December 27, 2012

One Year of San Leandro Arrests

Since November 2011, the San Leandro Police Department has been publishing a list of all of the adults arrested each week, including the name, birth date, gender, city of residence, and the crime(s) with which the person is charged.

The published information included many errors and typos that were corrected prior to analyzing the data. Note that some errors in the data likely remain.

Arrest data for the period from December 24, 2011 to December 23, 2012, was analyzed. During that time, there were 3,063 arrests. Males accounted for 75.5% of those arrested while females accounted for 24.5%. The national averages for 2011 were 74% for males and 26% for females, according to the 2011 FBI Uniform Crime Report.

Residents of San Leandro accounted for the most arrests, at 37.7%, followed by Oakland at 32.5%, Hayward at 7.8%, San Lorenzo at 2.3%, San Francisco at 2.2%, no city listed at 1.8%, Castro Valley at 1.4%, and Alameda at 1.2%.


The races of those arrested, as classified by the San Leandro Police Department, are 41.6% Black, 26.6% Hispanic, 23% White, 3% Other, 1.8% Filipino, and 1.3% Chinese. According to the 2010 census, San Leandro's population was 12.3% African American. and Oakland's population was 28% African American. The census listed San Leandro's 2010 population as 37.6% White, 29.7% Asian, and 27.4% Latino.

San Leandro Bytes analyzed the arrest data to determine the most common statutes for which people were arrested. Note that many of those arrested were charged under multiple statutes, so a person could be counted multiple times if they were arrested for burglary and drug possession, for example. The misdemeanor and felony warrants did not include information about the specific statutes alleged to have been violated.

Number ArrestedStatute
509Misdemeanor warrant
485Theft, 484 (A) PC
470Drunk in public, 647(F) PC
225Felony warrant
220Drug possession, 11377 HS
179Burglary, 459 PC
174Driving under the influence, 23152(A) VC
167Possession of drug paraphernalia, 11364 HS
152Possession of a controlled substance, 11350(A) HS
111Resisting arrest, 148(A) PC

According to the data, 257 people were arrested more than once during the one year time period (2,365 people were arrested once). One individual was arrested 16 times, with others arrested 14, 13, and 9 times during the one-year period. The most common charges for these frequent arrestees were public intoxication and parole violations.

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December 17, 2012

Benny Lee to Become First Asian American on San Leandro City Council

Benny Lee in August 2012
Benny Lee
Along with Ursula Reed and Jim Prola, Benny Lee will be sworn-in as the District 4 Councilmember at tonight's San Leandro City Council meeting. When he officially takes office in 2013, he will become the first Asian American elected to the San Leandro City Council. (In 2008, Hermy Almonte was the first Asian American to run for City Council when he unsuccessfully ran for the District 6 seat.)

While Almonte and Lee were the first to run campaigns for council seats, Library-Historical Commissioner Arnold Mew was the first Asian American to seek appointment to a City Council seat in 1998. Mew was eliminated when the first City Council vote resulted in a tie between Melody Marr and Surlene Grant (who became the first African American on the San Leandro City Council after Young changed her vote). Mew went on to unsuccessfully campaign for a seat on the San Lorenzo School Board in 2004.

On the San Leandro School Board, the first Asian American to campaign for a seat was Alice Chin, who lost to Paul Meier in 1982. In 1996, Kenneth Pon ran for the At-Large seat on the San Leandro School Board and defeated Justin Agrella, becoming the first Asian American on the School Board. In 1998, Louis Heystek and Dennis Chin both ran unopposed for the Area 4 and Area 6 seats on the School Board. Pon was subsequently re-elected in 2000 and Heystek in 2002. In 2008, Almonte was elected to the Area 1 seat over incumbent Rick Richards. Finally, in 2010, Victoria Wang lost to Lance James for the Area 2 seat.

San Leandro School Board in 2001
San Leandro School Board in 2001 with Dennis Chin, Louis, Heystek and Ken Pon

According to the latest U.S. Census, Asians comprised 29.7% of San Leandro's population in 2010.

Lee will be sworn in at the San Leandro City Council meeting on Monday, December 17, 2012. The meeting starts at 7pm and will be held in the Council Chambers at 835 E. 14th Street.

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December 14, 2012

San Leandro Tennis Great Art Larsen Dead at 87

San Leandro resident and former tennis great Art Larsen died December 7, 2012, in San Leandro at the age of 87. He had been a resident at San Leandro Healthcare Center at 368 Juana Avenue in San Leandro.

Larsen was born in Hayward on April 17, 1925. His father was a boxer and his grandfather was a baseball player. He moved to San Leandro when he was was 7 or 8 years old. At 11 years of age, he began playing tennis and won a tournament at the Olympic Club in San Francisco in 1939 when he was 14. George Hudson at the Berkeley Tennis Club began coaching him at 16 and he graduated from San Leandro High School two years later, in 1943.

