February 25, 2013

Councilmember Reed Seeks New Members for Library-Historical Commission and BZA

San Leandro District 2 Councilmember Ursula Reed announced at the February 19, 2013, San Leandro City Council meeting that she is looking to fill vacancies on the Library-Historical Commission and the Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA).

The new BZA member will replace Thomas Makin, who served since June 2009. The new Library-Historical commissioner will replace Gloria Calegari, who was appointed in April 2009.

Each board and commission meets once a month, although they usually meet less. For example, the Board of Zoning Adjustments didn't meet for the last four months of 2012 and the January 2013 meeting was cancelled.

Applicants must be registered to vote and live in San Leandro in District 2 (see the City Council district map to find out which district you live in). The members of the City Council submit nominations which need approval by the entire City Council.

For more information about each of the commissions and boards, download the application at http://www.sanleandro.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=3759

Posted by mike at 7:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 24, 2013

Meyers Nave to Continue as San Leandro's City Attorney

Meyers Nave, San Leandro's City Attorney, will continue its role after it received a vote of confidence from the San Leandro City Council at its meeting on February 19, 2013. This appears to come before completion of the City Attorney's performance evaluation, which is on the Council's closed session agenda for Monday, February 25.

The decision comes on the heels of a report analyzing options for legal services by Municipal Resource Group (MRG) that was part of the first performance evaluation of the City Attorney in nearly 10 years. The report compared legal costs in San Leandro to those in Pittsburg, Union City, Alameda, Hayward, Livermore, Pleasanton, and Richmond, which were characterized as “labor comparable cities.”

Costs in San Leandro for general legal services and cost of legal services per capita were generally in the middle or slightly below average compared to the other cities. However, the cost comparisons specifically excluded litigation costs, which have been significant in recent years with legal cases involving Faith Fellowship, lawsuits by female employees of the police department, and the former Lucky site on East 14th Street. Without comparing litigation costs, the MRG report could not and did not include any analysis of whether contract legal services result in higher litigation costs compared to in-house attorney services.

The presentation included a summary of historical legal costs, showing an increase from $877,755 in 2002-2003 to an estimated $1,353,600 in 2012-2013. The presentation listed the City Attorney costs for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 at $1,397,649 and $1,030,841, respectively. In August 2011, the City Attorney costs provided by the City and interim Finance Director Jim O'Leary for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 were $1,645,167 and $1,746,388. These totals did not include any costs for legal settlements.

MRG's presentation went on to compare the advantages and disadvantages of contracting out for city attorney services, as it does now, and an in-house attorney. At the conclusion, members of the City Council were presented with three options:

  1. Continue with Meyers Nave, with a recommendation to negotiate the agreement.
  2. Change to an in-house attorney, as the City did prior to 1986.
  3. Issue a request for proposals for city attorney services

Councilmember Ursula Reed supported option 1, saying, “I am really concerned about changing anything dramatically because of the institutional knowledge that Meyers Nave has with the City.” But when asked about the recommendation to re-negotiate the agreement to a market-based fee for service, Reed responded, “I haven't decided that yet.”

Councilmember Diana Souza said, “I support option 1 – staying with Meyers Nave at this point.” Councilmember Benny Lee stated, “I support option 1 and also I like the idea of re-negotiating the contract.” Councilmembers Pauline Cutter, Jim Prola, and Michael Gregory also supported option 1, but with qualified support, saying that they were “leaning” towards or would be willing to go for option 1.

Only Mayor Stephen Cassidy expressed support for either changing to an in-house attorney or putting the contract out for bid. “I think there's a lot of value in having an in-house counsel. There's obviously an additional expense, but you know, as you look at the example of Hayward, it does not necessarily have to be more expensive... I think it's a mistake, if we are going to open up the contract and change it, not to put it out on the market and see what the marketplace value is for legal services and what the different options are. I think through competition – that's how you get value for your dollar and I think it's a mistake for us not to put this contract out for a bid...”

Absent from the public presentation and discussion was any discussion or disclosure about the role of Mike Oliver, a managing consultant at MRG. Meyers Nave served as San Leandro's City Attorney while Oliver was San Leandro's City Manager from 1992 until he was fired in 1996. Former Alameda County Fire Chief Bill McCammon also works for MRG in addition to his work as Executive Director at the East Bay Regional Communications System Authority.

