March 10, 2013

Heron Bay Homeowners Association Appeals Approval of Halus Wind Turbine

Two weeks after San Leandro's Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) approved a height variance for a 100-foot-tall wind turbine at Halus Power Systems at its February 7, 2013, meeting, the Heron Bay Homeowners Association filed an appeal with the San Leandro City Council.

On February 7, 2013, the BZA voted 4-0 to approve a height variance for a wind turbine at Halus Power Systems at 2539 Grant Avenue. Halus filed an application to install a wind turbine that exceeds by 40 feet the 60-foot height limit for structures on properties that are zoned IG (General Industrial), which necessitated approval of a variance. BZA members Janet Palma, Thomas Makin, and Jane Abelee were not present at the meeting. Catherine Vierra Houston, who was re-appointed to the BZA by District 4 Councilmember Benny Lee just three days earlier, voted in favor of the variance. BZA members Rene Mendieta, Phil Daly, and Lee Thomas also voted in favor of the variance. Councilmember Lee has actively opposed the wind turbine and was President of the Heron Bay Homeowners Association when it threatened to sue the City of San Leandro unless an Environmental Impact Report was required.

The appeal, filed by A. Alan Berg, the attorney for the Heron Bay Homeowners Association, claims that the BZA “improperly and illegally granted a variance to Halus Power Systems,” that approval of the variance was “not supported by required findings,” and that BZA member Janet Palma's actions prior to the hearing constituted possible prejudice.

The actions of Janet Palma referred to in the appeal are comments she posted to a San Leandro Patch article about the November 2012 election. Palma's comments that mentioned Halus included “...not true that Halus has no local support, in fact just the opposite.” and “I do believe that there is support for the Halus wind turbine and that all information needs to be heard before it is considered a dead deal.” These comments were made on November 8, 2012, three months before the BZA meeting. Palma did not attend the February 7, 2013, BZA meeting and did not vote on the variance. The appeal states, “...her prejudicial comments regarding appellant and her pre-determined decision to grant the variance were published on or about November 7,2012...it is certainly arguable and possible, that Ms. Palma infected and influenced the remaining Board members and city staff well before the public hearing.”

The appeal states that “it takes no great imagination to see that the turbine will constitute an eyesore. One that damages the near perfect scenic view of the marsh, the creek and the bay.” Halus is bordered on the west by a salvage yard, on the south and east by commercial/industrial properties, and 120-foot-tall electrical transmission towers are located between the Heron Bay development and San Francisco Bay. Photo simulations showing the wind turbine were prepared by Halus, but the appeal rejects the photo simulations, stating, “the subject photos simulations are all taken from public trail and bay views. None of them are taken from the home sites of the approximately 25 homes that would be directly affected...”

Councilmember Benny Lee's letter opposing the wind turbine is cited in the appeal: “The Association is aware that Benny Lee, the president of the Heron Bay Homeowners Association, has independently sent written comments listing six separate concerns that he has with the proposed project. The Association hereby incorporates and adopts each and every point raised by Mr. Lee in his comments.”

The wind turbine is cited as a potential hazard to air navigation, with the appeal stating, “There is little doubt that should an air catastrophe occur, and should disaster be traced back to interference from the proposed wind turbine, that the City would be liable for all resultant damages as the result of their refusal to demand a full EIR...” The Federal Aviation Administration disagrees, and on June 21, 2012, issued a letter stating the wind turbine “would not be a hazard to air navigation..."

The appeal claims that “All studies of wind turbines as they relate to property values indicate that property values will decline for both permanent and temporary periods.” However, a 2009 study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory entitled “The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States” concluded, “Based on the data and analysis presented in this report, no evidence is found that home prices surrounding wind facilities are consistently, measurably, and significantly affected by either the view of wind facilities or the distance of the home to those facilities.”

The risk of bankruptcy is the final argument against the wind turbine, even going so far as to cite Solyndra's 2011 bankruptcy: “There also appears to be no plan in effect in the event that Halus would abandon the project and the site or file bankruptcy. This risk has certainly become more obvious is [sic] recent times as evidenced by the Solyndra disaster.”

According to city staff, there have been four appeals of BZA decisions in the past nine years. In all four cases, the City Council upheld the BZA's decision.

The appeal is scheduled for the April 1, 2013, San Leandro City Council meeting.

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January 1, 2013

Contamination Cleanup Slated for San Leandro's Sandpiper Townhomes Complex

Singer-Friden site location map

Elevated levels of toxic volatile organic chemicals were recently detected at the Sandpiper Townhomes complex, which was built on the former Singer Friden factory site. Although the California Department of Toxic Substances Control “certified the completion of the hazardous substances cleanup” at the site in 2003, trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), and vinyl chloride were detected in the soil at concentrations exceeding residential screening levels while TCE and PCE were detected at elevated concentrations in indoor air samples.

URS Corporation plans to install two 18-feet deep soil vapor extraction wells and three soil vapor monitoring wells to collect soil vapor samples to determine the requirements for using soil vapor extraction to clean up the site. Soil samples will also be collected from the wells and analyzed for chlorinated volatile organic compounds. The wells will be installed in Cornwall Way between Blackpool Lane and Claridge Place.

Trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, also known as tetrachloroethylene, were likely used to degrease metal parts as part of the manufacturing process and for plating. Vinyl chloride was used in aerosol spray propellants until 1974.

History

Friden Calculators on Washington Avenue in San Leandro
Photo of Friden Calculators from San Leandro Library Collection

In 1936, Friden Calculating Machine built a factory on Washington Avenue in San Leandro. The facility manufactured adding machines, calculators (including the first all-transistor electronic calculator, the Friden 130, in 1963) and other mechanical and electrical devices until it closed in 1976. A year later, Citation Home Builders built 190 townhomes in a gated community known as Sandpiper. In 1987, the Hudson Lumber Company sued Sandpiper because the Hudson property had been contaminated by chemicals from the Sandpiper site. In 1995, an investigation confirmed contamination of the Sandpiper site and since the homes were built on the contaminated soil, the contamination was treated in place using groundwater extraction.

Reports on the contamination investigations and monitoring at the Singer Friden/Sandpiper Townhomes site can be found at http://www.envirostor.dtsc.ca.gov/public/profile_report.asp?global_id=01360094 The new monitoring and extraction wells are scheduled to be installed sometime in 2013.

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December 14, 2012

San Leandro Tennis Great Art Larsen Dead at 87

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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November 11, 2012

Chabot Dam Seismic Upgrade Will Temporarily Close San Leandro's Chabot Park and Trail

Chabot Dam Upgrade Map
The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) is preparing for a seismic upgrade of Chabot Dam that is planned to take a year to complete, starting in the fall of 2014. The upgrade is in response to a 2005 study predicting that Chabot Dam would suffer settlement of 1.5 to 3.5 feet in the event of a maximum credible earthquake of magnitude 7.25 on the Hayward Fault. This potential for settlement was created in the 1880s when surface fill was added to the bottom of the dam. Since the dam is 23 feet higher than the water level, the settlement would not cause the dam to fail, but would require cleanup of the settled soil.

The report also predicts that the tower would fail, potentially damaging the outlet piping. The pavilion, which covers the tower, is scheduled to be removed as part of the upgrade process.

In order to complete the upgrade, between 6,000 and 12,000 truck trips will be needed to haul dirt to and from Chabot Dam. Although the route of truck traffic has not yet been determined, the trucks could use Estudillo Avenue and the bridge across San Leandro Creek at the end of Estudillo Avenue to haul the dirt. This means that San Leandro's Chabot Park will be closed for an extended period of time and will mean summer day camps will have to be moved. The West Shore Trail between Chabot Park and Lake Chabot will also be closed during construction.

The San Leandro City Council received a presentation on the seismic upgrade at its September 17, 2012, meeting. Similar presentations were made to Friends of San Leandro Creek on September 18 and the San Leandro Disaster Council on October 26.

EBMUD will prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prior to starting the project and will provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the draft EIR prior to 2014.

Chabot Dam created Lake Chabot, which provides an emergency water supply for EBMUD, in 1875. Water from Lake Chabot also supplies the Lake Chabot and Willow Park golf courses.

EBMUD's project page is available at http://www.ebmud.com/about-ebmud/news/project-updates/chabot-dam-update and a list of frequently asked questions is available at http://www.ebmud.com/our-water/water-supply/current-projects/chabot-dam-upgrade-frequently-asked-questions. For more information, contact Michelle Blackwell at mblackwe@ebmud.com.

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October 31, 2012

Heron Bay Homeowners Association Threatens to Sue San Leandro Over Wind Turbine

Vestas V17 wind turbine
Halus' Proposed Wind Turbine (not the actual location)
In a letter dated July 31, 2012, the lawyer for the Heron Bay Homeowners Association threatened to sue the City of San Leandro unless it required an environmental impact report for a proposed wind turbine that Halus Power Systems wants to install at its facility. The letter was one of about 25 comments the City of San Leandro received in response to a comment period for a mitigated negative declaration for the proposed wind turbine.

The Heron Bay Homeowners Association, through its attorney, A. Alan Berger, stated that “the Association and its owner/members strongly object to the proposed adopted [sic] of a mitigated negative declaration and will take this matter to the City Council and the appropriate Courts should this MND be approved. The Association demands that an EIR be required for this project.”

Halus Power Systems, owned by Louis Rigaud, refurbishes wind turbines at its facility on Grant Avenue in San Leandro for installation at client locations. The facility is located across San Lorenzo Creek from the Heron Bay housing development.

The proposed wind turbine has become an issue in the San Leandro District 4 City Council race in part because Benny Lee, one of the candidates, is President of the Heron Bay Homeowners Association. Chris Crow, another candidate for the District 4 seat, reported a $500 contribution to his campaign from Halus. At a candidate forum, District 4 candidate Darlene Daevu said that Halus Wind Turbines was one of the two most important issues facing San Leandro and said we can't “afford to let innovative businesses with the potential to create local jobs slip through our fingers.” Justin Hutchison, also a District 4 candidate, wrote on Facebook, “They want to place a bunch of these refurbs [wind turbines] on the san leandro shoreline. Not only will it make it look like crap, there has been no enviromental [sic] study.”

Just days before the end of a 30-day public comment period on a Mitigated Negative Declaration by the City of San Leandro, Lee joined other Heron Bay residents in requesting an extension of the public comment period at the June 18, 2012, City Council meeting. On June 28, 2012, the City extended the comment period by 40 days to July 31, 2012.

Other commenters included the California Department of Fish and Game and East Bay Regional Parks District.

The California Department of Fish and Game, in a letter dated June 29, 2012, had no objections to the wind turbine, but recommended eight “measures to minimize the potential for avian mortalities.” The East Bay Regional Parks District, in its response dated June 21, 2012, said that the Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration prematurely discounted risks to the California clapper rail and California black rail, failed “to analyze or discuss what potential strikes would occur at the proposed projects height,” and didn't provide “supporting information concerning sensitive receptors or where measurements were taken was included” for its statement that noise levels wouldn't exceed 55 decibels.

Of the 22 letters and emails received from individuals during the extended comment period, 16 were identified as being from Heron Bay residents, including San Leandro City Council District 4 candidate and Heron Bay Homeowners Association President Benny Lee. All but one of the letters and emails were opposed to the proposed wind turbine. Concerns raised included the potential for bird kills, effect on recreation activities, effect on property values, visual blight, potential health impacts, and catastrophic failures such as fires and explosions.

Although Lee said in the September 5 edition of the San Leandro Times that he didn't want to share his personal opinion about the wind turbine, his email to the City on July 29 clearly states his opposition to the proposed wind turbine. In his email, Lee cites six reasons for his opposition: 1) Financial hardships for homeowners from declining property values while Halus is consistently profitable year after year in worst economy of last 70 years; 2) Real health issues severely taking away quality of life; 3) Adversely impacting bay shoreline natural aesthetic view with first of kind installation by bay shoreline which may set precedence inviting others to do the same and thereby removing it's natural beauty; 4) Imposes a new unnatural view to homeowners which would have altered their original purchase decision; 5) No defined wind turbine policies in City of San Leandro with public input since this wind turbine is directly adjacent to homes and a natural estuary; and 6) Halus' underlying purpose and intent.

Many of these concerns have been the subject of published studies, a few of which are detailed below.

In December 2009, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory published a study entitled, “The Impact of Wind Power Projects on Residential Property Values in the United States.” Using data from nearly 7,500 single-family home sales, the study concluded, “Based on the data and analysis presented in this report, no evidence is found that home prices surrounding wind facilities are consistently, measurably, and significantly affected by either the view of wind facilities or the distance of the home to those facilities.”

To address potential health concerns about wind turbines, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Massachusetts Department of Public Health commissioned a study by an independent panel. That report, entitled “Wind Turbine Health Impact Study,” was published in January 2012, and concluded, “The strongest epidemiological study suggests that there is not an association between noise from wind turbines and measures of psychological distress or mental health problems.”

Photo simulations prepared by Halus show the proposed wind turbine from a variety of angles. In most of the simulations, the electrical transmission towers are the dominant visual feature. Environmental Science Associates prepared a report for Halus with diagrams showing the shadow cast by the wind turbine. The report concludes, “Using the most stringent criterion for possible shadow effect, the study determined that the proposed project would cast no shadows on the residences from one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset throughout the year.”

Concerns about bird kills have probably been one of the most well-known criticisms of wind turbines, especially of the turbines that line Altamont Pass. However, this is a single wind turbine and there are hundreds of wind turbines at Altamont Pass. A May 2007 report entitled “Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects” by the National Research Council addressed the issue of human-caused bird kills, including those by wind turbines. The report stated, “Collisions with buildings kill 97 to 976 million birds annually; collisions with high-tension lines kill at least 130 million birds, perhaps more than one billion; collisions with communications towers kill between 4 and 5 million based on "conservative estimates," but could be as high as 50 million; cars may kill 80 million birds per year; and collisions with wind turbines killed an estimated at 20,000 to 37,000 birds per year in 2003, with all but 9,200 of those deaths occurring in California. Toxic chemicals, including pesticides, kill more than 72 million birds each year, while domestic cats are estimated to kill hundreds of millions of songbirds and other species each year.”

Halus plans to use the wind turbine for research and development and provide renewable energy for operations at its facility, which is located south of San Lorenzo Creek from Heron Bay.

The Heron Bay housing development is bordered on the east by a railroad track, to the north by wetlands, to the west by wetlands and 120-foot-tall electrical transmission towers, and to the south by San Lorenzo Creek and a commercial/light industrial area. Halus is zoned as an Industrial General District.

The issue will be taken up at meeting of the Board of Zoning adjustments on December 6, 2012. A second comment period on the Mitigated Negative Declaration opened on October 12 and will end on November 13, 2012, at 4pm. Comments may be submitted by email to epenaranda@sanleandro.org or in writing to San Leandro Community Development Department, 835 East 14th Street, San Leandro, CA 94577.

Relevant documents:

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October 20, 2012

Project Literacy Tutors and Learners Team Wins Trivia Bee

Project Literacy Tutors and Learners Team
Project Literacy Tutors and Learners Team with Project Literacy's Cinda Mariscal in foreground

Last year's Trivia Bee Winners, Friends of the Library Gift Shop, lost out to the Project Literacy Tutors and Learners team after nine sudden death question to break a tie at Project Literacy's 19th Annual Trivia Bee. Project Literacy Tutors and Learners came up with World War I as the answer to a question about which war poet Joyce Kilmer died in. Kilmer is best known for the first line of his poem Trees, which begins, “I think that I shall never see / A poem lovely as a tree.”

The Mayor and City Council team came in third place after prevailing in sudden death over the San Leandro Players and San Leandro Education Foundation teams.

As in past years, retired Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Kurtz and Leslie Frates, a San Leandro resident and former professor at Cal State East Bay who has appeared on the television quiz show Jeopardy 14 times, read questions. Students from San Leandro High School acted as scorekeepers for each of the teams.

The only controversy of the evening came in response to a question about the name of Neptune's largest moon. After initially stating the correct answer was Titan (which is actually the largest of Saturn's moons), Trivia Bee officials stated that the correct answer was Triton after objections by numerous teams.

The Trivia Bee also featured a raffle with an iPad, Disneyland tickets, gift certificates, Ghirardelli chocolate, and dozens of other prizes from local businesses and individuals. Funds raised by the Trivia Bee help Project Literacy to provide literacy services to more than 200 adults and 1,500 kids each year.

Twenty-four teams competed in the annual fundraiser that brings in more than $10,000 each year for Project Literacy. Although this is an election year, the only political team was Morgan for City Council. Teams included businesses like State Roofing Systems, San Leandro Times, and organizations such as San Leandro Rotary, San Leandro Players, Arts Council of San Leandro, Alameda County Firefighters, the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, and the San Leandro Police Officers Association.

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October 12, 2012

San Leandro Residents Tell Their Stories as Part of Library Project

At the Day at the Casa event at Casa Peralta on September 22, 2012, a packed room watched six San Leandro residents tell their stories and the stories of their families. They were produced by the San Leandro Public Library in conjunction with the Media Arts Center of San Diego.

If you weren't able to make the event, you can now view each of the stories online at the City of San Leandro's YouTube channel.

In one video, Yuriko Yokota tells the story of her San Leandro flower nursery, M Yokota Nursery Inc., located where the San Leandro Volvo dealership is currently located on Marina Boulevard. Yokota had been in a Japanese American internment camp for three years before moving to San Leandro after World War II and her battle over eminent domain with the City of San Leandro was detailed in the San Francisco Chronicle. Yokota also tells the story her internment at Topaz Relocation Center in Utah during World War II when she was 27 at http://blip.tv/san-leandro-stories/the-sting-of-prejudice-by-yuriko-yokota-3759224

Brian Copeland moved to San Leandro as a young boy and chronicled his experience growing up in San Leandro's Washington Manor neighborhood in the one-man show “Not a Genuine Black Man,” which provided the genesis for a book of the same name.

Life-long San Leandro resident Marcia Cronin recalls growing up in San Leandro.

Joe Borelli tells his story of working at the cannery in San Leandro and living in employee housing with his mother as a young boy.

Links to additional videos after the break.

Pearl Hernandez Johnston tells the story of her Spanish parent's immigration to the US and life in San Leandro.

Life-long San Leandro resident Paul Moura shares his family story about his father, who emigrated from the Portuguese Madeira Islands to San Leandro, California and owned Housewives Fish Market in Oakland, California.

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October 11, 2012

Lit San Leandro Brings High-Speed Internet to San Leandro Library

The City of San Leandro celebrated the connection of the Main Library to the new fiber-optic loop at ceremony on September 24, 2012. The ceremony featured speeches by Acting Library Director Theresa Mallon, Business Analyst Jeff Kay, OSIsoft founder and Lit San Leandro-owner Patrick Kennedy, and San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy.

The internet connection at the Main Library had previously been limited to 10 megabits per second (Mbps), which was shared between employees and the public. With the new connection, the wireless network used by library patrons will have its own 100 Mbps connection and employees will have a separate 100 Mbps connection. A speed test at the end of the speeches showed a download speed of almost 380 Mbps, but Kay acknowledged that the network was configured in a way to demonstrate the speed of the fiber-optic connection and did not reflect speeds that will be experienced by library patrons.

San Leandro Bytes tested the library connection on the weekend prior to the Monday ceremony and observed a download speed of more than 18 Mbps, nearly twice the speed of the library's previous connection.

The wireless network at the Main Library is free for any library patrons to use with a laptop, tablet, smart phone, or other wireless device.

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September 10, 2012

Two Months Until Partial Polystyrene Ban Goes Into Effect

Polystyrene Ban Ad - San Leandro Times

San Leandro restaurants must stop using polystyrene food packaging as of November 1, 2012, according to an ordinance passed by the San Leandro City Council in October 2011. The ordinance does not apply to retail sales of polystyrene food packaging, which means San Leandro residents will still be able to buy styrofoam cups, plates, and clamshells at local stores and supermarkets. Former Councilmember Joyce Starosciak was the only Councilmember that didn't support the ordinance.

The City of San Leandro has run a few ads in the San Leandro Times, like the one above, to inform local businesses of the upcoming ordinance deadline. The QR code in the ad directs readers to http://www.sanleandro.org/depts/pw/es/takeout.asp, where the City provides information about the ban.

Warnings will be given to violators of the ordinance, followed by possible fines of $150 for the first violation escalating to up to $600 for additional violations.

State law requires the City to reduce the amount of waste in sends to landfills, and since polystyrene is neither recyclable nor compostable, it doesn't help the City reduce its waste. Styrene is described by the U.S. Environmental Protection agency as "a suspected toxin to the gastrointestinal tract, kidney, and respiratory system" and other health agencies classify it as a suspected carcinogen.

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August 9, 2012

Bal Theatre Permit Pulled from Tonight's San Leandro BZA Agenda

Just hours before a scheduled San Leandro Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) meeting today, a proposed modification to the Bal Theatre's existing permit was removed from the agenda at the request of the applicant, according to an email sent by Elmer Penaranda, Senior Planner with the City of San Leandro.

Bal Theatre owner Dan Dillman says that he and city staff have not come to an agreement on a few items yet and he didn't want to waste the time of the Board or city staff. Dillman objects to Item IV B of the recommended conditions for approval, which states, in part, “Events or performances shall not utilize overhead curtains, drops, and scenery or stage effects other than lighting and sound.” Dillman wants the provision changed to state that any items on stage, such as scenery and props, shall comply with the Fire Code.

Dillman also objects to Item IV P, which states, “A condition for the annual renewal of the Business License for assembly use may be the inspection and clearance from the City Building and Safety Services Division.” Dillman says that this is unfair and that no other business in the city is subjected to a similar requirement.

Finally, Dillman also expressed objections about the staff report, which he says does not accurately portray the history of the theater, including its use for live musical performances.

The BZA was to have decided whether to approve modifications to the existing permit for the Bal Theatre. Those modifications included allowing up to 260 events/performances a year (no limits on movies), an increase from the 48 (four each month) currently permitted, and increased hours starting at 9am instead of 10am and ending at 1am on Friday and Saturday instead of 12am. According to the proposed changes, the Bal Theatre would also be allowed to serve alcohol by obtaining a license from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control instead of relying on a non-profit organization or caterer to obtain a license.

Since 2009, Dillman has objected to restrictions on use of the theatre for live performances, despite signing a conditional use permit that prohibited live performances. In 2011, Dillman negotiated a modification to the permit that allowed four live performances a month. However, at a BZA meeting in July 2011 at which the permit was subsequently approved, Dillman and supporter Chris Crow argued against any restrictions on dancing, hours of operation, the frequency of live performances, and the requirement to have changes reviewed by the Community Development Department or BZA. The proposed permit has eased up on most restrictions, but a six-month review is still included.

The proposed permit includes restrictions that the theater cannot be used as a dance hall or for adult cabaret, adult motion pictures, or adult theatre. Those terms are defined in the San Leandro Municipal Code and generally include a reference to “depiction or description of specified sexual activities or specified anatomical areas.”

At this time, there is no information on when modifications to the existing conditional use permit for the Bal Theatre will be discussed by the BZA.

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July 29, 2012

San Leandro City Council Does U-Turn on Marijuana Facilities

After lengthy discussions, two moratoriums, and a proposed ban on marijuana facilities with a sunset clause, the San Leandro City Council decided to reject a proposed ban on marijuana facilities at its meeting on July 16, 2012. An ordinance for regulating marijuana facilities will now go to the Rules Committee, where Councilmembers will work with staff to provide direction in crafting an ordinance. The members of that committee are Mayor Stephen Cassidy and Councilmembers Jim Prola and Diana Souza.

Nine speakers spoke against an ordinance banning marijuana facilities, including District 4 City Council candidate Chris Crow, who argued that a ban would violate the First Amendment rights of patients. District 2 City Council candidate Dan Dillman also spoke against the proposed ordinance. Three speakers spoke in favor of a ban, including Benny Lee, one of Crow's opponents.

Prola spoke at length against a ban on marijuana facilities, as he has done during previous discussions. Souza and Starosciak made it clear that they supported a complete ban, while Councilmember Pauline Cutter said that she would support the alternative to the ordinance banning marijuana facilities. Councilmember Ursula Reed admitted she had been “on the fence” about medical marijuana because she doesn't want to open the door on crime, despite having many friends and relatives who have cancer.

Mayor Stephen Cassidy, who had supported an ordinance banning marijuana dispensaries at previous meetings, joined the new majority opposed to a ban. Cassidy stated, “I'm also concerned, given the actions of the Assistant United States Attorney General for the Northern District of California [Melinda Haag], that the option of adequate nearby access for San Leandrans is at-risk and potentially disappearing. You cannot say that you are in support of medical marijuana but then not allow patients to have the opportunity to purchase it.... I think we have an Assistant [U.S.] Attorney General that is operating as a bully and I don't like bullies and I think San Leandro has to stand up and be accounted for in this process.

The City Council's decision went against City staff's recommendation to “add Municipal Code Chapter 4-33 prohibiting the establishment and operation of Medical Marijuana Cooperatives, Collectives, Dispensaries and Cultivation Facilities in the City of San Leandro.” At the end of the Law Enforcement Analysis section of the staff report, the San Leandro Police indicated its strong and absolute support of the ordinance banning marijuana facilities, stating “The San Leandro Police Department supports all efforts to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, cooperatives, collectives, cultivation, and grow facilities.”

The history of San Leandro's prohibitions of dispensaries dates back to December 2004 when the City Council enacted a moratorium on marijuana dispensaries to prevent one from opening in San Leandro. Subsequent ordinances were passed in January 2005 and January 2006. The moratorium lapsed in December 2006, but was reinstated in October 2010. A staff report in November 2010 recommended that the City Council enact a 22-month moratorium, but the City Council voted for a 10-month moratorium. In September 2011, that moratorium was subsequently extended until September 2012 and cannot be extended because the State of California places time limits on the urgency ordinance used to enact the moratorium.

At the June 18, 2012, City Council meeting, the staff report recommended an ordinance to permanently ban marijuana facilities so that a ban would be in place before the moratorium expired. Prola, however, offered a motion to delay consideration of the ordinance until after the California Supreme Court ruled on two relevant cases. Vice Mayor Michael Gregory seconded the motion, which was defeated 5-2. Councilmember Joyce Starosciak subsequently motioned to direct staff to draft an ordinance banning marijuana facilities, as recommended in the staff report. Souza seconded the motion, which failed 4-3. Councilmember Pauline Cutter also voted in favor of directing staff to draft an ordinance banning marijuana facilities. Cutter then offered what seemed to be a compromise, motioning to direct staff to draft an ordinance that would ban “medical marijuana cooperatives, collectives, dispensaries and cultivation facilities in the City of San Leandro” until June 30, 2013.” That motion passed 6-1, with Prola voting against it. The draft ordinance banning marijuana facilities was on the July 2, 2012, City Council agenda, but was pulled after the California Second District Court of Appeals ruled that a municipality could not impose a complete ban on medical marijuana facilities.

An ordinance to regulate marijuana facilities will be discussed at the August 28, 2012, meeting of the Rules and Communications Committee. The meeting is scheduled to start at 4:30pm, but no location was available as of July 29.

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June 12, 2012

Ghirardelli Celebrates 160 Years - 45 in San Leandro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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April 20, 2012

Forum on Building Strong Families on Saturday 4/21

Putting the Pieces Together to Build Strong Families On Saturday, April 21, 2012, former California Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin will be the featured speaker at a forum entitled "Putting the Pieces Together to Build Strong Families." The free event will focus on the issues facing families and youth in San Leandro.

Topics will include technology and teens, youth wellness issues, job training and mentoring resources, and parenting education.

The free event starts at 8:30am at the San Leandro Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue. The event is sponsored by the City of San Leandro and the San Leandro and San Lorenzo Unified School Districts. Childcare will be provided at no cost, but call (510) 577-3351 or email childrensforum@sanleandro.org to register in advance.

The schedule for the forum:

TimeTopic
8:30 amRegistration, continental Breakfast, and resource fair.
9 amWelcome by Mayor Stephen Cassidy
9:10 amKeynote Speaker, Former California Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin
10:10 amBreakout Session I. “Teens and Technology” – Dr. Ammar Saheli, San Lorenzo Unified School District Director of Student Services, and San Leandro police Detective Neil Goodman. “Cracking the Communication Code: Parenting Tips for Maintaining Healthy Relationships with your Child” – Dale Gregory, MPH.
11:10 amBreakout Session II. “Wellness Issues Facing San Leandro Youth” –Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan “Job Training and Mentoring Resources” – San Leandro Recreation and Human Services Director Carolyn Knudtson.
NoonClosing remarks by Supervisor Wilma Chan.


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April 10, 2012

San Leandro Police Provide Police Dog Demonstration

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Officer Walt Aldred and Gunner
At McCartney Park on Monday, April 9, 2012, the San Leandro Police Department thanked the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association for a donation to their K9 program by providing a demonstration of their police dogs in action.

