San Leandro's population was estimated at 86,666 as of January 1, 2013, according to a press release issued on May 1, 2013, by the Demographic Research Unit of the California Department of Finance. This is a 0.8% increase from San Leandro's population estimate of 85,941 in January 2012.
San Leandro's growth was less than Alameda County's overall growth rate of 1.2% (1,548,681) and matched California's growth rate of 0.8% (37,966,471). As in previous years, the fastest growing city in Alameda County was Dublin with a 6.8% growth rate and the slowest growing city was Albany, with a -0.2% growth rate.
Addie Silveira prepared this video for the San Leandro City Council work session on March 12, 2012. The video features members of the San Leandro Library staff describing a typical year for the library.
Last year, the main library had 60-70,000 visitors every month and the Manor Branch had about 10,000 visitors every month.
All of the library branches together circulated about 800,000 items last year. The Marina Mulford branch library circulated 45,000 items last year, while the South Branch circulated 25,000 items.
The library includes a reference collection of 3,000 print items, 14,000 movies in DVD, VHS, and Blu-Ray formats, 9,000 music CDs and cassettes, and 3,000 audiobooks on CD and cassette. There are 270 magazines, 20 newspapers, and 50 titles for children and teens. The library has National Geographic Magazines back to 1909 and Time and Newsweek back to the 1930s. For those interested in local history, the San Leandro Reporter newspaper is available on microfilm from 1879 to 1951. The foreign language collection includes Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese books.
With available wireless internet service and 60 public computers, the library also provides access to digital information, including a collection of downloadable eBooks and audiobooks.
The library offered about 300 programs last year, including monthly family nights, concerts, movies, and the library's biggest program: the Summer Reading Program. Last year, more than 4,000 kids participated and the program culminated in a outdoor carnival.
A teen reading program at the library is one of only 16 in the country to receive preview copies of books. Participants write reviews of the books that go to the publisher and helps the library earn money to add books to its collection.
The video ends with a plea to the San Leandro City Council for the Project Literacy program and the Museum/Art Gallery, which has been closed since 2009. This year, the Museum/Art Gallery will be open for school field trips because of funding received as part the Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
On Tuesday, November 29, 2011, the San Leandro Police Department held a press conference to announce the identity of the suspected shooter in the Black Friday robbery and shooting at Walmart. The suspected shooter was identified as 29-year-old Detwone Watson. Another suspect, Tony Phillips, 20, was restrained by the robbery victims until police arrived. San Leandro Police also released surveillance video from Walmart that shows the robbery and shooting. The shooting victim, Christopher Murillo, was shot in the neck, but survived.
At a special meeting held on Monday, July 25, 2011, the San Leandro City Council voted 6-0 (Gregory was absent) to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of Eden Township Healthcare District in it fight with Sutter Health over San Leandro Hospital.
Councilmember Michael Gregory has spoken out in support of San Leandro Hospital at two Town Halls and a rally and current Mayor Stephen Cassidy has also been vocal in his support of San Leandro Hospital at town Town Halls and during his campaign for Mayor.
However, Monday night marks the first time that the San Leandro City Council has decided to spend money and offer concrete support for keeping San Leandro Hospital open.
According to San Leandro City Attorney Jayne Williams, the law firm of Meyers Nave will prepare the brief at a cost not to exceed $7,500. Williams also stated, "A letter will also be sent to the Attorney General on behalf of the City encouraging the AG [Attorney General] to file an amicus on behalf of the District with respect to the conflict of interest (Government Code 1090) issues that have been raised in the appeal.
The deadline to file an amicus brief is August 8, 2011.
Last week, the San Leandro Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) approved a new permit for the Bal Theatre, a restored 1946 theater owned by Dan Dillman.
Despite a Conditional Use Permit that explicitly prohibited live performances, the Bal Theatre held a comedy event on New Year's Eve 2010. Complaints about that event brought the theater to the attention of City staff, which sent a letter demanding that the theater not hold such events. Dillman rallied supporters to his cause to get his permit changed to permit live events, resulting in a new permit that allows a limited number of live performances each month.
Below are videos from the meeting. The first is a presentation by Elmer Penaranda, a Senior Project Specialist with the City of San Leandro:
The city presentation was followed by a presentation by Chris Crow, a neighbor of the Bal Theatre representing Dillman (Crow is also on the San Leandro Planning Commission). Crow asked to remove the restrictions on dancing, the hours of operation, the frequency of permitted activities (live performances), and a requirement to have changes in activities reviewed by the Community Development Department or BZA (for larger changes):
Supporters and opponents of the Bal Theatre's new permit then expressed their opinions:
In the end, despite members of the BZA expressing their displeasure at being asked by Crow for significant modifications to the proposed permit, the BZA approved the Bal Theatre's new permit (with no modifications) unanimously.
A report by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission released today found that the condition of San Leandro's roads continues to deteriorate. The Pavement Condition Index (PCI) for San Leandro was 57 in 2010, down from 58 in 2009, and lower than any city in Alameda County except for Oakland.
According to the report, "At 66 out of a possible 100 points, the region’s average pavement condition index (PCI) score is now far closer to the 60-point threshold at which deterioration accelerates rapidly…" The MTC established a goal of 75 for the region's PCI in its Transportation 2035 Plan published two years ago.
San Leandro's PCI has been declining from a high of 64 in 2004 as San Leandro hasn't allocated the estimated five to six million dollars needed annually to maintain the condition of San Leandro's roads. Next year's budget continues that pattern with no general fund money being used for improving roads. All rehabilitation and street sealing done next year will be done using funds from Alameda County's Measure B.
Residents of the Beverly/Dowling/Dutton Triangle area of San Leandro are likely just the first residents to face replacement of sewer laterals that run through backyards and under existing houses and other structures.
A map prepared by the City of San Leandro shows five areas where residents may be faced with a similar issue. Those areas are shown below:
Area in Council District 5 bounded by Kenilworth, Dutton, Durant, E. 14th St., Breed, and Broadmoor.
Area in Council District 2 bounded by Sybil, Bancroft, San Rafael, and San Leandro High School
Area in Council District 1 bounded by Benedict, View, and Sandelin
Area in Council District 6 bounded by North, Donovan, Virginia, and O'Donnell
Area in Council District 6 bounded by Davis, Maria, Kelly, and Cherry Grove Park
At the April 12, 2011, meeting of the Facilities and Transportation Committee of the San Leandro City Council, a presentation noted that "23 miles [of sanitary sewers in San Leandro] are located in backyards of over 900 residential properties."
City staff have re-iterated on numerous occasions that homeowners are responsible for the cost of reconnecting their sewer laterals when the City moves the main sewer. Estimates of the cost of moving a sewer lateral range from $4,000 to $8,000, according to the City presentation, but could range up to $10,000 or more for each affected property owner.
Residents of the Beverly/Dowling/Dutton Triangle area are threatening to sue if they are forced to pay for moving their sewer laterals. The issue will likely appear soon on a future City Council agenda.
The San Leandro City Council posted the City Manager position on its web site on Thursday, March 24, 2011. The City Council is not using Avery Associates, a search firm that has been used in the past to hire the police chief and the finance director. The firm also provides labor relations consulting services to City staff and was used to hire San Leandro's assistant city manager and human resources director.
No salary is listed on the brochure, but 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 current city manager, that means 15% more than $14,688 per month, or $202,694 annually.
Benefits include "8% City-paid contribution for CALPERS," and "Generous vacation and administrative leave; car allowance provided."
The application deadline is April 18, 2011, at 5pm, just 22 days from the date that the position was posted. Interviews of final candidates will be held on May 7, 2011.
Current 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.
At the March 16, 2011, meeting of the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association, San Leandro Police Officer Tim Degrano shared some crime prevention tips with the audience.
Degrano emphasized that "We require community assistance because we cannot be everywhere 24 7....We love the nosy neighbor....We love Mrs. Kravitz. [the nosy neighbor in the television series Bewitched who was known for peeking through her curtains at her neighbors]"
"I will tell you the honest truth is we don't catch the smart ones…right away," said Degrano, but if residents are there to help the police, then they can be much more effective at catching the criminals.
He noted that very few people have taken advantage of CPTED, which stands for crime prevention through environmental design. CPTED consists of designing or changing the exterior of your house or building to discourage crime through proper lighting,
Degrano and his partner Kerri Kovach "will go out to your home or business on request….We'll let you know if your shrubs are covering that porch where someone can hide behind them."
According to Degrano, they know from talking to suspects that some of the reasons they target homes is because they don't have an alarm system [because there is no sticker] or the porch light has been on for two straight days.
Degrano notes that an alarm system may not prevent a burglary, but it will certainly give the police a better chance to catch the burglars in the act.
When asked about crime and apartments, Degrano said that they have a crime-free program for multi-housing communities. This program has a lease addendum that tenants sign that allows the owner to evict tenants that commit a crime on or off the property, that cause a disturbance, of if their guest causes a disturbance. Degrano said it is a great program that it has been challenged at the US Supreme Court and been upheld.
On home alarm systems, Degrano stated that you get two false alarms a year and after that, there is a $75 fine. Degrano was correct on the two false alarms, but according to the the San Leandro Municipal Code, you get two false alarms within a 90-day period.
For more information about crime prevention, see the San Leandro Police Crime Prevention page at http://www.sanleandro.org/depts/pd/prevention/default.asp
On March 16, 2011, San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli addressed the general meeting of the Broadmoor Neigborhood Association. Spagnoli has been on the job for about two and a half months after replacing Ian Willis, who retired.
Spagnoli told the audience, "Last year crime dropped across the whole city by 8% which was a very good thing. In fact, last year in 2010 our crime stats were at an all-time low." In contrast, Spagnoli noted, "Burglaries last year for 2010 were up by about 15%, so we are seeing an increase not only in our city but statewide in thefts, larcenies, burglaries, residential and auto burglaries as well."
In her remarks, she noted that "You have a full service police department. We will respond to any call." This is in contrast to the City of Oakland where residents are asked to complete a report online for certain crimes.
Spagnoli was proud that San Leandro still had a crime prevention unit with two officers assigned to it, since that is typically one area that gets cut when there are budget cuts.
On a typical day, San Leandro Police receive about 211 calls and arrest 10 to 12 people.
According to Spagnoli, the San Leandro Police implement two things last year that should help in responding to crime. First, e911 was implemented, which means that 911 calls from your cell phone will automatically be routed directly to the local communication center. However, calls made while on the freeway will be routed to the California Highway Patrol, so Spagnoli recommended getting off the freeway before calling 911 because "we'll probably answer the phone a little bit quicker." Spagnoli said, "We were one of the last police departments to go online in the state with this."
The second thing that was implemented last year was a "new system for monitoring reports and report writing" - "customized reports to help us predict crime and where crime is going to occur in the future." This new component isn't fully functional right now but she plans to roll out more information to the community in the future. Spagnoli also recommended crimereports.com for finding information on crime in your local area.
On LicenseLook, a tool from local resident Wayne Gregori, Spagnoli said that it is a good way to document which license plates are in your area, but call us if something doesn't look right or feel right, because it probably isn't right.
Spagnoli went on to answer questions from the audience.
The first question was "What percent of the crime rate is drug-related and what is being done to combat the sales of drugs in the community?"
Spagnoli responded that at least 60% of crime was drug-related and went on to criticize the current parole system in which some offenders are released into communities with no supervision or conditions. According to Spagnoli, the rate of recidivism for people that have been released back into the community is more than 90%.
The second question was, "Welcome to San Leandro. Will you stay more than two years?"