Art Larsen at the San Francisco Olympic_Club after winning in 1939
Art Larsen at the San Francisco Olympic Club after winning in 1939
Photo provided by Cindy Simons from Art Larsen's collection

After high school, Larsen said, “I fought in the Battle of the Bulge” in World War II, according to an April 12, 2001, article in the San Leandro Times. After the war, he attended College of the Pacific and then the University of San Francisco (USF). While playing tennis at USF, Larsen was part of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship team and became nationally recognized.

He gained the nickname “Tappy” for his habit of tapping things on the court with his racket for good luck.

Larsen became the number one ranked U.S. Player after winning the US tennis title in 1950 by defeating Herbie Flan. In 1951, he lost in the U.S. Open finals to Frank Sedgman and ranked number three in the world. In 1954, he lost to Tony Trabert in an all-American final at the French Open.

As a result of an accident in Castro Valley in 1956, Larsen's tennis career ended after being ranked in the world top ten in 1954, when he finished second in the US tennis championship. In 1969, Larsen was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Thanks to Cindy Simons for providing information from her interview of Art Larsen in March 2008.

Update: According to his nephew, Larsen was buried on December 13, 2012, at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery and Mausoleum in Hayward, California. He is survived by his sister Joyce Stengel; his nephews Willis C. Stengel and Carl A. Stengel and his niece Patricia Rickner. He has no wife or children.

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December 10, 2012

Surveillance Systems Used by San Leandro Police

At least three surveillance systems are currently used by the San Leandro Police Department: red light cameras for law enforcement at four intersections, one police car with an automated license plate scanner, and 24 traffic cameras that are capturing video for use by the police. The police department has also expressed interest in testing a video system mounted to individual police officers, and a server to store video for the system was recently approved by the Information Technology Department.

Traffic Cameras

About halfway through 2012, the City of San Leandro implemented the ability to digitally record video from 24 traffic cameras throughout the city. Twelve of the cameras are mounted under a smoked plastic dome and resemble surveillance cameras. Each can be controlled from City Hall and has the ability to point in any direction and to zoom in on areas. Using the zoom capability, it is possible to identify not only cars, but drivers and pedestrians.

Pelco Spectra pan-tilt-zoom camera
Pelco Spectra pan-tilt-zoom camera under San Leandro street light

The cameras are made by Pelco and are in the following locations:

  • E. 14th St / Davis St
  • E. 14th St / San Leandro Blvd
  • E. 14th / Hesperian Blvd
  • Davis St / Polvorosa Overpass
  • Davis St / Orchard Ave
  • Davis St / San Leandro Blvd
  • Marina Blvd / Teagarden St
  • Bancroft Ave / Estudillo Ave
  • Hesperian Blvd / Springlake Dr
  • Hesperian Blvd / Halcyon Dr
  • Washington Ave / Springlake Dr
  • Marina Blvd / Merced St

In addition to the 12 Pelco cameras that can point in any direction, another 12 cameras that are used to detect traffic at stoplights, but cannot move, are being digitally recorded. These cameras are in the following locations:

Traffic Detection Camera
Traffic detection camera at San Leandro intersection
  • NB Hesperian Blvd/Halcyon Dr
  • SB Hesperian Blvd/Halcyon Dr
  • EB Halcyon Dr/Hesperian Blvd
  • WB Fairmont Dr/Hesperian
  • SB Williams St/Westgate Pkwy
  • EB Marina Blvd/San Leandro Blvd
  • EB Driveway/Westgate Pkwy
  • NB Washington Ave/Springlake Dr
  • SB Washington Ave/Springlake Dr
  • WB Springlake Dr/Washington Ave
  • NB Merced St/Reynolds & Brown D/W
  • NB Merced St/Williams St

According to City of San Leandro Senior Transportation Engineer Reh-Lin Chen, the Pelco pan-tilt-zoom cameras were installed to monitor traffic, but until a recent upgrade, only one camera could be recorded at a time. The traffic detection cameras are being recorded, says Chen, to protect the City from liability by providing evidence in the event of a traffic collision. However, Chen was not aware of the video recording ever being used for that purpose.

In the past six months, Chen reported that the San Leandro Police have asked for video recordings 10 to 12 times. The requests are informal, so he could not provide specifics for each of the police requests. The traffic department provides the video recordings on a USB flash drive or on a shared computer folder that can only be accessed by the police and traffic departments.

License Plate Scanner

The automated license plate scanner is mounted on a police patrol car and consists of three cameras connected to a computer. It takes pictures of every license plate visible to the cameras as the car is driven. Along with pictures, the computer records the geographic location where the picture was taken and the time and date of the picture. The license plate number is compared to a database of stolen vehicles, Automated Warrant System, DMV, missing and wanted persons, domestic violence/restraining order, and supervised release file. If there is a match, the system produces a beep to alert the police officer.