City Manager Chris Zapata was tasked with refining the contract and come back to the City Council with recommendations at a future meeting.

Posted by mike at 10:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 6, 2013

San Leandro Perennial Candidate Lou Filipovich Dead at 90

Lou Filipovich in April 2008
Lou Filipovich in 2008
San Leandro's perennial political candidate and gadfly, Lou Filipovich, has died at the age of 90. Filipovich frequently attended meetings of the San Leandro City Council, where he asked his signature questions: “How much will it cost? Who pays? And for how long?”

Filipovich railed against taxes and fees and often took the San Leandro City Council to task for what he said were violations of charter city regulations and municipality boundaries.

He entered at least 30 races between 1990 and 2010, but won only twice. In June 2006, Filipovich won the Republican primary for State Senate District 10 against Laura Riffle. In June 2008, Filipovich was unopposed in the Republican primary for State Assembly District 18. His last election was for San Leandro Mayor, in which he finished last.

Here is Filipovich making an opening statement at a candidate forum in April 2008:

This a list of all of the elections we could find for Filipovich:

Election DateOfficeNo. of VotesWhere he finished
November 2, 2010Mayor of San Leandro9last of six
June 8, 2010Alameda County Supervisor2,407last of four
November 4, 2008Oro Loma Sanitary District Director6,525last of two
November 4, 2008San Lorenzo School Board Trustee3,914last of five
November 4, 2008State Assembly, District 1833,596last of two
June 3, 2008District 4 San Leandro City Council1,856last of three
June 3, 2008State Assembly, District 18 Primary9,009Winner - unopposed
November 7, 2006Oro Loma Sanitary District Director5,069last of five
November 7, 2006State Senate, District 1041,510last of two
June 6, 2006Alameda County Supervisor1,448last of five
June 6, 2006State Senate, District 10 Primary10,973Winner
June 6, 2006Mayor of San Leandro849last of four
November 2, 2004District 4 San Leandro City Council2,904last of three
November 2, 2004Oro Loma Sanitary District Director5,857last of three
November 2, 2004San Lorenzo School Board Trustee2,055last of seven
November 2, 2004State Assembly, District 1817last of three
March 2, 2004State Assembly, District 18Unknownlast of two
November 5, 2002Mayor of San Leandro1,775second of three
November 5, 2002Oro Loma Sanitary District Director5,026last of four
November 5, 2002San Lorenzo School Board Trustee1,493sixth of eight
November 7, 2000District 4 San Leandro City Council7,253last of two
November 7, 2000San Lorenzo School Board Trustee3,955last of six
March 7, 2000Oro Loma Sanitary District Director4,624last of three
November 3, 1998San Lorenzo School Board Trustee3,209third of five
June 3, 1998Mayor of San Leandro???last of four
November 5, 1996San Lorenzo School Board Trustee4,643fifth of six
March 26, 1996District 4 San Leandro City Council4,856last of two
June 7, 1994Oro Loma Sanitary District Director3,593last of five
April 12, 1994Mayor of San Leandro214seventh of eight
April 14, 1992District 4 San Leandro City Council3,458last of two
Posted by mike at 10:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 5, 2013

Prola Outraised Almonte by 8 to 1 in San Leandro's 2012 District 6 Campaign

In the final financial disclosures for the San Leandro City Council elections of November 2012, District 6 incumbent Jim Prola raised a total of $36,405 for his re-election, more than eight times the $4,362 raised by challenger Hermy Almonte, excluding loans.

There are no campaign contribution limits in San Leandro, so individuals and businesses may contribute any amount of money to local campaigns. Donations of $99 or less do not have to be itemized, but candidates are required to report the source of any donation of $100 or more.

Semi-annual campaign statements for current City Council candidates were due January 31, 2013, for the reporting period October 21 to December 31, 2012, and are summarized below.

Jim Prola

For the reporting period, Prola reported $1,276 in his campaign account with $4,000 in outstanding debt and $5,342 in contributions, including $4,000 from unions. Significant contributions to Prola's campaign included:

Prola's reported the following campaign expenses:

Jim Prola's Campaign Statement for October 21 to December 31, 2012

Hermy Almonte

Almonte reported $1 in his campaign account with no contributions during the reporting period and a $4,500 outstanding loan to his campaign. On January 31, 2013, Almonte filed paperwork to close his campaign account.
Almonte's campaign expenses included:

Hermy Almonte's Campaign Statement for October 21 to December 31, 2012

Posted by mike at 7:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 4, 2013

San Leandro Councilmembers Prola and Lee Make Their Commission Nominations

While San Leandro District 6 Councilmember Jim Prola has re-nominated all of his existing commissioners, newly-elected Councilmember Benny Lee has nominated two new commissioners and re-nominated three existing commissioners. Lee has not yet nominated anyone to fill the vacancy on the Senior Commission.