Spagoli said, "My commitment to the community is to stay here, make a commitment and make a difference in the community and also been involved and engaged in the community." Spagnoli said that she wouldn't be eligible for retirement for "many, many years." She said that she wanted to make an impact on the community and that it would be hard to make an impact when you're here for only a few years. She acknowledged that she didn't really answer the question, but said she would have an attachment to this community for many years "as long as they still want me."
When asked, "Why did you want to be a police chief in San Leandro?" Spagnoli responded that San Leandro is a "gem in the Bay Area" that offers many challenges that she can make a difference in, San Leandro has a full-service police department, and San Leandro is larger than her former city [Benicia]. Her experience in community engagement, using technology and reducing crime were the reasons why she thinks she was selected.
Spagnoli is San Leandro's 10th police chief and its first female police chief. She previously served as the police chief for Benicia and took over from former police chief Ian Willis in January 2011.
Press releases from the San Leandro Police Department can be found on Facebook and you can subscribe to the RSS feed without a Facebook account. Maps showing the general location of recent crimes can be found at Crime Reports. You can sign up to receive free notifications about emergencies, including crimes, at Nixle and CodeRed.
As part of the Measure Z quarter-cent sales tax increase approved by San Leandro voters in November 2010, sales tax will increase from 9.75% to 10%, according to a press release from the California State Board of Equalization on March 16, 2011.
Opponents of the sales tax argued that San Leandro would have the highest sales tax in northern California if Measure Z passed, but sales tax increases in Union City and El Cerrito to 10.25% give those cities that distinction.
Revenue from the sales tax increase is not likely to have a big effect on the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, but is estimated to generate $3 to $4 million in revenue for the next fiscal year. Some of that additional revenue will be offset by an increase of $852,000 increase in the City's CalPERS contribution next year and an increase of $490,000 in employee costs from new employee contracts that were approved in December 2010.
According to the press release:
Retailers generally need to apply the new sales tax rates if they:
On March 15, 2011, the City of San Leandro filed a petition for a re-hearing in the Faith Fellowship (Foursquare) case.
The appeals court ruled against the City of San Leandro on February 15, 2011, allowing the church to pursue its lawsuit against the City.
More details later today. Click here to read the City's petition.
San Leandro's street lights will become more energy efficient under a new contract that will replace 270 high pressure sodium (HPS) lights with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Similar lights are in place on the Hayward-San Mateo Bridge.
The contract, awarded to Omega Pacific Electrical Supply, is worth $83,320. Omega will be installing LED streetlights manufactured by BetaLED, a division of Wisconsin-based Ruud Lighting. Funding for the project comes from an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant that is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and from PG&E rebates for purchasing qualified LED fixtures.
A similar program to replace traffic signal lights with energy-efficient LEDs was done in the early 2000s, according to San Leandro Public Works Director Mike Bakaldin. All green and red traffic signals and most of the yellows are now LEDs. Bakaldin noted that the red LEDs have been very reliable, but the green LEDs had to replaced within a few years.
The City of San Leandro has more than 5,000 street lights, so these conversions include about 5% of existing street lights. However, the energy savings is estimated at 20 to 50% of an HPS light and LEDs are expected to last much longer than HPS lights, reducing maintenance costs. Other advantages include no lead or mercury that is in many HPS light fixtures, improved lighting from the higher quality of the light emitted, and no need to warm up before they are fully lit.
Update: The lights will be installed in the Bonaire area where a pilot project was started in 2010.
Data from the 2010 census indicates that San Leandro's population was 84,950 as of April 2010, an increase of 5,498 or 6.9% from 2000. Alameda County's population increased 4.6% over the last 10 years, while Piedmont and Oakland had slight decreases. Dublin and Emeryville increased by 53.6% and 46.5% respectively.
The population breakdown by race/ethnicity is 29.3% Asian, 27.4% Hispanic or Latino, 27.1% white (non-Hispanic), 11.8% African American, 3.2% two or more races, 0.7% Asian Pacific and Hawaiian, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, and 0.2% other.
Total housing units in San Leandro increased from 31,334 in 2000 to 32,419 in 2010, an increase of 3.5%. Vacant housing units increased 146% from 692 to 1,702. In Alameda County, housing units increased by 7.8% while vacant units increased by 122.5%.
The City of San Leandro will host a second Town Hall meeting on the San Leandro Marina Boat Harbor Basin at 7pm on Wednesday, November 17, 2010. An earlier meeting held on November 9, 2010, had between 50 and 60 participants.
According to the press release, the City of San Leandro has been working with Cal-Coast Development and the 33-member Shoreline Development Citizens Advisory Committee to develop a plan for development at the Marina.
The City is seeking ideas for the boat harbor that assume the continued use of the boat harbor for small boats, continuation of the boat launch for as long as possible, attractive and conforming to existing uses, and maintain public access to water-related activities.
The meeting will be held at 7pm at the Marina Community Center at 15301 Wicks Boulevard. For more information or to share your ideas, contact Debbie Pollart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can't make the meeting, the presentation is available at http://www.sanleandro.org/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=7447 and video of the previous meeting can be seen after the break.
Cynthia Battenberg, San Leandro Business Development Manager (split into two parts):
Mike Bakaldin, San Leandro Public Works Director:
Debbie Pollart, San Leandro Planning Manager
At its meeting on November 1, 2010, the San Leandro City Council unanimously approved a $10,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of the individual(s) responsible for the double homicide at Monarch Bay Golf Course on October 9, 2010.
The Council also approved and issued a report that is required before it can extend the moratorium for an additional 22 months and 15 days on "medical marijuana dispensaries, marijuana cultivation facilities or other land uses" should Proposition 19 be approved today. The extension of the moratorium will discussed at a City Council Work Session on November 8, 2010, and is scheduled for a voted at the November 15, 2010, meeting.
In seeking the Council's approval of the $10,000 reward, San Leandro Police Chief Ian Willis stated his case to the City Council, "Unfortunately, through normal means of interviewing and asking them to cooperate with us and give us the information has not worked. As you can figure, they are probably fearful of retaliation. So our next option is to offer this reward and hope that our detectives are able to go back out and speak to some of the witnesses and get them to come forward."
Vice Mayor Ursula Reed asked if American Golf, the firm managing the golf course for the City, might be willing to match the City's reward. Willis responded, "Well I'm hoping they'll do a match. They haven't committed to anything yet, although they have said they are very interested in putting forth some money toward a reward."
In response to Councilmember Diana Souza's question about the source of the money, Willis said that "The money will come out of existing budget money for…in our investigations division for consulting. We have money budgeted there that we can use."
According to Willis, the last time the City offered a reward was in 1996 in a fetus homicide case and before that, the Evelyna LeBlanc murder at Jefferson Elementary in 1994. Rewards were not paid in either case: LeBlanc's case was solved in 2007 based on DNA evidence while the 1996 fetus homicide case remains unsolved.
In response to the scandal in the City of Bell, where the city manager was receiving a salary of nearly $800,000 and City Councilmembers were being paid $100,000 a year, California State Controller John Chiang has created a web site detailing the salaries of city and county government employees. The site, at http://lgcr.sco.ca.gov/, includes information for the calendar year 2009. To find San Leandro, click on Salary Information under City and look for San Leandro.
A portion of San Leandro's information sorted by salary is reposted here.
A vote to implement a ranked choice voting (RCV, aka instant runoff voting) ordinance will have to wait a little longer after San Leandro Councilmember Joyce Starosciak delayed a City Council vote on the issue scheduled for last night's March 15, 2010, meeting.
The vote on the RCV ordinance had been placed on the Consent Calendar portion of the agenda, where items are usually expected to pass without issue. Every member of the City Council, however, may remove items from the Consent Calendar for further discussion or to have a separate vote on the issue. Starosciak did just that and, with RCV supporters Michael Gregory, Ursula Reed, and Diana Souza not at the meeting to ensure passage of the RCV ordinance, the vote is now scheduled to be on the April 5, 2010, City Council agenda.
The City Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding on sharing RCV costs between the County of Alameda and the Cities of Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro on January 19, 2010, by a vote of 5 to 2, with Councilmembers Starosciak and Bill Stephens dissenting. As a result, the City Council and Mayoral election will held in November 2010, instead of June 2010.
Although unlikely, if the City Council fails to approve the RCV ordinance before the November election, San Leandro could find itself paying for RCV without actually using it.
In a room that San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos acknowledged was filled with people for the Wes McClure tribute, Santos delivered a State of the City speech with few surprises. The notable exception was when Santos said that there would be no Cherry Festival thus year, which elicited an audible gasp from at least one member of the audience.
On City finances, Santos noted that the deficit increased from $2.9 million at the start of the 2009-10 fiscal year and is now closer to $7 million because of decreasing revenue. Revenue from the Utility Users Tax decreased by $1 million, which is a third of what the tax was expected to generate when it was passed in 2008.
As he did last year, Santos noted projects such as the Senior Center, the new Creekside office building, the San Leandro High School, Fred Korematsu Campus, and the arts education center.
The overall tone was quite somber, except when he mentioned a new City web site design that is expected to debut in April, the construction projects throughout the City, and a story about a rescue of a cat that had been stuck on a pole for several days.
Notable audience members included Wilma Chan, who is campaigning for the Alameda County Supervisor seat she held until 2000 and Nicholas Terry, who dropped out of the race for Mary Hayashi's seat before he really got started.
The full speech (about 31 minutes) can be viewed in the following clips from YouTube. The complete text of the speech is available after the break.
It is once again a privilege to present to you a report on the state of the City. Every year my aim is to give you good news; to paint a pleasant picture of San Leandro and the progress we are making as a community. I have to say, as this recession drags on, it is getting harder and harder to bring you good news. I promise I will touch on some positives today, but I must deliver the unpleasant message first.
This has been a challenging year, to say the least. The nation's economic downturn, which began nearly three years ago, has had a devastating impact on the City's General Fund which, as you know, is our source of funding for nearly all of our basic services – police, fire, libraries, parks, recreation programs, etc.
We entered Fiscal Year 2008-2009 as the first year of a 3-year workout plan with a $4.4 million budget deficit. We were able to balance our budget thanks to reserves we set aside for just such an economic crisis. However, as 2009 progressed, the picture got even worse. July saw us begin FY 09-10 with a $2.9 million deficit. Again we turned to reserves, but those funds are sinking to a critically low level now and we just cannot rely on them further. Unfortunately, due to a deeper decline in revenues than any of us expected, the deficit has grown to $7 million. With our reserves nearly depleted, we are left with no other choice than to make deeper cuts.
Once again, the State turned to local governments to balance its budget. The good news is that the $1.8 million the State "borrowed" from our general fund revenues this year is coming back to us in the manner of a "loan," and you just about have to be a Wall Street Financier to figure out how that works.
But the bad news is that the State is taking $5.1 million from our Redevelopment fund. That means fewer and fewer opportunities for us to do community enhancement projects or business development partnerships.
These hits to our budget, along with the dramatic decline in sales tax, property tax and utility user tax revenues, mean we have to make deeper and deeper cuts in our programs and services.
Our sales tax revenues alone are down more than $5 million over the past three years with no sign that it will improve soon.
Real property transfer taxes are down $4 million from their peak just 3 years ago and the Utility Users Tax, which you as voters just ratified for us in 2008, is down $1 million.
The only way we could manage this severe fiscal crisis has been to make significant cuts to programs and services and, sadly, jobs. Police and Fire made 5% cuts to their budgets and all other departments cut their budgets by 15%, and we are looking at even deeper cuts when the new fiscal year begins in July. Over the past 12 months, we have eliminated 61 fulltime-equivalent positions in the City; that represents 12% of our workforce, which is staggering.
For example, this year's cuts have included six police officer positions, which means the Chief has had to eliminate two School Resource Officer positions, one Downtown Bicycle Patrol officer, an Investigator in Property Crimes, a motorcycle Officer for traffic enforcement, and one Officer in the Tactical Unit who is assigned to special enforcement.
The cuts in personnel have hurt services provided by all departments. We have fewer librarians and less help at the reference desks. Plus, we are buying fewer books, periodicals, movies and music CDs for library patrons to enjoy.
We have had to cut funding for Veteran's Day activities, the Arts Council, Flag Day, and other community events. Yes, even the Cherry Festival will not be happening this year.
There are routine delays in our ability to make repairs at the parks or to our street lights, or to process plans for building projects.
And, we no longer have personnel to do emergency preparedness training for the community. Living in earthquake country, this makes me nervous because we need to be as prepared as we can as residents for the next big one. The tragedy in Haiti should have been a wake-up call for all of us.
Thankfully, the American Red Cross will come to neighborhoods and businesses and give preparedness training for us. You must be able to care for yourself and your family for at least three days should a catastrophic earthquake occur.
But, an even bigger risk we are facing is the possible elimination of a fire ladder truck and the company of 9 firefighters that go along with that truck as our budget cuts go deeper and deeper.
Loss of these police officers and firefighters will mean slower response times to all emergencies, putting our community at a greater risk of loss to life and property.
In his State of the State address a few weeks ago, the Governor said "the worst is over for California's economy." I'm glad he thinks so, because it sure is slow in coming for San Leandro.
It is quite possible that the City Council and I will need to go to the voters before this year is out and ask for help to increase City revenues. What we would look for is a source of revenue that is locally controlled – that can't be tapped by Sacramento.
This, of course, would require a fair amount of discipline for us as a City Council to shepherd those new revenues responsibly, to restore the critical services and programs our community has lost, and to restore the City's reserves and fiscal stability. We know we may have a daunting task ahead of us – to convince the voters of this town to help us raise taxes during this fiscal crisis.
But, sadly, given the recent news that our revenues continue to decline, we are going to have to make even deeper cuts in our programs, services and personnel as early as July. Given our current fiscal crisis, we could well be eliminating another 30 jobs come July 1 to be able to get to a balanced budget.
Similar to what President Obama told Congress in his State of the Union Address, we need to budget for those services that are essential, and sacrifice for the time being those things that are not.
In the past several weeks, we have been soliciting input from voters in San Leandro about where our priorities should be for City services. We have received over 900 replies, which is pretty impressive on its own.
We have heard from you in the community – we know and understand what you are thinking and feeling and what you want from your City government. Unfortunately, we are not going to be able to meet your expectations until we get some new revenues and the economy turns around.
Fiscal stability is the City Council's number one priority, and we have directed the City Manager and his staff to bring us a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2010-11. This will require difficult choices and sacrificing some programs and services that are near and dear to us.
We need to look at serving our community as a whole, working together for the good of the whole community – not showing preference to one project or one area of town at the expense of others. We are all on this ship together and it is imperative that we work together to keep San Leandro on a steady course toward recovery.
We were very disappointed in the amount of funding the City received in the President's American Reinvestment and Recovery Act stimulus program. While we had submitted an impressive list of "shovel ready" projects to Washington through all the proper channels, we still came out with much less than we had hoped for.
Much of the $1.6 million we have received so far for transportation projects has already been spent on badly needed road repairs. We are going to be able to redo parts of Aladdin, Washington, and Bancroft Avenues, and Springlake Drive. And we hope to get another $1.3 million, but that too will be quickly spent on repairs to Doolittle Drive, Estudillo and Fremont Avenues, Teagarden Street, and another segment of Washington Avenue.
Now, this may sound like a lot, but given that we have about 174 miles of streets in San Leandro, and these projects I've listed only covered a total of about 3 miles of reconstruction, we still have an awfully long way to go to bring our streets up to par.
Even with that $2.9 million allotment, we are only receiving about a third of what we had requested for roadway repairs. None of our other capital projects have been funded by the A.R.R.A.
We had definitely hoped for funding for a police officer or two but were rejected in the initial round because, believe it or not, Washington believes our homicide rate is too low and our budget is too healthy. We are still hopeful that we will receive some funding later this year. If we weren't getting a modest amount from a Justice Assistance Grant, we would be down another School Resource Officer and another Detective. And we are in hopes of receiving some Community Oriented Policing Services money, and may hear news any day.
In the 50s and 60s, the City was able to cut taxes over and over again, and as late as the 1970s the City Council was able to brag about holding the line on taxes and fees. We had an economic, industrial and population boom in those decades that brought unprecedented growth and revenues to the City.
That was fine for their time and great for property owners in San Leandro during those years, but those cuts created the challenges we have today. San Leandro now receives less property tax than most of the other cities in Alameda County.
We only get 12¢ of every tax dollar you pay, while cities like Alameda, Hayward and Berkeley get a much larger share.
Despite the fact that we couldn't get any help from Washington with staffing our police department, Chief Willis and the fine men and women of the San Leandro Police Department have done an outstanding job this past year. Crime is down 12% from 2008 – robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts, arsons – all down from previous years.
The San Leandro Police Department made over 3,500 arrests in 2009 and responded to 69,661 calls for service. That is a staggering average of 190 calls per day.
And I must share praise with our Alameda County Fire Department. Chief Gilbert and all of our firefighters are doing an outstanding job, as always. They responded to 8,002 calls for service in San Leandro in 2009, with nearly 6,000 of those being medical calls.
In fact, I want to commend all of our City employees, from the City Manager all the way down to our part-time librarians and recreation workers. They are sticking with us through these tough times.
Two of our three employee bargaining groups have agreed to forego a cost of living raise for two years in a row now, plus they're accepting a 4.6 % pay cut this year in the form of a furlough, and have agreed to a 2-tier pension system for new hires, all in an effort to do their part to get us through this fiscal crisis. This is going to give us more than $900,000 in savings.
San Leandro is still clean, safe and a great place to live and do business, thanks in great part to all of those men and women who come to work every day in our City departments. They work hard for those salaries in jobs that many of you would never want to take on. They deserve our support and admiration, and a big round of applause.
One of the tools that makes our organization so efficient and responsive to this community is communication, and our most important communication tool, our website, is getting a complete redesign as of April 1.
The new web design will allow staff to share information with the public faster at a reduced cost; it will provide more information than our old page through enhanced features; and it will be easier to navigate. All in all, a plus for the City and for our community.
Even with the down economy, we have an amazing amount of building going on in San Leandro these days. Now, as I go through these projects, remember that all of these were funded years ago, when there was much more black ink in our checkbook.
The Bay Trail Bridge should be dedicated this spring. I am still recommending it be named the "Bill Lockyer Bay Trail Bridge" due to his vision and passion to make the trail around the entire bay a reality. That is a $1.7 million project in partnership with ACTIA, ABAG, the Port of Oakland, East Bay Regional Park District, the State Trails Program, and other transportation funding sources. The bid for this project actually came in $1 million under the engineer's estimates.
The I-580 Soundwall should be finished soon. This is a $7 million project built by the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency. The neighborhoods along I-580 have been waiting for over 20 years to see these walls go up. We thank them for their patience. And, I don't think it's a bad looking soundwall either.
A new on-ramp was built for I-880 traffic getting onto the freeway from Washington Manor – a $1.9 million project funded by ACTIA, grants and developer fees. This should definitely help traffic congestion and safety around the Greenhouse Market Place.
We were able to get the Marina Channel and a portion of our harbor dredged this year, thanks to a surprise funding of $2 million for the Army Corps of Engineers. We have Congressman Stark to thank for that. Now we just have to figure out how to pay for moving away the dried dredge materials in a couple years.
Something you won't see, but should appreciate nonetheless is a new co-generation project at our wastewater treatment plant – a $3.2 million project paid for by the Wastewater Enterprise Fund. It will be taking the methane created at the plant and some bio fuel from other sources, generate 330 KW of power for our generators and treat the wastewater, saving us about $360,000 a year and eliminating more than a million pounds of CO2 emissions each year.
You will, however, definitely see the construction underway when we begin rebuilding our downtown parking garage later this year. It is going to be an $11 million, 4 story project, funded by our Redevelopment Agency. We had hoped to get an additional $2 million in the form of a stimulus program TIGER grant, which would have allowed us to add a fifth story to the building and solar power for the whole facility, but once again we were turned down for a share of the stimulus program.
The Creekside Office Plaza will be completely built out in just a matter of weeks. This third building, which was a privately funded $10 million project, is the only class-A office building constructed in the East Bay this past year. We have it on good authority that it will be 80% occupied the day it opens.
Our students are benefiting from the construction boom as well. You can't miss the high school's 9th grade academy going up on Bancroft Avenue. I think it is a fine choice that the School District will name it after Presidential Medal of Freedom Winner Fred Koramatsu. The City's Redevelopment Agency gave some financial assistance to this project, but the bulk of the funding came from the voters in the Measure B School Facility Bond.
The San Leandro High Arts Education Center broke ground last year, which is a $28 million project also funded through the Measure B School Facilities Bond. That should be ready for students to use in spring 2011.
And the San Lorenzo Unified School District recently had a ribbon cutting for Washington Manor Middle School's new gymnasium, music room and science lab – a $5.7 million building funded by Measure E bond monies.
All three of these projects are providing terrific new opportunities for our children and demonstrate our community's commitment to supporting enrichment programs for our students.
The Senior Center is last on my list, because I have to be guarded here. When it opens, it is going to be a fantastic facility for our seniors, and give us the opportunity for another location for community events during off-peak times. I believe we're still on track to finish construction this summer.
This has been an $11 million project that has been funded through Redevelopment and Community Development Block Grant funding. However, I say all this with trepidation. Given our severe financial crisis, there is the possibility that we will not be able to open the Senior Center when planned. This may have to be mothballed until our revenues are restored and we can afford to staff it. But, we will keep our fingers crossed.
If you've been keeping a tally, that is $127 million being invested in our community from these 11 projects alone. That is pretty impressive and exciting for a recessionary period. Just imagine what we can do when the hard times are past us.
And this list does not include the Kaiser hospital and medical center that is moving forward steadily. The Environmental Impact Report was released in late January and the public comment period ends March 3. The next step will be approval of the EIR and zoning approval for the project site. If all continues on schedule, actual construction could begin as soon as June 1.
This will be the largest development project San Leandro has seen in 35 years - $800 million for the hospital and medical center alone. This is bringing 3,000 construction jobs to our community and when the facilities are open there will be another 2,500 permanent jobs in San Leandro. And these figures do not take into account the retail component that we hope can gain momentum when the economy turns around, yet again bringing more new jobs to San Leandro.
Of course, whenever and wherever, we are doing out best to keep these projects and all of our operations green.
In December the City Council approved our first ever Climate Action Plan for San Leandro with some pretty ambitious goals. We want to:
Last year we joined the East Bay Green Corridor Partnership, which is gaining momentum to bring more and more green businesses and technologies to the East Bay.
For our part, our Redevelopment Agency is offering the Industrial Competitiveness Program which will provide up to $50,000 to businesses with an emphasis on manufacturing facilities, to help them become more energy efficient, thereby reducing their costs and remaining competitive in their fields.
I mentioned the Kaiser Hospital project a moment ago, which will, I'm sure, trigger questions about the status of San Leandro Hospital. Unfortunately, I can't report a resolution to that situation yet. As many of you know, the City of San Leandro has no authority or legal jurisdiction over the hospital. As much as the members of the City Council and I have worked with Sutter and the Eden Township Healthcare District to keep an open, fully functioning hospital in San Leandro, we can only wait and see what those two sides settle on. Of course, we are all hoping for the best for this community.
Sadly, we lost two giants in our City family this past year – Mayor Jack Maltester and City Manager Wes McClure. I mentioned earlier how I believe we all must work together to keep this city great. That is exactly the attitude and partnership Jack Maltester and Wes McClure had as they managed our City through the 1950's, 60's and well into the 70's. These two individuals worked in concert to form the basis of what San Leandro is today.
Both of these men had long and distinguished careers as leaders of San Leandro, and really put San Leandro on the map regionally, throughout the state, and throughout the nation.
Mayor Emeritus Jack Maltester was elected Mayor in 1958 by the City Council and became San Leandro's first Mayor elected by the voters in 1962. When he stepped down from office, Jack was and still is the longest serving Mayor in San Leandro's history.
A memorial service was held for him here at the Civic Center on May 16. Dignitaries from throughout the Bay Area and other parts of the country came and paid their respects, along with hundreds of San Leandrans, to Jack and his legacy, speaking of how he was one of the most respected and effective local politicians in the nation.
City Manager Wesley McClure was equally prominent in local government for more than 30 years. He was appointed City Manager in 1948, in San Leandro's most formative years. He served our community with distinction and foresight for 28 years, making him the longest serving City Manager in San Leandro's history.
Jack Maltester and Wes McClure were instrumental in bringing San Leandro into its industrial boom. They saw that the infrastructure was laid for the foundation of our local industry. Literally, without the sewer and utility system foundation that Maltester and McClure pushed forward, San Leandro would never have had the opportunity to build the strong industrial and research and development base we enjoy today.
And it goes without saying that the two men together were the vision and catalyst for us having the shoreline recreation area and golf courses that we benefit from today, as well as our outstanding library system.
Of course, San Leandro has seen some significant changes in the years since Jack and Wes retired. Our population has more than tripled since the 1940s. We were at about 25,000 then and conservative estimates put today's population at well over 82,000. Over these past 60 years, our community has evolved into one of the most ethnically diverse in California. And we will see an even clearer picture of that diversity when Census 2010 is completed.
Believe it or not, Alameda County is one of the hardest counties in the nation to get an accurate population count. It has to do with the diversity of our communities, the number of low income households we have, and the growing immigrant population.
I can not stress enough how important it is that every man, woman and child living in San Leandro be counted in this year's Census. For every person not counted, we loose $1,700 in federal funding – funding that could be going to our schools, roadway repairs or affordable housing. Doing the math, if San Leandro's count is even short by 500 people, that's $850,000 we lose every year in federal funding in this community.
Congressional districts are determined by Census data, and California stands to lose a seat in the House if we are undercounted. And many state funding allocations are based on population counts. So, it is vital that we have an accurate and complete count of everyone living in San Leandro on April 1.
When that Census form arrives in your home in a couple of weeks, complete it, and share the message with your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers that Census 2010 is safe, confidential and vitally important to our community.
I promised you I would end this address on a pleasant note. So, here is an example of the dedication of our City personnel and a scary story with a happy ending.
Just before Christmas, our Animal Control office got a call that a cat had somehow gotten itself up on the top of an electrical transformer. This was over near Corvallis School. Apparently it had been stuck up there for several days.
It seemed like a hopeless situation. But our Animal Control Officer called in PG&E who came armed with a bucket truck and a big net and, as you can see, the cat came down safe and sound to the arms of its waiting owners, hungry and thirsty, but healthy nonetheless.
You don't get to share a story like that everyday, so I hope you enjoyed it.
And I hope you enjoyed this State of the City Address. I know that I had hard-hitting news to deliver again this year, but we are in the business of running a city and times are tough. We've been through tough times before, and we will make it through these as long as we stay on track and work together to solve the problems ahead of us.
Thank you for your considerate time and attention. And thank you to my colleagues on the City Council for another year of hard, dedicated service to the community of San Leandro.
Let's hope that the Governor is right and that the worst times are behind us now.
On January 19, 2010, the San Leandro City Council will decide whether to adopt instant runoff, also known as ranked choice voting. But what, exactly, is ranked choice voting (RCV)?
Ranked choice voting allows a candidate to receive a majority of the vote (50% + 1) without holding a separate runoff election.
In a ranked choice election, a voter can choose a first, second, and third choice for each office. If no candidate achieves a majority of the vote, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. For anybody who voted for the candidate with the fewest votes, their second choice votes are distributed to the other candidates. When there are only three candidates, that's all there is to it.
With more than three candidates, the process is repeated for the candidate that received the second fewest number of votes and the process is repeated again until a candidate receives a majority of the vote. If the voter's second choice candidate is eliminated, the voter's third choice is counted.
A sample ballot may look like this:
Runoffs Cost Money
Currently, San Leandro voters vote for candidates in June of the election year and a runoff is held in November if neither candidate receives more than 50% of the vote. Each of these runoff elections costs money for the City and for the candidates. The 2004 runoff election (held in Feb. 2005) cost the City an additional $117,874, the 2006 runoff election cost an additional $47,625, and the 2008 runoff election cost an additional $29,348.
RCV Will Cost More Initially
Initially, an election using ranked choice voting will cost more than a traditional election, even with a runoff. These additional costs include one-time costs for additional poll workers, the City's share of the voting upgrade, and voter education. The additional cost for 2010 is estimated at $45,000. However, by 2014, use of ranked choice voting would be cheaper than traditional elections and these cost savings would continue into the future.
November Elections mean more voters
More people vote in November general elections. Statistics from elections in San Leandro bear this out. In June 2008, 10,587 people voted in the District 2 City Council race. However in November 2008, 26,776 people voted in the runoff election between Ursula Reed and Linda Perry, more than twice the number of voters. Since November 2008 might be considered an anomaly, let's take a look at the District 4 City Council race in November 2004, in which 24,349 people voted. Only 13,369 people in the February 2005 runoff election between Joyce Starosciak and Mike Mahoney, nearly 50% less. In this election, the winner received less votes in the February runoff than her opponent did in the November election.
RCV Faces Hurdles and Objections
RCV has also has some substantial hurdles, mainly in the ability of officials to educate voters. In current elections, some voters don't vote in all of the races or spoil their ballots in a number of ways. Voters who choose the same candidate as their second and third choice or don't mark a second and third choice at all will find that their vote goes uncounted if their first choice candidate is eliminated. Similarly, in a large field of candidates, a voter whose choices are eliminated will also find that their vote doesn't count.
With RCV, it is possible that the winning candidate may not receive more than 50% of the total votes cast in a close election. This can happen when there are more than three candidates in a given race and some of the ballots are exhausted, meaning that all three choices of a given voter have been eliminated. This is precisely what happened during a mock election held by City staff with six candidates and 20 votes. After two of the ballots were exhausted, the winner of the election received a total of 10 votes out of 18 ballots. While 10 is not more than 50% of the original votes cast, it is more than 50% of the non-exhausted ballots.
Candidates Who Won With Less than 50% of the Vote
San Leandro moved to the current system in 2000 after elections in which the winner secured less than 50% of the vote. In 1998, Shelia Young became Mayor with just 43.5% of the vote and Glenda Nardine became a Councilmember with just 36.4% of the vote. Four years earlier, Ellen Corbett became Mayor with 37.8% of the vote. As a response to these results, San Leandro voters approved Measure F in November 2000, which required candidates to receive a majority of the vote in order to be declared the winner of an election.
Oakland Likely to Approve RCV
On December 4, 2009, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen gave administrative approval to Alameda County's RCV system, allowing it to be used in 2010. The City of Oakland will likely approve the use of RCV at its January 6, 2010, meeting, especially given the recent legal opinion of the City's Attorney, stating that the City must implement RCV. According to the San Leandro City Clerk, February 1, 2010, is the last date for the City Council to call for a June election or change the City's election date.
Update: The Oakland City Council approved RCV at its meeting on January 5, 2010, by a vote of 6-2.
The City of San Leandro is seeking applicants for a Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, according to a press release issued on October 29, 2009.
According to the press release, "The goal of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan is to set forth a blueprint for bicycle and pedestrian facilities throughout the City to enhance bicycle and walking as appropriate and healthful transportation choices for San Leandro residents."
Previous iterations of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan were prepared by Fehr and Peers, most recently in 2004. As a result of earlier master plans, the City of San Leandro added 30 miles of bicycle lanes, including those along Bancroft Avenue.
The committee is expected to meet three times on Wednesdays over the course of six months beginning in 2010. Applications are available online or from the City of San Leandro Engineering and Transportation Department at 835 E. 14th Street. November 20, 2009, is the deadline for submission of applications.
For additional information, contact Senior Transportation Engineer Reh-Lin Chen via email or telephone at (510) 577-3438.
The San Leandro Recreation and Parks Commission is holding two public meetings to seek community input on how best to spend $3.7 million in Measure WW funds. Measure WW was a $500 million East Bay Regional Park District bond measure passed in November 2008. The $3.7 million allocated for San Leandro is to assist "with financing the acquisition and improvement of local park and recreation facilities."
The Measure WW ad-hoc committee consisting of Councilmembers Joyce Starosciak, Diana Souza, and Michael Gregory, met privately three times in 2009 and did not seek public input. On May 18, 2009, the committee recommended that $2.4 million be used to help build a competitive lap pool at the Washington Manor Aquatic Family Center, nearly $1 million for renovations at the San Leandro Marina, and $250,000 for improving other San Leandro park areas. After it became clear that the committee's recommendations lacked support, the Recreation and Parks Commission was tasked with seeking community input.
The workshops will be held as follows:
For more information, Carolyn Knudtson at the San Leandro Recreation and Human Services Department at 510-577-3466.
According to a list of grants awarded as part of the COPS Hiring Recovery Program published on July 28, 2009, San Leandro did not receive a grant it had submitted to fund six police officers.
City officials had hoped that funding from the grant would help to fund additional officers that have been lost because of retirements and budget reductions.
The COPS Hiring Recovery Program web site states that the $1 billion in grants was intended "to create and/or preserve nearly 5,000 law enforcement positions."
Neighboring cities Hayward and Oakland received funding for nine and 41 police officers, respectively, while Union City received funding for four, Richmond 8, and Emeryville two.
San Leandro District 1 Councilmember Michael Gregory is featured in a League of California Cities campaign to tell state legislators and the Governor how the state raid on local property taxes will impact their communities. The State of California could take $1.8 million in property tax revenue from City of San Leandro.
San Leandro resident Gabrielle Koizumi also posted a video:
Former San Leandro Mayor Jack Maltester died Friday, May 1, 2009, at the home in San Leandro where he was born in 1913. Maltester was 95 years old.
Jack Maltester was first appointed to the San Leandro City Council in 1948 to replace Helen Lawrence, who served as his mentor. He served for just a few months and lost when he campaigned for City Council in the April 1948 election. He was subsequently elected to the City Council in 1956 and became Mayor in 1958. In 1962, Maltester became the first Mayor elected directly by the residents of San Leandro instead of the City Council. Maltester was re-elected in 1966, 1970, and 1974, but was forced to leave office after term limits were enacted and he had served as Mayor for 20 years.
On May 6, 1967, Maltester testified at a hearing of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which was investigating housing discrimination.
While he was Mayor, Maltester served as President of the US Conference of Mayors from 1969 to 1970 and introduced a resolution at the 1971 annual conference calling for the US to withdraw from Vietnam. In the resolution, of which he was quite proud, he stated, "I might ask you: Have we left anything up until now to the military experts or have we been running a political war in Vietnam? My city, a small city in California with less than 70,000 people, proposed this resolution and it is supported by the citizens of the community. It is not a resolution of condemnation. It is not offered in rancor. It is a positive statement of principle. To support this position, I believe, is an obligation none of us can ignore in the name of humanity. I ask your vote for an end to this war."
In 1973, Maltester ran for the California State Assembly against San Leandro School Board member Bill Lockyer after Robert Crown was killed while jogging in Alameda. Lockyer, who served as one of Crowns' aides and was helped by Willie Brown in his campaign, prevailed over Maltester.
Maltester remained active in San Leandro affairs, founding The Sentinels, a group of local businessman that provide campaign contributions to local candidates and ballot measures. He also served as President of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce and President of the California League of Cities.
San Leandro residents who knew him remarked that Maltester always worked to bring resources and development to San Leandro and described his passing as a great loss to the City and community.
Former San Leandro City Manager John Jermanis said that "all of us that had opportunity to meet and know him benefited greatly." Jermanis also described Maltester as a "great political leader" who had a "major influence on development of the City," especially the Marina.
Former Councilman Kent Myers, who has known Maltester for 30 years, noted that Maltester's "mind was still active to the very end. The City is going to miss him."
San Leandro resident Brian Copeland, who has had a successful solo performance and book based on his experience growing up in what was an essentially segregated San Leandro said of meeting Maltester at his most recent birthday, "Although he was in a wheelchair and past 90, he was as sharp as a tack and regaled us with stories about how he loved (and knew) JFK yet hated Bobby Kennedy. We talked some about the research I had done. I found him to be gracious, charming and funny."
Copeland continued, "I got word a few weeks back that his daughter had called Jake at Vila Cereja and said that Jack was happy and excited to have met me and wanted to have me to his home for lunch and to talk more about the era I've written about. We were supposed to pick a date soon. Sorry I won't get the chance.
"The one thing you can say about Mayor Maltester, whether you agreed with policies enacted and maintained during his 20 year tenure or not, is that he truly loved this city and gave it his all. I am truly sorry to hear of his passing and my sincere condolences go out to his family."
San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos learned of Maltester's on Friday afternoon and stated that Maltester "was obviously San Leandro's icon. He and his colleagues on the City Council in the 1970s set the industrial base for San Leandro and was instrumental in developing the Marina."
Maltester continued to be involved in politics until the end as Santos confirmed that Maltester endorsed him for Mayor in 2010. Maltester had endorsed Orval "OB" Badger for Mayor in 2006 and previously endorsed Santos for City Council when Santos was unopposed.
City flags will be flown at half-staff until services are held for Maltester.
According to a press released issued on April 22, 2009, the City of San Leandro announced that it had reached an agreement with Norcal AL LLC to purchase the former Albertson's lot at 1550 E. 14th Street. The purchase price is $6.175 million and includes the demolition of the building. The property will be purchased with redevelopment funds.
Albertson's vacated the property in 2005 and the property has been the subject of years-long litigation, and had been the proposed site of a Grocery Outlet store. Albertson's originally occupied the property in 1947.
The property will be used for temporary parking during the demolition and rebuilding of the downtown parking garage.
See below for the press release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Cynthia Battenberg
April 21, 2009 Business Development Manager
City to Purchase Vacant Downtown Albertsons Site
The San Leandro City Council announced at their regular business meeting on April 20th that they have reached a settlement agreement with Norcal AL LLC, the property owner of the former Albertsons site in downtown San Leandro, located at 1550 East 14th Street. The action came following several years of litigation over the future use of the site. Norcal filed a series of lawsuits in Alameda County Superior Court against the City contending that various planning and zoning actions related to the City's approval of the Transit Oriented Development Strategy for the City's downtown area violated their constitutional rights or were otherwise contrary to law. The City prevailed in three actions now on appeal in the State Court of Appeal. A fourth action is pending in State Court. A priority was placed on resolving the litigation due to the prominence of this downtown site and the blight created by the store vacancy. The Council voted unanimously to the settlement terms which included the Redevelopment Agency’s purchase of the site for $6.175 million and Norcal’s demolition of the building prior to close of escrow. No General Fund money will be used in the acquisition of the property. The site will be used for temporary replacement parking during the construction of a new downtown parking garage. Thereafter, the City will pursue potential development opportunities in accordance with the Transit Oriented Development Strategy. The Purchase and Sale Agreement will be considered by the City Council on May 4, 2009.
Once the building on the site is demolished, the City plans to use the site for temporary replacement parking during the 18-24 month demolition and rebuilding of the downtown parking garage located between Estudillo and Callan avenues. The City will repave and landscape the Albertsons site in late June to make it available in the fall to individuals who currently lease space in the Estudillo/Callan garage.
The Lucky grocery store that had been operating at the location since 1947 had been purchased by Albertsons and was subsequently closed in 2005 due to underperformance. The City is hoping to attract a specialty grocery store to the location once the site is redeveloped into a mixed use development with retail on the ground floor and residential units and/or office space above. This type of development is consistent with the City’s award-winning Transit-Oriented Development Strategy.
For more information, contact the Office of Business Development at (510) 577-3352.
According to a press release dated January 6, 2009, from the City of San Leandro's legal firm, Meyers Nave, "United States District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton rejected each of the Church’s [Faith Fellowship] nine legal claims" against the City of San Leandro.
The Church's lawsuit contended that the City of San Leandro violated the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) when it didn't agree to rezone land that the church had purchased for expansion. Judge Hamilton said that there was no evidence of religious discrimination or arbitrary treatment, that the City had a compelling interest in maintain the zoning designation of industrial areas, and that RLUIPA does not require preferential treatment for churches over other property owners.
According to a press release issued November 20, 2008, San Leandro Police Chief Dale Attarian will retire at the end of 2008. In the press release, Attarian cites the housing market and the "goal that the City’s Chief live in town" as one of the reasons for his decision to retire.
Attarian served with the San Leandro Police Department for 29 years and replaced Joe Kitchen, who retired in January 2007. When Attarian was promoted to Chief in January 2007, he said that he intended to move from Dublin to San Leandro.
San Leandro's Interim City Manager Steve Hollister noted that Attarian "has had an outstanding career with the San Leandro Police Department, and his professionalism and dedication are widely respected."
See below for the complete text of the press release.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Jane McCrea
November 20, 2008 Public Info Officer
Lt. Tom Overton
PD Public Info Officer
Police Chief Dale Attarian to Retire in December
San Leandro Police Chief Dale S. Attarian will retire at the end of 2008, after serving with the San Leandro Police Department for nearly 30 years. In his role as Police Chief, Attarian had targeted several key goals for the department, first among them was to foster greater interaction with the community in an effort to deter crime. He reinstituted and expanded a formal Crime Prevention Program for both residents and businesses and recently launched an interactive web site where residents and businesses receive crime statistics and trend information quickly and easily. He also worked to reduce quality of life issues related to blight through stepped up code enforcement, an effort that has significantly reduced citizen complaints to City Hall. In addition, Chief Attarian initiated annual reports and organizational updates to better layout the accomplishments and resource needs of the department.
“The decision to retire has not been easy, given the recent successes of the department and the many programs yet to be pursued,” stated Chief Attarian. “But many issues have weighed into this decision, not the least of which is the important goal that the City’s Chief live in town. When I was appointed just a couple of years ago, the housing market was already in decline and other stagnating home sales in my neighborhood made it fiscally impossible for my family to move. Unfortunately, my retirement may be one more victim of the housing crunch. I have been truly honored to serve the San Leandro community these many years and have worked hard to accomplish some important goals early on in my tenure as Chief. I know these programs will continue to enhance the Police Department’s already high quality of services to this community into the future.”
As a member of the San Leandro Police Department for nearly 30 years, Attarian had previously served as the Department’s Police Captain, overseeing both the Bureau of Operations, which includes all uniformed personnel, and the Bureau of Service, which includes all support services and staff for communications, records and the jail.
“Dale Attarian has been an effective and progressive Police Chief, accomplishing many important goals in his tenure,” stated Interim City Manager Hollister. “He has had an outstanding career with the San Leandro Police Department, and his professionalism and dedication are widely respected. He will be missed throughout the community.”
# # #
At its meeting on Monday, November 17, 2008, the San Leandro City Council will approve the 30 members of the Shoreline-Marina Committee. The 30 members of the Shoreline-Marina Committee will provide input to the City Council and Cal Coast on the development of the Marina shoreline area. The 30 members were selected by Mayor Tony Santos and Councilmember Joyce Starosciak from 63 applications that were submitted by the September 29, 2008, deadline. Three other applications were received after the deadline and were not considered.
The members represent all six council districts, with seven members each from Districts 1 and 6, five members from District 4, four members from District 5, three members from District 3, and two members from District 2. There are 18 men and 12 women.
The members of the committee are shown below:
Name Home Address Dist Yrs in SL M/F Alfred Frates 739 Bridge Rd 1 44 M Clinton Bolden 117 Rantoul Cir 1 10 M Gil Raposo 1445 Daily Dr 1 46 M John Dilsaver 1766 Astor Court 1 22 M Marilyn Fong 2762 Lakeview Dr 1 28 F Michael Cook 1306 Scenicview Dr 1 65 M Susan Leiga 2633 Darius Way 1 12 F Dan Walters 1616 140th Ave 2 1 M Ronnie M Turner 1273 Dorothy Ave 2 1 M Caryl Ann Symons 1257 Victor Ave 3 47 F Lee Thomas 3770 Carmel Way 3 2 M Robert G Leigh 1388 Drake Ave 3 34 M Bob Haynes Jr 15512 Harbor Way 4 8 M Jeff Houston 1465 Burkhart Ave 4 40 M Marie S Chiu 15598 Baypoint Ave 4 7 F Matt Maloon 15096 Dewey St 4 33 M Michael C Nolan 1074 Trojan Ave 4 31 M Adrienne Granger 82 Dutton Ave 5 30 F Peggy Hynd Combs 61 Georgia Way 5 22 F Rezsin Gonzalez 970 Ramona Way 5 8 F Tom Fitzsimons 953 Helen Ave 5 7 M Audrey Albers 2037 Marina Ct 6 59 F Babs Freitas 14410 Outrigger Dr 6 3 F Carole A Rinaldi 2453 Bermuda Ave 6 39 F Dave Clark 13057 Neptune Dr 6 2 M Diana L Cin 12903 Neptune Dr 6 16 F Kent W Myers 14180 Santiago Rd 6 44 M Rene Mendieta 2254 West Ave 136 6 20 M Kevin Jones 2458 San Pedro Dr business Santa Rosa M Rebecca Jewell 12330 Paru business Alameda F
San Leandro voters approved a change in the utility users tax and a 911 tax, but a police services parcel tax failed to get the two-thirds majority needed for approval.
With all 48 precincts reporting, Measure RR passed with 83.01% of voters in favor (18,000) and 16.6% (3,684) opposed. RR reduced the existing utility users' tax, but widened the number of services that are now subject to being taxed.
Measure SS passed with 77.94% of voters in favor (16,864) and 22.06% (4,773) opposed. SS converted an existing 911 Emergency Communication System Access Fee into a tax. The City Council approved this ballot measure because of a court decision that invalidated a similar fee in Union City.
Measure TT failed with 55.08% of voters in favor (11,739) and 44.92% (9,575) opposed. TT needed a two-thirds majority to pass. TT would have instituted a parcel tax of $48 per year for single-family homes and differing amounts for other types of properties to maintain current levels of police services.