The pictures gathered by the system frequently include the surrounding area and sometimes recognizable individuals. After requesting and receiving information about my vehicles stored in the database, I could identify locations where my vehicle was photographed, including a picture that showed my children getting out of the car in the driveway of my house.

Between March 2008 and July 2010, the system generated a database of more than 2 million records. There is no retention policy for the data and the information gathered by the system is being stored indefinitely. More than 4 millions records are likely stored in the database by now and the majority (more than 95%) are of vehicles that are being used by people not suspected of or charged with any crime.

Red Light Cameras

Red light cameras have been installed at intersections in San Leandro since 2006. According to a San Leandro Police Department web page, the cameras were installed to “reduce red light running and cut down on auto-related accidents and fatalities.” However, the cameras were installed at high-traffic intersections rather than dangerous intersections identified in a February 2005 study by Dowling Associates, Inc. entitled "Analysis of High Collision Locations in San Leandro."

Red light camera at Floresta Blvd. and Washington Ave. in San Leandro

Six cameras were originally installed, but that number was reduced to five when the contract was renewed in April 2011. The sixth camera, at the intersection of Washington Ave & Lewelling, was removed because it was generating hundreds less red light citations than the other intersections and therefore, not as profitable as the other red light cameras.

Red light cameras are installed at the following locations:

  • EB Fairmont Drive & E. 14th Street
  • EB and WB Floresta/Halcyon & Washington Avenue
  • NB E. 14th Street & Davis Street
  • EB Marina Boulevard & Teagarden Street

On Monday, December 10, 2012, the San Leandro City Council will hold a work session entitled “Presentation by San Leandro Police Department and Discussion on Public Safety.” The meeting starts at 7pm and will be held at City Council Chambers at 835 E. 14th Street.

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December 2, 2012

San Leandro City Attorney to Get Performance Evaluation After Nine Years

The last time that San Leandro's City Attorney, Meyers Nave, received a performance evaluation, Shelia Young had just been re-elected to a second term as Mayor. Almost 10 years later, the San Leandro City Council is poised to conduct a performance evaluation of Meyers Nave, with the help of Municipal Resource Group (MRG).

MRG will provide an analysis of the City's legal services that will “include an identification of the benefits of in-house City Attorney services and contract legal services.” While San Leandro uses Meyer Nave for its City Attorney, the city attorneys for Alameda, Hayward, and Oakland are employees, with Oakland's City Attorney being an elected position.

Steve Meyers
Steve Meyers
San Leandro's City Attorney was a city employee until 1986, when City Attorney Steve Meyers formed a company to provide legal services to San Leandro under a professional services agreement. Meyers Nave has provided the City Attorney continuously since 1986. Meyers Nave provides similar legal services to the cities of Union City, Dublin, Bell, Cotati, and Livingston. George Eiser, who served as City Attorney for National City for 25 years, where San Leandro City Manager previously served as City Manager, was recently hired by Meyers Nave.

The $10,000 consulting agreement with Municipal Resource Group has the following scope of work:

“Review the existing ""Agreement for City Attorney Legal Services - City of San Leandro", City of San Leandro budget, Meyers Nave data, work load data and other information related to the existing legal services arrangement with the City of San Leandro.

Review the City budget and accounting procedures to determine how the legal services costs are budgeted and recorded. Include an analysis of budgeting and methods of charging enterprise funds.
Review existing City procedures for requesting legal services from the City Attorney, the City Attorneys role, and other matters related to the provision of legal services as a member of the executive team.

Meet with San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata to discuss the project goals and tasks, and to determine the information and analyses that the City may desire in order to evaluate City Attorney legal services. At the direction of the City Manager, meet with other key City executive team members to assess how City Attorney services are utilized.

Review available comparison data and propose criteria for selection of comparable agencies and common performance benchmarks.

Research and propose comparable jurisdictions. Update the comparison data based on agreed upon comparable jurisdictions and appropriate performance benchmarks.

Research and propose methods to control utilization of legal service requests from City staff.
Propose options, if necessary, to refine the legal services arrangement and agreement with the City of San Leandro, including City-initiated requests for and utilization of legal services, retainer/basic level of services, special services and other legal services practices.

Prepare an analysis of the cost of in-house City Attorney and contract legal services. MRG will prepare a non-confidential version of the analysis appropriate for public discussion and dissemination at a public meeting. The analysis will also include an identification of the benefits of in-house City Attorney services and contract legal services.”

Performance evaluation of the City Attorney is on the December 3, 2012, closed session agenda for the San Leandro City Council and was previously listed on agendas for September 7, 2012, and November 19, 2012.

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