Up until two weeks ago, the San Leandro Police Department had two German Shepherd police dogs. Now there are three with the addition of Conan, an 18-month-old dog that is now in the process of bonding with its handler, Officer Jason Bryan. Conan replaces Aero Vikar, a German Shepherd dog that completed a 160-hour K9 school with Bryan in August 2011. According to San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli, there wasn't a good fit between Bryan and Aero Vikar, and the dog was returned.

The other K9 teams are veterans Walt Aldred and Gunner and Kevin Hackl and Arago. Gunner joined SLPD in March 2005 and is about nine years old. Arago joined the SLPD in 2007.

The first demonstration involved Officer Aldred sending Gunner after Officer Joey Bacon, who was wearing a protective sleeve on his arm. Gunner took off at full speed towards Bacon until Aldred called off the dog, which quickly laid down facing Bacon.

For the second demonstration, Bacon hid in a trash can and Hackl's dog Arago was sent to find him. After the dog passed by the trash can a few times without any recognition of a suspect hiding in the trash can (and urinated a couple of times on a nearby tree), Hackl explained that the dog was operating under less than ideal conditions and was likely distracted by the crowd watching the demonstration. Once the dog recognized that there was someone in the trash can, the dog put its paws on top of the trash can and furiously scratched at the trash can.

In the third demonstration, Aldred had Gunner perform a search for narcotics that were hidden in a bag on Officer Louie Guillen's bicycle. Gunner is the only San Leandro Police dog that is trained to search for narcotics. Aldred guided the dog to sniff around the bicycle, but appeared to work hard to focus the dog on the bag. It took a while, but once the dog caught a whiff of the narcotics, it gave a clear indication, including barking, that it had detected something.

Sergeant Joey Nguyen-Delgado noted that police dogs typically come from Europe and cost around $10,000. According to Nguyen-Delgado, German Shepherd dogs and Belgian Malinois, which look a lot like German Shepherds, are most common for police service nowadays. Other dogs that have previously served as San Leandro Police dogs include two doberman pinschers, a giant schnauzer, and a rottweiler.

Hackl's dog Arago reportedly killed Chloe, a 6-year-old Finnish Spitz dog in Brentwood on December 26, 2010. Hackl was not present when the dog was killed.

Photos of the event by Tim Holmes

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April 6, 2012

New Bike Racks Installed in Downtown San Leandro

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Bike rack on E. 14th Street
On Wednesday April 4, 2012, 14 new bicycle racks like the one shown here were installed on East 14th Street and Washington Avenue in the downtown area of San Leandro. Three similar bike racks were installed near City Hall late last year.

According to City of San Leandro Senior Transportation Engineer Reh-Lin Chen, two more bicycle racks near the downtown Wells Fargo have been put on hold until construction of the Estudillo parking garage is completed.

San Leandro Councilmember Michael Gregory, often seen biking around San Leandro, said he was pleased to have the bike racks installed, but would also like to see more "mini-parks" like the one in front of Allphin Jewelers that includes a bike rack.

The San Leandro Downtown Association is sponsoring Bike SL 2012 on Sunday May 6, 2012. Participants can choose from a challenging 13-mile ride around Lake Chabot with Councilmember Gregory that starts at 10:30am or a family-friendly 5-mile bike ride through San Leandro that starts at noon.

Bike-to-work day is scheduled for May 10, 2012, and the City of San Leandro Engineering and Transportation Department will host an "Energizer Station" at the entrance to the San Leandro BART station from 7 to 9am.

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December 21, 2011

Court Decides for Sutter Health in San Leandro Hospital Legal Battle

In a ruling issued today, the First Appellate Court of Appeal decided in favor of Sutter Health in its legal battle with the Eden Township Healthcare District. This means that the fate of San Leandro Hospital could rest with Sutter Health, unless the decision is appealed to and accepted by the California Supreme Court.

Eden Township's legal case rested on an argument that former District CEO George Bischalaney and board member Dr. Francisco Rico had a financial conflict of interest. The court found that "the only reasoned conclusion that can be reached here is that neither of the health care professionals whose actions are in question, Bischalaney or Rico, was afflicted with a conflict of interest that precluded them from participating in the 2008 agreements concerning the general operation and management of the District‘s public hospitals."

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December 11, 2011

World War II Bomb Found at San Leandro Metal Recycler

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Photo courtesy of San Leandro Police Department

According to a press release from the San Leandro Police Department, workers at Alco Iron and Metal discovered a World War II bomb in one of three loads of scrap metal.

After police evacuated nearby areas, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad determined that the bomb was inert, with no explosives or firing device.

The words "BOMB" and "AVERAGE WT. 748" were stenciled on the side of the inert bomb. There was no information as to the source of the device and the incident was over in less than two hours.

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December 4, 2011

San Leandro Community Members to be Honored at Monday City Council Meeting

According to a press release issued November 28, 2011, on Monday, December 5, 2011, the San Leandro City Council will present awards to members of the community to recognize their leadership.

The Mayor's Award of Excellence will be presented to Chad Pennebaker, president of the San Leandro Scholarship Foundation for the past six years and a frequent volunteer in San Leandro schools.

The Mayor's Award for Excellence in Business will be presented to J. Patrick Kennedy, the President and founder of OSIsoft, and the force behind Lit San Leandro, a project to create a fiber-optic loop around the City.

In District 1, Deborah Cox will be honored for her work as the President and founder of the San Leandro Education Foundation, President of the Estudillo Homeowners Association, leadership in school groups, including parcel tax and bond campaigns, and her service on the Boards of Leadership San Leandro, PACE, and the California Conservatory Theater.

In District 2, Charles Gilcrest will be honored for his service on the Human Services Commission and Board of Zoning Adjustments. Gilcrest is also President of the Business Association of South San Leandro and the Halcyon Foothill Neighborhood Association. Gilcrest serves as a campaign consultant and ran against Councilmember Ursula Reed in 2008.

In District 3, Lee Thomas will be honored for his service as President of the Floresta Homeowner's Association, on the Human Services Commission and the Board of Zoning Adjustments. Thomas also serves on the Shoreline Development Citizen’s Advisory Committee.

In District 4, Marti Lantz will be honored for her service as President of the Washington Homeowners Association, leadership in school groups, and is a Regional Director with Naval Sea Cadet Corps.

In District 5, Anna and John Tandi will be honored for their service as volunteers with Anna on the Board of Friends of San Leandro Creek and involvement at St. Leander Church and school groups and John as a member of the Buon Tempo Club, the Elks Club, and Moose Club.

In District 6, Carole Rinaldi, will honored for her service on the Library-Historical Commission, President of the Marina Faire Homeowner's Association, and the Shoreline Development Citizen's Advisory Committee. Rinaldi has also coordinated the Leadership San Leandro program for the past 15 years.

The awards began in 1999 when former Mayor Shelia Young presented the Mayor's Award of Excellence to Tom Guarino for restarting the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce. The next year Susan Kleebauer received the Mayor's Award for her role in rebuilding the San Leandro Library.

These awards continued until Tony Santos was elected Mayor in 2006. Previous recipients, provided by Community Relations Representative Kathy Ornelas, are listed below.

2000

  • District 1 – Ann Hague

  • District 2 – Doris Marx

  • District 3 – Joe Savio

  • District 4 – Eleanor Bolesworth

  • District 5 – Marie Lothrop

  • District 6 – Bessie Parafina

  • Mayor's Award of Excellence – Susan Kleebauer


2001
  • District 1 – John Faria

  • District 2 – Lucille Kline

  • District 3 – Robert Kvam

  • District 4 – Madge Basuino

  • District 5 – Frank Cerruti

  • District 6 – Betty Bailey

  • Mayor's Award of Excellence – Dale Reed


2002
  • District 1 – Pat Raposo

  • District 2 – Mary Bystedt

  • District 3 – Barbara Tierney

  • District 4 – Barbara Sidari

  • District 5 – Bob Grazzini

  • District 6 – Ernie Low

  • Mayor's Award of Excellence - City Manager Emeritus Wes McClure

  • Mayor’s Award of Excellence in Business - Larsen Brothers Lumber Company


2003
  • District 1 – Bob Maginnis

  • District 2 – Greg Romani

  • District 3 – Bill Perras

  • District 4 – Evelyn Plate

  • District 5 – Denise Bownds Kaplan

  • District 6 – Esther Holcomb

  • Mayor's Award of Excellence – Martin A. Francis

  • Mayor’s Award of Excellence in Business – SL Chamber of Commerce

2004

  • District 1 – Sara Zoffada

  • District 2 – Harold Kitzmann

  • District 3 – Peter DiGregorio

  • District 4 – Alban Cayere

  • District 5 – Shirley McManus

  • District 6 – Audrey Albers

  • Youth Leadership Award – Amy Fong

  • Mayor's Award of Excellence – Faith Frazier

  • Mayor’s Award of Excellence in Business – Ghirardelli Chocolate


2005
  • District 1 – John Chovanes

  • District 2 – George Hansen and Janice Maldonado

  • District 3 – Verna Corum

  • District 4 – Simone Shuttleworth

  • District 5 – Tim Holmes

  • District 6 – Kent Myers

  • Youth Leadership Award – Karen Wong

  • Mayor's Award of Excellence – Maria and LeVern Cabral

  • Mayor’s Award of Excellence in Business – Deadrich Realty

2006

  • District 1 – Kathe Frates

  • District 2 – The Reverend Sarah Reyes

  • District 3 – Caryl Ann Symons

  • District 4 – V.I.E.U. – Mission Bay

  • District 5 – Patty Silva

  • District 6 – Luster Knight

  • Youth Leadership Award – Norris Mei

  • Mayor's Award of Excellence – Heidi Finberg

  • Mayor’s Award of Excellence in Business – Kraft Foods

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October 21, 2011

Friends of the Library Gift Shop Team Wins Trivia Bee

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From left to right, Mayor Stephen Cassidy, Trivia Bee winners Saul Schultheis-Gerry, Max Gerry, Michael Gerry, and Councilmembers Jim Prola and Diana Souza

In the end, the Friends of the Library Gift Shop team came up with the name of Netflix's short-lived DVD spinoff (Qwikster) to win Project Literacy's 18th Annual Trivia Bee after a three-way tie. The San Leandro Garden Club took second, followed by the Alameda County Firefighters. Last year's winners, former San Leandro City Manager John Jermanis' family, did not field a team this year,

As in past years, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Kurtz read questions for the first round and Leslie Frates, a San Leandro resident and former professor at Cal State East Bay who has appeared on the television quiz show Jeopardy 14 times, read questions for the second and third rounds. Kathy Kurtz served as the official time keeper. Students from San Leandro High School acted as scorekeepers for each of the thirty teams.

In addition to the Trivia Bee, a raffle featured an Apple iPad, Disneyland tickets, and dozens of other prizes from local businesses and individuals. Funds raised by the Trivia Bee help Project Literacy to provide literacy services to more than 200 adults and 1,500 kids each year.

Thirty teams competed in the annual fundraiser that brings in more than $10,000 each year for Project Literacy. Teams included businesses like State Roofing Systems, California Conservatory Theater, San Leandro Players, the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, and the San Leandro Police Officers Association.

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October 17, 2011

Brian Copeland Gets His Day in San Leandro

In 1972, when Brian Copeland was eight, his family moved from Oakland to San Leandro, California, hoping for a better life. At the time, San Leandro was 99.4 percent white, known nationwide as a racist enclave. This reputation was confirmed almost immediately: Brian got his first look at the inside of a cop car, for being a black kid walking to the park with a baseball bat. That story became the basis for "Not a Genuine Black Man," his solo show that began at The Marsh theater in 2004 and the last performance was more than seven years later at the Marsh Arts Center in Berkeley last month.

Thirty-nine years later, San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy proclaimed October 19, 2011, as Brian Copeland day, honoring him as an ambassador of San Leandro. The text of the proclamation:

WHEREAS, Brian Copeland moved to San Leandro with his family as a small child and has remained a resident, proclaiming "San Leandro is my home town"; and

WHEREAS, Brian Copeland attained celebrity for his work in the news media, as a comedian, and most notably for authoring a poignant book about growing up in San Leandro during a time of discrimination and racism which grew into his highly successful one-man play, "Not A Genuine Black Man"; and

WHEREAS, in telling his story, Brian Copeland has become an ambassador for San Leandro, and demonstrates how one can overcome adversity, how neighbors can become friends, and the change that has occurred within San Leandro communities; and

WHEREAS, for more than twenty years, Brian Copeland has been a champion of the Davis Street Family Resource Center, supporting its programs and services in many ways, most notably by raising thousands of dollars every year for the children's nutrition program to ensure that preschool children in the Center's programs have a hot and nutritious breakfast; and

WHEREAS, Brian Copeland's philanthropy and celebrity have brought acclaim and honor to this community.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Stephen H. Cassidy, Mayor of the City of San Leandro, on behalf of the City Council, do hereby proudly proclaim October 19,2011 as "BRIAN COPELAND DAY" in San Leandro.

Copeland's new solo play, "The Waiting Period," will preview at San Francisco's Marsh Theater in November and will open in January. Copeland also is the host of the talk show 7LIVE weekdays at 3pm.

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Brian Copeland and son Casey
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October 12, 2011

San Leandro's Second Coffee with the Cops Focuses on Online Information and Recent Incidents

Tuesday morning, San Leandro Police held the second "Coffee with the Cops" meeting with about 15 community members and 11 police officers in a banquet room at Dick's Restaurant.

After a brief introduction by San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli, Officer Pete Ballew stated that the $2.4 million COPS grant that San Leandro received in 2010 enabled the hiring of five former San Jose Police officers who were in the process of being trained. This enabled the department to add a bicycle officer , a school resource officer, and two more tactical officers. The COPS grant funds five police officers for three years and requires that San Leandro pays for the fourth year, estimated at $800,000. Ballew noted that the citizen police academy, which always has a waiting list, starts again in March and applications are accepted in December and January. The first teen police academy was launched this summer and had 16 graduates.

Officer Tim DeGrano was next up with a presentation about information available from the police department website. DeGrano explained CodeRed, a service from Emergency Communications Network that allows the police department to "record, send and track personalized messages to thousands of citizens in minutes." DeGrano recounted a use of CodeRed that enabled the capture of a suspect that had fled from police into the Bay-O-Vista neighborhood.

Next DeGrano showed off the new daily log web page that displays the daily dispatch log which includes most police responses since September 12, 2011. Incidents involving domestic violence, sexual assaults, medical responses, and incidents involving children are not included in the daily logs. Each day's log can be downloaded in PDF or Excel format.

DeGrano noted that San Leandro has a full service police department and will respond to barking dog and burglar alarm calls, unlike many cities. When asked if the police should be called for copper thefts, even when unsure of the date of the theft, DeGrano responded, "Absolutely," because there may still be evidence or may be indicative of a pattern.

Certain crime information can also be reported online, but DeGrano noted that crimes that include a suspect should be called in to the police department and not reported online.

When a business owner asked about whether lights should be left on at her business on E. 14th St., DeGrano said that some prefer to leave lights on while others close up everything to hide what they have. DeGrano asked that anyone who has a cash register empty out the cash register in a way that is visible.

DeGrano encouraged the audience to call the police, even for something like speeding cars, because officers may see the speeding cars just by happening to be in the right place in the right time. Officer Rick De Costa noted that one dispatcher will be on the phone taking a report while the other dispatcher is already sending out information to officers.

Spagnoli noted that there are seven beats throughout San Leandro and there are 7 to 15 officers patrolling San Leandro at any given time of day. According to Spagnoli, there are currently 89 officers, including the Police Chief, captains, lieutenants, and sergeants, a dozen detectives and investigators, three officers assigned to the schools, and two crime prevention and community outreach officers.

Officer Doug Calcagno presented a summary of the incident in which Darnell Hutchinson died after being restrained and tased by four San Leandro Police officers outside of Nations on October 9, 2011. Calcagno noted that "The four officers involved in it happen to be probably four of the nicest officers we have in our department." Calcagno summarized the triple homicide that occurred after a party on October 2, 2011, and noted that San Leandro Police are dealing with similar issues that face Oakland when it comes to trust of the police: the unwillingness of people to come forward with information.

Finally, Calcagno summarized the theft and car chase that resulted in the death of two suspects and major injuries to a third suspect involved in a theft from FoodMax.

One resident complimented the police and then said, "I think too many people try to make Oscar Grant a hero when he was nothing but a thug and the cops are getting a bad rap." Calcagno noted that nearby incidents in Oakland and other places reflect on all police departments.

Spagnoli responded to a question about the length of administrative leave by noting that the length of the leave is determined on a case-by-case basis. The administrative leave to ensure that the officers were mentally fit and have been appropriately debriefed.

Spagnoli went on to address questions she has received about tasers. She stated that, "Tasers are a best practice" and noted that tasers can be used to gain control of a suspect when "you can't gain compliance in another way. There's a fallacy out there that tasers kill people and actually, if you read every report that anybody has been killed associated with a taser, is tasers have not been the primary cause of death in any case. Taser International, the company that puts that out, is very active in defending their use of that equipment." According to Spagnoli, the taser can be used with or without darts. "And it's [an] effective tool, really, to maintain control of somebody who is not complying with peace officer's requests." Spagnoli added, the taser "comes in one speed and you can choose anywhere between one and five seconds, meaning it stops after X amount of seconds."

When asked about dealing with mentally ill people, Spagnoli said that there are specially-trained officers who deal with an estimated 1,000 police calls involving mentally ill people.

The next question involved gang activity in San Leandro, which Officer Neil Goodman described as a generational problem with two gangs, Davis Street Locos and Manor Dro Boys splitting San Leandro into north and south at Marina Boulevard. A shooting two years ago at McKinley Elementary involved the Davis Street Locos and resulted in a sentence of 22 years for the shooter because of gang enhancements to the sentence. Goodman said that kids begin in gangs between the ages of 12 and 14 and that the police are working on a diversion program.

The last question was about funding for more police officers and Spagnoli noted that funding at the state and federal level was drying up. Spagnoli said that they were working on a police foundation to raise money for specific programs and to talk to Officer Ballew for more information.

The next Coffee with the Cops is scheduled for November 8, 2011, from 8 to 9am at the Marina Inn, located at 68 Monarch Bay Drive.

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September 14, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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August 13, 2011

Parking Lot to Replace First Interstate Building

First Interstate building surrounded by scaffolding
Scaffolding surrounding the First Interstate building
 
Conceptual view of future parking lot
Conceptual view of how the new parking lot and entrance will look

After being left vacant for 15 years, Chase has filed demolition plans for the former First Interstate Building located at 1639 E. 14th Street between Chase Bank and Pallen's Martial Arts.

According to the August Community Development Update, Chase acquired the building solely to use the parking lot for its customers. Demolition of the First Interstate building will allow Chase customer to enter the parking lot from E. 14th Street and use it during the Downtown Farmers Market, which currently blocks access to the parking lot. The demolition will also allow Pallen's Martial Arts to make changes to the façade of its building and to use the back door as a fire exit.

Although the site is located in the area of San Leandro's Transit-Oriented Development Strategy, it is not one of the 39 "opportunity sites" identified for development through 2030. Instead, it is in an area categorized as "Multi-Use, Infill Opportunity Districts."

During the demolition, the debris will be separated for recycling.

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August 12, 2011

California Attorney General Files Amicus Brief Supporting Eden Township Healthcare District

On August 10, 2011, the California Attorney General's office, acting on a request by San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy and San Leandro City Attorney Jayne Williams on behalf of the City of San Leandro, filed an amicus curiae or "friend of the court" brief on behalf of Eden Township Healthcare District (ETHD) in its legal battle with Sutter Health over the future of San Leandro Hospital.

The amicus brief from the California Attorney General argues that George Bischalaney, then CEO of ETHD, and Dr. Francisco Rico, then an ETHD board member, had a conflict of interest because they "… actively guided the District through contract negotiations with two private healthcare entities, Sutter Health ("Sutter") and Eden Medical Center, Inc. ("EMC"), at the same time they were receiving income from one of those entities (EMC)." After stating that "Section 1090 [of the Government Code] provides that an officer or employee of a state or local public agency may not make a contract in which he or she is financially interested." the brief argues that courts have interpreted Section 1090 to require only a financial interest and not a financial benefit for there to be a conflict-of-interest. The brief concludes, "Insofar as the trial court misapplied the law to the facts in this case, the judgment should be reversed."

The request was sent by fax on July 27, 2011, two days after the San Leandro City Council voted to file its own amicus curiae in support of ETHD.

In its own brief, the City of San Leandro described Sutter's argument that "the interest of the district and respondent Eden Medical Center "EMC" were perfectly aligned" as "sheer sophistry." The City's brief states, "…San Leandro Hospital is far from being an underutilized community resource. It is only when the Sutter views this vital community resource through the lens of private economic gain and profitability that shutting it down for an alternate use rises to a 'highest and best use.'"

The City's brief also makes the same argument about the conflict-of-interest of Bischalaney and Rico by stating "…that no person can, at one and the same time, faithfully serve two masters representing diverse or inconsistent interests with respect to the service performed."

The California Nurses Association's amicus curiae brief, filed on August 8, 2011, states that in 2008, while Bischalaney was CEO for ETHD and as CEO and Director for EMC, Bischalaney received a total of $601,865 in compensation from EMC and Sutter-related organizations. The brief also states that Rico was a 56% owner of Alameda Anesthesia Associates Medical Group, which received $2.2 million from EMC/Sutter each year in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

While there is no guarantee that an amicus curiae brief will affect a court's decision, the amicus filed by the California Attorney General, which is responsible for enforcement of government code on conflict-of-interest, is certain to have supporters of San Leandro Hospital optimistic that the trial court decision will be overturned.

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July 26, 2011

San Leandro City Council to File Amicus Brief Supporting Keeping San Leandro Hospital Open

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.

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July 8, 2011

Former San Leandro City Manager Lee Riordan Dies

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Former San Leandro City Manager Lee Riordan
Former San Leandro City Manager LeRoy E. "Lee" Riordan died on July 2, 2011, after a brief illness. Riordan started working in San Leandro's finance department in 1952 after working as an Administrative Analyst for the US Air Force. He was appointed Assistant City Manager in 1956 and served in that position for 20 years before he was appointed City Manager in 1976 when Wes McClure retired. After ten years as City Manager, Riordan retired briefly and then served as the City Manager for Monterey from 1987 until 1991. From 1991 until 1996, Riordan served as the Advisor to the Mayor Association of Monterey County.

Elected officials and city officials who worked with Riordan had nothing but praise for him. John Jermanis, who worked under Riordan, said, "Lee was a great guy; he was highly regarded by his many friends and colleagues and will be missed." Jermanis noted that "he [Riordan] placed an emphasis on disaster training for staff" and also worked with the City Council to establish a reserve fund (later used in 1998 for the Hillside Drive landslides).

Former San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos said of Riordan, "He assisted me in learning about city budgets; I came from the private sector and did not have experience in city budgeting."

Bob Glaze, the former Councilmember for District 4, said, "He was strong but could sit down and help to bring people to consensus. His "can do" attitude was instrumental in the return of the Cherry festival, cherry tree plantings, the cherry symbol of the street signs and the celebration of the city and the people."

Former Mayor Shelia Young said she will "remember him as someone who had a passion for San Leandro and lived it."

Riordan was City Manager when Proposition 13 was passed and when recession drove interest rates to all-time highs. Financing became so prohibitive that a planned multi-story shopping center with underground parking could not be completed, but was salvaged in a public-private deal resulting in the large parking lot and single story buildings known as Washington Plaza Shopping Center.

Projects started while Riordan was City Manager include the Greenhouse Market Place, Parkside apartments, and Marina Square shopping center (formerly Pacific High School). The Marina Inn and the original Tony Lema 18-hole golf course were completed under Riordan's tenure.

After his second retirement, Riordan served as a Range Rider from 1997 until 2003, making "the counsel, experience and support of respected retired City Managers available to active local government Managers and Administrators."

Riordan served as the President of the Municipal Management Association of Northern California in the 1950s and was a member of the Board of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

Mayor Stephen Cassidy adjourned the July 5, 2011, meeting of the City Council in memory of Riordan and flags will be flown at half-staff at City facilities for one week. No information about funeral services was available.

Update: Corrected to eliminate Blue Dolphin as construction began in 1965, prior to Riordan's tenure as City Manager.

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May 19, 2011

Wide Support for St. Rose/San Leandro Hospital Merger at Town Hall

Supporters of San Leandro Hospital came out in force to a Town Hall meeting held on May 17, 2011, at the San Leandro Senior Center. Speakers included California State Senator Ellen Corbett, St. Rose Hospital CEO and President Michael Mahoney, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy, Vice Mayor Michael Gregory, and Eden Township Healthcare District Director Carole Rogers.

Under the proposed plan, St. Rose and San Leandro Hospitals would merge operations and be owned by Eden Township Healthcare District. Details on the finances of such a move have not been released and Sutter has not indicated whether it would support such a plan.

If you missed the meeting, here are the speeches, courtesy of Mia Ousley:


California State Senator Ellen Corbett


Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan


Carole Rogers, Eden Township Healthcare District Director


San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy


Michael Mahoney, St. Rose President and CEO

More speeches after the break


Nurse Carol Barazi


Michael Gregory, San Leandro Vice Mayor


Miles Adler, former Eden Medical Center Chief of Staff


Vin Sawhney, Eden Township Healthcare District Director


John Kalafatich (Big John)

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May 12, 2011

County to Adopt Negative Declaration for San Leandro Creek Hazardous Tree Project

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In a notice sent out on May 11, 2011, the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District stated its intent to adopt a mitigated negative declaration for the San Leandro Creek Hazardous Tree Management Project. This means that the "significant effects of the project noted in the attached Initial Study have been eliminated or mitigated by revisions to the project so that the potential adverse effects are reduced to a point where no significant effects would occur."

The notice is the start of a 20-day period in which members of the public can review and comment on the Initial Study. The review period ends at 9am on May 31, 2011.

The project has been scaled back from earlier proposals and now involves the removal of 17 trees, pruning of 15 trees, and trimming back two trees in a total of three areas of San Leandro Creek near Huff Avenue (location 1), Cary Drive, Haas Avenue and Bancroft Middle School (location 2), and St. Mary Avenue (location 3). The Initial Study includes photos showing what the areas would like once the project is completed (pages 18-25).

More information about the project previous community meetings can be found at http://www.acgov.org/pwa/SanLeandroCreekTreeHazardous.shtml

If you disagree with the Initial Study's conclusion that there will no "significant adverse impacts," email your comments to jimb@acpwa.org or send them to:

Mr. Kwablah Attiogbe, Environmental Services Manager
Alameda County Flood Control & Water Conservation District
399 Elmhurst Street
Hayward, CA 94544
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April 13, 2011

Alameda County Gives $100K to Operate San Leandro's Senior Center

At its meeting on April 12, 2011, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved a measure that will help fund operations at San Leandro's senior center. The measure, mentioned by Supervisor Wilma Chan at her open house on April 9, allocates $50,000 a year for two years.

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April 10, 2011

San Leandro Proclaims April 10 as Nonito "Flash" Donaire Day

In an event organized by San Leandro School Board trustee Hermy Almonte, Lions Club President Leroy Smith, and State Assembly candidate Jennifer Ong, an absent Nonito Donaire Jr. was honored for his boxing accomplishments and providing inspiration to others. San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy and Vice Mayor Ursula Reed read a proclamation declaring April 10, 2011, as "Nonito Donaire, Jr. Day."

While Donaire Jr. and his father weren't able to make the event, Donaire's brother and fellow boxer Glenn and mother Imelda were on hand to receive proclamations and commendations from a variety of elected officials and their representatives. Representatives from State Senator Ellen Corbett's office, State Assemblymember Mary Hayashi's office, State Assemblymember Fiona Ma's office, and Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan's office all feted Donaire. Finally, Philippine Deputy Consul General Wilfredo Santos thanked the Donaire brothers for "bringing so much honor and glory to the Bay Area Filipino-American community."

Donaire was born in the Philippines but was raised in San Leandro and graduated from San Lorenzo High School. After winning three national amateur championships in 1998, 1999, and 2000, Donaire began to box professionally in 2001. In 2007, Donaire won the IBF and IBO flyweight world titles and went on to win the WBA Super Flyweight Interim World Title in 2009. In February 2011, Donaire defeated Fernando Montiel to win the WBC and WBO bantamweight world titles.

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Supervisor Chan Has Plans to Keep San Leandro Hospital Open, Help Fund Senior Center

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Newly-elected Alameda County District 3 Supervisor Wilma Chan held an open house at her Hesperian Blvd. district office on Saturday, April 9. Chan's district office staff includes former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young, Gene Calderon, who worked for Chan's predecessor Alice Lai-Bitker, and Kevin Cunningham. After a flag ceremony by local girl scouts, Chan addressed a crowd of elected officials and constituents of her district.

For San Leandro, Chan said that on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors will vote on a measure that would provide $50,000 each of the next two years to help fund the operation of the newly opened San Leandro Senior Center. Chan said she expects the measure to pass, despite a 19th straight year of budget cuts for the County.

On San Leandro Hospital, Chan sounded optimistic, saying "We're working very hard on San Leandro Hospital and I'm happy to tell you too (it's certainly not done) but we have at least two viable plans to keep the hospital open."

Chan said that she was working to rename the street in front of Bayfair Center and noted that the Chamber of Commerce is interested in this as well. San Leandro Bytes followed up with Calderon, who stated that the street in question is Fairmont Drive. The idea is to give Bayfair Center some extra attention by adding its name to exit signs on Interstate 580. Fairmont Drive runs from Hesperian Boulevard to Lake Chabot.

With recent storms causing at least one large branch to fall at San Leandro Creek, Chan stated, "We'll have three public hearings, probably [starting] in the first week of May" concerning trees in San Leandro Creek so that the beauty of the area can be preserved and homeowners can be safe. To date, there have been five community workshops on trees in San Leandro Creek, after an initial meeting in May 2010.

She's also working with the Chamber to match businesses with local schools, noting the financial situation facing local governments, where local services are being cut.

Update: Corrected the name of Chan's staff member.

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April 8, 2011

County Supervisor Wilma Chan Open House on Saturday 4/9

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Wilma Chan, the Alameda County Supervisor representing District 3, which includes San Leandro, is having an open house on Saturday, April 9, from 10am-12pm. This is your chance to meet your new Supervisor.

Chan was elected in June 2010 after Alice Lai-Bitker decided not to seek re-election. Chan held the same County Supervisor seat from 1994 until 2000, when she was elected to the California State Assembly, where she served three terms. In 2008, she ran for California State Senate against Loni Hancock and lost.

The open house will be held at Chan's district office at 15903 Hesperian Boulevard in San Lorenzo. RSVP to Gene Calderon at gene.calderon@acgov.org or (510) 278-0367.

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March 22, 2011

Happy Alice Sarafian Day!

San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy proclaimed March 22, 2011, as Alice Sarafian Day at the San Leandro City Council meeting on March 21, 2011.

Sarafian was among those receiving commendations for their service on San Leandro's boards and commissions. Sarafian was appointed to the Human Services Commission in 1984 and has served as the District 1 member and the At-Large member. From 1985 to 1987, Sarafian was the President of the San Leandro League of Women Voters. In 1977, she was Board President of Girls' Inc.

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March 8, 2011

New Census Data Puts San Leandro's 2010 Population at 84,950

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%.

This data was compiled by California's State Data Center, part of the Department of Finance, from U.S. Census reports and data.

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February 24, 2011

San Leandro Civic Pioneer Faith Frazier Dies at 85

Faith Frazier
Faith Frazier
Former San Leandro City Councilmember Faith Frazier died on February 20, 2011, at the age of 85. Frazier was the third woman elected to the San Leandro City Council in 1974 and was re-elected in 1978 over future Mayor Dave Karp. Her husband served on the City Council from 1954 to 1960.

After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, Frazier taught in Hayward, San Leandro, and Oakland for 20 years. Frazier also wrote for The Morning News, a local newspaper, during the 1960s.

In the mid-1950s, Frazier and Harriet Engberg formed the Civic Information and Education Group (CIEG) to encourage women to get involved in city government and run for office.

During the 1960s and 1970, Frazier helped coordinate campaigns with campaign consultants Dave Hauser and Jim Zeno. In 1962, Frazier was appointed to the Library Board of Trustees, where she served until she was elected to the City Council in 1974.

Among her other civic activities:

  • Founding member of Bonaire Civic League
  • Charter member of San Leandro League of Women Voters
  • Charter member of the San Leandro Arts Council
  • Founder of Political Action Committee for Excellence (PACE), a group of women that supports women for elective office

Frazier remained active in politics into her 80s, attending the Hayward Demos Fall Fundraiser and endorsing Pauline Cutter for City Council and Measure Z. Her legacy was honored when her name was submitted as a candidate for the name of the new San Leandro High School ninth grade campus.

Funeral services have not yet been released.

More details: A press release from the City of San Leandro and San Leandro Patch coverage.

Editor's Note: Much of the information in this article comes from former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young, who wrote a short biography of Faith Frazier.

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January 21, 2011

San Leandro Improves to a "C" For Efforts to Discourage Smoking

In its 2010 State of Tobacco Control report, the American Lung Association of California gave the City of San Leandro a "C" for its efforts to discourage smoking. The report grades California cities in areas such as smokefree housing, reducing sales of tobacco products, and regulating outdoor smoking.

San Leandro's grade is an improvement from the "F" it received in 2009, and results from action that the San Leandro City Council took in December 2009 to tighten restrictions on smoking in public places, work places, recreational areas and athletic facilities in the city.

Neighboring cities did not improve from two years ago: Alameda received an "F," Hayward received a "C" and Oakland received a "B." Union City and Albany received the highest scores in Alameda County.

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December 22, 2010

Christmas Lights in San Leandro 2010

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975 Estudillo Avenue

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769 Sybil Avenue

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739 Portola Drive

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15102 Chapel Court

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15118 Chapel Court

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15164 Wiley Street

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1514 Sagewood Avenue

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December 6, 2010

Skeleton Biker Transforms Into Santa

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The 16-foot-tall skeleton biker on Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro has transformed into Santa for the Christmas holidays.

Huge holiday decorations at the house of local realtors Antonio and Alexia Cardenas is becoming an annual tradition. Last year, a haunted castle was built on the Cardenas' lawn.

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December 2, 2010

Student Chess Tournament at Library January 8

joy_luck_club_cover.jpg Students from Kindergarten to 12th grade will have the opportunity to compete in "The Joy Luck Club" Chess Tournament on January 8, 2011, at the San Leandro Library. The tournament, sponsored by the library and Bay Area Chess, is the first event of The Big Read, San Leandro's city-wide celebration of Amy Tan’s “The Joy Luck Club.”

A $10 registration fee is required for entrants and registration can be completed at the library's information desk. Players must already know how to play chess and children less than 10 years old must bring a parent. Contestants will compete in round-robin format in groups of four. Trophies and certificates will be awarded to winners.

Future events include a read-a-thon of The Joy Luck Club, a Joy Luck Club Lunar New Year Celebration, and a Mother Daughter Dim Sum Lunch & Fashion Show.

The chess tournament will be held from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday, January 8 from 10 am to 5 pm at the San Leandro Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue. For more information, call (510) 577-3957.

San Leandro's Big Read is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest.

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November 19, 2010

San Leandro Creek Tree Removal Open House on Dec. 7, 2010

According to a flyer from the Alameda County Flood Control & Water Conservation District, an Open House on the San Leandro Creek hazardous tree removal will be held on Tuesday, December 7, 2010.

The flyer states, "The Open House will feature a variety of exhibit stations that will provide an overview of the project, the tree-risk rating system, the environmental review process, schedule, and information on the construction plans."

This is the sixth meeting focusing on the proposed removal of trees considered hazardous from three areas of San Leandro Creek near Huff Avenue, Cary Drive, and St. Marys Avenue. Workshops were previously held on June 22, June 29, July 13, and August 25, 2010, after an initial meeting at the San Leandro Library on May 20, 2010.

The Open House will be held at Bancroft Middle School at 7pm on December 7, 2010. Bancroft Middle School is located at 1150 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.

For more information, see http://www.acgov.org/pwa/SanLeandroCreekTreeHazardous.shtml.

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November 15, 2010

Encore of Race to Nowhere Tomorrow at Bal Theatre

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An encore screening of the documentary film "Race to Nowhere" will take place at the Bal Theatre in San Leandro on Tuesday, November 16, 2010. According to the film's promotional material, it is "about the pressures faced by American schoolchildren and their teachers in a system and culture obsessed with the illusion of achievement, competition and the pressure to perform."

The 85-minute film has local connections, with scenes filmed at Roosevelt Elementary in San Leandro and Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland. Maimone Attia, the film's writer and cinematographer, attended Roosevelt Elementary, Bancroft Middle School, and San Leandro High School.

Writer Maimone Attia and Roosevelt teacher Richard Fishbaugh will be on-hand to introduce the film and participate in a question-and-answer session after the movie.

A review from the Los Angeles Times said ""Race to Nowhere" offers hope in the form of new models. For starters, there's the no-homework movement. Imagine." According to the New York Times, the film "doesn't entirely succeed" in presenting "a single, clear, narrative" but does "admirably convey the complexity of the issue with considerably more compassion than prescription." Oprah.com writes, "The groundbreaking documentary, Race to Nowhere is an investigation into the pressures American children and their teachers face in our achievement-obsessed education system and culture. See if the film is screening in your area. You’ll be inspired to make some changes, big and small, for the health of your kids."

The movie begins at 7pm. The Bal Theatre is located at 14808 East 14th Street in San Leandro. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at the Bal Theatre web site.

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October 21, 2010

Free Whooping Cought Shots Tues. October 26

Davis Street Family Resource Center is offering free whooping cough shots on Tuesday, October 26, 2010, from 3pm to 7pm.

Pertussis, known as whooping cough, was characterized as an epidemic in California in June 2010, by Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health. It is highly contagious and is deadly for young infants. According to the Alameda County Department of Public Health, there have been 275 cases of pertussis this year and no deaths in Alameda County. In California, there have 5,658 cases and 9 deaths, nearly all infants younger than three months.

According to a flyer about the free shots, "You need a whooping cough booster if;"

  • You are an adult and have never had a whooping cough booster shot

  • You are 10 years or older

  • You are new parents or caretaker of a baby younger than one year

  • You are a child 7-9 years and missing 1 or more DPaT shots

  • You are a child entering 7th through 12th grade you will need proof of a Tdap booster shot before starting school for the 2011-2012 school year"

Davis Street Family Resource Center is located at 3081 Teagarden Street in San Leandro.

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October 17, 2010

New Report Pegs San Leandro With Highest Rate of Tuberculosis in Alameda County

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A July 2010 report by the Alameda County Department of Public Health (ACDPH) shows San Leandro with the highest rate of tuberculosis and a high rate of asthma-related emergency room visits. Numerous statistics and comparisons related to a variety of health and well-being measures are included in the report. The report, entitled "The Health of Alameda County Cities and Places" was prepared by the ACDPH and commissioned by Hospital Council of Northern and Central California and generally covers data from 2006 to 2008.

For San Leandro, some of the most interesting findings are the high rate of tuberculosis, the high crime and homicide mortality rate, and the high incidence of asthma.

"The purpose of the report is to inform the hospital community about the health status of county and city residents; to identify gaps in services; and to assist in developing programs that target appropriate population sub-groups and health conditions." The report notes that "communities of color and low-income communities continue to fare poorest on most key health indicators" but does not delve into the root causes for any of the conditions or gaps identified.

The rate of tuberculosis cases in San Leandro was highest in Alameda County with 13.8 cases per 100,000 from 2007 to 2009, compared to the county average of 9.8. In real numbers, that means about 11 cases of tuberculosis in San Leandro, since the population is less than 100,000. San Leandro had the third-highest rate of HIV/AIDS cases, behind Emeryville and Oakland. For sexually-transmitted diseases, San Leandro was well below the county average.

In the crime category, San Leandro has the fourth highest rate of property crime out of the 15 Alameda County cities, behind Berkeley, Emeryville, and Oakland. For violent crime, San Leandro trails only Oakland and Emeryville. San Leandro's rate of assault emergency department visits was second highest, behind Oakland.

One of the more surprising statistics was the homicide mortality by city, with San Leandro's rate of 13.2 per 100,000 second only to Oakland's 23.5 per 100,000. Since the rate is based on where the person resided rather than where the person was killed, this may be skewed by San Leandro residents who were killed elsewhere.

The top three leading causes of death in San Leandro are the same as for Alameda County as a whole: heart disease, cancer, and stroke. Those born in San Leandro have a life expectancy of 81 years, slightly below the 81.4 years for Alameda County as a whole and well below the 88.2 years of Emeryville.

San Leandro Unified School District had the fifth-highest percentage of overweight children (33.6%), behind Emeryville (50.3%), Hayward (38.4%), San Lorenzo (36.4%), and Oakland (36.4%).

San Leandro was below the county average for diabetes mortality, hospitalization for coronary heart disease, and stroke hospitalization, but third highest for stroke mortality. San Leandro had the third-highest rate of asthma emergency visits, behind Oakland and Hayward and the second-highest rate of asthma hospitalization for children less than five years old.

The lung cancer rate for San Leandro was fourth highest, behind Alameda, Oakland, and Livermore, but the mortality rate from lung cancer was third highest. San Lorenzo had the highest rate of colorectal cancer, while San Leandro was below the county average. San Leandro was below the county's rate for both female breast cancer and prostate cancer.

For injuries, San Leandro had a rate of unintentional injury emergency department visits slightly higher than the county average with deaths from unintentional injuries below the county average. Death from motor vehicle accidents in San Leandro was the second-lowest rate in the county.

San Leandro had the fifth-highest rate of teen births, just above the county average.

An estimated 15% of adults and 6% of children in San Leandro don't have health insurance.

The report notes some stark differences between ethnic groups, but not at the city level.

The complete 278-page report can be downloaded from http://www.acphd.org/AXBYCZ/Admin/DataReports/cape_00_health_accities_fullrpt.pdf. The overall findings for Alameda County as a whole are contained in the Executive Summary.

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October 15, 2010

Former City Manager Jermanis' Team Wins Trivia Bee

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Former San Leandro City Manager John Jermanis' team was the only team to correctly answer all of the last round of questions to win Project Literacy's 17th annual Trivia Bee held on October 15, 2010, at the Marina Community Center. Second place went to the Gift Shop - Friends of the Library Team. After a tie with the Yes on Measure M and Singers & the Chap Next Door teams, the Chapman King team came in third.

As in past years, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Kurtz read questions for the first round and Leslie Frates, a San Leandro resident and former professor at Cal State East Bay who has appeared on the television quiz show Jeopardy 14 times, read questions for the second and third rounds. Kathy Kurtz served as the official time keeper and John Kaplan was the emcee. Students from San Leandro High School acted as scorekeepers for each of the thirty teams.

In addition to the Trivia Bee, a raffle featured a flat-screen television, Disneyland tickets, an iPod Touch, and dozens of other prizes from local businesses and individuals. Funds raised by the Trivia Bee help Project Literacy to provide literacy services to more than 200 adults and 1,500 kids each year.

Thirty teams competed in the annual fundraiser that brings in more than $10,000 each year for Project Literacy. Teams included businesses like State Roofing Systems, California Conservatory Theater, San Leandro Players, the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, Wells Fargo, and the San Leandro Police Officers Association.

Among the political teams, Stephen Cassidy for Mayor and Joyce, Our Choice tied in the third round, followed closely by Mayor Tony Santos' team. The Mike Katz for School Board team (that's me) didn't make it past the second round and the Pontificators for Pauline Cutter team didn't make it past the first round. Santos, Cassidy and Katz were members of their teams; Cutter and Starosciak were not.

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October 14, 2010

17th Annual Trivia Bee Friday October 15

Project Literacy's 17th Annual Trivia Bee will be held on Friday, October 15, 2010, at the Marina Community Center. The annual fundraiser for Project Literacy raises more than $10,000 each year and includes a raffle for prizes such as an iPod Touch and tickets to Disneyland.

Dinner starts at 6pm and tickets are available at the door for $30. The trivia competition begins at 7:30pm.

Thirty teams are signed up to compete, including last year's winners, Alameda County Firefighters Local 55. Since this is an election year, political teams include Mayoral candidates Stephen Cassidy, Tony Santos and Joyce Starosciak, City Council candidate Pauline Cutter, School Board candidate Mike Katz (that's me), and the "Yes on Measure M" team, supporting the school bond. Previous winning teams San Leandro Players and Twenty Four Desperate Lost Heroes will also be vying for the top spot.

The Marina Community Center is located at 15301 Wicks Blvd. in San Leandro.

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September 29, 2010

Learn About Ranked Choice Voting Tonight

For the first time in San Leandro, ranked choice (instant runoff) voting will be used to decide which of five candidates becomes the next Mayor in the November 2010 election. If you have questions about ranked choice voting (RCV), there will be a meeting tonight at All Saints Church where you can learn about RCV and have your questions answered.

The meeting starts at 7pm on Wednesday September 29 (tonight). All Saints Church is located at 911 Dowling Avenue in San Leandro, next to Roosevelt Elementary School.

For those who can't make it tonight, you can learn about RCV from a Registrar of Voters representative at the Democratic Headquarters at 7pm on Tuesday, October 5. The Democratic Headquarters is located at 15069 E. 14th Street in San Leandro.

If you prefer using your computer, there is an online webinar offered by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters on Friday, October 8 at 3pm. Click here to register for the webinar.

The Registrar will also hold presentations on RCV on Saturday, October 9, 2010, at the San Leandro Library at 1pm and the Marina Community Center at 11:30am on Tuesday, October 12, 2010. The San Leandro Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue and the Marina Community Center is located at 15301 Wicks Boulevard.

All of these events are free. More information about RCV can be found at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters web site. A mockup demonstration of RCV can be found at the DemoChoice web site. There are also some helpful online videos:

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September 17, 2010

Volunteers to Build Playground Saturday at Toyon Park

Volunteers will help build a new playground at Toyon Park on Saturday, September 18, 2010, from 8am to 4pm. Toyon Park is currently the only park in San Leandro without playground equipment, but that will end tomorrow with support from the San Leandro Rotary, KaBOOM!, Amgen, and the City of San Leandro.

Toyon Park is located at 14500 Bancroft Avenue, next to Jefferson Elementary.

For more information, see the City of San Leandro Kaboom web page.

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September 16, 2010

Race to Nowhere Screens at Bal Theatre Monday September 20

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The documentary film "Race to Nowhere" will be screened at the Bal Theatre in San Leandro on Monday, September 20, 2010. According to the film's promotional material, it is "about the pressures faced by American schoolchildren and their teachers in a system and culture obsessed with the illusion of achievement, competition and the pressure to perform."

The 85-minute film has local connections, with scenes filmed at Roosevelt Elementary in San Leandro and Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland. Maimone Attia, the film's writer and cinematographer, attended Roosevelt Elementary, Bancroft Middle School, and San Leandro High School.

Director Vicki Abeles and writer Attia will be on-hand to introduce the film and participate in a question-and-answer session after the movie.

A review from the Los Angeles Times said ""Race to Nowhere" offers hope in the form of new models. For starters, there's the no-homework movement. Imagine." According to the New York Times, the film "doesn't entirely succeed" in presenting "a single, clear, narrative" but does "admirably convey the complexity of the issue with considerably more compassion than prescription." Oprah.com writes, "The groundbreaking documentary, Race to Nowhere is an investigation into the pressures American children and their teachers face in our achievement-obsessed education system and culture. See if the film is screening in your area. You’ll be inspired to make some changes, big and small, for the health of your kids."

The screening also serves as a fundraiser for the San Leandro Education Foundation, which will receive a portion of the $9 ticket.

Doors open at 6pm and the movie begins at 7pm. The Bal Theatre is located at 14808 East 14th Street in San Leandro. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at the Bal Theatre web site.

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August 14, 2010

Meeting on San Leandro Creek Tree Removal August 25

According to a notice from the Alameda County Public Works Agency, a public workshop on removing hazardous trees from San Leandro Creek will be held on August 25, 2010.

This is the fifth meeting focusing on the proposed removal of trees considered hazardous from three areas of San Leandro Creek near Huff Avenue, Cary Drive, and St. Marys Avenue. Workshops were previously held on June 22, June 29, and July 13, 2010, after an initial meeting at the San Leandro Library on May 20, 2010.

A specifications document (Specification No. FC 13-37) that was part of a bid proposal for the project stated that a total of 46 trees would be removed: 10 trees from location 1 near Huff Avenue, 11 trees from location 2 near Cary Drive, Haas Avenue and Bancroft Middle School, and 25 from location 3 near St. Marys Avenue.

More information about the project is available from the Alameda County Public Works Agency, including:

The meeting will be held on August 25, 2010, from 6:30 to 8pm in the Karp Room of the San Leandro Public Library. The San Leandro Public Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro.

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August 13, 2010

State Water Board Lists Lower San Leandro Creek as Impaired

The 9.3 miles of San Leandro Creek closest to the San Francisco Bay were recently listed by the State Water Resources Control Board as impaired because of trash and the chemical diazinon. Lower San Leandro Creek had already been listed as impaired because of diazinon, but the update to the Clean Water Act now includes trash as a determining factor in whether a waterway is impaired. The trash in Lower San Leandro Creek was attributed to illegal dumping and urban runoff carried by storm sewers. Diazinon is an organophosphate insecticide that was used to control insects such as cockroaches and fleas and was used on golf courses.

Upper San Leandro Creek, on the other hand, supports a cold freshwater habitat and was listed as supporting some beneficial uses. It was not listed as impaired.

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August 6, 2010

Drink at Drakes to Support Education on Friday, August 6

This month, Friday Night tastings at Drakes Brewing on Friday August 6 will help raise money for the San Leandro Education Foundation.

Each Friday Night, Drake's supports a local school or non-profit. Children may accompany their parents. A $5 donation is request and for $15, you get a Drakes glass and three full pours.

Drakes is located at West Gate Center in the area between Wal-Mart and Sports Authority. For more information, see http://drakesbrewing.blogspot.com/

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July 30, 2010

Dowtown BART Station Gets $4.6 Million MTC Grant for Streetscaping

According to a press release issued today from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, a $4.6 million Livable Communities Grant was awarded to improve the pedestrian area on San Leandro Boulevard between Williams Street and the downtown BART station.

The description states,

Construct San Leandro Blvd Streetscape from Williams St. to Davis Street including pedestrian crossings, traffic signals, street lights. Construct bike racks, pedestrian crossings, wayfinding and bus shelter on E 14th St and Downtown Area.

The purpose of the Transportation for Livable Communities program, according to the press release, "is to support community-based transportation projects that bring new vibrancy to downtown areas, commercial cores, neighborhoods and transit corridors, making them places where people want to live, work and visit. Pedestrian- and transit-friendly developments are hallmarks of the program."

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July 9, 2010

Family Night at Farrelly Pool Tonight 6:30pm to 8pm

Supporters of Farrelly Pool have once again organized a series of family nights on Thursday nights to encourage attendance at the pool. This year, the pool was kept open with the help of an anonymous $35,000 donation to cover what San Leandro expects to lose by keeping the pool open. The pool had been slated to close in the summer of 2009 and again this year as a result of City budget cuts.

Farrelly is open for public swimming Monday through Thursday from 6:30pm to 8pm and has grills for barbecues.

Openings are still available for swim lessons at Farrelly throughout the summer. For more information and to enroll, visit http://sanleandrorec.org.

Admission is $5. Farrelly Pool is located next to Roosevelt Elementary at 864 Dutton Avenue in San Leandro.

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July 5, 2010

Third Workshop on San Leandro Creek Tree Removal Will be Held July 13

According to a notice from the Alameda County Public Works Agency, the third public workshop on removing hazardous trees from San Leandro Creek will be held on July 13, 2010.

These workshops are in response to the outcry from San Leandro community members who felt that Alameda County failed to properly the notify neighbors of San Leandro Creek about the tree removal plans. According to the notice, "The third workshop is focused on the area at the end of St. Mary Avenue, and is intended to seek input from area residents on approaches to address tree hazards on District properties in San Leandro Creek." Previous meetings were held on June 22 and June 29, 2010.

After a meeting held at the San Leandro Library on May 20, 2010, Daniel Woldesenbet, the Director of the Alameda County Public Works Agency, sent an email to residents, stating:

This is to inform you that the District has decided to suspend the proposed Hazard Tree Removal Project, and start the process again. In the past we heard a lot more from those who would like the trees removed, and assumed that it was the desire of the overall community. However, from what we heard last night, that assumption was not entirely correct. Therefore, based on the feedback from the community meeting, yesterday evening, I have decided that it would be better to re-start a new process that will better engage community members along the creek. To this end, we will arrange for a series of separate meetings with residents along St. Mary's Avenue, Huff Avenue and Cary Drive.


We will communicate with community members that left contact information yesterday as well as mail out letters advising of the upcoming meetings.


Note: The hazard associated with this trees remains, and the need to address this hazard in a timely manner is essential. As such, we will initiate the community process in the very near future.

The workshop will be held on July 13, 2010, from 7 to 9pm at Bancroft Middle School. Bancroft Middle School is located at 1150 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.

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June 6, 2010

Pee Wee's is now Papa John's

Papa Johns in the former Pee Wee's location

Pee Wee's Pizza on E. 14th Street has been replaced by Papa John's, a chain of more than 3,000 restaurants based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Pee Wee's Pizza had been serving pizza for more than 50 years when it burned down in September 2006. A fundraiser was held weeks later at Tommy Ts to raise money for the owners to rebuild since the property was not insured. For a time, it appeared that the owners were rebuilding.

Papa John's is open every day from 11am to 9:30pm and is located at 2198 E. 14th Street in San Leandro.

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June 3, 2010

First Workshop on San Leandro Creek Tree Removal Will be Held June 22

According to a notice from the Alameda County Public Works Agency, a public workshop on removing hazardous trees from San Leandro Creek will be held on June 22, 2010. [Note: The notice incorrectly states that the meeting is on Thursday, but it is on Tuesday.}

These workshops are in response to the outcry from San Leandro community members who felt that Alameda County failed to properly the notify neighbors of San Leandro Creek about the tree removal plans. According to the notice, "The first meeting is focused on the area near Huff Avenue, and is intended to seek input from area residents on approaches to address tree hazards on District properties in San Leandro Creek."

A request for qualifications/proposal was issued by the Alameda County Public Works Agency in February 2009. That document stated, "It is anticipated that as many as 500 to 1,000 or more [hazardous and non-native] trees will be removed." in three phases over 3 to 5 years in the area from Ramona Way and Interstate 580 in San Leandro. The first phase included three locations at "(1) Huff Avenue, (2) Carey Drive, and (3) St. Mary Avenue."

A subsequent specifications document (Specification No. FC 13-37) that was part of a bid proposal, stated that a total of 46 trees would be removed: 10 trees from location 1 near Huff Avenue, 11 trees from location 2 near Carey Drive, Haas Avenue and Bancroft Middle School, and 25 from location 3 near St. Marys Avenue.

After a meeting held at the San Leandro Library on May 20, 2010, Daniel Woldesenbet, the Director of the Alameda County Public Works Agency, sent an email to residents, stating:

This is to inform you that the District has decided to suspend the proposed Hazard Tree Removal Project, and start the process again. In the past we heard a lot more from those who would like the trees removed, and assumed that it was the desire of the overall community. However, from what we heard last night, that assumption was not entirely correct. Therefore, based on the feedback from the community meeting, yesterday evening, I have decided that it would be better to re-start a new process that will better engage community members along the creek. To this end, we will arrange for a series of separate meetings with residents along St. Mary's Avenue, Huff Avenue and Cary Drive.


We will communicate with community members that left contact information yesterday as well as mail out letters advising of the upcoming meetings.


Note: The hazard associated with this trees remains, and the need to address this hazard in a timely manner is essential. As such, we will initiate the community process in the very near future.

Gary Molitor, a vocal critic of the County's plan, asserts that the County's real goal is to get rid of all Eucalyptus trees in San Leandro Creek. Molitor has formed a group called San Leandro Creek Conservation Group with a web site at http://www.sanleandrocreek.org/. He plans to to "be a continued presences in scrutinizing their [Alameda County Public Works] plans for the creek."

The workshop will be held on June 22, 2010, from 7 to 9pm at Bancroft Middle School. Bancroft Middle School is located at 1150 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.

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May 12, 2010

Business Fair for Local Businesses on Tuesday, May 18

The Alameda County Redevelopment Agency announced in an undated press release last week that the second annual Mid-County Business Fair will be held on May 18, 2010. This event offers free seminars for small businesses in Hayward, San Leandro, and the surrounding unincorporated areas.

According to the press release, "The fair will offer seminars including Accessing Capital in Challenging Times and Increasing Sales via the Web and E-Networking, along with Peer Networking."

The business fair is sponsored by the Alameda County Redevelopment Agency, the City of Hayward, the City of San Leandro, the Castro Valley/Eden Area Chamber of Commerce, Hayward Chamber of Commerce, San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, and the Alameda County Small Business Development Center.

Participants can register at http://acsbdc.org/mid-county-fair.

The event will be held from 4:30pm to 7:30pm on May 18, 2010, in the Public Hearing Room, #160 at 224 W. Winton Avenue (part of the Alameda County Building Complex) in Hayward.

For more information, contact Cynthia Battenberg at (510) 577-3352 or Amy McDonough at (415) 215.3399.

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April 29, 2010

San Leandro's Population Tops 83,000

San Leandro's population was estimated at 83,183 as of January 1, 2010, according to a press release issued on April 29, 2010, by the Demographic Research Unit of the California Department of Finance. This is a 0.8% increase from San Leandro's population estimate of 82,531 in January 2009.

San Leandro's growth was less than Alameda County's overall growth rate of 1.1% (1,574,857) and California's growth rate of 1% (38,648,090). The fastest growing city in Alameda County was Dublin with a 1.8% growth rate and the slowest growing cities were Albany and Newark at 0.7%.

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April 27, 2010

City Bicycle Rides on Sunday, May 2

bike_sl_event_2010.jpg

The City of San Leandro and the San Leandro Downtown Association are sponsoring two bicycle rides on Sunday, May 2, 2010, to celebrate healthy and fun transportation.

Bicycle rides start at 11am near The Englander. The family bicycle ride will be relatively flat, last five miles, and includes a tour of the Dunsmuir House Grounds. A more challenging ride will also be available that takes a 13-mile loop around Lake Chabot.

After the rides, food, BBQ, and live music by Delta Wires, Stereo Freakout and Glimpse Trio will be available on Parrott Street between E. 14th Street and Washington Avenue.

For more information, see www.bikesl.org or call 510.357.1370.

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April 22, 2010

Les Miserables at San Leandro High School This Week and Weekend

les_miserables_logo.jpg San Leandro High School's spring musical of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables opened Wednesday, April 21, 2010, and continues with shows each day until Sunday, April 25..

The musical features student and professional musicians as part of a live orchestra. Previous productions have included West Side Story, Little Shop of Horrors and Grease.

Performances are scheduled for April 22, 23, and 24 at 7pm, Saturday, April 24 at 1pm, and Sunday, April 25 at 2pm. Tickets are $7 tonight, $10 Friday and Saturday night, and $8 for the Saturday and Sunday matinees.

San Leandro High School is located at 2200 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro. For tickets or more information contact Jeni Engler at jeniengler@sbcglobal.net.

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April 18, 2010

Donor Saves 2010 Farrelly Pool Swim Season

At Monday night's meeting, the San Leandro City Council will present a resolution accepting a $35,000 donation to operate Farrelly Pool for the 2010 summer swim season. Until that donation, Farrelly had been on the list of facilities and programs to be cut as part of the City's budget reductions.

In 2009, the Farrelly Pool swim season was saved, though reduced, when residents organized and spoke out at City Council meetings. Chief among those credited with saving the pool was Brian Murrell, whose daughter Lucinda was among those who spoke in support of saving the pool. Murrell also organized supporters and researched the history of the pool.

Despite efforts to increase attendance, which included family nights with free entertainment, revenue was not enough to keep the pool off of the budget chopping block for 2010.

However, in March this year, a possible donor indirectly contacted Councilmember Michael Gregory about Farrelly Pool. The donor wanted to know what it would take to keep Farrelly Pool open. Recreation and Human Services staff came up with a number to cover the City's estimated loss for operating the pool on a reduced Monday to Thursday schedule: $35,000.

Soon thereafter, Gregory contacted Murrell, who put together a presentation to help convince the possible donor to fund the swim season at Farrelly. The presentation and information about Farrelly can also be seen at the website Murrell created at http://farrelly.merl.us/.

Farrelly presentation

It was important that the donor make a decision quickly, because the Summer Activity Guide deadline was quickly approaching. If Farrelly Pool was not listed in the Summer Activity Guide, people would not be able to sign up for lessons or know that the pool was open, and the estimate to cover the City's cost would be far too little.

In the end, the donor was convinced and has made a $35,000 donation to keep Farrelly Pool open for the 2010 summer swim season. As he did last year, Murrell is trying to get the word out and get people to sign up for the swim classes and attend the recreational swims Monday to Thursday from 6:30pm to 8pm. Murrell is also looking for a ping pong table and more musicians to provide entertainment on family nights. Information on swim lessons can be found in the Summer Activity Guide.

The San Leandro City Council will meet at 7pm on Monday, April 19, 2010, in the City Council Chamber at 835 E. 14th Street.

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April 17, 2010

Save San Leandro Hospital Billboard Goes Up

hospital_billboard.jpg

Opponents of the closure of San Leandro Hospital recently gained a prominent visual aid to their campaign with a new billboard located nearly across the street from San Leandro Hospital.

The California Nurses Association-funded billboard states, "Don't Let Alameda County and Sutter Close San Leandro Hospital. Tell the Board to Save San Leandro Hospital." CNA Labor Representative Mike Brannan announced that the billboard would go up at the March 22 vigil to save San Leandro Hospital.

The CNA is aware that the billboard should have listed the web site as www.savesanleandrohospital.com and is working on fixing it.

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April 15, 2010

Alice in Wonderland at Bancroft Opens Thursday

Alice_Wonderland_logo.jpg The Bancroft Musical Theatre production of Alice in Wonderland opens Thursday, April 15, 2010, at Bancroft Middle School.

The musical features performances by 50 middle school students in the Disney Broadway production of the classic story. Previous productions have included Peter Pan and Beauty and the Beast.

Performances are scheduled for April 15, 16, and 17 at 7:30pm and Sunday April 18 at 3pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

Bancroft Middle School is located at 1150 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.

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April 9, 2010

Library Book Sale on Saturday, April 10

The Spring Friends of the San Leandro Library book sale will be held Saturday, April 10, 2010, at the San Leandro Library. More than 10,000 books will be offered for sale, including DVDs and VHS tapes. Categories of books include biographies, childrens, reference, science, science fiction, literature, sociology, history, humor, travel, and many others.

The sale starts at 9am for members of the Friends of the San Leandro Library and at 11am for the public. Friends of the San Leandro Library memberships can be purchased at the door and cost $10 for individuals and $15 for families.

The Friends of the San Leandro Library helps to fund programs and materials at the library such as the Summer Reading Program and carnival for kids, the Adult Summer Reading Program, reference books, and scholarships. For more information, call 510.577.3986.

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April 7, 2010

Davis Street Secures Loan to Buy its Building

The Davis Street Family Resource Center recently received a loan that will enable it "to complete the purchase of the building and immediately reduce agency overhead costs," said Executive Director Rose Padilla Johnson. The loan from the Northern California Community Loan Fund bridges the gap between the $1.7 million Davis Street has already raised and the $2.5 million cost of the building.

Davis Street has been raising money to buy the building for more than a year after a 2008 independent assessment on Davis Street's long-term sustainability recommended a capital campaign to purchase the building. Contributions to the campaign so far have included $500,000 each from the City of San Leandro and the Eden Township Healthcare District, and $100,000 from the Alameda County Behavioral Health Services Agency using Measure A funds, with the remainder from private foundations and local, corporate, and individual donations.

Davis Street is continuing its capital campaign to reach its goal of $3.5 million, which will help pay back the loan and fund capital improvements at the facility.

The Davis Street Family Resource Center serves low income families and individuals in San Leandro and the Eden area by providing family support services, medical and dental care, food, clothing, employment training, transportation, and children's services. For information on the capital campaign, visit https://www.davisstreet.org/Lists/CapitalCampaign/NewForm.aspx. Davis Street is located at 3081 Teagarden Street in San Leandro.

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March 30, 2010

Emergency Preparedness and Fire Safety Workshop Wed. March 31

A workshop on emergency preparedness and fire safety will be conducted by the Alameda County Fire Department at 7:00pm on Wednesday, March 31, 2010, at the San Leandro Library.

Topics covered in the workshop will include what to do before, during and after an earthquake, how to build an emergency kit and what items should be included and the proper way to store it. The workshop will also include fire prevention topics such as exit drills in the home, the importance of smoke alarms, kitchen fire safety and how to use a fire extinguisher.

The free workshop will be held in Conference Room B at the San Leandro Library, located at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro. For more information, call 510-618-3490.

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March 29, 2010

Downtown Symposium Tuesday Morning

downtown_symposium_2010.jpg

The City of San Leandro will hold a Downtown Symposium Tuesday March 30, 2010, from 8am until 11am. According to the press release from the city, "Guest speakers include representatives from the City of San Leandro, Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Downtown Association, as well as developers and others who are also actively involved in the Downtown’s transformation....Community members are encouraged to attend and learn how to get involved in the reshaping of Downtown San Leandro."

Refreshments will be available. Presentations are scheduled from 8:30am to 10:30am. The event will take place in the Karp Room of the San Leandro Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue. For more information contact Tim Ricard at 510-577-3315.

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March 24, 2010

Estabrook Senior Housing Nears Completion

estabrook_senior_housing_Mar2010.jpg

The Eden Housing Estabrook Senior Housing complex is nearing completion, as can be seen in the above photograph. The 51-unit facility will provide affordable housing for seniors with incomes that are at or below half of the local median income.

Construction started in March 2009 and is expected to be complete in the summer of 2010. Financing for the property included a HUD Section 202 Senior Housing Program construction grant of $7.3 million, a $2 million loan from the City of San Leandro, and a $2 million loan from the City of San Leandro Redevelopment Agency (both approved in July 2007).

The Estabrook Senior Housing is located at the southwest corner of Estabrook Street and E. 14th Street, directly across from McKinley Elementary.

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Public Hearing on Bus Rapid Transit Thursday March 25

The San Leandro Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) at its meeting on Thursday, March 25, 2010.

According to a notice from the city, "A.C. Transit has requested the City adopt a Locally Preferred Alternative for their proposed upgrading of the existing 1R bus line along East 14th Street to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). BRT would offer decreased travel times for bus passengers along the corridor by designating bus-only lanes on portions of East 14th Street."

The planning commission will discuss and recommend one of two proposed alternatives: one alternative would have BRT end at the downtown San Leandro BART station and the other would have BRT end at the Bayfair BART station. The complete BRT route goes from San Leandro through Oakland to downtown Berkeley.

BRT requires dedicated or partially-dedicated lanes for buses that make limited stops at elevated platforms. It promises to improve bus transit times, but AC Transit and its consultants acknowledge that it will increase transit times for automobile travel. In previous meetings, San Leandro Councilmembers Jim Prola and Michael Gregory have expressed support for BRT. Mayor Tony Santos has raised a number of concerns about BRT but has not expressed overall opposition to the project.

Concerns had been expressed by community members about the BRT route through downtown San Leandro, where traffic lanes are narrower. More recently, Councilmember Ursula Reed cited the loss of parking spaces along E. 14th Street in her city council district.

For more information about BRT, see the AC Transit web site.

The meeting will take place at 7pm on Thursday, March 25, 2010, in the City Council Chambers at 835 E. 14th Street in San Leandro.

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March 21, 2010

Vigil for San Leandro Hospital on Monday

A vigil to save San Leandro Hospital will be held on Monday, March 22, 2010, at 5:30pm. The goal of the vigil is to stop the closure of San Leandro Hospital by Sutter Health and Alameda County.

The Eden Township Healthcare District and Sutter Health are currently locked in a legal battle over the fate of San Leandro Hospital, spearheaded largely by Eden Township Director Carole Rogers.

A rally held in June 2009 featured a number of speakers, including California State Senator Ellen Corbett. A flyer for the event asks supporters of saving the hospital to join with "Eden District Board, California Nurses Association, the San Leandro Hospital nurses, doctors and staff, local residents, patients, seniors, Physicians Organizing Committee, San Leandro Community Action Network, and our community."

Expect to see County Supervisor candidates Wilma Chan and Beverly Johnson at the vigil, since both are proclaiming saving San Leandro Hospital as one of their top priorities.

The vigil will be held at 13847 E. 14th Street, in the parking lot adjacent to the Medical Arts Building and San Leandro Hospital.

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March 12, 2010

Roosepalooza Live Music Benefit Tomorrow at 7pm

The Roosevelt Dad's Club will hold its second "Roosepalooza" fundraiser at 7pm on Saturday, March 13, 2010. The evening of live music will benefit Roosevelt Elementary's Performing Arts Program.

Tickets are $20 each and are available from Rob Rich (510.409-7543), Wes Blair (510.633-2857), or any Roosevelt Dads Club member. There will a full "no-host" bar, so attendees must be 21 or older. Babysitting is available the night of the show at Roosevelt.

The live music line-up includes:

  • Pinto Wagon - Acoustic "Pinto-pop" with Roosevelt Dad John Sherwood
  • King Cab - Lo-fi Garage Country Band with Roosevelt Dad Ben Decker
  • Go Dead - Psychedelic Rock with Roosevelt Dad Jeff Faust
  • Van MiniVan - with Roosevelt Dads Al Stichon & Simon Miller

Doors open at 7pm with music starting at 7:15pm. The event will end around 10pm.

The event will be held at the Oakland Zoo's Snow Building, located at 9777 Golf Links Road in Oakland.

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March 8, 2010

Last Chance to Get Local Census Jobs

The U.S. Census local office, which covers San Leandro, Alameda, San Lorenzo, and parts of Oakland and unincorporated Alameda County, will hold its last series of employment tests this week. Workers who qualify and are hired will earn $22 per hour.

The last series of thirty-minute long civil service tests will be held at 11am and 4pm on Wednesday March 10, 2010, and at 10am, 12:30pm, and 3pm on Saturday March 13, 2010, at the San Leandro Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue. Sample tests are available at the library or online (español). No appointment is necessary for aspiring workers, but two forms of identification are required. For more details on employment requirements and an application, click here.

For more information, call 510-764-2960.

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March 4, 2010

Fundraiser for Bancroft at Drakes Brewing on Friday

Friday Night tastings are back at Drakes Brewing and this month's tasting on Friday March 5 will help raise money for Bancroft Middle School.

Each Friday Night will support a local school or non-profit. A donation of $5 is requested at the door. Over 21 please, though children may accompany their parents. For $15, you get a Drakes glass and three full pours. Additional drink tokens may be purchased for $3.50 with $1 of that going to Bancroft. Food from Roli Roti will be available for purchase as well. Relax by bringing your own folding chair, and be prepared for some rain because Friday's forecast calls for rain.

Drakes held Beer Festival and Washoes Tournaments in 2007 and 2008 as fundraisers to benefit Roosevelt and Jefferson Elementary schools.

Drakes is located at West Gate Center in the area between Wal-Mart and Sports Authority. For more information, see http://drakesbrewing.blogspot.com/2010/02/next-drakes-friday-march-5th.html.

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March 2, 2010

Student Art Show Opening and Reception March 5

SLHS Hero Art Show at San Leandro Museum and Art Gallery

An opening reception for Hero Art: Exhibition of Youth Creativity will be held on Friday, March 5, at the San Leandro Museum and Art Gallery and will feature Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker. The exhibit runs from March 6 to 28 and features the artwork of students from the AP art class at San Leandro High School and students from Roosevelt, Washington, and Monroe elementary schools.

Guests will be treated to a musical performance by students from San Leandro High School and Bancroft Middle School.

The reception will be held from 6 to 8pm at the San Leandro Museum and Art Gallery, which is located at 320 W. Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro. The Arts Council of San Leandro and the San Leandro Public Library are sponsoring the event.

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March 1, 2010

Recovery Funds in San Leandro: Who's Been Stimulated?

According to the recovery.gov web site, San Leandro groups and businesses have received about $20 million in stimulus money. The San Leandro Unified School District received the largest amount, $4.1 million in grants, all but $26,000 from the Department of Education. This money was used mostly to save jobs by filling in budget gaps from reductions in funding by the State of California.

Service West received a $3.2 million loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA), which helped it complete the purchase of a 132,000 square-foot building in San Leandro. Service West installs office furniture and is located at 2054 Burroughs Avenue in San Leandro.

The City of San Leandro received more than $3.1 million in grants from the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Department of Justice, Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Health and Human Services. $1.6 million from the Department of Transportation will be used to resurface Aladdin, Washington, and Bancroft Avenues, and Springlake Drive.

Building Futures with Women and Children received nearly $2.5 million in grants, most of which was for the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. The Recovery.gov web site lists Building Futures by its legal name, Cornerstone Community Development Corporation. Building Futures partnered with Davis Street Family Resource Center for the homeless grants, which are part of the mid-county Housing Resource Center, serving San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Castro Valley, Hayward, and Alameda.

Alameda Applied Sciences Corp. received more than $650,000 in grants from the Department of Energy to develop a "device to provide next generation particle accelerators with potential applications to research, industry, and medicine" and "a high-energy cathodic, arc-based process to deposit an A-15 superconductor onto coupon substrates without requiring high temperature heating of the substrates." Alameda Applied Sciences is located at 626 Whitney Street in San Leandro.

New Comback International Corporation received a $1.1 million loan from the SBA. From the company web site, it's difficult to tell what they do. New Comback is located at 2040 Williams Street.

The dredging of the San Leandro Marina was shown as a $966,969 contract from the Department of the Army to Ahtna Engineering Services, Inc. More than 90,000 cubic yards of dredge spoil was removed in late 2009 as part of the partial dredge to five feet below the average low tide.

The Alameda County Health Care Services Agency received more than $700,000 in grants from the Department of Health and Human Services for capital improvement and to "increase services to health centers."

CellASIC Corporation received an $82,295 grant for work on a device for screening for liver damage. CellASIC is a bioengineering startup located at 2551 Merced Street in San Leandro.

Click here for a list of recipients. However, please note that the list from the recovery.gov web site shouldn't be considered exhaustive since the information reported by agencies and by recipients is frequently different.

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February 23, 2010

Recovery Funds Help New Downtown Asian Restaurant

Ming Tasty opening soon banner

After receiving a $202,000 Small Business Administration loan, Ming Tasty is putting in a new kitchen and bathrooms and remodeling the dining area in preparation for opening in downtown San Leandro.

The restaurant is located at 1652 E. 14th Street, the previous location of La Cocina de Raquel, Andy & Joes, and Casa Maria #2.

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January 15, 2010

Most Popular 2009 Movie Rentals in San Leandro

According to data from Netflix published by the New York Times, the most popular movies rented in 2009 in San Leandro were The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Changeling, and Slumdog Millionaire. These three movies topped the list of rentals for San Leandro zip codes 94577, 94578, and 94579.

Other movies that made the top ten movie rentals for 2009 were Doubt, Seven Pounds, and Gran Torino. Milk, Twilight, and Burn After Reading made the top ten list in 94577 and 94578, but not in 94579.

The complete list of top ten rentals for each zip code can be seen after the break.

Zip Code: 94577

  1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  2. Changeling

  3. Slumdog Millionaire

  4. Milk

  5. Doubt

  6. Gran Torino

  7. Seven Pounds

  8. Burn After Reading

  9. Twilight

  10. The Wrestler

Zip Code: 94578

  1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  2. Changeling

  3. Slumdog Millionaire

  4. Twilight

  5. Seven Pounds

  6. Doubt

  7. Body of Lies

  8. Gran Torino

  9. Milk

  10. Burn After Reading

Zip Code: 94579

  1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  2. Changeling

  3. Slumdog Millionaire

  4. Body of Lies

  5. Gran Torino

  6. Doubt

  7. Eagle Eye

  8. Seven Pounds

  9. Valkyrie

  10. Righteous Kills

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January 14, 2010

Help Re-Design San Leandro's Siempre Verde Park

Siempe Verde Park - image from City of San Leandro web site

The City of San Leandro is encouraging anyone interested in Siempre Verde Park to attend a series of community meetings in January and February as part of an opportunity to receive a state grant that could fund a complete re-design of the park.

The Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Program of 2008 created a competitive grant program totaling $368 million for under-served California communities. The City of San Leandro intends to submit a grant application for Siempre Verde by the March 1, 2010 deadline. Siempre Verde was chosen based on its location in a densely populated area with small amounts of park space.

Input from the community meetings could result in a complete re-design of the entire park or major modifications such as replacing the bathrooms, re-doing the fields, or essentially anything within reason that comes out of the four community meetings.

The community meetings will be held as follows:

  • Wednesday January 20, 2010, from 7 to 8:30pm
  • Saturday, January 23, 2010, from 10 to 11:30am
  • Thursday, January 28, 2010, from 7 to 9pm
  • Wednesday, February 3, 2010, from 7 to 8:30pm

The first two meetings will provide background information and seek community input on what works at the park, what doesn't, and what is desired. The third meeting will take the input from the first meeting to come up with possible designs and the last meeting will present designs to the Recreation and Parks Commission.

All of the meetings will take place at the City Hall South Offices Conference Room at 999 E. 14th St., located behind the California Conservatory Theater.

More information is available from the City web site, including English and Spanish fliers.

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January 13, 2010

Alice Lai-Bitker's State of District 3 Report on Feb. 4, 2010

Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker will present her 6th annual State of District 3 Report to the Community on Thursday, February 4, 2010.

According to a flier for the event, the report will include the following:

  • Financial forecast and the impact of the state budget deficit on county programs
  • neighborhood revitalization and economic development
  • community health and resiliency initiatives
  • 2010 priorities and goals

The talk is scheduled for 6:30 to 7:30pm at the Lecture Hall of the San Leandro Library. The San Leandro Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro.

Attendees should RSVP to Jerl Laws at (510) 272-6693. Those unable to attend can watch it at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/state-of-the-district

Lai-Bitker recently announced she would not seek re-election, so this will be her last annual report.

District 3 includes San Leandro, Alameda, San Lorenzo, Ashland, Hillcrest Knolls and the Fruitvale, San Antonio, Chinatown portions of Chinatown portions of Oakland.

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December 22, 2009

Christmas Lights in San Leandro 2009

769 Sybil
769 Sybil Avenue

975_Estudillo
975 Estudillo Avenue

1171 Oakes
1171 Oakes Blvd.

739 Portola Dr.
739 Portola Dr.

15102 Chapel Ct.
15102 Chapel Ct. There are other decorated houses here, but none quite so elaborate.

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Census Looking for Workers

The U.S. Census will hire nearly 1,000 workers for its local office, which covers San Leandro, Alameda, San Lorenzo, and parts of Oakland and unincorporated Alameda County. Workers who qualify and are hired will earn $22 per hour.

Thirty-minute long civil service tests are held at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday at the San Leandro Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue. Sample tests are available at the library or online (español). No appointment is necessary for aspiring workers, but two forms of identification are required. For more details on employment requirements and an application, click here.

For more information, call 510-764-2960.

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December 14, 2009

Zocalo Holds Fundraiser for Davis Street Family Resource Center

According to a press release issued today, Zocalo Coffeehouse is holding a tree decorating fundraiser for Davis Street Family Resource Center. For donations starting at $5 and ranging up to $500 for the tree topper, you can decorate the very large tree occupying the center of Zocalo. All of the donations benefit Davis Street and Zocalo will match donations up to $5,000, for a total of $10,000 to Davis Street.

According to the press release, "For nearly 40 years the Davis Street Family Resource Center has assisted tens of thousands of families in our community via health clinics, job search, childcare, clothing and food banks, and more. The number of families in need turning to Davis Street has increased 5X in the past year alone and they are straining to support these needs." In late October 2009 through November, Davis Street, together with the San Leandro Unified School District, distributed H1N1 flu vaccine donated by Energy Recovery to San Leandro children and families.

The fundraiser starts today and will continue through the end of the year. Zocalo Coffeehouse is located at 645 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro. Davis Street is located at 3081 Teagarden Street in San Leandro.

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December 10, 2009

Main Library Now has WiFi

The main San Leandro Library now has wireless access for people who like to work at the library with their laptops. According to library staff, the installation of wireless access points was completed in November 2009.

Like the Washington Manor library, which has had wifi since it opened in 2006, wireless internet access is free of charge. To use the wireless network, connect your wireless device to the "San Leandro Library" wireless network. Then open a web browser such as Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, enter any URL (http://www.sanleandrolibrary.org, for example) and you will be presented with a login page. Once you enter an email address to "login," you will be able to use the wireless network.

According to Information Services Manager Rayan Fowler, the main library has eight Bluesocket wireless access points, compared to two at the smaller Manor library. The internet connection is provided by TowerStream.

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November 19, 2009

SLUSD, Davis Street, and Energy Recovery Offering H1N1 Flu Shots

Additional H1N1 flu vaccinations will be available at clinics today (November 19) through Tuesday November 24, supplies permitting at Davis Street Family Resource Center. H1N1 vaccinations are available free of charge.

The vaccine was purchased by San Leandro-based Energy Recovery, Inc., which has partnered with Davis Street and the San Leandro Unified School District to vaccinate San Leandro's at-risk populations.

Vaccinations will be available as follows:

DayDateTime
Thursday11/193:30 -7pm
Friday11/203:30 - 5:30pm
Monday11/233:30-7pm
Tuesday11/243:30-7pm

Davis Street Family Resource Center is located at 3081 Teagarden Street in San Leandro.

Those at highest risk from the H1N1 flu, including pregnant women and young children are encouraged to get vaccinations.

Children between six months and nine years old will need a second dose of the vaccine three weeks after their initial vaccination.

The Alameda County Public Health Department will also host free H1N1 Vaccination Clinics, including one in San Leandro on Saturday, December 5, at City Hall at 9:00am.

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Free Family Movie Night at Zocalo

Matilda Movie Flyer

The family movie Matilda will be shown on Friday, November 20, 2009, at Zocalo Coffeehouse as a fundraiser for Washington Elementary. The movie, popcorn, and coffee are free, but donations of books and cash are encouraged to support the library at Washington Elementary.

According to the Internet Movie Database, Matilda is the "story of a wonderful little girl, who happens to be a genius, and her wonderful teacher vs. the worst parents ever and the worst school principal imaginable."

The event starts at 7pm and the movie begins at 7:15pm. Zocalo Coffeehouse is located at 645 Bancroft Avenue (near Dutton) in San Leandro. The event is organized by parent Lisa Jackson, who has previously organized similar events.

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November 12, 2009

Legal Documents Filed by Sutter Against Healthcare District

On October 27, 2009, Sutter Health sued the Eden Township Healthcare District for failing to abide by a March 2008 memorandum of understanding that granted Sutter an "unconditional option to purchase" San Leandro Hospital.

These documents were posted to an email list by Eden Township Healthcare District Board Member Carole Rogers and are posted here so that the public can review them.

Click here to see the summons.

Click here to see the Demand for Arbitration.

Click here to see the Notice of Lis Pendens.

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November 4, 2009

Eden Township Heathcare District to Interview Candidates for Board Seat

The Eden Township Healthcare District will hold meetings on Thursday, November 5 and Tuesday, November 10, 2009, to interview candidates for the seat vacated by Dr. Walter Kran.

Kran abruptly resigned on September 28, 2009. His replacement will have a role in deciding the future of San Leandro Hospital and whether its emergency room remains open.

The meetings will be held at 4pm on November 5 and 5:30pm on November 10 at the Castro Valley Library at 3600 Norbridge Avenue in Castro Valley.

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November 2, 2009

Documentary by Local Filmmakers Airs Tonight on KQED

Going on 13, a documentary by local filmmakers Dawn Valadez and Kristy Guevara-Flanagan about four young East Bay girls airs tonight on public television station KQED at 11pm tonight. The film was shown at Zocalo Coffehouse in August to a packed house.

Valadez lives in San Leandro and works at Davis Street Family Resource Center.

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October 26, 2009

Halloween in San Leandro

Here's a list of Halloween events in San Leandro to entertain the whole family:

Friday, October 30:

Safe Treats, Safe Streets features trick or treating at 30 businesses near the corner of
Dutton Ave. and Bancroft Ave. from 3 to 5 pm. This event is free.

Across town at the Washington Manor Library, the Annual Halloween Extravaganza will be held from 4 to 5:30. The Manor Library is located at 1241 Manor Avenue. This event is free.

Washington Elementary will be transformed into a haunted house on Friday and Saturday from 5 until 8pm. Admission is $5 and goes to support the school. Washington Elementary is located at 250 Dutton Avenue.

October 31:

Alameda County Fire Station #12 will hold an open house from 11am to 3pm on Saturday, October 31. The first 100 kids will receive a free Halloween Fire Safety Treat. You can also enter a raffle to win a ride on a fire truck in a parade by bringing a $10 gift card for the Holiday Toy Drive. The fire station is located at 1065 143rd Avenue.

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October 3, 2009

Mobile Solar Generator to Power Sausage and Suds

solar_trailer.jpg

A mobile solar generator, dubbed the SolaRover, from Renewables West will help power the Sausage and Suds Food and Music Festival on October 4, 2009.

The trailer-mounted solar panels generate approximately 2 kilowatts of power.

One of the units was on display on Saturday, October 3, in the parking lot outside Ploughman's Restaurant in San Leandro.

Renewables West is a division of Mr. Plastics, a "full-service plastics distribution, fabrication and manufacturing company" that has operated in San Leandro for more than 20 years.

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September 30, 2009

Sausage and Suds Sunday October 4, 2009

The Sausage and Suds Food and Music Festival will be held in downtown San Leandro on Sunday, October 4, 2009. Admission is free and the festival will be held on Parrott Street between E. 14th Street and Washington Avenue, where the Downtown Farmers Market is held each Wednesday. In addition to an array of sausages and beers, the scheduled musical performances include:

TimePerformer
10:00 - 11:00Stereo Freakout
11:30 - 12:45The Spazmatics
1:15 - 2:30The Greg Scott Band
3:00 - 4:15Avance
4:45 - 6Lydia Pense and Cold Blood

There will be a Kids' Green Zone that will feature local singer Asheba at 1pm and 3pm. A rock climbing wall and jumpers will also be available in the kids area.

According to the web site, the Sausage and Suds Food and Music Festival, which was first held in 1997 "was established to celebrate San Leandro's designation as the "Sausage Capital of California," by the California State Legislature."

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September 25, 2009

Former San Leandro City Councilmember Bill Jardin Dies at 85

Former San Leandro City Councilmember Bill Jardin died on September 11, 2009, nearly a month after suffering a stroke. Jardin was 85 years old and is survived by his wife of 66 years, Eleanor. William F. "Bill" Jardin was first elected as the District 5 member of San Leandro City Council in 1982 when he defeated Sylvia Landt. Jardin continued to be active in civic affairs after leaving office and served on the Personnel Relations Board from April 2006 until his death.

Jardin grew up in Oakland and served in World War II in Europe and the Pacific. He moved to San Leandro in 1947, where he worked for 40 years at the telephone company and lived in the same house until he passed away.

As an avid golfer, Jardin served for five years on the Shoreline and Golf Advisory Commission and helped get a bridge built over the creek at the golf course. He was also on the San Leandro Recreation and Parks Commission from 1965 until he was appointed to the East Bay Regional Parks District Board in 1974, where he served for 20 years.

Jardin was also on the Board of Directors for the Classic Philharmonic of Northern California foundation and was active in the Lions and San Leandro Breakfast Club.

His funeral was held on September 24, 2009, and attracted family members from as far away as France and Hong Kong. The funeral was attended by former City Councilmembers Don McGue, Ed Suchman, John Faria, Bob Glaze, and Tony Santos.

Editor's Note: The story was corrected to reflect the correct date of the funeral.

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September 16, 2009

Alameda County Constitutional Convention Town Hall Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors, in partnership with the Bay Area Council, Repair California and the Alameda County Citizens for Seniors and Persons w/Disabilities (ACCSPD), presents “Repairing California,” a Community Forum and Panel Discussion moderated by Nate Miley, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Fourth District.

Thursday, September 17, 2009
8:45 a.m. Registration | 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Program
Alameda County Administration Building | Board Chambers
1221 Oak Street, 5th Floor (Directions)
Oakland, CA 94612

Repair California is an organization supporting a California constitutional convention.

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September 15, 2009

Friends of San Leandro Library Gives $31K to San Leandro Library

friends_31k_check_2009.jpg

Friends of the San Leandro Library celebrated its 25th anniversary on Saturday, September 12, 2009, with a luncheon at the San Leandro Library. Most of the group's board members, the San Leandro City Council, and former Mayor Shelia Young were on-hand to honor the occasion along with Library-Historical Commissioners.

The luncheon featured a slide presentation of the history of the group and a proclamation from San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos. Friends of the San Leandro Library also presented the Mayor with a check for $31,000 to honor a promise to provide additional funding to the library if budget cuts to the library were minimized.

Friends of the San Leandro Library raises money for programs and materials at the library such as the Summer Reading Program and carnival for kids, the Adult Summer Reading Program, reference books, and scholarships. The group raises money at two annual book sales, running the library gift shop and Booktique, and the annual Trivia Bee, which will be held on October 16, 2009.

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September 1, 2009

Talk on Child Nutrition at Zocalo Thursday, September 3, 2009

On Thursday, September 3, 2009, the San Leandro Community Action Network will have a talk on child nutrition, focusing on healthy eating habits, weight and eating problems, and body image. The talk will be presented by Kinkini Banerjee, who has a degree in Clinical Nutrition and Public Health Nutrition, and Jill Rodgers-Quaye, a clinical psychologist specializing in eating and anxiety disorders.

The talk is free and will be held at Zocalo Coffeehouse starting at 7pm. Zocalo Coffehouse is located at 645 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro. Free coffee will also be provided.

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August 31, 2009

Fire Dept. Community Forum Tonight

On Monday, August 31, 2009, the Alameda County Fire Department, which serves San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Castro Valley and Dublin, will hold a community forum at the San Leandro Library.

The Fire Department is asking for your input on what should be the department's priorities, what services are important, your expectations, etc. The Fire Department is developing a five-year plan for how it serves its communities.

The forum will be held from 7pm to 9pm at the San Leandro Library, 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro.

For more information, call Sue Beville at (510) 618-3475 or email sue.beville@acgov.org.

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August 25, 2009

San Leandro Resident Publishes Childrens Book

six_oclock_in_sf_cover_small.jpg Local San Leandro resident and former Roosevelt PTA President Cynthia Jaynes Omololu recently published her first book, "When It's Six O'Clock in San Francisco." The children's book shows what children living in time zones across the world are doing throughout the day.

Jaynes Omololu is currently working on her next book, Dirty Little Secrets.

When It's Six O'Clock in San Francisco is available at Diesel Bookstore in Oakland and online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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August 19, 2009

Healthcare District Votes Against Sutter Purchasing San Leandro Hospital

The Eden Township Healthcare District voted against Sutter Health's purchase option of San Leandro Hospital at its meeting on Tuesday, August 18, 2009.

Board members Vin Sawhney, Carole Rogers, and Harry S. Dvorsky voted against Sutter Health's purchase option. The Board of Directors also voted to seek legal counsel on possible options. The Board action gives opponents more time in their fight to keep San Leandro Hospital open.

Further discussion of San Leandro Hospital's future will happen at Senator Ellen Corbett's town hall meeting on Thursday, August 27, 2009, at the San Leandro Library. The meeting will start at 6pm. The San Leandro Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue.

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August 15, 2009

Hundreds Line Up for Stark Town Hall

stark_town_hall_15Aug2009_line.jpg

stark_town_hall_15Aug2009.jpg

More than 300 people lined up for Congressman Pete Stark's town hall meeting today at San Leandro's City Hall. People started lining up at 9am for the 10:30am meeting and those arriving by 10am were unable to get in. Stark's town hall in Fremont was held earlier in the morning with more than 500 people trying to get one of about 250 seats.

Supporters of health care reform appeared to be successful in getting people to the meeting as supporters substantially outnumbered opponents. Questions from the audience were selected randomly, however, and presented more of a balance between supporters and opponents.

Stark's email to constituents about the town hall meetings on August 12, 2009, covered health care reform, protecting the environment, improving mental heath care for young adults, helping working families, and opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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August 12, 2009

Last Family Night at Farrelly Pool Thursday August 13

The last Family Nights at Farrelly Pool of the summer is this Thursday and features Jimmy and the Wave Runners. The group plays its own flavor of Jimmy Buffet tunes, which sounds appropriate for a pool party.

Family nights have been organized by supporters of Farrelly Pool to encourage attendance at the pool and to help keep the pool open next year. The pool had been slated to close for the season as a result of City budget cuts, but supporters lobbied City Hall and managed to keep the pool open, but with reduced hours and increased fees.

Farrelly has grills for barbecues and you are encouraged to bring a picnic and family games.

For more information about Farrelly Pool, see the web site from the campaign to save Farrelly.

Admission is $5 (music included). Farrelly Pool is located next to Roosevelt Elementary at 864 Dutton Avenue in San Leandro.

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July 27, 2009

Summer Movie NIght at Zocalo Sunday August 2

summer_movie.jpg

Once again, Lisa Jackson has organized a family movie night at Zocalo Coffeehouse. Jim Henson's The Muppet Movie will be shown at 7pm on Sunday, August 2.

This 1979 live-action musical features characters voiced by Jim Henson and Frank Oz and includes appearances by Mel Brooks, Edgar Bergen, Dom Deluise, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Jame Coburn, Elliot Gould, and Madeline Kahn.

The movie, popcorn and coffee are free. Bring blankets and pillows for the kids.

Zocalo Coffeehouse is located at 645 Bancroft Avenue near Dutton Avenue in San Leandro.

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June 23, 2009

Free Screening of "Torturing Democracy" on July 2 at Zocalo

Torturing Democracy

The San Leandro Community Action Network (SLCAN) will show the documentary Torturing Democracy as part of its monthly film series on Thursday, July 2, 2009. Award-winning producer Sherry Jones presents a comprehensive documentary—more than 18 months in the making—"tells the inside story of how the U.S. government adopted torture as official policy in the aftermath of 9/11."

“Please watch ‘Torturing Democracy.’ It isn't easy to watch; but what so many innocent (and guilty) individuals were subjected to in your name was unimaginably harder. As readers know, I've been fixated on this since Abu Ghraib. But that documentary made me ill by forcing me again to absorb the enormity of what Bush and Cheney have done—and the urgent, urgent task of repairing the damage. If America is to recover, those responsible must be put on trial. Including the president.”

—Andrew Sullivan, Atlantic Monthly.com

The screening is free and starts at 7pm at Zocalo Coffeehouse at 645 Bancroft Avenue (near Dutton) in San Leandro.

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Swimming and Music at Farrelly Pool on Thursdays

farrelly flyer

Swim to the sounds of jazz music with Herd 'a Cats on Thursday night, June 25, 2009, at Farrelly Pool. Supporters of Farrelly Pool have organized a series of family nights on Thursday nights to encourage attendance at the pool and to help keep the pool open next year. The pool had been slated to close for the season as a result of City budget cuts, but supporters lobbied City Hall and managed to keep the pool open, but with reduced hours and increased fees.

Farrelly has grills for barbecues and you are encouraged to bring a picnic and family games.

For more information about Farrelly Pool, see the web site from the campaign to save Farrelly.

Admission is $5 (music included). Farrelly Pool is located next to Roosevelt Elementary at 864 Dutton Avenue in San Leandro.

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June 15, 2009

Reprieve for San Leandro Hospital?

According to Charles Gilcrest, at this afternoon's meeting of the Government Affairs Committee of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce, Eden Medical Center CEO George Bischalaney announced that Sutter Health would exercise its right to provide notice of termination within the next 30 days of its lease at San Leandro Hospital. Sutter Health also sent a letter to the Eden Township Heathcare District stating that it would assign all of its purchase rights to Alameda County or the Alameda County Medical Center.

The agenda for the June 15 meeting of the Eden Township Healthcare District does not include any action item for the Board to vote on, so it appears that there will be no vote at tonight's meeting. However, there is an item on the closed session agenda for discussion of real property negotiations for the San Leandro Hospital property.

Attendees of the Government Affairs Committee meeting included Alice Lai-Bitker representative Shawn Wilson, Eden Medical Center CEO George Bischelaney, San Leandro Councilmembers Michael Gregory and Diana Souza, and former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young.

Activists who want to keep San Leandro Hospital and its emergency room open are discounting these reports and encouraging a big turnout at tonight's meeting.

Tonight's meeting of the Eden Township Healthcare District will take place at 6pm at the San Leandro Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro, California.

Coverage in the Daily Review.

Update: Removed information about possible extension of retrofit deadline since it hasn't been confirmed.

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June 9, 2009

County Supervisors Approve the Eden Hospital EIR 5-0

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Sutter Health's environmental impact report (EIR) for Eden Hospital at its meeting on June 9, 2009. Opponents of closing San Leandro Hospital had hoped to use approval of the EIR as leverage in keeping San Leandro Hospital open.

The day before, hundreds of people who support keeping San Leandro Hospital open crowded the San Leandro Library for a meeting of the Eden Township Healthcare District. The meeting is the first of three meetings to be held at the San Leandro Library to discuss the future of San Leandro Hospital. Subsequent meetings will be held at 1pm on Thursday, June 11, 2009, and at 6pm on Monday, June 15, 2009.

Although not originally on the agenda, Prime Healthcare Services CEO Prem Reddy received a standing ovation after presenting his company's proposal to keep San Leandro Hospital open.

More video after the jump.

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June 4, 2009

Prime Healthcare Services Expresses Interest in San Leandro Hospital

In a letter dated May 29, 2009, Prime Healthcare Services has expressed an interest in leasing and operating San Leandro Hospital.

The proposal states that Prime Healthcare would hire most of the employees of the San Leandro Hospital and "assume the existing Collective Bargaining Agreements."

But is Prime Healthcare the type of company that Sutter Health critics want?

Prime Healthcare is run by Prem Reddy, a cardiologist and healthcare entrepreneur. Prime Healthcare was started by Reddy as Desert Valley Medical Group in 1985. It has since acquired 13 hospitals, mostly located in Southern California.

According to published reports, Prime Healthcare has developed a reputation for taking over hospitals that were losing money and turning them around. However, its business practices have attracted the attention of the California Department of Managed Health Care, which filed a lawsuit in July 2008 to stop Prime Healthcare from a practice known as balance billing. According to a press release, the Knox-Keene Act "prohibits Prime’s practices, where the consumer is billed for emergency services which are the responsibility of the health plans." California DMHC Director Cindy Ehnes described Prime Healthcare as a "serial balance biller whose actions have unjustly threatened the credit rating of thousands of Californians.

A July 2007 article in the Los Angeles Times states, " When Reddy's company, Prime Healthcare Services Inc., takes over a hospital, it typically cancels insurance contracts, allowing the hospital to collect steeply higher reimbursements. It has suspended services -- such as chemotherapy treatments, mental health care and birthing centers -- that patients need but aren't lucrative."

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Rally to Save San Leandro Hospital Attracts Enthusiastic Crowd

A rally to save San Leandro Hospital sponsored by the Community Coalition to Save San Leandro Hospital was held on June 2, 2009, and attracted more than 100 nurses, doctors, community members, and elected officials.

San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos and San Leandro Councilmembers Jim Prola and Michael Gregory were joined by California State Senator Ellen Corbett and California State Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi's representative Chris Parman. Former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young and former San Leandro School Board Trustee Stephen Cassidy were also on hand to show their support.

Fifteen speakers, including doctors, nurses, community members, and elected officials Gregory and Corbett, spoke out against the possible closure of San Leandro Hospital.

Links to additional videos can be found after the break.

Mike Brannan, Calif. Nurses Association Labor Representative
Rabbi Harry Manhoff of Temple Beth Sholom
Jim Ryder and Kay McVeigh
Carole Rogers, R.N.
Dr. Miles Adler, Former Chief of Staff, Eden Medical Center
Dr. Vin Sawhney
Roxanne Lewis
Jennifer Ball
Subroto Kundu, Neurologist
Steven Rosenthal, Chief of Staff, Eden Medical Center

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June 2, 2009

2009 San Leandro Cherry Festival Schedule and Map

The 2009 Cherry Festival is scheduled for 10am to 6pm on Saturday, June 6, 2009, on West Estudillo Avenue between Hays Street and San Leandro Boulevard. Admission is free.

According to a press release from the City, "The Cherry City Cyclists will provide free valet bicycle parking during the festival at the corner of Davis and Carpentier streets. San Leandro residents are strongly encouraged to walk or bicycle to the festival or take transit to avoid the hassle of traffic and parking."

Other activities include:

  • An Alameda County Fire Department pancake breakfast at Station #9, located at 450 Estudillo Avenue, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., cost: $5.
  • The City’s first juried art exhibition – called “Images of Northern California” – featuring the works of 20 local artists will be on display at the San Leandro History Museum and Art Gallery.
  • The History Museum will also feature a history exhibit focusing on the activities and notable citizens involved with the 1909 Cherry Festival.
  • San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos will welcome festival-goers and issue special anniversary proclamations at 1 p.m. on the Main Stage.
  • Passport to San Leandro History – A commemorative passport booklet will be available for collecting stamps at 10 historic sites downtown between noon and 4 p.m. Passports booklets can be obtained from the History Museum.
  • Casa Peralta tours will be held throughout the day at the historic Casa Peralta site, located at 384 West Estudillo Avenue.
  • Living History Activities for kids will be offered at the History Museum courtyard between 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., where children can play old-fashioned games such as bowling hoops and graces, make tin art, rope the museum’s own pet cow (made of plastic and wood!) and create tile rubbings.
  • The festival’s Cherry Store will once again offer a variety of cherry-themed items, such as canvas bags, coffee mugs, wine glasses, jewelry and other hand-crafted items. [Receive a free water bottle with purchase of $5 or more (while supply lasts).]










Main Stage Entertainment
10:00amTamika Nicole
12:00pmLava
1:00pmMayor's Welcome and 100 Year Anniversary Recognition
2:00pmDani Paige Band
3:30pmWilly G
5:00pmLa Ventana
 
Community Stage Entertainment
9:30amSan Leandro Municipal Band
11:00am100 Year Anniversary Royal Procession and Pageant
12:00pmB’Dazzled Dancers
1:00pmPallen's Martial Arts Demonstration Team
1:30pmChinese Community of San Leandro, Chinese Lion Dance
2:30pmDC Dance
3:30pmThe Ruach Players

2009 San Leandro Cherry_Festival Map - small

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May 29, 2009

San Leandro Family Bike Ride on Sunday

A group of parents has organized a family bike ride through parts of San Leandro in order to increase bicycle awareness in San Leandro. May is National Bike Month and featured "Bike to School" and "Bike to Work" days to encourage more people to ride bicycles to improve their health and reduce pollution.

According to a study at the University of New South Wales in September 2008, when more people ride bicycles in cities, the number of accidents actually decreases. The study looked at data from "Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, 14 European countries and 68 Californian cities."

Bicycle riders will meet at the Zocalo Coffeehouse parking lot at 9:45am, where the 5.6-mile ride will start and finish. For more information and a map of the route, see http://sites.google.com/site/sanleandrofamiliesride/

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Parking at San Leandro BART Stations to Cost $1

BART_logo.png The BART Board of Directors voted on May 28, 2009, to start charging $1 per day to park at a number of BART stations, including San Leandro and Bay Fair. The new parking fee begins in July along with a $.25 increase in the minimum BART fare, a 6.1% overall increase in BART fares, and a $2.50 increase for tickets to the San Francisco airport.

The actions were taken to help reduce an expected $54 million deficit.

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San Leandro Student Wins Entrepreneur Competition

San Leandro High School student Alejandra Bonilla took first place in the Merrill Lynch/NFTE Bay Area Regional Youth Business Plan competition held May 28, 2009, at the University of San Francisco. As the winner of the competition, Bonilla will represent Northern California in the NFTE National Competition this fall in New York City.

Students from San Leandro High School took first place in the regional competition in 2008 and second place in 2007.

According to a press release, "The Merrill Lynch/NFTE business plan competition was created to inspire entrepreneurship and business ownership from an early age. It offers young entrepreneurs an opportunity to distinguish themselves as future business leaders, rewards their hard work, and exposes them to business professionals and government officials. NFTE awards the cash prizes to the winners to support the most innovative ideas among Bay Area teens and in invest in their long-term success."

Video of Bonilla's presentation:

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May 26, 2009

More Meetings on San Leandro Hospital

Concerned community members will have more opportunities to speak out about the likely closure of San Leandro Hospital when the Eden Township Healthcare District Board, which owns the hospital, holds three meetings in the first half of June.

The lease between Sutter Health and the Eden Township Healthcare District Board expires on July 1, 2010.

In town hall meetings held at San Leandro City Hall on April 29 and May 8, community members expressed frustration at the lack of leadership from local elected officials, concern about San Leandro being without 24-hour emergency room service, and closed-door talks between Alameda County officials and Sutter Health. In meetings on May 11 and May 12, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors discussed San Leandro Hospital, with Supervisors Nate Miley and Scott Haggerty expressing frustration with San Leandro City Councilmembers Michael Gregory and Joyce Starosciak, who were lobbying to keep the hospital open. Opponents of closing San Leandro Hospital have attempted to link an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Castro Valley's Eden Medical Center to the closure of San Leandro Hospital. Supervisors decided to delay a decision on the EIR until their June 9 meeting.

The meetings will be held on June 8, 2009, at 6pm, June 11, 2009, at 1pm, and June 15, 2009, at 6pm. All meetings will be held in the Dave Karp room of the San Leandro Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue.

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May 16, 2009

Local 4-H Kids Receive President's Environmental Youth Award

Clay Ferguson and Chance Boreczky with their parents and their award - photo from U.S. EPA

San Leandro members of the East Hills 4-H Club were awarded the 2008 President's Environmental Youth Award for EPA Region 9 for a video they made entitled "A Plastic Predicament."

San Leandro students Clay Ferguson and Chance Boreczky made the video after they learned about the great Pacific garbage patch, a huge whirlpool of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean.

Ferguson was honored in 2007 as a finalist in the American Humane Association's Be Kind to Animals Kid Contest for fostering kittens. Ferguson also recently spoke before the San Leandro City Council in favor of changing rules that prohibit keeping chickens as pets.

The video was shown to the San Leandro City Council on May 19, 2008, and then to a meeting of the Alameda County Waste Management Authority in September 2008.

Region 9 of the U.S. EPA includes California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii.

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May 7, 2009

Suessical the Musical Opens Tonight at Bancroft Middle School

Suessical the Musical Bancroft Musical Theatre's production of Suessical the Musical opens tonight at 7:30pm. Past productions have included Peter Pan and Beauty and the Beast.

Tonight's show starts at 7:30pm. Shows on May 8 and May 9 also start at 7:30pm. A 2pm matinee will be held on May 10. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. There is no reserved seating.

Shows are held at Bancroft Middle School, located at 1150 Bancroft Ave. in San Leandro.

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May 5, 2009

Downtown Farmers Market Returns Wednesday

The San Leandro Downtown Farmers Market returns Wednesday, May 6, 2009, after taking the winter off.

The Downtown Farmers Market was started a year ago and is held from 4pm to 8pm each Wednesday night. The opening will be marked by a raffle, children's coloring contest, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:30pm.

Each Wednesday features a different theme: First Wednesdays are cooking demonstrations, second Wednesdays feature "green" themes, third Wednesdays have family entertainment, and fourth Wednesdays feature wine tastings.

The farmers market is held on Parrott Street, between East 14 Street and Washington Avenue. For more information, click here or call (510) 577-3311.

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April 14, 2009

Grocery Outlet Set to Open While a Starbucks Will Close

Grocery_Outlet_construction.jpg

By the end of April 2009, San Leandro will see the opening of Grocery Outlet and the closure of one of the eight San Leandro Starbucks locations.

The new Grocery Outlet will open at 2179 E 14th St., in the location previously occupied by the Salvation Army Thrift Store. It is located next to a site that is being developed for affordable senior housing at the corner of Estabrook Street and E. 14th Street, across from McKinley Elementary.

Grocery Outlet had previously sought to occupy the former downtown Albertson's location at 1550 E. 14th Street in August 2006 but was rebuffed by the City Council's designation of the site as an "opportunity" site as part of the Downtown Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Strategy.

As part of its closure of 200 stores across the U.S., the Starbucks location at 1443 E. 14th Street in downtown San Leandro will be closing by the end of the month. The closure was announced by Starbucks in January 2009. The closure should have little impact since there is also a Starbucks located less than 500 feet away in the nearby Safeway store.

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March 30, 2009

SiCKO Screening at Zocalo on Thursday

The San Leandro Community Action Network (SLCAN) will be showing Michael Moore's SiCKO on Thursday, April 2, 2009.

This documentary takes a look at the U.S. health care system and compares it to those of Great Britain, Canada, and France while highlighting the stories of everyday people in their quest for basic health care.

After the film, there will be a discussion about Sutter Health's plans for San Leandro Hospital's emergency room and other services. After Sutter Health purchased San Leandro Hospital in 2004, there has been widespread speculation that it would close the hospital, since Sutter also owns nearby Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

Admission is free and the screening begins at 7pm at Zocalo Coffeehouse. Zocalo is located at 645 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.

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March 20, 2009

Earthquake Workshop at San Leandro Library on Saturday

The City of San Leandro and Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker are sponsoring a free Earthquake Preparedness Fair at the San Leandro Library on Saturday, March 21, 2009.

Representatives from the Alameda County Fire Department, Red Cross, Salvation Army, East Bay MUD, and the US Geological Survey will be on-hand to answer questions and provide information for how to prepare for an earthquake, flood or fire.

A survival kit will be raffled every 30 minutes and emergency supplies will be available for sale at the fair.

The free workshop will be held from 10am to 2pm at the San Leandro Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro.

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March 19, 2009

Traffic Crackdown on E. 14th Street

e_14th_traffic_enforcement.jpg

If you're out on E. 14th Street today, make sure you obey all traffic laws. At least four motorcycle officers from the San Leandro Police Department and Alameda County Sheriff Department are pulling over large numbers of vehicles on Thursday, March 19, 2009, on E. 14th Street.

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February 14, 2009

Family Valentine Movie Night at Zocalo

Bring the whole family to a enjoy an animated classic movie for Valentine's Family Movie Night at Zocalo Coffeehouse. Popcorn, and of course, coffee, will be provided at this free event organized by Lisa Jackson.

The event begins at 7pm. Zocalo Coffeehouse is located at 645 Bancroft Ave. in San Leandro.

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January 26, 2009

San Leandro Teacher Sets Another Running Record

Bancroft Middle School teacher Jim Sorensen set a new record for the men's elite mile at the 42nd annual Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile held at Cornell University on Saturday January 24, 2009. With a time of 4 minutes, 17.08 seconds, Sorensen eclipsed the record set in 1993 by John Bermingham and the fastest time in the events history.

Sorensen is 41 years old and has been setting new running records since he turned 40.

Some of his earlier accomplishments have been covered in June 2007 and December 2008.

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January 8, 2009

Second San Leandro Walmart to Open January 14, 2009

San Leandro's second Walmart will open on Wednesday, January 14, 2009, at the site of a former Target store. After a ribbon-cutting at 7:30am, the store will open for business at 8am.

In a press release highlighting the store opening, San Leandro Chamber of Commerce President David Johnson states, “The San Leandro Chamber is committed to the vibrancy of our business community, and we welcome Walmart and the more than 300 jobs this store is bringing to our community...We urge San Leandro residents and businesses to ‘Shop San Leandro First!’, supporting our businesses and keeping our tax dollars local, thereby helping to maintain our vital city services.”

Walmart is donating $15,000 to local organizations such as the Davis Street Family Resource Center, Catholic Charities, Boys and Girls Club, Girls, Inc., and the San Lorenzo Unified School District to demonstrate "its support of the area."

Despite the faltering economy, Walmart, the largest U.S. retailer, reported a 1.9% increase in same store sales in December 2008 compared to 2007. Walmart also recently agreed to settle 63 class-action lawsuits that alleged violations of labor laws. The settlements could cost up to $640 million.

The new Walmart is located at 15555 Hesperian Boulevard at the intersection with Lewelling.

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December 23, 2008

Christmas Lights in San Leandro

xmas2008_sl1.jpg
Arguello Dr. (near Monterey Blvd)

xmas2008_sl2.jpg
15164 Wiley

xmas2008_sl3.jpg
15102 Chapel Ct. (near Farnsworth)

xmas2008_sl4.jpg
1171 Oakes Blvd.

xmas2008_sl5.jpg
975 Estudillo Ave.

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December 18, 2008

Santa at the Fire House on Saturday, December 20, 2008

Santa Claus will join the Alameda County Firefighters on Saturday, December 20, 2008, for the second annual Santa at the Fire House. For a $10 donation, you can take a picture with Santa on an antique fire engine, have milk with some of San Leandro's Otis Spunkmeyer cookies and listen to firefighters read "A Firefighter’s Night Before Christmas."

Proceeds will go towards the Alameda County Firefighters Holiday Toy Drive and a scholarship in memory of Craig Alaniz, who lost his battle with cancer in January 2008. Alaniz was the inspiration for the first Santa at the Fire House event in 2007.

The event will take place at San Leandro Fire Station #9 at 450 Estudillo Ave. in San Leandro from 11:30am to 3:30pm. For more information or to make a donation call Aisha Knowles at (510) 618-3479 or email aisha.knowles@acgov.org.

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December 6, 2008

San Leandro Teacher Jim Sorensen Named Masters Track & Field Athlete of the Year

San Leandro teacher Jim Sorensen was named Masters Track & Field Athlete of the Year in the Mens 40 to 44-year old category by USA Track & Field (USATF) at its Annual Awards Breakfast on December 6, 2008.

Sorensen set the world masters record for 1,500 meters on June 3, 2007, and the world masters record for 800 meters on June 30, 2007.

Sorensen teaches physical education at Bancroft Middle School in San Leandro, California. San Leandro Bytes previously reported on Sorensen's accomplishments in June 2007.

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November 9, 2008

Last Chance to See Metamophoses at the San Leandro High School Pool

After Saturday night's performance of Metamorphoses was rained out, it will be performed for the last time on Sunday, November 9, 2008. The performance is based on the myths of Ovid and takes places in the pool at San Leandro High School. This unique performance was a hit with audiences, including a standing-room only crowd for the Friday night show. Click here to view scenes from the performance.