Lee nominated Kai Leung to the Planning Commission. Leung replaces Tom Dlugosh, who vacated his seat on the Planning Commission when he was appointed in September 2012 to fill out the remainder of former Councilmember Joyce Starosciak's term. According to Leung's application, he is retired and was part of the San Leandro delegation to Yangchun, China, in October 2007.

Lee nominated friendly campaign rival Justin Hutchison (his campaign web site said, “Please cast your second choice vote for Benny Lee.”) to the Recreation and Parks Commission, where he replaces Charles “Chuck” Kane, who was appointed in May 2011. According to his application, Hutchison works for Target in Fremont. Hutchison listed his education and qualifications as an A.A. in Administration of Justice, San Lorenzo Little League Board of Directors from 2008-2011 and Washington Manor Junior League baseball coach since 2004.

Lee re-appointed Amada Robles to the Human Services Commission and Arlene Lum to the Library-Historical Commission where both have served since May 2005. Robles frequently provides Spanish translation at City events and Lum was circulating a petition against marijuana dispensaries at a recent town hall meeting. Lum contributed $100 to Lee's 2012 City Council campaign

Lee also re-appointed Catherine Vierra Houston to the Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA), where she has served since September 2009. Houston is a labor union representative for the United Steelworkers.

In District 6, Jim Prola re-appointed Rene Mendieta to BZA, Carmen Fewless to the Human Services Commission, Carole Rinaldi to the Library-Historical Commission, Esther Collier to the Planning Commission, Robert Fox to the Recreation and Parks Commission, and Bella Comelo to the Senior Commission. Mendieta has served on the BZA since February 2009 and Fewless was appointed to the Human Services Commission in June 2005. Rinaldi has served on the Library-Historical Commission since March 2005 and Collier has been on the Planning Commission since March 2001. Fox was appointed to the Recreation and Parks Commission in February 2009. Comelo has been on the Senior Commission since February 2009. Collier contributed $100 to Prola's 2012 City Council campaign.

Posted by mike at 12:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 3, 2013

Funding for Extra San Leandro Cops to Run Out a Year Early

SL_police_logo.png At a Planning Session of the San Leandro City Council on January 26, 2013, San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli announced that the funds from a federal grant for five additional police officers will run out almost a year sooner than expected. The City of San Leandro had already planned on an additional $900,000 to pay for the officers when the grant expired, but now faces a similar additional cost before the grant expires.

The City was awarded the $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program in 2010. The grant was intended to fund five police officers for three years with the City obligated to pay for the additional officers for a minimum of one year.

Chief Spagnoli explained to the City Council, “The grant expires in 2015 which the city is obligated to keep it for one year and pay and fund it. So between 2014 and 2015 is the City's obligation. We are given a set amount for the grant and we will have gone through the funding of the set amount actually in about probably a year prior to that so the City will actually have to carry the grant for either about 18 months to two years rather than the one year....we believe that at the end of this year we would have depleted the majority of the funds. It might take us into January a little bit, but the way the COPS grant works, it funds the bottom step police officers and in all the assignments specific to that grant, we have top step police officers, so that's the difference.”

The original grant application accounts for increasing officer costs with the cost of the positions in the first year at $151,550 per officer ($78,075 in salary plus $73,475 in benefits), second year at $161,399 per officer ($82,782 in salary plus $78,617 in benefits) and the third year at $170,486 per officer ($86,938 in salary plus $83,548 in benefits).

The City Council did not ask for further clarification from Chief Spagnoli.

At a City Council work session two days later, Chief Spagnoli indicated that San Leandro would apply for grants to extend or renew the existing COPs grant for five police officers, hire 10 additional officers for regional collaboration, and hire eight additional school resource officers. City lobbyist Len Simon said that the additional school resource officers were most likely to be funded in the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Posted by mike at 11:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack