primary

With 100% of precincts reporting in the race for the California Assembly's 18th District, Rob Bonta and Abel Guillen will face off in the November 2012 election. Joel Young and Rhonda Weber are a distant third and fourth.

Young was the target of more than $113,000 in mailers funded by the California Alliance, an independent expenditure committee. The group's largest contributors in this election cycle were consumer attorney groups ($1.05 million), public employee unions ($400,000), California Nurses Association ($250,000), and California League of Conservation Voters ($190,500).

Another independent expenditure committee, the Golden State Leadership Fund PAC, spent more than $34,000 on mailers in support of Bonta. The group's largest contributors during this campaign were Pacific Gas & Electric ($45,000), the Committee on Jobs Government Reform Fund ($35,000), SF Forward, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce's PAC ($25,000) and Duffy & Capitolo ($24,524).

Tara Flanagan is the clear winner for the Alameda County Superior Court seat, but will face Andrew Weiner in a November run-off.

Aisha Knowles is the winner in the race for the Area 4 seat on the Alameda County School Board.

18th Assembly District, 100% Precincts
CandidateVotes% of total
Rob Bonta2300736.76
Abel Guillen1852129.59
Joel Young1168018.66
Rhonda Weber908214.51
Alameda County School Board, Area 4, 100% Precincts
CandidateVotes% of total
Aisha Knowles1359652.26
Geraldine Sonobe1221346.95
Alameda County Superior Court Judge, 100% Precincts
CandidateVotes% of total
Tara M. Flanagan9249650.75
Andrew R. Weiner5445229.87
Catherine Haley3392218.61

Updated June 12, 2012.

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