Since Measures RR and SS are essentially revenue neutral, the City Council will be forced to look for alternatives to raise revenue or cut expenditures to close its budget deficit.
The "Yes for Public Safety" committee campaigned for the three measures, with the San Leandro Police Officers Association providing most of the funding. The committee was chaired by former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young and former San Leandro City Manager John Jermanis served as Treasurer.
According to the most recent financial disclosures from the "Yes for Public Safety" campaign to pass San Leandro tax measures RR, SS, and TT, the San Leandro Police Officers Association has contributed $10,000 of the $13,000 raised so far. The disclosures cover the period from October 1 to October 18, 2008. Measures RR, SS, and TT are on the ballot for the November 4, 2008, election and are for a utility user tax, 911 tax, and police services parcel tax, respectively. The parcel tax would raise money to maintain police services and would expire after four years.
Other contributions to the "Yes for Public Safety" campaign included $2,000 from campaign treasurer and former San Leandro City Manager John Jermanis and $1,000 from Meyers, Nave, Riback, Silver & Wilson, the law firm that represents the City of San Leandro.
Expenses included $3,131.75 to Handled With Care for mailing literature to absentee voters and $1,016.41 to the San Leandro Times for an advertisement.
As of October 18, 2008, the "Yes on Public Safety" campaign had $7,851.54 remaining in its campaign account.
In addition to former San Leandro City Manager John Jermanis, the "Yes for Public Safety" campaign has former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young as its Chair.
The San Leandro Police Department's new web site at http://www.slpdinfo.org/ was live as of October 22, 2008, although the official kickoff seems to be scheduled for October 24, 2008.
San Leandro Police Chief Dale Attarian plans to publish crime alerts, statistics, and other useful information for San Leandro residents.
For now, the site has little information and is difficult to read because of the background graphics that are used. Clicking on Crime Statistics gets you a "Coming Soon" page while Crime Alerts gets you what appears to be a test entry for someone wandering aimlessly at City Hall.
The San Leandro City Council work session on September 22, 2008, included a presentation about San Leandro Crossings with some drawings of what the project will look like. The first phase of San Leandro Crossings will include 100 affordable units and 200 market-rate/semi-luxury apartments. The market-rate apartments will be located east of San Leandro Boulevard where the current BART parking lot is located. A parking garage with an equivalent number of parking spaces will be built west of San Leandro Boulevard and southwest of the Downtown San Leandro BART station. The affordable housing apartments will be located between the Downtown San Leandro BART station and the railroad tracks and adjacent to the new parking structure.
Some of these drawings are shown below. Click on the images to enlarge them.
For more information about San Leandro Crossings, see the City of San Leandro web page.
The San Leandro City Council voted to go ahead with three ballot measures to stabilize and enhance revenues at its special meeting on Monday, July 28, 2008.
The City Council voted unanimously to place a utility users tax on the November 2008 ballot that would reduce the rate from 6% to 5.7% while broadening the definition of telecommunications and video to include technologies such as voice over internet protocol (VOIP), internet protocol television (IP TV) and private communication services. The City's utility users tax for gas and electricity would remain at 6% and would not be affected by the ballot measure. Although the tax rate would be reduced by 0.3%, the amount of revenue would remain the same because of the broader definition of telecommunications and video. The utility user tax ballot measure requires a simple majority (50% plus one) to be enacted since it is considered a general tax.
The vote to rescind the City's Emergency Communication Access Fee Ordinance and replace it with an equivalent tax that would maintain the same amount of revenue passed with the support of five members the City Council and the opposition of Councilmember Diana Souza and Mayor Tony Santos. Charles Gilcrest provided revised language for the ballot measure that was accepted by the City Council. According to the staff report, "In April of this year the Court of Appeal upheld a trial court decision that the City of Union City's 911 Fee was in fact a special tax and as such was void because it was enacted without a vote of the electorate pursuant to Proposition 218. This case is now being appealed to the California Supreme Court If the case is heard by the Supreme Court and the lower court 's decision is overturned then San Leandro's 911 Fee will not be impacted. However should the case not be heard or the lower courts are upheld then the City will lose this revenue source." The 911 tax ballot measure requires a two-thirds majority to be enacted. If the tax fails to pass, the existing fee will continue to be in effect pending the outcome of Union City litigation.
Councilmember Bill Stephens opposed a police services parcel tax that would raise $2.3 million to maintain a minimum of 94 sworn police officers and sunset after four years. Stephens said that the parcel tax wouldn't pass and it would likely drag down the utility user tax and 911 tax. Councilmember Joyce Starosciak abstained while the other five members of he City Council voted to place the parcel tax on the November 2008 ballot. The parcel tax was reduced from the original amount of $60 per residential parcel to $48 per parcel, which reduced the revenue raised by the parcel tax from $2.6 million to $2.3 million.
The City Council also awarded a contract to Alten Construction Co. to build a Senior Community Center on E. 14th Street. The facility will include an assembly hall, classrooms, computer learning center, exercise room, kitchen, and meeting and staff areas. The center will also serve as the City's emergency operations center during emergencies. There were 12 bidders for the project and Alten Construction was the lowest with a bid of $10,720,000.
The text of the ballot measures is shown below:
Utility User Tax Reduction and Fairness Measure:
"Shall an ordinance be adopted to reduce the City of San Leandro's existing utility users tax from 6% to 5.7% on telecommunications and video (cable-like) services; ensure that users of current and future technologies be treated fairly; and preserve funding for general municipal services such as police, maintenance of and improvements to city streets and sidewalks and graffiti removal?"
911 Tax Measure:
"Shall the City of San Leandro, with no increase in rates, convert its existing 911 Emergency Communication System Access Fee Ordinance into an Emergency Communication System Access Tax, to insure that all future modifications to the tax rate structure require a vote of the people rather than a vote of the council, and to maintain enhanced 911 Emergency Services to San Leandro residents?"
Police Services Parcel Tax Measure:
"Shall the current level of police protection services be maintained at a minimum of 94 sworn police officers by adoption of a parcel tax in an annual amount of $48 for single-family residences, $24 per multi-family/mobile home unit, $12 per thousand square feet for Commercial/Industrial, $10 per thousand square feet for Non-Profit/Places of Worship and $3 per thousand square feet for Unimproved Land, to end after four years?"
According to a press release issued on July 23, 2008, the City of San Leandro is seeking 20 to 30 "residents, property and business owners, boating enthusiasts, affordable housing, labor and environmental advocates and members of City boards and commissions" to serve on its Shoreline Development Citizen Advisory Committee.
The mission of the committee is to provide input to the San Leandro City Council and master developer Cal-Coast Development on the future of development of a portion of the San Leandro shoreline.
The committee is expected to meet six times over nine to 18 months on Wednesday evenings, including one or two Saturdays, and may convene as early as October 2008. Applications are available from the Office of Business Development on the second floor of City Hall or online. Applications must be completed and submitted by August 29, 2008.
According to San Leandro Recreation and Human Services Director Carolyn Knudtson, the Cooling Center at the Marina Community Center will be open from 11am to 7pm today, Wednesday, July 9, 2008, to provide residents with a safe, air-conditioned environment.
Water, television, movies, and games will be available for those who take advantage of the cooling center.
Although the activation temperature for the cooling center has been set at 100 degrees Fahrenheit (about 38° Celsius) like other cooling centers in Alameda County, it may be set lower since San Leandro doesn't get as hot as other parts of the Bay Area and most residents do not have air conditioning.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has declared Wednesday, July 9 a "Spare the Air" day and Pacific Gas & Electric has requested that consumers and businesses reduce their power use over the next few days to reduce the possibility of brownouts and blackouts.
The Marina Community Center Cooling Center is located at 15301 Wicks Blvd. in San Leandro.
Jane McCrea, the City of San Leandro's Public Information Officer, regularly issues press releases, but until now, they've never been available as a news feed (RSS). You can subscribe to the press releases at http://www.sanleandrobytes.com/city/atom.xml or get them the old fashioned way at http://www.ci.san-leandro.ca.us/pressreleases.html.
Newly re-elected San Leandro District 6 Councilmember Jim Prola is looking for a District 6 resident willing to serve on the Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) after Amanda Goldt recently resigned. Goldt was appointed to the BZA in March 2001 to replace Jeff McGallian by former District 6 Councilmember and current Mayor Tony Santos.
According to the commission/board application, "The Board of Zoning Adjustments hears and decides upon applications for the approval of such zoning matters as conditional uses, variances and parking exceptions. Decisions of the board are final unless an appeal is filed, in which case the appeal is acted on by the City Council. The board may be asked to make recommendations to the Planning Commission regarding amendments to the Zoning Code, especially in the area of permitted uses in various zoning districts and specific development standards."
The BZA is scheduled to meet on the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7pm, but about half of the BZA's meetings are cancelled in a given year.
Prola is also inviting residents to apply for other board and commissions, including the Human Services Commission, Planning Commission, Library-Historical Commission, Recreation and Parks Commission, Senior Commission, and Youth Advisory Commission. After Prola begins his new term in 2008, he plans to consider new appointments for all of these commissions.
Applications can be downloaded from the City of San Leandro web site.
After 12 years as San Leandro's City Manager, John Jermanis announced on June 16, 2008, that he would retire effective September 6, 2008.
Jermanis grew up in Berkeley, attended Berkeley High School and received a bachelor's degree in business administration from San Francisco State University. After he was hired as an accountant with the City of Livermore in 1969, he began his career in San Leandro in 1971 as assistant finance director and became the finance director in 1982. In 1997, he was hired as City Manager to replace Mike Oliver, who was forced out.
Congressman Pete Stark noted in the Congressional Record on May 12, 2004, that "John has a proven track record with the city of San Leandro that is hard to beat. His professionalism, intellect, and commitment to the city are exemplary. He is focused on making sure San Leandro stays on sound fiscal footing and is responsive to the needs of its citizens."
Mayor Tony Santos said that Jermanis "...is also enormously talented and has guided City staff in accomplishing an astounding list of major projects." In 2005, then Mayor Shelia Young said of Jermanis after extending his contract, "We gave him an incredible overall performance. We have a lot of trust and faith in him."
Assistant City Manager Steve Hollister will serve as Interim City Manager while the City searches for a replacement.
In a letter dated June 6, 2008, the City of San Leandro invited residents to attend community meetings on local housing issues:
"Dear San Leandro resident or interested party:
The City of San Leandro invites you and your neighbors to attend a community meeting on local housing issues. Meetings will be held on June 17 and June 18, 2008. The meetings are part of a year-long program to update the San Leandro Housing Element, the state-mandated plan addressing affordable housing and housing conservation in the city.
The current San Leandro Housing Element was certified by the State of California in 2003. State law requires that an updated Housing Element be adopted by the City Council and submitted to the State Office of Housing and Community Development by June 30, 2009. State certification is an important prerequisite for affordable housing funds, grants, and other programs that benefit San Leandro residents.
The new Housing Element will include specific policies and actions related to new housing construction and rehabilitation, affordable housing development, first-time homebuyer programs, housing for seniors and others with special needs, and fair housing practices in San Leandro. Your input is an important part of this process.
Each of the two meetings will include a presentation on the Housing Element process, a discussion of housing issues and needs, and opportunities for questions, suggestions, and feedback. All residents and local businesses are encouraged to attend.
Meeting times and locations are as follows:
Housing Workshop 1
Marina Community Center -Auditorium
Tuesday June 17, 2008
Housing Workshop 2
San Leandro Public Library-Karp Room
Wednesday June 18, 2008
Please visit http://www.ci.san-leandro.ca.us/CDPlanHousElement.asp for more information or email Phil Millenbah, Senior Planner at email@example.com."