Tickets for Metamorphoses are $10 for adults and $7 for students. The performance begins at 7:30pm and doors open at 7pm. The entire performance takes about an hour and there is no intermission. Dress warmly as it is outside. The show is not appropriate for children younger than 13.

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November 7, 2008

Second Kaiser Community Meeting

Artist's rendering of new Kaiser Permanente San_Leandro facility with a farmer's market
Artist rendering of Kaiser Permanente's new San Leandro Facility

Kaiser Permanente held a second community meeting at the San Leandro Library on November 6, 2008, to show off its planned development for the former grocery distribution center at the intersection of Marina Boulevard and Interstate 880. The presentation included a two-minute fly-over that incorporated a 3D rendering of the facility superimposed on an aerial photograph of the area.

Construction of the facility is expected to start in 2009 and it should be completed by 2012. The construction is expected to generate 3,000 short-term construction jobs.

Current designs include 263 beds for patients, all single rooms. According to the Kaiser Permanente representative, patients in single rooms have less hospital infections because they have less traffic than shared hospital rooms. The rooms also have accommodations for family, which also results in better outcomes for patients. The emergency room will have 41 beds.

The project will also include 250 residential units.

Attendees of the presentation received bags made from recycled soda bottles containing a flyer showing the proposed facility and a list of groups in San Leandro that received community grants from Kaiser in 2007 and 2008.

Kaiser_San_Leandro_view.jpg
Another artist rendering of the new Kaiser Permanente facility in San Leandro.

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October 22, 2008

San Leandro Police Web Site Goes Live

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.

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October 20, 2008

24 Lost Desperate Heros Wins Trivia Bee Again

24 Desperate Lost Heros made it two in-a-row by winning Project Literacy's 15th Annual Trivia Bee on Friday, October 17, 2008. One of the San Leandro Library teams took second and Katz for Morgan took third, nearly a repeat of last year's result, in which the Katz Team tied with the San Leandro Police Officers Association.

With the passing of Daily Review columnist Ray Orrock in March 2008, question reading was handled by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Kurtz and Leslie Frates, a San Leandro resident and professor who has appeared on the television quiz show Jeopardy 14 times. Kathy Kurtz served as the official time keeper and Sue Kleebauer was the emcee. There were 30 questions in the first round, 20 in the second round and 10 in the last round.

In addition to the Trivia Bee, a raffle featured a flat-screen television, a GPS system, tickets for Disneyland and dozens of other prizes from local businesses and individuals. Funds raised by the Trivia Bee help Project Literacy to provide literacy services to more than 200 adults and 1,500 kids each year.

Thirty teams competed in the annual fundraiser that brings in more than $10,000 each year for Project Literacy. Teams included businesses like State Roofing Systems, candidates (Ursula Reed and Katz for Morgan Mack-Rose), the San Leandro Library, Project Literacy, Alameda County Firefighters, the Kaplan Family, the San Leandro City Council, the Pontificators, and the San Leandro Police Officers Association.

Mayor Santos and the San Leandro City Council were on-hand to present trophies and medals to the top three teams. Also on hand were California State Senator and former San Leandro Mayor Ellen Corbett and California State Assemblymember Mary Hayashi.

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October 18, 2008

Brian Copeland Hits 500 Performances for "Not a Genuine Black Man"

Local San Leandro author, comedian, radio and TV host and performer Brian Copeland will mark another milestone next week when his solo show "Not a Genuine Black Man" has its 500th performance.

That show will take place at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek on Friday, October 24, 2008. "Not a Genuine Black Man" is scheduled to run through November 30, 2008.

Copeland is offering San Leandro residents and their guests tickets for half price when they identify themselves as San Leandro residents when they call 925-943-SHOW (7469) to order tickets.

The show will also benefit the CaroLena Foundation, a non-profit Copeland founded to promote diversity through art, performance, and scholarship. The foundation will award scholarships to help students pay for tuition and books and fund artists doing similar work.

Six shows are scheduled for the Hudson Theatres in Hollywood on Tuesdays and Wednesdays beginning November 11, 2008. Tickets are available by calling 323-965-9996 or from www.plays411.net.

Copeland's solo show began at The Marsh in San Francisco more than four years ago. It tells the story of growing up black in San Leandro and its poignant story is familiar to anyone who has felt like an outsider. Copeland has performed the show throughout California and even off-Broadway in New York.

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October 15, 2008

San Leandro Crossings Meeting on Monday October 20, 2008

Here's the text of the invitation from Westlake:

Westlake Development Partners, BRIDGE Housing Corporation and BUILD, LLC cordially invite you to attend a community meeting to discuss the proposed San Leandro Crossings Project. This meeting will be the fourth and final of four community meetings designed to present the development concept and to seek input from the community.

The project includes two sites located in the City’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Strategy Area and is being designed to be fully consistent with the City’s recently approved TOD Area requirements.

- Site 1, located at the northeast corner of San Leandro Blvd and Juana Street (site of the current BART East Parking Lot) will include 200 market rate residential units, 5,000 square feet of retail space and 290 associated parking spaces. The residential units will include a mix of studios, one and two bedroom units. The project architect is Thomas P. Cox Architects, Inc.

- Site 2a, 100% of the existing public BART East Parking Lot spaces will be relocated to a new parking structure to be constructed on property owned by Westlake on the west side of the BART station.

- Site 2b, located on the west side of the BART station, will include 100 affordable residential units with a mix of one, two and three bedroom units and 100 associated parking spaces. The project architect is David Baker + Partners Architects.

For further information, please call Gaye Quinn at 415.970.9821.

Click here for a copy of the invitation.

The meeting will be held at 6:30pm on Monday, October 20, 2008, at the San Leandro Library. The San Leandro Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro.

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October 6, 2008

Drake's Sold to Triple Rock

San Leandro's Drake's Brewing Co. was sold to Berkeley's Triple Rock Brewery on Monday, October 6, 2008, according to published reports.

Roger Lind started Drakes as Lind Brewing in San Leandro in 1989. The Rogers Co. has operated the company since it purchased it in 1999 until its sale to Triple Rock.

In the past few years, Drakes has held a "Beer Festival and Washoes Tournament" that raised funds for Jefferson and Roosevelt Elementary Schools in San Leandro.

Triple Rock proprietor John Martin says that Drake's won't change with the change in ownership. Drake's Brewery is located at 1933 Davis St., Suite 177, in San Leandro.

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September 23, 2008

Free Housing Crisis Workshop on Saturday September 27, 2008

On September 27, 2008, Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker together with Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (HERA) and Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) will hold a free workshop on the housing crisis at the San Leandro Library. The workshop is for homeowners facing foreclosure, home buyers, and renters who are renting homes that are in foreclosure.

According to Default Research, there were 218 foreclosures in San Leandro in August 2008, up from 150 during the second quarter of 2008.

The workshop will be held from 10am to 12 pm at the San Leandro Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro. Click here for a flyer. For more information and to RSVP for the event, call (510) 278-0367.

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September 8, 2008

San Leandro Library Offers New Digital Audio Books

Playaway.jpg The San Leandro Library has added Playaway audio books to the cassette tape and CD-ROM audio books it has offered for years. Unlike tapes and CD-ROMs, no separate player is required - each book comes as its own self-contained electronic device, much like an iPod. Users only need a pair of headphones and a library card to listen to the book.

The library currently has 26 Playaway audio books, including classics like The Great Gatsby, The Stranger, 1984, Animal Farm, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to modern titles like Angela's Ashes and The Kite Runner.

Like other audio books, checking out the Playaway audio books is free to library cardholders. The San Leandro Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro.

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August 27, 2008

Firefighters Over Police in Charity Softball Game

Alameda County Firefighters and San Leandro Police Charity Softball Game

The Alameda County Firefighters defeated the San Leandro Police 16 to 15 in a charity softball game held at Thrasher Park on Saturday, August 23, 2008. The game was a fundraiser for the family of Nels Dan Niemi and American Cancer Society. The San Leandro Police were leading after the originally scheduled for six innings, but the Alameda County Firefighters managed to come back and win after three more innings.

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August 25, 2008

Sausage & Suds Coming on October 5, 2008

The annual Sausage & Suds Music and Food Festival will be held in downtown San Leandro on Sunday, October 5, 2008. It will be held on Parrott Street between E. 14th Street and Washington Avenue.

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August 22, 2008

Library Has Blu-ray Discs for Rental and Checkout

On August 8, 2008, the San Leandro Library began offering movies on high-definition Blu-ray discs in addition to standard DVDs and VHS tapes.

According to Senior Librarian Penny Peck, the library started with 100 discs and more will be added over time. The library's collection currently includes about 120 Blu-ray discs, including multiple copies of some movies. Like DVDs, the newer Blu-ray discs are available for rental at $3 per movie for three days.

Blu-ray discs require a Blu-ray player and will not play on standard DVD players. Blu-ray gets it name from the color of the laser used to read the disc.

The Blu-ray discs are located near the rental books and DVDs at the library to highlight their availability and reduce the potential for theft.

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August 18, 2008

PACE Seeks Candidates for Leadership Scholarship

The Political Action Committee for Excellence (PACE) is seeking female candidates to apply for a full scholarship to the Leadership San Leandro program run by the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.

PACE is a recipient committee, which is a group that can contribute money in support of (or against) candidates and ballot measures. PACE is composed completely of women and only contributes money to female candidates for office. The goal of PACE is to get more women elected and involved in civic activities. Members of PACE include Councilmembers Surlene Grant, Joyce Starosciak and Diana Souza, California State Senator Ellen Corbett, and former Mayor Shelia Young.

The Leadership San Leandro program consists of a two-day retreat and nine monthly one-day sessions from September to June with the goal of preparing community leaders. The value of the scholarship is estimated at $900.

According to information from PACE, the candidate requirements are:

  • Live or work in San Leandro
  • Female
  • Submit a one-page statement describing yourself, your involvement in the City and/or Civic engagements and why you are interested in participating in the Leadership San Leandro program.
  • Attend at least one PACE meeting
  • Report back to PACE a summary of the program and provide feedback after completing the program
  • Commit to the program attendance requirements

More information about Leadership San Leandro can be found here. Applicants should complete the Leadership San Leandro application and submit it with your one-page statement by August 29, 2008, to Diana Souza, PO Box 1976, San Leandro, CA 94577-0197. Contact Diana Souza for more information.

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August 3, 2008

Community Meeting on Downtown San Leandro BART TOD Development

A community meeting will be held on Thursday, August 7, 2008, to discuss San Leandro Crossings, the first Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) project in downtown San Leandro. According to a letter from Westlake Development Partners, the purpose of the meeting "is to introduce the project team, development concept and to gather input from the community that will be used as the planning and design process moves forward."

The development includes two sites: the BART parking lot east of the downtown BART station at San Leandro Boulevard and West Juana Avenue and the empty lot just west of the BART station.

The meeting will be held at 6:30pm in the Karp Room at the San Leandro Library, 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro. For more information, contact Gaye Quinn at 415.970.9821.

For the complete text of the letter, see below:

San Leandro Crossings
COMMUNITY MEETING

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO ATTEND
A COMMUNITY MEETING
TO DISCUSS THE SAN LEANDRO CROSSINGS PROJECT
DOWNTOWN SAN LEANDRO'S
FIRST TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT

When: Thursday, August 7, 2008
Time: 6:30 pm
Where: The San Leandro Main Library, 300 Estudillo Avenue - Dave Karp Room
For: San Leandro Residents and Interested Parties

Westlake Development Partners LLC, BRIDGE Housing Corporation and BUILD, LLC cordially invite you to attend a community meeting to discuss the proposed San Leandro Crossings Project. The purpose of this meeting is to introduce the project team, development concept and to gather input from the community that will be used as the planning and design process moves forward.

The project includes two sites located in the City's Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Strategy Area and is being designed to be fully consistent with the City's recently approved TOD Area requirements.

Site 1 is located at the northeast corner of San Leandro Blvd and Juana Street (site of the current BART East Parking Lot) will include 200 market rate residential units, 5,000 square feet of retail space and associated parking. The residential units will include a mix of studios, one and two bedroom units. The existing public BART parking spaces will be relocated to a new parking structure to be constructed on property owned by Westlake on the west side of the BART station. The project architect is Thomas P. Cox Architects, Inc.
Site 2 is located on the west side of the BART station and will include 100 affordable residential units with a mix of one, two and three bedroom units and associated parking The project architect is David Baker + Partners Architects.

Light refreshments will be served. For further information, please call Gaye Quinn at 415.970.9821.

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July 26, 2008

San Leandro High Teacher Recognized for Community Service

Jack Nelson is a teacher and coach in San Leandro. San Leandro High School history teacher and coach Jack Nelson received the Jefferson Award for public service and was recognized in the July 26, 2008, edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Nelson also teaches physical education at John Muir Middle School. Two years ago, Nelson formed a Jefferson Service Group at San Leandro High School. The students volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, the Red Cross, and senior centers and pick up trash.

He has raised money for Children's Hospital, the families of two San Leandro High students who were killed in Oakland, a boy who was shot and paralyzed while taking piano lessons in Piedmont, and for San Leandro sports programs. His next fundraiser is a half-marathon and will benefit the Davis Street Family Resource Center.

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July 14, 2008

Two Angry Moms to Screen at San Leandro Library on Wed. July 16

Two Angry Moms Poster On Wednesday, July 16, 2008, the documentary Two Angry Moms will be shown at the San Leandro Library. The documentary follows Susan Rubin as she tries to get her school district to make its school lunches more healthy. The film was produced by independent filmmaker Amy Kalafa, who shared Rubin's goal of replacing fatty and sugary foods with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Rubin writes, "My hope is that other parents who aren't too pleased about the food and junk food rewards their kids receive at school will be inspired by the film to take action in their own schools. If you’re not angry about what is being served in your kid’s school, maybe you ought to be!"

Two Angry Moms will be shown at 7:30pm at the San Leandro Library at 300 Estudillo Ave. Admission is free but registration is required.

The movie is sponsored by Shaping Youth, Bay Area Parent, the Downtown San Leandro Farmers' Market, and Fresh Approach.

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June 18, 2008

San Leandro Couple Married in Oakland

Weddings are not normally newsworthy, but Tuesday, June 17, 2008, was the first full day that same sex weddings took place in California and San Leandro couple Karen Fernandez and Luz Salcedo were married in Oakland that morning.

The couple celebrated in San Francisco's Castro district, where their photograph was taken by San Francisco Chronicle photographer Noah Berger:

San Leandro couple Luz Salcedo and Karen_Fernandez celebrate in the Castor after getting married in Oakland

Karen Fernandez is one of the founders of Quality of Life Services, a group that was formed in January 2008 in response to concerns about crime in San Leandro.

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June 17, 2008

Free Wireless in San Leandro

When you want to get out of the house and relax with your laptop, food and ambience, here's a list of the places where wireless Internet access is available for free:

Cafe Americano
2150 Washington Ave
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 895-8044
SSiD/Network Name: 2WIRE385

Cafe Sorriso
1501 Washington Ave
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 351-3605
SSiD/Network Name: Cafe Sorriso

Hilton Garden Inn
510 Lewelling Boulevard
San Leandro, CA 94579
(510) 346-5533
SSiD/Network Name: HGI-OAKSL2 and OAKSL3

Mon Cafe
971 Manor Blvd
San Leandro, CA 94579
(510) 895-5282
SSiD/Network Name: moncafe

Planet Coffee
1423 E 14th St
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 351-5527
SSiD/Network Name: Planet-Coffee

Sabinos
1273 MacArthur Blvd
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 357-5282
SSiD/Network Name: Sabinos

San Leandro Marina Inn
68 San Leandro Marina
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 895-1311
SSiD/Network Name: Marina Inn Lobby

Washington Manor Library
1241 Manor Boulevard
San Leandro, CA 94579
SSiD/Network Name: San Leandro Library
Requires an email address

Zocalo Coffeehouse
645 Bancroft Ave
San Leandro, CA 94577
(510) 569-0102
SSiD/Network Name: Zocalo Coffeehouse

Free wireless is also advertised at Bayfair Center and Dennys, but San Leandro Bytes was unable to get a usable wireless connection at these locations.

If you don't have a laptop, free Internet access is available on six computers at Kmart at 250 Floresta Blvd:

Internet access at San Leandro's Kmart

San Leandro residents can get a library card and use computers at the library to access the Internet.

If you know of other places that offer free wireless Internet access, leave a comment.

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May 29, 2008

2008 Cherry Festival Schedule and Map (May 31, 2008)

The 2008 Cherry Festival is scheduled for 10am to 6pm on Saturday, May 31, 2008. Admission is free.








Main Stage Entertainment
9:00am to 10:00amSan Leandro Municipal Band
11:00am to 12:00pmTamika Nicole Clark
12:30pm to 1:30pmNative Elements
2:00pmMayors Welcome
2:15pm to 3:15pmAvance
3:45pm to 4:30pmMichael Henderson
5:00pm to 6:00pmThe Best Intentions
 
Community Stage Entertainment
10:00am to 11:00amFalung Gong
11:15am to 11:45pmRon Esteller Martial Arts
12:00pm to 1:00pmB’Dazzled Dancers
1:30pm to 2:30pmFighting The Villain
3:00pm to 4:00pmTatseena Good Vibes & Troup Tareefa
5:30pm to 6:00pmJeff Chames

Map of the 2008 San Leandro Cherry Festival

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High School Film Festival at Zocalo on June 5, 2008

The San Leandro Community Action Network (SLCAN) celebrates the multimedia accomplishments of San Leandro High School's student filmmakers with a film festival highlighting the works of the San Leandro Academy for Multimedia (SLAM). These sophomores, juniors, and seniors are learning their core classes through use of digital photography, animation, web design, video production, 3D graphics, and special effects.

Animated shorts depict the reproduction cycle of a cell, Harvey Milk, a clay man who falls into a drawn world, the story of a boy with no name, and a pear dance.

Other films include:

The films will be shown at Zocalo Coffeehouse at 7pm on June 5, 2008. Zocalo Coffeehouse is located at 645 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.

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May 14, 2008

Downtown Farmers' Market Opens to Enthusiastic Crowd

San Leandro Downtown Farmers Market opening

The inaugural downtown Farmer's Market opened on Wednesday, May 14, 2008, to an enthusiastic crowd. Strawberries from Watsonville, seafood from Santa Cruz, baked goods from Alameda, Indian food from Hayward, gourmet Italian food from San Francisco, almonds from Modesto, and BBQ from Vallejo were among the variety of offerings. For kids, there was face-painting, balloon animals, and a walking over-sized carrot.

Mayor Tony Santos was joined by California State Senator and former San Leandro Mayor Ellen Corbett, Councilmembers Diana Souza and Joyce Starosciak, and City Manager John Jermanis in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to mark the start of the Farmer's Market.

The Farmers' Market is held on Wednesdays from 4 to 8pm on Parrott Street between E. 14th St. and Washington Avenue and will continue until October 22, 2008. The first Wednesday of the month will feature cooking demonstrations followed by live music, family entertainment, and wine tasting on subsequent Fridays.

For video of the ribbon-cutting, see below:

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May 9, 2008

San Leandro Teacher Picks Up Sponsor for Video Podcast

Tony Farley's Beautiful Places San Leandro High School teacher Tony Farley has been publishing video podcasts of beautiful natural places since May 2007. Farley combined his job as a teacher in the San Leandro Academy of Multimedia (SLAM) with his love of hiking and the outdoors and now has the backing of On Networks, a producer of a variety of video podcasts.

On Networks provides production assistance and marketing. The assistance from On Networks is most notable in the additional narration. Farley will also get a cut of sales of related DVDs and apparel, when they become available. This will help him fund trips for future episodes farther from home, such as Hawaii. Prior to his current relationship with On Networks, Farley had been courting other possible sponsors, as in this post, "...if someone wants me to come to their neck of the woods, I would be more than happy to come out and do a show that includes something about whatever service they provide."

What is a video podcast? A video podcast is basically a shorter version of something you might see on television. They typically run less than 10 minutes and instead of being produced by major networks, they are usually homemade by enthusiasts. Many video podcasts are available for free and can be accessed using Apple's iTunes or Miro to find and "subscribe." After subscribing to a video podcast, future episodes are downloaded automatically each time you open iTunes or Miro.

So far, Farley's twelve podcasts have focused mainly on California places like Yosemite, Big Sur and Point Reyes with two episodes on Rocky Mountain National Park. Four more episodes have been filmed, but still need to be edited. The podcasts range in size from about 30 megabytes (MB) to 260 MB and all are less than 10 minutes long.

You can subscribe to the video podcasts using iTunes, Miro, and Zune (standard definition only), at http://www.onnetworks.com/videos/beautiful-places-in-hd/. The HD podcasts take longer to download, but they're worth it.

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May 8, 2008

Building Demolished to Make Way for Affordable Senior Housing

Demolition of the last building at former site of Sir Richards Car Store Outlet was completed on May 7, 2008. The site will be developed into a 51-unit senior housing development by Eden Housing. Construction is scheduled to begin this Fall and completed in late fall 2009.

The lot is located at 2121 E. 14th Street.

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Safety Group Touts Motion-Activated Lights to Fight Crime

The recently-formed group Citizens for a Safer Leandro is working to fund a pilot project to install motion-activated lights in about 500 to 600 homes in each of San Leandro's six council districts. The group made a presentation at the May 5, 2008, meeting of the San Leandro City Council. The cost of the pilot project is estimated at $5,700, and Councilmember Michael Gregory presented the group with a check for $500 from his empowerment fund at the conclusion of their presentation.

The group hopes that installation of the motion sensors will help reduce crime. Subsidies will be provided for those who can't afford the estimated $20 cost and the group will work with another group to get the motion detectors installed. Their goal is to get the sensors installed by mid-summer and to expand the program to the entire city next year.

During the presentation, one of the group's founders, Connie Stephens (wife of City Councilmember Bill Stephens), noted that San Leandro has had six residents killed during 2008, although it was unclear how these were related to crime in San Leandro, since all but one were killed outside of San Leandro.

Stephens also said she was concerned about students gathering at the library after school and noted that a student ran in front of her car without looking as she was parking during a "disturbance" at the library. Stephens told the City Council, "As I parked and went into the library, there were kids everywhere and I couldn't imagine what was going on...I wasn't so much concerned for myself, but my community and the seniors that have built this community deserve better. I think if I was a senior citizen I would be very intimidated to have to walk through that kind of disturbance."

Coverage at the Daily Review.

The entire presentation is posted below:

Connie Stephens:

Judith Collins and John Kaplan:

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May 1, 2008

Long Wait for $.31 Ice Cream at Baskin Robbins

$.31 Scoop Night at Baskin Robbins
On April 30, 2008, Baskin Robbins and National Fallen Firefighters' Foundation joined together to honor America's firefighters. Baskin Robbins offered scoops of ice cream for just $.31 while Alameda County Firefighters were on hand to collect donations and hand out plastic firefighter hats to kids.

The line for ice cream stretched halfway through Pelton Center with a wait of more than an hour.

Baskin Robbins is located at 100 Pelton Center Way in San Leandro.

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April 29, 2008

Local Restaurant Featured in San Francisco Chronicle

Sweet Fingers
Sweet Fingers, a Jamaican restaurant on E. 14th Street in San Leandro, was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle. The articles states that owner Clive Barnes is from Jamaica and "has been in the food business for more than 15 years."

Reviews at Yelp are mostly positive. Local restaurant reviewer Marga Lacabe likes it as well, but she and the Chronicle both note that the service is leisurely.

Live entertainment includes open mic poetry on Thursday nights, In House Sound System on Friday nights, and a reggae band on Saturday nights.

Sweet Fingers is located at 464 E. 14th St. in San Leandro.

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April 15, 2008

San Leandro Golfer Named WAC Golfer of the Week

Cristina Corpus Former San Leandro High School student Cristina Corpus was named the Western Athletic Conference Women’s Golfer of the Week for April 7-13, 2008, and San Jose State University's Student-Athlete of the Week. Corpus tied for third, her best college finish, in the Peg Barnard California Collegiate golf tournament at Stanford held April 11-12, 2008. Corpus lead her San Jose State University golf team to a fourth place finish and her fifth top-20 finish of the season.

Corpus was previously named WAC Women's Golfer of the Week for March 3-9, 2008 and WAC Women's Golf Freshman of the Year in 2007.

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April 10, 2008

Bayfair Celebrates 50 Years on Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bayfair Center is celebrating its 50th Anniversary on Saturday, April 12, 2008. Bayfair opened in 1957 at the site of the former Oakland Speedway and was the first two-story open-air mall. The celebration will take place at the center court with the following schedule:

  • 9:00am. . . . . . . . . . . . High School Art Contest begins
  • 1:00pm. . . . . . . . . . . . Unveiling of Celebrate San Leandro photo exhibit
  • 3:00pm. . . . . . . . . . . . The Motown tribute band, Picture Perfect
  • 3:00pm. . . . . . . . . . . . Award winning balloon artists and face painters
  • 4:00pm. . . . . . . . . . . . Mayor Tony Santos and members of the Chamber of Commerce will preside over a ribbon cutting and commendation followed by the announcement of the Art Contest winners
  • 4:30pm. . . . . . . . . . . . Enjoy refreshments by Chevyʼs, Chiliʼs, Fresh Choice, and Jamba Juice and a FREE slice of 50th Anniversary celebration cake for everyone

Prizes will also be given away throughout the day.

For more information, see the Bayfair flyer.

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March 28, 2008

Bonaire Civic League Disbands

At a meeting held on Wednesday, March 26, 2008, the Bonaire Civic League disbanded. The last president, Virginia Boepple, moved away from San Leandro recently and the organization had been inactive for some time.

The Bonaire Civic League was formed in 1953 as the Bonaire Homeowners Association and covers two square miles in the southern-most area of San Leandro. Beckett & Federighi built 699 houses in an area that had been used for cabbage and sugar beet farming to create the Bonaire community.

Former City Councilmember and San Leandro School Board Member Nathan Kleinstein was from Bonaire and served as the Bonaire Civic League President from 1965 to 1967. Former San Leandro City Councilmember and California State Assemblyman Johan Klehs received a scholarship from the Bonaire Civic League in 1970 as a graduating senior.

Continuing that tradition of supporting local schools, the Bonaire Civic League decided to distribute its remaining bank balance by giving $4,000 to scholarships for San Leandro High School students who are residents of Bonaire, $3,500 to the library at Madison Elementary, and the remainder to a local church.

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March 27, 2008

Cherry Festival Returns on May 31, 2008

The Cherry Festival will be held this year in downtown San Leandro, on Saturday, May 31, 2008.

In 2007, the Cherry Festival returned after a three-year hiatus caused by budget cuts. Like last year, the Cherry Festival will be one-day instead of two and will take place downtown. Admission is free. More details as they become available.

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March 25, 2008

Community Air Quality Input Meeting Thursday March 27, 2008

Bay Area Air Quality Management DistrictThe Bay Area Air Quality Management District will hold a workshop describing its Community Air Risk Evaluation (CARE) Program on Thursday, March 27, 2008, in the Dave Karp toom at the San Leandro Public Library from 6pm to 8pm. The workshop will also describe funding opportunities to reduce air pollution emissions and solicit community concerns and ideas on possible mitigation measures

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s (Air District) Community Air Risk Evaluation (CARE) Program estimates health risks associated with exposure to outdoor toxic air contaminants (TACs) in the Bay Area. The CARE Program:

  • Has examined TAC emissions from point sources, area sources and on-road and off-road mobile sources with an emphasis on diesel exhaust

  • Will guide the development of additional measures to reduce toxic air pollution in areas with the highest health risk

  • Will develop and implement mitigation measures to reduce TAC emissions in areas with the highest health risk


Funding Opportunities

The San Leandro Public Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro.

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March 23, 2008

Marina Park Easter Egg Hunt

San Leandro's Annual Easter Egg Hunt was held at Marina Park on Saturday, March 22, 2008. The San Leandro Muncipal Band entertained the crowd while the Easter Bunny (Teresa Glaze) posed for pictures and handed out lollipops.

Easter bunny at Marina Park

The egg hunt was divided into five separate areas by age (1-2 year olds, 3-4 year olds, etc.) and children waited with their parents for the whistle to blow, signaling it was time to start.

Crowds waiting for the Easter egg hunt at Marina Park

Despite signs instructing parents not to help their children pick up candy and the admonitions of staff, once the whistle blew, some parents scooped up candy by the handful to fill baskets for their children. Some of these parents carried on, even when asked to stop or leave the area by staff.