San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos has an opening for the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) of the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority (ACTIA). As a member of the ACTIA Governing Board, Santos can appoint three members to the CAC. Current appointees are Norbert Casto, appointed in December 2007, and Elizabeth Cooke, re-appointed in September 2007. The vacant position was occupied by Victoria Wang, who was appointed in May 2007. According to minutes from the CAC meetings, Wang has missed three out of four meetings through January 2008. Wang also provided translations for the San Leandro delegation visit to Yangchun, China, in October 2007.
According to the ACTIA web site, "Local residents serve on ACTA/ACTIA's 33 member Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) as representatives of the numerous communities throughout Alameda County. These members are appointed by the ACTIA Board to keep informed of the progress of Measure B programs and projects, discuss local community transportation concerns, share information relevant to the overall success of ACTIA's mission, and provide feedback to their respective communities."
The committee is scheduled to meet on the third Thursday of each month from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, but usually meets about six times a year. Applicants must be Alameda County residents and each member serves a term of two years. For an application, contact the Mayor's office at (510) 577-3355. The appointment is at the sole discretion of Santos and does not require approval of the San Leandro City Council.
According to statistics at the City of San Leandro web site, overall crime during the first five months of 2008 is up about 11% over the same period in 2007.
The largest increases were 100% increase in murders, 94% increase in simple assaults, 60% increase in rape, 48% increase in robbery and 32% increase in larceny. The increase in murders is because there were no murders in San Leandro last year and there was on this year. For murders and rapes, the overall numbers are so small as to make the statistics essentially meaningless.
On the other hand, aggravated assaults are down 57%, arson is down 33%, and burglary is down 17%. Auto theft is down just 4%. The number of arsons is so small that it makes the statistics essentially meaningless.
At its April 24, 2008, meeting, the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency has a number of items on its agenda that impact San Leandro: approving $165,000 in funding for San Leandro LINKS, an agreement that will allow work to start on the Interstate 580 soundwall, and an agreement to accept money from the City of San Leandro to start work on improvements to the Marina Boulevard-Interstate 880 interchange.
The San Leandro LINKS shuttle stands to get $165,000 in funding through the Transportation Fund for Clean Air (TFCA). The funding is provided by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and requires that funded projects have a cost effectiveness of no more than $90,000 per ton of emissions that will be eliminated by the project. For the LINKS shuttle, the cost to eliminate one ton of emissions is estimated at $42,840.
The LINKS shuttle provides free transportation during peak commute hours between the San Leandro BART station, industrial areas west of Interstate 880 and Davis Street Family Resource Center.
Also on the agenda are the Right of Way and Construction Cooperative Agreements with Caltrans for the I-580 San Leandro Soundwall Project. These agreements will allow work on the soundwall to get started.
The CMA will also authorize agreements related to the transfer of $5 million from the City of San Leandro to the CMA to support the Marina Boulevard Interchange Project. This is the $5 million received from Kaiser to fund improvements for the development of a new hospital at the former Albertson's distribution center.
Councilmember Joyce Staroscisk is San Leandro's representative on the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency Board.
The City of San Leandro web site has been down since at least Saturday, March 22, 2008, and was still down as of Monday. The web site is hosted by Peer 1 and appears to be in Atlanta. Although the web site is down, you can still reach city personnel by email or by phone.
Update: The city web site was back up by 3pm on Monday, March 24, 2008.
From November 7 to 11, 2007, Godbe Research conducted a telephone survey of 400 San Leandro voters. The purpose of the survey, commissioned by the City of San Leandro, was to assess the use of the San Leandro Shoreline Recreation Area, assess voter awareness of the harbor and its dredging needs, determine voter support for a parcel tax to support the boat harbor, prioritize community issues based on voter response, and identify differences in responses due to demographic and/or voter behavioral characteristics.
The results of the survey were presented at the December 17, 2007, meeting of the San Leandro City Council. Councilmember Jim Prola summed up the conclusion of the survey at the meeting as "It's clear to me that residents want to keep the Marina [boat harbor] open, they just don't want to pay for it."
Support for a parcel tax $60 per parcel was 49% of voters who said that they would definitely or probably support such a tax. Support increased as the amount of the tax per parcel decreased, from 50% support at $52 per parcel, 56% at $44 per parcel, 60% support at $36 per year to 66% support at $28 per parcel. Godbe noted that even at $28 per parcel, in order for the tax to succeed in an election, it would have to be a perfect campaign, which occur, but very infrequently. This was the portion of the survey covered in Monday's Daily Review article.
Some of the more interesting results include the results for the question "In your opinion, what is the single, most important issue facing San Leandro in the next five years?" Public schools/education was cited by 21% of the respondents, with growth and development cited by 15% and public safety (including crime) cited by 14%. The closure of the boat harbor was cited by just 2% of the respondents.
To gauge voter priorities, the survey asked, "For each issue, please tell me if it is very important, somewhat important or not important to you personally." Reducing crime was the frequent response, cited by 89% of respondents as very important, followed by improving the quality of education at 83% and maintaining streets and roads at 76%. The item cited by the least number of the respondents was keeping the boat harbor open and maintained, at 27%.
The survey cost $19,230 and it was based on a total population of 30,311 likely November 2008 voters. The survey did not include eligible voters who are not registered or registered voters who were not considered likely to vote in the November 2008 election.
Of the 400 respondents, 62% were caucasian/white, 10% were Hispanic/Latino, 10% were Asian-American, and 8% were African-American/Black. Only 7% of the respondents owned a boat. The respondents were 61% Democrat and 18% Republican and 70% were homeowners.
Bo Johanson and Audrey Albers were both critical of the survey, noting that neither of them knew someone who participated in the survey. Johanson said that the survey should have focused solely on the Marina and should have been mailed to all residents. Godbe responded that mail surveys are not as accurate. Albers said that "I have no confidence in it" but acknowledged that she had not seen the report. Lou Filipovich, a former Republican nominee for the California State Senate, said that he agreed with all of the comments made by Johanson and Albers.
The City Council voted 6-0 to accept the report. Vice Mayor Surlene Grant was not present at the meeting.
Here are the summary results from Godbe:
December 6, 2007
TO: Cynthia Battenberg, Assistant to the City Manager, City of San Leandro
FROM: Bryan Godbe, M.A., President
Amelia Caine, Ph.D., Senior Research Manager
RE: City of San Leandro Revenue Measure Feasibility Survey
Godbe Research is pleased to present the summary results of a survey conducted for the City of San Leandro. A total of 400 voters who reside in San Leandro participated in the study, and telephone interviews took place from November 7 to November 11, 2007. The margin of error for this survey is plus or minus 4.9 percent.
A majority of voters are aware of the boat harbor; however, it is among the relatively least used features of the Shoreline Recreation Area by voter households .
Overall, keeping the boat harbor open and maintained is a relatively low priority for San Leandro voters:
The results indicate that the City of San Leandro should not move forward with placing a parcel tax measure on the ballot to fund keeping the boat harbor open and maintained.
The staff report by Cynthia Battenberg, follows below.
CITY OF SAN LEANDRO
APPROVED AND FORWARDED
TO CITY COUNCIL
DATE: December 11, 2007
TO: John Jermanis, City Manager
FROM: Steve Hollister, Assistant City Manager
BY: Cynthia Battenberg, Assistant to the City Manager
SUBJECT: PRESENTATION BY GODBE RESEARCH ON THE RESULTS OF THE REVENUE MEASURE FEASIBILITY SURVEY
SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATION
The City of San Leandro retained Godbe Research (Godbe) for polling services to evaluate public support for the boat harbor. Godbe collected data in early November 2007 and will present the detailed results at the December 17, 2007 City Council meeting. Staff recommends City Council make a motion to accept Godbe Research's Revenue Measure Feasibility Survey report. No further action is required.
The Shoreline-Marina Committee has been meeting monthly since its formation in January 2007 to discuss the future of the boat harbor and development of the approximately 40 acre opportunity site. The City held two Town Hall meetings to share information and gain public input on how to fund the approximately $2 million annual shortfall and what type of development citizens would like to see at the Shoreline-Marina Area.
To assist the City in evaluating public and registered voter support for a revenue measure to fund the annual shortfall in the boat harbor's budget, the City retained Godbe. Godbe is a full-service public opinion research agency with extensive experience in public opinion research for ballot measures, community needs assessments, public education, and strategic planning efforts. Godbe is a certified WEE and registered small business and completed a public opinion poll "Survey of Residents" for the City of San Leandro in 2000.
A task force of the Shoreline-Marina Committee, which included Mayor Santos and Councilmember Starosciak, reviewed the survey questions prior to data collection. The survey was approximately 12 minutes in length. Data collection occurred in early November 2007 with calls typically between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Although the main survey questions focused around support for a revenue measure, the survey also included general questions regarding what people liked best about San Leandro, what they thought San Leandro's challenges were, and which issues were of greatest concern to them. The survey questionnaire is included in Appendix C of the report.
The summary results are included in Godbe's memo which is attached. The report, excluding Appendix D: Crosstabulation Tables, is also attached. A bound copy of the full report was distributed to Councilmembers under separate cover and will be made available to the public on the City's website. A copy will also be made available at the main Library and Mulford Branch library along with Environmental Science Associate's Opportunities and Constraints Analysis of the San Leandro Marina.
Current City Council Policy - N/A
Previous City Council Action(s) - N/A
City Council Committee Review and Action - On November 13, 2007, the City Council Shoreline - Marina Committee received an update on the City of San Leandro 2007 Revenue Measure Feasibility Survey.
Applicable General Plan Policy - N/A
Permits and/or Variances Granted - N/A
Environmental Review - N/A
Code Compliance Review - N/A
Board/Commission Findings - N/A
Summary of Public Outreach Efforts - N/A
Fiscal Impact - The Shoreline Enterprise Fund covered the $19,230 cost of the survey.
Budget Authority - N/A
Attachments - N/A
Staff recommends City Council make a motion to accept Godbe Research's Revenue Measure Feasibility Survey report.
A delegation from Ponta Delgada, Azores Islands, Portugal, one of San Leandro's sister cities, will arrive on Monday, December 10, 2007, for a week of official visits and activities.
The delegation will include Ponta Delgada Mayor Berta Cabral and members of her staff. The delegation will visit the União Portuguesa do Estado da Califórnia (UPEC) office on E. 14th Street in San Leandro, attend a banquet with City officials on December 11, and other activities until December 13, 2007.
According to the City press release, former Mayor Shelia Young visited Ponta Delgada in May 2000. Young also visited Ponta Delgada in July 2006 for the Festivities of the Holy Ghost. On June 5, 2006, the City Council approved up to $2,000 from the Mayor's Community Fund for Young's travel and expenses.
The Ponta Delgada press release, in Portuguese, is here.
Many of San Leandro's early immigrants were from Portugal. San Leandro and Ponta Delgada established a sister city relationship in 1970 and a delegation from Ponta Delgada last visited San Leandro in 2001.
On May 31, 2007, the San Leandro City Council's Human Relations Committee released a draft document entitled, "Chronology of City of San Leandro’s Efforts to End to [sic] Housing Discrimination and Promote Community Diversity." The document details the city's attempts to address the discrimination and segregation that became synonymous with San Leandro from the 1950s to the 1970s. According to a June 2, 2007, article in the Daily Review, the document was prompted in part by San Leandro resident Brian Copeland's memoir "Not a Genuine Black Man," which chronicles Copeland's experiences as a child growing up in a city where black people were unwelcome.
The earliest city action in the document is July 8, 1968, when the City Council adopted a policy on Community Relations and Responsibilities. However, as detailed in American Babylon, San Leandro actively became a segregated community after World War II:
Immediately after the war, San Leandro residents erected a figurative white wall along the city's border with Oakland. M. C. Friel and Associates, a Hayward real estate firm with expertise in racial covenants, became the East Bay's leading consultant on shoring up segregation. In 1947 Friel developed a plan to place as much of San Leandro's residential property under restrictive covenants as possible, limiting future property sales to "members of the Caucasian race."
If there is any documented complicity by the City of San Leandro in establishing discriminatory policies, it remains well-hidden today. However, the actions of the business leaders and residents of the time are documented:
The San Leandro News-Observer reported in the autumn of 1947 that Friel outlined his "plan for protecting property values" in an address "before the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce," which concluded with "the board giving its approval of the program and authorizing that a letter of approval of his program be furnished Friel." In undisguised language the News-Observer announced that the "sudden increase in the East Bay Negro population" meant that "local neighborhoods are spontaneously moving to protect their property values and calling upon Friel's company to assist them."...These restrictions enjoyed official local support through the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce and city council...
Many homeowners associations, few of which are thriving today, were a part of the effort to seal off San Leandro's borders to African Americans:
Already known in the East Bay for designing racial covenants that could survive close legal scrutiny, Friel responded to the Court's landmark decision by reconfiguring San Leandro's covenant agreements into "neighborhood protective associations," pseudo-corporations of homeowners that could legally select acceptable home buyers through "corporation contract agreements" as long as "race and creed" were not taken into account.
As noted by Copeland in the Daily Review article, the chronology developed by the City fails to include any information about its complicity in the housing discrimination that was implemented in San Leandro after World War II.
Some of this history still struggles to be told. At the September 20, 2005, meeting of the San Leandro Library-Historical Commission, Library Services Director David Bohne announced, "I just met this afternoon with the City Manager at my office. We're going to move ahead with a book on San Leandro history.... Hopefully it will done around June of next year and kind of tie in a little bit too with our celebration of 100 years." A writer was contracted to write an outline for the book, but when the writer submitted an outline that included a section on housing discrimination in San Leandro, the project was canceled.
Despite its history of housing discrimination, according to the 2000 census, San Leandro is now a diverse community, with whites comprising just over 50% of the population, Asians 23%, Hispanics 20% and African Americans 10%.
At the June 25, 2007, joint meeting of the San Leandro City Council and the San Leandro School Board, Mayor Tony Santos announced that July 10, 2007, would be proclaimed "Dump the Pump" day in San Leandro. The proclamation will be issued at the July 2, 2007, meeting of the City Council.
The goal of "Dump the Pump" day is to get people to ride public transportation instead of driving their cars. The event raises awareness that using public transportation can improve the environment, conserve fuel, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
If this seems like dated news, it may be because Dump the Pump day for most other areas was Thursday, June 21, 2007.
According to a notice from the City of San Leandro, Eden Housing is applying for a parking exception and site plan review for an affordable senior housing project at 2121 Estabrook Street at the June 21, 2007, meeting of the Board of Zoning Adjustmentshttp://www.ceres.ca.gov/ceqa/.
Although city regulations require a project of this size to have 34 parking spaces, only 28 parking spaces are planned.
Eden Housing had originally considered an 83-unit project, but after a community meeting where parking and traffic were the main issues raised, Eden Housing conducted a traffic and parking study and decided on a 51-unit project.
The traffic study concluded that the project would add 12 vehicle trips per day to Estabrook Street, which has an average of 2,150 vehicle trips per day and 60 vehicle trips per day to E. 14th Street, which has an average of 13,300 vehicle trips per day.
This is a rendering of the proposed project:
Project Address: 2103-2179 East 14th Street
(at Estabrook Streeet; Council District 1 see map on back)
Meeting Date/Time: Thursday, June 21, 2007
Meeting Place: City Council Chamber,
835 East 14th Street, San Leandro, CA
Project Description: PLN2007-00020
The applicant is requesting a Parking Exception and Site Plan Review for a proposed residential development for a 51-unit affordable senior housing project at 2121 East 14th Street, at the corner of Estabrook and East 14th Streets. The project is comprised of 50 one-bedroom units, one two-bedroom manager's unit, and common areas such as a community room, offices, library and a landscaped open courtyard. Parking is provided in 28 surface parking stalls. The site is zoned SA-2, South Area 2 Zoning District. The project requires a Parking Exception, as 28 spaces are provided where 34 are required for the Senior Housing project; and a Site Plan Review for the design of the site and structures. Assessor's Parcel Numbers 77-556-53, -54, and a portion of 77-556-57-3; 2103-2179 East 14th Street; Eden Housing, Inc. (applicant) and 1027 A Street, LLC (property owner).
In considering whether to approve the site plan review and parking exception, the Board of Zoning Adjustments must find (in part), that the project will not be detrimental to the public health, safety or welfare of persons residing, or working in, or adjacent to the neighborhood of such use; will not be detrimental to properties or improvements in the vicinity; and will not create adverse impacts on traffic or create demands exceeding the capacity of public services and facilities, which cannot be mitigated.
Environmental Review: This project to construct a 51-unit affordable senior housing apartment on a site that is less than five acres is categorically exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) per CEQA Guidelines Article 19, Categorical Exemption, Section 15332.
City Contact/Information: Sally Barros, Planner II
According to a notice from the City of San Leandro, the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Downtown San Leandro Transit-Oriented Development Strategy is available for review at the Main Library and directly from the city's website.
The report is a sizable download at 32 MB and 566 pages (338 pages without the appendices). Comments are due by July 19, 2007, and a Planning Commission hearing on the draft EIR is tentatively scheduled for July 12, 2007.
NAME OF PROJECT: Downtown San Leandro Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Strategy (SCH#2006052102)
LOCATION OF PROJECT: The Downtown San Leandro Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Strategy Area is the ½ mile radius around the intersection of East 14th and Davis Streets, representing 502 acres. The Study Area is located in the northern portion of the city and encompasses the downtown core, the downtown BART station area, and the Creekside and Best Manor neighborhoods. The TOD Strategy Area is roughly bounded by East 14th and Georgia Way to the north, Castro Street to the south, Bancroft Avenue to the east, and Orchard Avenue and Davis Street to the west.
DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT: The City of San Leandro was awarded a $450,000 pilot planning grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and a $51,750 grant from Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority (ACTlA) to study the potential for transit-oriented development (TOD) in the greater downtown area. The study area, hereby referred to as TOD Strategy Area is the ½ mile radius around the intersection of East 14th and Davis Streets, representing 502 acres. This grant recognizes the TOD opportunities offered by both enhanced AC Transit bus service and the existing BART station in the downtown area, The proposed Downtown San Leandro Transit-Oriented Development Strategy (TOD Strategy) establishes a land use framework, a comprehensive circulation system, design and development guidelines, and a series of implementation actions that will guide new development in TOD Strategy Area San Leandro [sic] for the next 25 years, The Strategy establishes the policies that developers and the City's Planning and Community Development staff will follow for new projects in the TOD Strategy area, informing them of required or allowable uses, building heights and various elements of building design. Therefore, the TOD Strategy does not represent an actual project involving physical development or improvements. Rather, it proposes regulatory changes to encourage future development within the Strategy Area.
The TOD Strategy Area is substantially developed; however, the Strategy identifies 39 opportunity sites, representing approximately 88 acres, where development could occur over the next 25 or so years (to 2030). An adjustment of an additional 15 percent was used to establish potential maximum development in the Strategy Area of 3,431 residential units, 718,240 square feet of office development and 120,870 square feet of retail development by 2030. Fifteen percent of this development activity is expected to occur by 2015 and 90 percent of development is expected to occur by 2030. The City's existing General Plan, with a horizon year of 2015, anticipated 590 residential units, 781,200 square feet of office development, and 195,300 square feet of retail development. The TOD Strategy "Project" is therefore the amount of potential development for the TOD Strategy Area above and beyond what was envisioned in the General Plan and examined in the General Plan EIR; namely construction of 2,841 residential units.
REPORT AVAILABILITY: This is to certify that a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the project listed above has been prepared by the City of San Leandro, Community Development Department. Please find attached a CD-ROM of the DEIR. The report may also be found on the City of San Leandro website at: http://www.ci.san-leandro.ca.us/CDTODOview.asp and at the San Leandro Main Library. The draft EIR, the Public Draft TOD Strategy and other material related to the Downtown TOO Strategy is available for public review on the city website, at the City's Community Development Department at 835 14th Street or at the Main library. Copies of the DElR may be obtained at the Community Development Department for the cost of reproduction.
PUBLIC REVIEW: The 45-day public review period for the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is June 5 to July 19, 2007. Comments related to the DEIR should be directed to Kathleen Livermore, Interim Planning Manager, 835 E. 14th Street, San Leandro, CA 94577 (fax (510) 577-6007). All written comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on July 19, 2007. Oral and written testimony may also be given at the Planning Commission meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for July 12 2007 at 7:00 p.m, in the City Council Chambers.
PUBLIC HEARING: A Planning Commission public hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the downtown Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Strategy is tentatively scheduled for July 12, 2007. The hearing will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers located at 835 E. 14th Street, San Leandro, Anyone challenging the item noted above may be limited to addressing only those issues raised in the notice, or in written correspondence delivered to the City prior to the close of the comment period.
MORE INFORMATION: For more information Draft EIR [sic] or on the public hearing process, please contact the following planning staff at the City of San Leandro Community Development Department: Kathleen Livermore at (510) 577-3350 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Date: June 5, 2007
At a dedication at Casa Peralta on June 2, 2007, Library-Historical Commissioner Frederick A. Reicker, Mayor Tony Santos, and City Manager John Jermanis dedicated the recently completed History Walk (West Estudillo Pedestrian Improvement Project and San Leandro History Walk). The History Walk includes a designated path and street improvements from the San Leandro BART Station to downtown San Leandro via West Estudillo Avenue. The History Walk also includes signs at 12 historic sites around the downtown area and four other signs that discuss the Ohlone people, Spanish ranchos, agriculture, industry, transportation, and Cherry Festivals.
Mayor Tony Santos completes his remarks at the dedication.
Guests at the dedication included Councilmembers Diana Souza, Joyce Starosciak, Michael Gregory and Jim Prola, former Mayor Shelia Young, former City Councilmember Bill Jardin, State Senator Ellen Corbett, San Leandro Chamber CEO Diana Gentry, City Commissioners Charlie Gilcrest, Dale Reed, Donna Reed, Shirley McManus, AC Transit Directors Elsa Ortiz and Rocky Fernandez, Jo Cazenave from Representative Pete Stark's office, and San Leandro School Board Trustees Linda Perry, Stephen Cassidy and Mike Katz-Lacabe.
Guests were entertained by the St. Felicitas School Children's Choir performing San Leandro is Where the Heart is (San Leandro's Centennial Song) and Consider Yourself from the musical Oliver.
On May 24, 2007, the fate of the boat harbor at the Marina will be discussed at a Town Hall from 7 to 9pm at the San Leandro Library. The City has been unable to come up with the funds needed for ongoing dredging at the Marina and larger boats are now having problems getting to and from the San Francisco Bay from the Marina.
Details of previous Marina Committee meetings and presentations from those meetings are available at the web site for the Marina Committee.
The San Leandro Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue.
For more information, call (510) 577-3352.
According to an article published in the November 16, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle, San Leandro Police Chief Joe Kitchen will retire in January after serving with the San Leandro Police Department for 30 years.