Adult spoiling Easter egg hunt

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March 16, 2008

San Leandro Company Receives $20 Million in Funding

According to a regulatory filing, ePAC, a San Leandro-based provider of printing and logistics solutions for the high-tech industry, has received $20 million of venture capital in Series C-1 funding from HarbourVest Partners. Menlo Ventures, Investor Growth Capital and Thorner Ventures are investors that have funded ePAC in previous rounds of financing. ePAC received $30.5 million in funding in May 2006. A second round of funding totaled $12.8 million in September 2003.

ePAC is located at 2561 Grant Avenue in San Leandro, but according to its web site, "ePAC is headquartered in Silicon Valley."

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February 22, 2008

Pee Wee's Starts Rebuilding

Pee Wee's Pizza, a fixture on E. 14th Street for more than 50 years, has started rebuilding after it was gutted by a fire on September 5, 2006. The owner, Eddie Tarin, didn't have fire insurance and Tommy T's helped raise some money with a fundraiser three weeks after the fire. Tarin had worked at Pee Wee's as a cook before he purchased the business from the Caselli family, which started Pee Wee's in 1953.

Pee Wee's Starts Rebuilding

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February 10, 2008

Community Meeting on February 19, 2008, at San Leandro Library

A group called Quality of Life Services of San Leandro has organized a Community Open House partially in response to a meeting held on January 29, 2008, about crime in San Leandro. At that meeting, there was some confusion about whether the meeting was intended for all San Leandro residents, since maps of reported crimes on display at the meeting were only for Estudillo Estates and the area west of Estudillo Estates. The organizer of that meeting, Connie Stephens, indicated that the meeting was intended for all San Leandro residents.

Karen Fernandez was at that meeting and offered to hold another meeting, which has been scheduled for February 19, 2008. She intends to join efforts with HealthySanLeandro Environmental Collaborative to discuss the concerns of San Leandro residents from all neighborhoods.marc_decoulode.jpg

At the meeting, Lt. Marc DeCoulode of the San Leandro Police Department is scheduled to give an overview of crime definitions. Seventy minutes of the meeting will be allocated for residents to speak about any subject.

The group has started a mailing list, which can be found at http://groups.google.com/group/QualityLifeSL.

The Community Open House will be held on Tuesday, February, 19, 2008, from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the San Leandro Library Lecture Hall at 300 Estudillo Avenue. For more information, contact slcitizens@gmail.com.

Daily Review coverage.

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January 31, 2008

San Leandro Officer Moonlights as Voice Actor

San Leandro Police officer Brian Sommer was featured on the front-page of the Datebook section of the January 31, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle for his work as a voice actor for video games and advertising. There is also a podcast. Sommer has been working as a police officer in San Leandro since 1987.

According to Sommer's web site, he has done voice work for the video games SOCOM 3, America's Army, and Sam and Max. His web site also features samples of his work and a bio that says nothing of his day job in San Leandro.

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January 27, 2008

Free Screening of Made in L.A./Hecho en Los Angeles on Feb. 7 at Zocalo

Made in L.A. DVD CoverThe San Leandro Community Action Network (SLCAN) continues it monthly film series with a screening of Made in L.A./Hecho en Los Angeles at 7:00pm on Thursday, February 7, 2008.

According to the movie web site, "Made in L.A. follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from a mega-trendy clothing retailer. In intimate verite style, Made in L.A. reveals the impact of the struggle on each woman’s life as they are gradually transformed by the experience. Compelling, humorous, deeply human, Made in L.A. is a story about immigration, the power of unity, and the courage it takes to find your voice."

Admission is free and the movie will be shown at Zocalo Coffeehouse.

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January 21, 2008

Sarah O'Neal Rush Speaks at San Leandro MK Jr. Celebration

Sarah O'Neal Rush, great-granddaughter of Booker T. Washington, spoke today, when we honor the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. The event was held at the Marina Community Center.

Ms. Rush's speech had to be split into three parts. Here are parts two and three.

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January 8, 2008

Town Hall meeting for Washington Manor Residents Thursday January 10, 2008

On Thursday, January 10, 2008, Councilmembers Joyce Starosciak and Diana Souza will hold a Town Hall at the Marina Community Center for Washington Manor residents.

Issues to be discussed include crime, the Washington Manor Middle School gymnasium project, and the activities of the Washington Manor Homeowners Association. Refreshments will be served.

The meeting will start at 6:30pm. The Marina Community Center is located at 15301 Wicks Blvd. in San Leandro.

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December 30, 2007

Turkey Vultures Atop Downtown Buildings Sunday Morning

A group of about 30 turkey vultures makes the trees or Memorial Park and near San Leandro Creek is resting spot most nights. On Sunday morning, December 30, 2007, the turkey vultures tooks to sunning themselves atop the First Presbyterian Church of San Leandro, Santos & Robinson Mortuary, and Wells Fargo Bank.

Turkey vultures atop the First Presbyterian Church of San Leandro
Turkey vultures atop the First Presbyterian Church of San Leandro

Turkey vultures sunning themselves on Wells Fargo Bank
Turkey vultures sunning themselves on Wells Fargo Bank

Turkey vulture atop the Santos & Robinson Mortuary
Turkey vulture atop the Santos & Robinson Mortuary

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December 28, 2007

Pat Bouligny Chosen as Interim CEO of San Leandro Chamber of Commerce

Pat BoulignyThe San Leandro Chamber of Commerce announced today that Pat Bouligny has been chosen as its interim CEO. Bouligny is the President of Bouligny & Associates, which seems to be a human resources consulting firm. Bouligny has served on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts of San Francisco Bay Area for six years and is also the current President of the Board. According to her biography, Bouligny was the first African American President of the Bay Area Girl Scouts. She also served on the Tampa Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Directors for the Tampa Boys & Girls Club.

Dan Walters, the Chair of the San Leandro Chamber's CEO Search Committee, is also on the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts of San Francisco Bay Area.

The other members of the Search Committee are Bernard Ashcraft, President Robert Brannan, Burt Boltuch, and President-Elect Rose Padilla Johnson.

Bouligny replaces Diana Gentry, who was CEO just less than a year.

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December 24, 2007

Red Mountain Gets out Some Holiday PR

Red Mountain Retail Group recently placed this sign on the former Albertson's at 1550 E. 14th Street.

Red Mountain Retail Group holiday banner on former Albertsons
Happy Holidays "We can't wait to give the gift of a Grocery Store."

The Albertsons site has been vacant since 2005 and Red Mountain has filed a legal action to force the city to accept Grocery Outlet as the tenant of the property. Red Mountain lost an appeal of its classification as a supermarket before the San Leandro City Council in July 2007. The City Council decision came just days after Red Mountain and Grocery Outlet held a "picnic" at the site, where items from Grocery Outlet were handed out for free and recipients were encouraged to sign a petition in favor of Grocery Outlet.

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December 17, 2007

San Leandro Chamber Announces Nominees for 2008 Board of Directors

The San Leandro Chamber of Commerce recently announced its 2008 Board of Director Nominees for terms that will end in 2010. The nominees are:

Officers for the 2008 Term:


Directors for the Term ending 2008:
African American Business Council Representative
Latino Business Council Representative

Directors with Continuing Terms Not Requiring Election:

December 2, 2007

Davis Street's Rose Padilla Johnson Featured in Oakland Magazine

Rose Padilla JohnsonRose Padilla Johnson, Executive Director of Davis Street Family Resource Center, is featured in the December 2007 edition of Oakland Magazine as one of its Hometown Heroes. According to the article, Davis Street provides "childcare, food and health care to more than 10,000 low-income residents in East Oakland, San Leandro and Castro Valley." The article notes that "Davis Street was originally founded as a ministry of the First Christian Church in 1970." Johnson joined Davis Street in 1991 and the organization moved into a new office on Teagarden Street in 2002.

Johnson will be President of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce in 2008 and she also serves on the San Leandro Rotary Club.

Johnson has three children and lives in Pleasanton with her husband, former Alameda County Fire Chief Bill McCammon.

Davis Street Family Resource Center is located at 3081 Teagarden Street in San Leandro.

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Santa at Zocalo today

Santa is visiting Zocalo today, Sunday, December 2, 2007, until 1pm.

That's right, Santa and Mrs. Claus are at Zocalo right now visiting, having a hot cocoa and meeting children!

With a donation of $5 or a toy to exchange ($5 value max), you can join in on the gift exchange as well!

Come on down and your kids can get a Free Hot Chocolate!

Just head on back to the JavaGym to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus!
There's Christmas music, cookies and snacks.

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San Leandro Lights Tree, Greets Santa

Kids decorated cookies with frosting and sprinkles, drank hot chocolate, and created ornaments while Girl Scouts handed out bags with energy-efficient flourescent light bulbs as hundreds gathered to watch the City of San Leandro's tree lighting on a chilly November 30, 2007.

After Mayor Tony Santos welcomed the crowd and introduced the City Council, the St. Felicitas Catholic School Choir peformed a number of Christmas carols for the crowd. The winners of the Gingerbread House contest were announced and were given awards by Mayor Santos and Councilmember Bill Stephens.

A gingerbread replica of St. Leanders ChurchGingerbread contest entriesGingerbread contest entries

The winners were:

  • Mommy & Me Category: Lily and Mom Nicole Flaner

  • 3-8 year-old Category: Gabriel Riley

  • 9-12 year-old Category: Athina Delacruz

  • Traditional Adult Category: Peter Cleveland

  • Nontraditional Aduly Category: Patricia Millar

  • Group Category: Brownie Troop #306 led by Leslie Pestana

After the DC Dancers performed a few numbers, the very tall Christmas tree was lit to the delight of the crowd.

San Leandro Tree Lighting 2007

Soon after, Santa Claus arrived on an antique fire engine and sat down to hear what the excited children wanted on Christmas morning.

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November 27, 2007

'Tis the Season in San Leandro

November and December feature a wide array of events for everyone in San Leandro. Below are some of the events from our schools and city.

Friday, Nov. 30 at 5:30 pm, Tree Lighting at City Hall, usually includes arts, crafts, and cookie decorating for the kids

Saturday, Dec. 1 at 5:00 pm, Lighted Boat Parade at the San Leandro Marina Harbor; includes refreshments at 5:00pm and parade at 6:00pm

Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 6:00 pm every night through Dec. 11, Lighting of the Menorah at Temple Beth Sholom at 642 Dolores Ave.

Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7:30pm, Hawaiian Holiday Concert at the San Leandro Main Library (Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Children 5 and under are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased at the Main Library)

Friday, Dec. 7 from 5:00 – 9:00pm, Miracle on E. 14th Street at Pelton Plaza

Saturday, Dec. 8 at 9am, Breakfast with Santa at Monarch Bay Golf Course (purchase tickets at the door)

Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7:30pm, Winter Orchestra/Vocal Concert at San Leandro High School Gym

Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7:30pm, Winter Wind/Jazz Concert at San Leandro High School Gym

Saturday, Dec. 15 from 8am to 12pm, Pancake Breakfast and Santa at Wilson Elementary School

Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 7:30pm, Holiday Puppet Show and Santa at the San Leandro Main Library with refreshments and a suprise from Santa for all the kids.

San Leandro highlights some of its residences in a special "Light up the Night" directory published on the San Leandro web site and in the San Leandro Times. In the past, the displays at the houses near the intersection of Chapel Court and Chapel Avenue have been spectacular.

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November 12, 2007

Eden Township Healthcare Board Votes to Give Up Oversight Role

With more than 120 people packed into a conference room at Eden Medical Center for the November 12, 2007, meeting, the Eden Township Healthcare District Board voted 4 to 1 to give up its governing role over Eden Medical Center for a promise by Sutter Health to replace the hospital. Board members Harry Dvorsky, Walter Kram, Rajendra Ratnesar and Frank Rico voted to accept the contract. They all work or have worked as physicians at Eden Medical Center and San Leandro Hospital. Carole Rogers, a former nurse, was the sole vote against the contract. Rogers had motioned to delay the vote pending an opinion by the Attorney General on whether the board could legally remove itself from oversight of the hospital. The motion failed as none of the other board members seconded the motion.

The agreement means that San Leandro Hospital will remain open until 2009, but Sutter can decide to end services at San Leandro Hospital after 2009.

Public comment was limited to two minutes per speaker and a total of 90 minutes. Many of the two dozen advocates were employees and doctors who worked for Eden Medical Center and San Leandro Hospital. A slightly smaller number of opponents of the plan to dissolve the elected board included State Senator Ellen Corbett, and State Assemblymembers Alberto Torrico and Mary Hayashi. A number of speakers reminded the board members of Measure A, which was passed by voters in 1997 and promised to preserve local control with a publicly-elected board.

Eden Medical Center opened in 1954 and needs to be replaced because it doesn't meet current seismic standards.

Daily Review coverage.

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October 19, 2007

New Team Takes Top Prize at 2007 Trivia Bee

Twenty-four Desperate, Lost Heroes, the winners of Project Literacy's 14th Annual Trivia Bee with Councilmember Michael GregoryThe team "Twenty-four Desperate, Lost Heroes" won Project Literacy's 14th Annual Trivia Bee with The Pontificators taking second place at the Marina Community Center on October 19, 2007. For the first time, a tie was awarded for third place to the San Leandro Police Officers' Association and the Mike Katz Team after the two teams matched wits in more "sudden-death" questions than all of the questions in the last round. There were 27 teams competing this year, down from the 30 teams that compete during election years.

As usual, questions were read by Leslie Frates, a San Leandro resident and professor who has appeared on the television quiz show Jeopardy 14 times. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Kurtz was the official Trivia Bee judge and Kathy Kurtz was the official time keeper. There were 30 questions in the first round, 20 in the second round and 10 in the last round.

In addition to the Trivia Bee, a raffle featured prizes supplied by local businesses including a stay at a Bed & Breakfast in Healdsburg, a GPS system, a $100 gift card from Wal-Mart, $50 towards travel on Southwest Airlines, and dozens of other prizes from local businesses and individuals. Funds raised by the Trivia Bee help Project Literacy to provide literacy services to more than 200 adults and 1,500 kids each year. Last year, the Trivia Bee raised more than $14,000.

Members of the San Leandro City Council, including Michael Gregory, Vice Mayor Surlene Grant, Diana Souza, Joyce Starosicak, and Jim Prola were on-hand to present medals and trophies to the top teams. Mayor Tony Santos and Councilmember Bill Stephens are part of a delegation traveling in China and could not attend. Starosciak participated as a member of her own team and Councilmembers Grant, Gregory, and Souza competed as the San Leandro City Council Team.

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October 10, 2007

Free Festival at Washington Elementary on Saturday October 13, 2007

Kids Save the Planet FlyerThe Kids Save the Planet/Los Niños Salvan el Planeta festival will take place on Saturday, October 13, 2007, at Washington Elementary School. The bilingual festival will include fun and educational festival for families of all ages. Community education booths will include live animals from Sulphur Creek Nature Center, Crab Cove, and Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center. Energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs and reusable grocery bags will be given away. Entertainment will include latin dance music, Hawaiian singing and dancing, traditional Aztec dancers and more. Complete all four education stations and register to win a kids Raleigh bike valued at more than $250. For kids five and younger, there will be a tot-lot. There will also be a special visit from California State Senator and former San Leandro Mayor Ellen Corbett. The festival highlights Washington Elementary's recent adoption of a Green School Initiative.

The festival is free and will take place from 11am until 3pm. Washington Elementary is located at 250 Dutton Avenue in San Leandro. For directions and more information, visit www.KidsSaveThePlanet.org or call Morgan at 510.589.8056.


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October 3, 2007

Not a Genuine Black Man in Walnut Creek Starting Thursday

Not a Genuine Black Man coverBrian Copeland's one-man show Not a Genuine Black Man starts a month-long run at the Lesher Center for the Arts on Thursday, October 4, 2007. Copeland's show will start at 8:15pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights until October 27, 2007. The October 4, 2007, show is already sold out.

The show chronicles Copeland's life from moving into San Leandro in 1972 at eight years old, the year after San Leandro was named one of the most racist suburbs in America, to his adult struggles. In a monologue that's both funny and poignant, Brian explores how surroundings make us who we are. Copeland has remained in San Leandro, helping to make it one of the most diverse cities in California.

Tickets are on sale for $50 each at tickets.com. The Lesher Center for the Arts is located 1601 Civic Drive in Walnut Creek, just two blocks from the Walnut Creek BART station.

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October 2, 2007

Sausage & Suds Festival Returns to San Leandro on Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sausage & Suds logoAfter a four-year hiatus, the Sausage & Suds Festival returns to downtown San Leandro this Sunday, October 7, 2007. In past years, the San Leandro Downtown Association organized the festival, but this year, the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce is working with the San Leandro Downtown Association to bring back this celebration of San Leandro as the "Sausage Capital of California."

This free event features live music and a variety of food and beers. Thirty varieties of beer will be available in the parking lot the of the Englander Pub. Sausages from locals Aidells and Saag's will be served up by the Englander, Buon Tempo Club, Chicago Blues Cafe, D'Gonzalez Meat Market, and Moe's BBQ on Wheels. Pizza, italian ice, smoothies, and kettle corn will also be served up by other vendors.

Live music and a welcome from San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos will be featured on-stage as follows:

10 to 11:00 AMJust Three Guys
11:30 AM to 12:30 PMGin House Band
1:00 PM to 1:15 PMMayor's Welcome
1:15 PM to 2:30 PMPride & Joy
3:00 PM to 4:15 PMLa Ventana
4:45 PM to 6:00 PMLydia Pense and Cold Blood

The Sausage & Suds Festival was first held in 1997. Photographs from previous festivals are available here (2002) and here (2003).

The Sausage & Suds Festival will take place in downtown San Leandro on Parrott Street between E. 14th Street and Washington Avenue between 10am and 6pm. Admission is free.

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October 1, 2007

Encore Screening of The Suburban Wall and The Invisible Wall on Thursday, October 4, 2007

On Thursday, October 4, 2007, the San Leandro Community Action Network will show the "The Suburban Wall" and "The Invisible Wall," both documentaries about housing discrimination in San Leandro. This is an encore presentation of these documentaries, which were first screened in March 2007.

Admission and coffee are free and the documentaries will be shown at Zocalo Coffeehouse starting at 7pm. Zocalo is located at 645 Bancroft Avenue.

The Suburban Wall

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September 25, 2007

Kids Events at Cherrytown Kids and Manor Library on Saturday

Cowboy Jared will be at Cherrytown Kids on Saturday, September 29, 2007, from 3pm to 4pm for a kids sing-along.

The Manor Library will have stories, songs, crafts, refreshments, parenting mini-workshops, and a free book for children ages five and under at its Ealry Learning with Families event on Saturday, September 29, 2007, from 11am to 12pm.

Cherrytown Kids is located at 579 Bancroft Ave. and the Manor Library is located at 1241 Manor Blvd.

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September 18, 2007

Halcyon-Foothill Area Community Town Hall on Wednesday, September 19

The Business Association of South San Leandro, the Halcyon Foothill Neighborhood Association and Vice Mayor Surlene Grant are hosting a Community Town Hall at Jefferson Elementary on Wednesday, September 19, 2007.

Police department personnel will be on hand with reports on activities in the area, neighborhood watch tips, and code enforcement procedures. Fire department personnel will provide information on emergency preparedness. There will be reports about current projects at the Bayfair Center, the High School, and the new Ninth Grade Campus.

Bayfair Center has seen a new Staples open in January, an Old Navy open in December 2006, and a new drive-thru Starbucks. Building permits are being reviewed for Jamba Juice at Bayfair and tenant spaces near Target are nearly completed, according to the August 16, 2007, Community Development Update.

The meeting will be held from 6:30pm to 8:00pm and light refreshments will be provided.

Jefferson Elementary is located at 14300 Bancroft Avenue, but the multi-purpose room is located on Lark Street on the back side of the school.

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September 3, 2007

Free Screening of Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price on Thursday, September 6, 2007

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price DVD coverThe San Leandro Community Action Network (SLCAN) continues it monthly film series with a screening of Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price at 7:00pm on Thursday, September 6, 2007.

According to the movie web site, "The film dives into the deeply personal stories and everyday lives of families and communities struggling to fight a goliath. A working mother is forced to turn to public assistance to provide healthcare for her two small children. A Missouri family loses its business after Wal-Mart is given over $2 million to open its doors down the road. A mayor struggles to equip his first responders after Wal-Mart pulls out and relocates just outside the city limits. A community in California unites, takes on the giant, and wins!" The movie received numerous positive reviews, including "Two Thumbs Up" from Ebert and Roeper.

Wal-Mart will be opening a second San Leandro store later this year at 15555 Hesperian Blvd, the location of a former Target store.

Admission is free and the movie will be shown at Zocalo Coffeehouse.

Zocalo Coffeehouse is located at 645 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.

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August 1, 2007

SLCAN Film Screenings Thursday August 2

On Thursday, August 2, 2007, the San Leandro Community Action Network will show the short films Daddy & Papa and Both My Moms' Names Are Judy.Daddy & Pape

Daddy & Papa is a one-hour documentary exploring the personal, cultural, and political impact of gay men who make the decision to raise children themselves. Through the stories of four different families, the film delves into some of the particular challenges facing gay men who decide to become dads.

Both My Moms' Names Are Judy was produced as part of an in-service training for elementary school educators and administrators. The film features children with gay parents discussing how they feel about being teased about their parents and how classroom silence about homosexuality affects them. The film is 11 minutes long.

The films will be shown for free starting at 7pm on August 2, 2007, at Zocalo Coffeehouse, which is located at 645 Bancroft Ave. in San Leandro.

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July 27, 2007

Brian Copeland's Show Knows the Way to San Jose

Brian Copeland will perform his one-man show, Not a Genuine Black Man, at the San Jose Stage Company from August 3 to 25, 2007.

Ticket prices range from $25 to $40 and can be purchased from TicketWeb.

The San Jose Stage Company is located at 490 South First Street in San Jose.

Copeland also penned an op-ed piece that appeared in the July 27, 2007, edition of the Los Angeles Times, about Barack Obama's ethnic credentials.

The book derived from the show is on the incoming freshman reading list at CSU East Bay and is part of the reading list for numerous schools.

Copeland has been a San Leandro resident since he moved to San Leandro with his family in 1972.

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July 23, 2007

Forty Years of Mixed Marriages

My People are...Youth Pride in Mixed HeritageJune 12, 2007, marked the fortieth anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia decision, which made it illegal for states to prohibit interracial marriages.

To celebrate the anniversary of this landmark Civil Rights case, Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, iPride, and the San Leandro Community Action Network are co-sponsoring a screening of My People are ... Youth Pride in Mixed Heritage at the San Leandro Library.

The movie will be shown on August 4, 2007, from 1 to 2:30pm in the auditorium of the San Leandro Library and will be followed by a panel discussion. The San Leandro Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue.

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Meeting on I-580 Soundwall July 24, 2007

The Congestion Management Agency will present information about the San Leandro I-580 Soundwalls project at a public meeting on July 24, 2007.

The $5.5 million project will consist of nine sections of 12-foot-tall walls totaling more than 8,000 feet on both sides of Interstate 580 from 141st Avenue to Marlowe Avenue as shown in the graphic below from a November 2006 presentation to the City Council.

Graphic showing extent of soundwalls along Interstate 580 in San Leandro

The meeting will be held at the Dave Karp room of the San Leandro Library from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The San Leandro Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro.

Click here for Daily Review coverage.

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July 5, 2007

Grocery Outlet and Red Mountain Hold Neighborhood Picnic for Community Support July 7, 2007

In a message sent to a local mailing list on Juy 5, 2007, and post card invitations sent to local residents, Red Mountain entitlement director Eric Nelson announced a neighborhood picnic at the former Albertson's site at 1550 E. 14th Street (at the intersection with Juana Avenue).

The announcement stated that a "BBQ Will benefit the San Leandro Boy Scouts of America and San Leandro Boys & Girls Club" and will feature prizes, giveaways, and an "appearance by drag racer Chuck Moore and his blown alcohol-fueled Corvette."

Although the email message didn't mention Grocery Outlet or Red Mountain Retail Group, the post card's return address was Red Mountain and the event was listed as being sponsored by Grocery Outlet.

The event is scheduled just two days before a public hearing of Grocery Outlet's appeal before the San Leandro City Council scheduled for 8pm on July 9, 2007. In addition to the free prizes and giveaways, attendees can expect to have plenty of propaganda supporting Grocery Outlet's attempt to open a store at the former Albertson's site.

The event is scheduled for 10am to 3pm.

The Daily Review's blog has more on the postcards sent to some local residents.

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June 30, 2007

Town Hall Meeting #2 on Fate of Marina to be Held July 19, 2007

The second Town Hall meeting on the fate of the boat harbor at the Marina will be held on July 19, 2007, starting at 7 pm at the Marina Community Center.

At the previous Town Hall held on May 24, 2007, about 150 people were divided into six groups to discuss how to address the annual $2 million harbor deficit, necessary improvements, the future of the Marina Shoreline Area, and new land uses, water-related uses, and open space/recreation uses that should be considered.

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. The City invites those interested to "Come and learn about the challenges facing the San Leandro harbor and the options being evaluated for its future. Share your ideas, concerns and questions."

Details of previous Marina Committee meetings and presentations from those meetings are available at the web site for the Marina Committee.

The Marina Community Center is located at 15301 Wicks Boulevard.

For more information, call (510) 577-3358.

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June 29, 2007

SLCAN to Show Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible on July 5, 2007

The San Leandro Community Action Network, of which yours truly (Margarita) is a member, is showing Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible, a movie that shows how white activists are coming into consciousness and working intentionally with other white people, as well as people of color, to build a more equitable society. White people have a distinct role in teaching, supporting and encouraging other white people to abandon individual, institutional, and cultural racism.

Discussion with the filmmaker Dr. Shakti Butler will follow after the film.

All are invited to come see it!

Thursday, July 5, 2007
7 PM
Zocalo Coffeehouse
645 Bancroft Ave.

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June 18, 2007

Housing Community Forum at 7pm on Tuesday, June 19, 2007

On Tuesday, June 19, 2007, the Congregations Organizing for Renewal (COR) will hold a community forum on housing at 7pm at St. Leander Church Hall. In an op-ed in the Daily Review, Dennis Davis, a deacon at St. Leander Parish for 25 years, writes that the purpose of the forum is to "ensure that the plan [Downtown Transit-Oriented Development Strategy] includes a range of housing for San Leandro's families." Davis notes that the average family of four cannot afford $550,000 for a median-priced home in San Leandro.

According to its former website, "COR is a faith-based, grassroots community organization made up of fourteen congregations in Hayward, San Lorenzo, San Leandro, Union City, and Fremont." COR seeks "to improve neighborhoods, schools, access to health care, and access to affordable housing."

St. Leander Church Hall is located at 575 W. Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro.

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June 13, 2007

Affordable Senior Housing Project Seeks Parking Exception

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:

Eden Housing Estabrook Senior Facility

The lot was previously occupied by Sir Richards Car Store Outlet. Previous coverage can be found here.

OFFICIAL CITY OF SAN LEANDRO NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING
BEFORE THE BOARD OF ZONING ADJUSTMENTS

Project Address: 2103-2179 East 14th Street
(at Estabrook Streeet; Council District 1 see map on back)

Meeting Date/Time: Thursday, June 21, 2007
7:00 P.M.

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
(510) 577-3458
sbarros@ci.san-leandro.ca.us

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June 11, 2007

Public Hearing on Bus Rapid Transit June 12 at San Leandro Library

On Tuesday, June 12, 2007, a public hearing will be held at the San Leandro Library on bus rapid transit (BRT), which attempts to combine the best features of rail with the flexibility and cost advantages of roadway-based transit. The hearing will begin at 5:30pm with an open house, when the public can review exhibits of the different alternatives for the BRT and talk with AC Transit and project staff. The presentation and testimony for the hearing will begin at 7:00pm and will take place in the San Leandro Library Lecture Hall.

According to the AC Transit web site, the BRT Project will "improve public transportation service in a key transportation corridor that extends from Downtown Berkeley and the University of California at Berkeley at the northern end, through Downtown Oakland, to San Leandro at the southern end, primarily using Telegraph Avenue, International Boulevard and East 14th Street."

According to a fact sheet, other communities operating or planning BRT include Boston, Chicago, Eugene, Oregon, San Diego, and Vancouver, Canada. Completion is expected in 2011.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report (DEIS/R) on the project is available online or at the Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro libraries. Comments on the DEIS/R are due no later than 5:00 PM July 3, 2007 and may be submitted online or in writing to:

East Bay Bus Rapid Transit Project
AC Transit
1600 Franklin Street
Oakland, CA 94612

Daily Review and San Francisco Chronicle coverage.

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June 10, 2007

Transit-Oriented Development Strategy Draft Environmental Impact Report Available

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.

NOTICE OF COMPLETION/AVAILABILITY
OF DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (DEIR) FOR
DOWNTOWN SAN LEANDRO TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT (TOD) STRATEGY

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 klivermore@ci.san-leandro.ca.us.

Date: June 5, 2007

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June 8, 2007

San Leandro Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Meet & Greet

Saturday, June 16
San Leandro LGBT Meet & Greet

7–8:30 pm at Zocalo Coffeehouse
645 Bancroft Ave.

SLCAN is hosting an informal gathering to build community and celebrate pride. San Leandro lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender residents and their straight allies will get a chance to meet and get to know each other. All ages welcome.

Please RSVP to rrodriguez@slcan.org.

You can also download the flyer at http://slcan.org/slpride.indd.pdf

Coffee and location generously donated by Zocalo Coffeehouse.

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June 6, 2007

History Walk Marks Historic San Leandro Sites

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 Finishes His Remarks
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.

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June 3, 2007

2007 San Leandro Cherry Festival Schedule and Map (June 9, 2007)

The Cherry Festival is scheduled for 10am to 5pm on Saturday, June 9, 2007. Admission is free. The listing for the San Leandro Municipal Band at 9:30am may be a typo since other stage activities begin at 10:30am.

Main Stage
9:30San Leandro Municipal Band
11:15Lava Band (Latin)
12:15Mayor’s Welcome
12:45Bayou Boys Band (Zydeco)
2:00Contest Winners Announced (pie & poster)
2:15Avance Band (Salsa)
3:45Stabe Wilson Band (Jazz/R&B)
5:15Willie G (Blues Band)
Community Stage
10:30Pallen’s Martial Arts Demonstration Team
11:15Falun Gong – Demonstration and traditional Chinese Dancers
12:30B*Dazzled Dancers
1:40San Leandro High School Varsity and Jr. Varsity Song Girls
2:00Chinese Community in San Leandro Performs a Lion Dance, Wushu, and Folk Dancing
3:15DC Dance Studio
4:30Tatseena Good Vibes & Troup Tareefa – Belly Dancers
Casa Peralta Stage
10:30San Leandro History Museum – Children’s Program
12:45Julia Lau Trio – Easy Listening Music
2:30Dave Rocha Trio – Jazz
3:45New Dimension Chorus – Men’s Barbershop Music

2007 Cherry Festival 2007 small map

Click on the above image for a larger map.

Activities at the Cherry Festival:

Cherry Pie Bake-Off
The Cherry Pie Bake-off will bring together contestants and their sweet cherry treats in two different categories: Traditional and Non-traditional. All cherry enthusiasts, from beginning bakers to the most experienced, are invited to submit an entry. No need to preregister. Cherry pies and their recipes must be submitted to the Cherry Store between 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on the day of the event. Winners will be announced on the Main Stage at 2 p.m.

Free Valet Bike Parking
Free valet bike parking will be available through the Cherry City Cyclists on the St. Leanders play yard on the corner of Davis and Carpentier streets. Reduce traffic and help the environment by cycling or walking to the festival.

Casa Peralta and History Museum
The Casa Peralta, History Museum and Art Gallery will be open for tours during the Cherry Festival. Children’s old fashioned activities will begin at 10:30 a.m. on the Casa grounds.

Kids Zone
Games and rides include the Dune Buggy, Tea Cup, Jumping Star, a Rock Climbing Wall and Bounce Houses. Face Painting & Glitter Tattoos too!

Arts & Crafts
25 arts and crafts vendors will be on-hand, with products ranging from handcrafted jewelry to custom-drawn caricatures.

Community Resources
25 community resource vendors will offer information on important community-related topics.

ARTeam
This year's Cherry Festival offers something new – the Artist’s Village, hosted by the recently formed Art Village Resource Team sponsored by the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce. The Artist’s Village will present the work of fourteen local artists through beautiful displays and live demonstrations of glassworking, ceramics and other art media.

Cherry Lane
Cherry Lane will showcase of City of San Leandro government services. Kids can hop on board a real police motorcycle or meet the Chief of Police. Fire prevention tips will be offered by the Alameda County Fire Department, and the Public Works department will be conducting a thermometer exchange, where attendees can exchange their mercury thermometers for new digital models.

Cherry Store
The Cherry Store will feature specialty cherry items such as: Cherry Jam, Cherry Salsa, Cherry BBQ Sauce, Sweet Cherry Balsamic Vinegar, Cherry Gumballs, Cherry Sour Patches, Wild Cherry Tea, Cherry Biscotti, 2007 Cherry Festival T-shirts and 2007 Cherry Festival mugs. [FREE canvas tote bag with any Cherry Store purchase.]

Farmer’s Market
Cherries and a wide variety of local, fresh fruit will be available for purchase.

Food
Festival favorites from BBQ ribs and corn dogs to funnel cake and kettle corn. The Englander Restaurant will provide Cherry Beer and Sausage and Robeks Juice will also be offered as just a few of the favorites.

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May 30, 2007

Cherry Festival Returns on June 9, 2007

On Saturday, June 9, 2007, San Leandro's Cherry Festival returns after a three-year hiatus caused by budget cuts. In order to save money, the Cherry Festival has been reduced to one-day and will take place downtown instead of at the Marina.

The Cherry Festival will feature "live music on two stages, a cherry pie bake-off, games and rides and specialty foods from throughout the region. Vendors will offer fine art, jewelry and all types of cherry products." Cherry City Cyclists will offer free valet bicycle parking and Cherry-themed canvas tote bags will be given out with any purchase from the festival's Cherry Store.

The first Cherry Festival was held on June 4 and 5, 1909, by the Board of Trade to promote San Leandro and its abundant cherries. That first Cherry Festival featured a parade, floats, 21-gun salute, races on Cherry Way (Estudillo Avenue), handing out bags filled with cherries, concerts, and a grand ball. From 1910 to 1912, Cherry Festival crowds grew from 45,000 to 75,000 people. In 1910, an estimated 15 tons of cherries were sold and ten tons were given away. Cherry Festivals were held from 1922 to 1931 and again in 1972 for San Leandro's centennial. It was started again in 1986.

The Cherry Festival will be held from 10am to 6pm on West Estudillo Avenue where Casa Peralta and the San Leandro Museum and Art Gallery are located. Admission is free. For more information, call (510) 577-3462.

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May 24, 2007

Film Screening of "All About Darfur"

SLCAN cordially invites you once again to its documentary film series:

Thursday, June 7
7–8:30 pm
at Zocalo Coffeehouse
645 Bancroft Avenue

“All About Darfur”
a film by Taghreed Elsanhouri

In this film, ordinary Sudanese talk about how the deeply rooted prejudices suddenly burst into wild fires of ethnic violence. Avoiding gory footage, the film offers Sudanese men and women the opportunity to present their own suggestions on the war in their country.

The film won the chairperson's Prize at the 2005 Zanzibar International Film Festival and was selected for the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2005 Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival.

There will be a speaker after the film. There will also be a discussion and provide action items for those wanting to take individual, community, or political action.

Silvestro Akara Bakhiet from the New Sudan Generation (NSG) organization will be our guest speaker. Silvestro, a native of Southern Sudan, founded the NSG in San Francisco in 2000. The organization’s mission is to assist people in war-ravaged Southern Sudan as they work to recover from decades of war. As part of their efforts, they help refugees and displaced persons to rebuild their communities.

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May 22, 2007

San Leandro Marina on YouTube

The fate of the boat harbor at the San Leandro Marina will be discussed at a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, May 24, 2007, from 7 to 9pm in the Dave Karp room at the San Leandro Library.

Here's a video of images from the San Leandro Marina:

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April 28, 2007

Aquatic Center Hours

The new San Leandro Family Aquatic Center features a water play area with three small childrens slides, plenty of spraying and falling water, and a 119-foot circular water slide. The childrens area is shallow enough that a two year-old can navigate all of it, including the small slides. Children can take as much time as they want to get accustomed to the water as there is a very easy gradient from the "shore."

San Leandro Aquatic Center Sprayground

San Leandro Aquatic Center Water Slide.jpg

Since the hours of operations aren't on the City's web site yet, here are the current hours:

As of April 21, 2007, the Center is open on Saturday from 1pm until 6:30pm and Sunday from 12pm to 5:30pm. Admission is $4 per person.

Summer hours will begin on June 16, 2007, when the center will also be open Monday through Friday from 1pm to 4:45 pm.

The Aquatic Center and park are located at 14900 Zelma St. in San Leandro. The nearest public transportation is AC Transit's 84 line, which gets within three blocks of the Aquatic Center.

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Senior Housing Project Seeks City Parking Exception

On April 18, 2007, Eden Housing held the second of two community meetings at McKinley Elementary School. Eden Housing has proposed a senior housing development for 2121 E. 14th Street, an empty lot at the southwest corner of Estabrook Street and E. 14th Street where Sir Richards Car Store Outlet was previously located.

Andrea Cohen, the Project Developer, and Marian Gushiken, the Associate Director of Development represented Eden Housing and Paul McElwee and Rich Caldwell represented HKIT Architects, the architects of the proposed development. Hank Deadrich, a local realtor and member of the Eden Housing Board of Directors was present at the meeting. The City of San Leandro was represented by four people. There were about five members of the public. City Councilmembers Michael Gregory and Surlene Grant joined the meeting after it started.

Eden Housing is a developer of affordable housing and has three other projects in San Leandro. The project at Estabrook Street will consist of affordable housing for seniors. Funding is expected to come from a HUD Section 202 Grant, funds from the City of San Leandro, and low income tax credits. The City of San Leandro is listed as one of the contributors to Eden Housing on its web site at http://www.edenhousing.org/edenhousing.asp?page=69&thisparent=98.

The proposed development consists of 50 one-bedroom apartments and a two-bedroom manager unit. The apartments will be three stories tall with parking provided on the south side of the property and the entrance on East 14th Street.

This is a rendering of the proposed project:
Eden Housing Estabrook Senior Facility

Parking and traffic were the main issues raised during a previous community meeting. As a result, Eden Housing conducted a traffic and parking study and decided on a 51-unit project rather than an alternative 83-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.

The parking study was conducted at a similar senior housing complex in San Leandro during the morning, afternoon, and evening on a weekday and Saturday. The study recommended that the facility provide a total of 20 parking spaces and the proposed project would provide 28 spaces. However, the City of San Leandro requires 34 parking spaces for this project and the project will need a Parking Exception in order to proceed with the current proposal. This is one of the issues that will be discussed at the May 3, 2007, meeting of the Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA), which will take place at 7pm at the City Council Chambers at 835 E. 14th Street.

The remainder of the proposed schedule for the project includes an application to HUD in May 2007, Zoning Board hearing in June 2007, City Council hearing in July 2007, start of construction in Fall 2008, and completion of construction in late fall 2009.

According to a notice from the City of San Leandro for the BZA meeting, "Work session on 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 applicant would be seeking a Parking Exception, as 28 spaces are provided where 34 are required for this 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 (property owner)."

In a March 13, 2007, staff report to City Manager John Jermanis, Community Development Director Hansom Hon wrote: "Eden entered into a purchase agreement with the seller in late October 2006. Currently, Eden has submitted preliminary plans to the City’s Planning Division for review involving two potential development options for the site: 1) three-story building with 51 one-bedroom units, and 2) four-story building with 83 one- bedroom units. Eden anticipates requesting acquisition and development funding assistance approval from the City Council prior to closing escrow in late July 2007.

During the February Business and Housing Development Committee meeting, the Committee supported allocating $30,000 in predevelopment assistance from the City Redevelopment Agency Housing Set-Aside funds to help cover over $120,000 in preliminary costs such as architecture, finance/appraisal, land acquisition deposit, and environmental work during the escrow period."

See Daily Review coverage.

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April 16, 2007

Greenway Project at Library on Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Estudillo Homeowners Association & the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association invite you to learn more about the San Leandro Greenway Project. A meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 17, 2007, at 7pm in Room B of the San Leandro Public Library.

The Greenway is a proposed multi-use trail that would run along the BART corridor from East Oakland to the Hayward BART station. It will include safe paths for pedestrians and bicyclists, in addition to well-designated recreational facilities such as parks, exercise equipment, and picnic areas. It is part of a greater project known as the East Bay Greenway and was discussed at the November 24, 2006, meeting of the Downtown Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
Strategy Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC)
.

The San Leandro Public Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro.

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April 15, 2007

Film Screening on May 3: Motherhood Manifesto

On Thursday May 3, 2007, at 7pm, the San Leandro Community Action Network will show Motherhood Manifesto, the latest in its monthly film series.

SLCAN invites everyone to connect with community, participate in stimulating discussion, and learn more about important social and political issues at SLCAN’s monthly film series.

The film will be shown at Zocalo Coffeehouse, located at 645 Bancroft Ave. in San Leandro.

"Celebrate Mother’s Day early and see what happens to working mothers and families in America and what we can do to make paid family leave, flexible working hours, part-time parity, universal healthcare, excellent childcare, after-school programs, and realistic living wages a reality for American families." http://www.momsrising.org

TAKE ACTION:

Imagine a beautifully presented long chain of decorated baby onesies stretching all around your state capital as a visual representation of the real people who need the policies being debated inside the imposing buildings. Each onesie signifies one person--mother, father, child, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, or other--who cares deeply about building a family-friendly America, but can't take the time off work, or away from kids, to actually be at the capital. You.

* Bring a new or used baby onesie (or a small kids t-shirt) and we'll decorate them after the screening.

* Can't make the screening? You can buy a ONEsie online, and MomsRising will decorate it for you and add it to the project. https://secure.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizations/momsrising/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=2305

One by ONEsie, working together, we can show the nation that we are a creative and powerful force for good family policy, as well as help our politicians to pay attention to issues which have long been ignored. Let's make San Leandro a visible part of the Power of ONEsie action!

Download the film series flyer at http://www.slcan.org/slcan_film3.indd.pdf

The mission of San Leandro Community Action Network is to improve the quality of life in San Leandro by ensuring quality education, smart growth, and an inclusive and equitable community. Visit http://www.slcan.org for more information.

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April 8, 2007

Meeting on Senior Affordable Housing Development at E. 14th and Estabrook Streets

On Wednesday, April 18, 2007, at 7pm, Eden Housing, an affordable housing developer, will hold a community meeting at McKinley Elementary School to discuss its plans to construct affordable apartments for seniors at the southwest corner of E. 14th Street and Estabrook Street.

According to a flyer from Eden Housing, funding for the project will come from a HUD Section 202 Grant, the City of San Leandro, and low income tax credits. Eden Housing has completed two other projects in San Leandro: Fuller Gardens on E. 14th Street, Eden Lodge at 400 Springlake Drive, and Fuller Lodge at 2141 Bancroft Avenue.

The project is planned for the former location of Sir Richard's Car Store Outlet at 2121 E. 14th Street, directly across E. 14th Street from McKinley Elementary.

From the Staff Report produced by Community Development Director Hansom Hon to City Manager John Jermanis dated March 13, 2007:

Proposed Affordable Senior Rental Housing Development at 2121 East 14th Street (at Estabrook Street): Eden Housing, Inc., an experienced nonprofit developer based in Hayward, is in the process of acquiring the former used car lot on 2121 East 14th Street for new construction of affordable senior rental housing. Eden entered into a purchase agreement with the seller in late October 2006. Currently, Eden has submitted preliminary plans to the City’s Planning Division for review involving two potential development options for the site: 1) three-story building with 51 one-bedroom units, and 2) four-story building with 83 one-bedroom units. Eden anticipates requesting acquisition and development funding assistance approval from the City Council prior to closing escrow in late July 2007.
During the February Business and Housing Development Committee meeting, the Committee supported allocating $30,000 in predevelopment assistance from the City Redevelopment Agency Housing Set-Aside funds to help cover over $120,000 in preliminary costs such as architecture, finance/appraisal, land acquisition deposit, and environmental work during the escrow period. On March 7 at 7 pm, Eden will conduct a community meeting at McKinley Elementary School’s multi-purpose room to receive feedback from neighborhood residents regarding the two development options in order to determine which is most feasible.

In 2004, Resources for Community Development (RCD) put forward a plan to develop the same site, together with the adjacent Salvation Army lot, into 94 units of low-income rental housing. Community residents raised a number of objections to the proposed development and RCD eventually dropped its plans for the project.

McKinley Elementary is located at 2150 E. 14th Street at the intersection with Estabrook Street. The meeting will be held in the multipurpose room, which is located straight ahead as you enter through the doors at the main entrance.

For more information about the project, contact Andrea Cohen, the Project Developer for Eden Housing, at (510) 582-1460.

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March 28, 2007

Watch "The Ground Truth" in San Leandro

The San Leandro Community Action Network and Zocalo Coffeehouse will be showing the movie "The Ground Truth" on Thursday, April 5th at 7 PM at Zocalo (645 Bancroft Ave.)

The film is about the ordinary men and women who heeded the call for military service in Iraq, and shows them as they experience recruitment, training, combat, homecoming and the struggle to reintegrate with families and communities.

The showing is free. Not suitable for children.

http://www.slcan.org/film.html

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March 18, 2007

Free Appointments Training Workshop

The East Bay Chapter of the California Elected Women’s Association (CEWAER), Political Action Committee for Excellence (PACE), Commission on the Status of Women – Contra Costa County, Commission on the Status of Women – Alameda County, and California Women’s Leadership Association (CWLA) are hosting a free workshop to inform and guide women through the political appointments process.

Featured speakers will be Timothy Simon, Appointments Secretary from the Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Liz Figueroa, former Senator and appointee to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board; Scott Haggerty, Supervisor, Alameda County, and Candace Andersen, Councilwoman for the Town of Danville. Participants will learn about current local and state board and commission openings and the application process for appointment to these positions. They will also have the opportunity to assess their personal strengths and skills so that they can decide which board or commission best suits them.

The free workshop will be held on Thursday, March 22, 2007 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the San Leandro Library, located at 300 Estudillo Avenue, San Leandro, CA. To register, visit the CEWAER website. For more information, call 916-551-1920 or email admin@cewaer.org.

Registration Form

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February 22, 2007

SLCAN Announces Film Series Starting with The Suburban Wall

The San Leandro Community Action Network has announced a free film series that offers a chance to "connect with community, participate in stimulating discussion, and learn more about important social and political issues.

The films will be shown on the first Thursday of each month beginning with The Suburban Wall & The Invisible Wall on March 1, 2007, at 7pm. Due to the subject nature of the films and discussion, this is not a child appropriate event.

----------------------------------------
MARCH 1
The Suburban Wall & The Invisible Wall

Two nationally-aired TV documentaries on housing discrimination in San Leandro in the 1960s and 1970s. We extend a special invitation this evening to San Leandro residents who lived here at the time. Following the film we will have a facilitated discussion about San Leandro then and now.

The Ground Truth
April 5

A film about the ordinary men and women who heeded the call for military service in Iraq, as they experience recruitment and training, combat, homecoming, and the struggle to reintegrate with families and communities.

Motherhood Manifesto
May 3

Celebrate Mother’s Day early and see what happens to working mothers and families in America and what we can do to make paid family leave, fl exible working hours, part-time parity, universal healthcare, excellent childcare, after-school programs and
realistic living wages a reality for American families.

All About Darfur
June 7

Ordinary Sudanese talk about how deeply rooted prejudices suddenly burst into a wild fire of ethnic violence. Avoiding gory footage, the fi lm offers Sudanese men and women the opportunity to present their own analysis and suggestions on the war in their country.

Making Whiteness Visible
July 5

The film features the experience of white women and men who have worked to gain insight into what it means to challenge racism and white supremacy in the United States.

Both My Moms Are Named Judy
August 2

This short film presents diverse children with lesbian and gay parents in candid interviews about how it feels to be teased about their parents, how classroom silence about homosexuality affects them, and what they would like to see change.

Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
September 6

This documentary uncovers the retail giant’s assault on families and American values. The film dives into the deeply personal stories and everyday lives of families and communities struggling to fight a goliath.

To learn more about the film series or SLCAN, visit www.slcan.org.

Coffee generously donated by Zocalo Coffeehouse.

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February 12, 2007

Free Screening of An Inconvenient Truth at the Library Feb. 22, 2007

The Eden Area League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women are putting on a free screening of the Al Gore documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" at 6:00pm on Thursday, February 22, 2007, at the San Leandro Library.

The film will be followed by a town-hall-type discussion, facilitated by Dr. Martha Booz, a biologist, environmental activist and member of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Informational handouts will be provided on what you can do to decrease global warming.

According to the Daily Review, "Other speakers will include Sherm Lewis, chairman of the Hayward Area Planning Committee, on the environmentally positive aspects of the Hayward Hills' Quarry Village development, as well as San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos on what the city is doing to decrease greenhouse gases."

Refreshments will be provided. The showing also is supported by the Sierra Club, Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church and the San Lorenzo Lions Club.

The San Leandro Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue in San Leandro.

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January 22, 2007

Marrow Donor Registration Drive for Local Boy

Harrison Leonardo
A marrow donor registration drive will take place at Creekside Church on Saturday, January 27, 2007, from 8am to 1:30pm.

Harrison Leonardo is a two-year old boy from San Leandro who is fighting Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) and needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. Harrison spent most of 2006 fighting cancer, which went into remission in August. Unfortunately, the cancer has relapsed. Harrison is hospitalized and undergoing another round of chemotherapy while his doctors and family search for a donor.

To donate, you must be between the ages of 18-60, meet the health guidelines, fill out a form, give a cheek cell swab and be willing to donate to any patient in need.

You must be between the ages of 18-60, meet the health guidelines, fill out a form, give a cheek cell swab and be willing to donate to any patient in need.

Asian and ethnically diverse donors urgently needed! Patients are more likely to match donors of the same racial and ethnic heritage. More donors of all races and ethnicities are needed.Patients are more likely to match donors of the same racial and ethnic heritage. More donors of all races and ethnicities are needed.

For more information, please visit www.marrow.org, or call Cynthia Carlson at 510-495-4021 (email: ccarlson@nmdp.org)

Creekside Church is located at 951 MacArthur Blvd. at Dutton Avenue in San Leandro.

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January 17, 2007

San Leandrans Protest Iraq Troop Surge

On Monday, January 15, 2007, more than 150 people gathered at Root Park in San Leandro to rally against the war in Iraq and honor Martin Luther King Jr. The rally featured local politicians and religious leaders, including an inspirational closing by Byron Williams, a pastor at Oakland's Resurrection Community Church and a columnist.

After a brief introduction by Stephen Cassidy and invocation by Reverend Kathy Huff, speeches were made by Mayor Tony Santos, Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, Vice Mayor Surlene Grant, and finally Byron Williams. Amy Cassidy also read a statement by Congressman Pete Stark, who was unable to attend the rally. The complete text of Byron Williams' speech can be found here.

The rally ended with six religious and community leaders ringing a bell to symbolize the American troops killed in Iraq.

Crowd at the January 15, 2007, rally
The crowd gathered at Root Park for the January 15, 2007, rally against the war in Iraq (photo - T. Holmes)

San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos
San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos (photo - T. Holmes)

Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker
Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker (photo - T. Holmes)

San Leandro Vice Mayor Surlene Grant.jpg
San Leandro Vice Mayor Surlene Grant (photo - T. Holmes)

Byron Williams.jpg
Byron Williams (photo - T. Holmes)

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January 11, 2007

Rally to Bring Troops Home at Root Park on Monday

On Monday, January 15, 2007, a rally will be held at Root Park in San Leandro calling for US troops to be pulled out of Iraq. Featured speakers include San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos, San Leandro Vice Mayor Surlene Grant, Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker, and Byron Williams, pastor of the Resurrection Community Church in Oakland, CA.

The rally starts at 3pm. Root Park is located on E. 14th Street near the intersection with Hays Street. It is adjacent to San Leandro Creek and just south of City Hall.

Click here for a flyer.

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January 7, 2007

San Leandro Library Open on Sunday Starting Today

The San Leandro Public Library will be open today, January 7, 2006, from 12pm to 4pm for the first time in two years.

Sunday hours were eliminated when the library's budget was reduced about $450,000 when the City was facing a $9.35 million deficit.

The San Leandro Public Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue.

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October 24, 2006

Report on Homelessness in San Leandro

The San Leandro City Council held a special meeting on Monday, October 23, 2006, to receive a presentation about the Homeless Report prepared by the Recreation and Human Services Department, CDD Housing Services Division, Alameda County Housing and Community Development Department, Continuum of Care Council, and Building Futures with Women and Children. All members of the City Council were present except for Mayor Shelia Young.

According to a 2004 & 2005 Homeless Survey by Alameda County Continuum of Care, San Leandro has the third-largest number of homeless behind Oakland and Berkeley, as represented by the users of homeless services. This same survey also estimated the number of home children and youth attending San Leandro schools at 270.

A 2004 survey by Alameda County Behavorial Health Care Services estimated the number of homeless in San Leandro at 624.

City Manager John Jermanis noted that San Leandro provides about $300,000 per year to community groups that provide services to the homeless, including Davis Street Family Resource Center and Building Futures with Women and Children.

The presentation noted that the focus on service provided to the homeless has shifted from providing emergency shelter in the 1980s to providing transitional housing in the 1990s and focuses on providing supporting housing and preventing homelessness.

At the end of the presentation, the city was asked to adopt the Alameda County-wide Homeless and Special Needs Housing Plan, a recomendation which Alice Sarafaian, Chair of the Human Services Commission, said that the Human Services Commission unanimously supported.

Councilman Bill Stephens asked how many people had ever been homeless. Two people, including Stephens, raised their hand. Stephens then said that he had been homeless many years ago in Sacramento, where trucks cames to pick up the homeless each day to pick fruit in the fields. Stephens expressed concern that giving people a home won't solve the homeless problem for people he described as "out-of-control." After a brief interruption, Stephens said that he wanted to be realistic and that there will always be people who are homeless.

Council member Joyce Starosciak reiterated that discharge planning was a big concern for people in programs such as foster care.

Vice Mayor Surlene Grant asked about the next steps and Jermanis said that more information will be brought before the City Council and a resolution will be introduced at a future date.

Speakers making public comments included Tom Breckenridge of the Interfaith Homelessness Network, Rick Crispino, Executive Director of Bonita House, and Cynthia Eaton the Alameda County Office of Education.

Daily Review coverage from when the report was presented at the October 2006 meeting of the San Leandro Recreation and Parks Commission.

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October 21, 2006

Alameda County Firefighters Local 55 Wins 13th Annual Trivia Bee

The Alameda County Firefighters Local 55 team won Project Literacy's 13th Annual Trivia Bee held on Friday, October 20, 2006, at the Marina Community Center in San Leandro.

Second and third place were determined by a series of sudden death questions including which cola company owns Quaker Oats (Pepsi), which actor played the tutor in the movie Akeelah and the Bee (Laurence Fishburne), and what cereal was created in 1892 by W.L. Judson (shredded wheat).

The Friends of the Library 1 team took second place and the Julian Polvorosa for San Leandro City Council team came in third.

Normally, ANG newspaper columnist Ray Orrock reads the first two round of questions, but this year Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Kurtz did double duty reading the first round of questions in addition to being the official Trivia Bee judge for disputes. Former Jeopardy champion Leslie Frates read the second and third rounds of questions, including a question in which the answer was the movie Groundog Day, which she appeared in for less than four seconds. Kathy Kurtz served as the official time keeper.

In addition to the Trivia Bee, a raffle featured prizes supplied by local businesses and individuals including a Garmin StreetPilot Car Navigation System, a 1GB Apple iPod Nano and $100 Wal-Mart gift certificate. Funds raised by the Trivia Bee help Project Literacy to provide literacy services to 200 adults and 1,500 kids each year.

Pictured below is the winning team, shortly after receiving their medals from members of the San Leandro City Council, including Mayor Shelia Young:

trivia_bee_2006.jpg

Click here for Daily Review coverage.

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October 17, 2006

Trivia Bee

The 17th Annual Trivia Bee, to benefit Project Literacy
will take place on Friday, October 20, 2006 at the Marina Community Center - 15301 Wicks Blvd. Dinner is at 6 PM, the raffle drawing will take place at 7 PM and the Trivia Bee itself starts at 7:30 PM. You can buy the tickets at the library ($25) or at the door ($30).

The Trivia Bee is a lot of fun and Mike has been participating in it for the last 5 years. He's gotten very close to the top, but he is still vying to finish first. This year, Diana Prola, a new member of the team, will join Mike Katz and Ethan Klos on the path to victory.

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October 16, 2006

Amnesty International Write-a-thon at Zocalo on Saturday October 21

Amnesty International is a group that works to prevent and stop human rights abuses, and works for freedom of conscience and expression and freedom from discrimination.

One of the ways that they do this is simply by writing letters to officials of governments to ask that the governments release prisoners or stop abusing them. On Saturday, October 21, 2006, a local Amnesty International group will hold a write-a-thon at Zocalo Coffeehouse from 10am to 4pm to write letters on behalf of Petros Solomon and 10 others unjustly imprisoned in Eritrea.

Petros Solomon is a former minister in the Eritrean government and a member of the Group of 15 ("G15"), a group of politicians who signed a letter criticizing the President of Eritrea. He and ten other signers were arrested in September 2001 and have been held incommunicado, without charge or trial, ever since. Petros' wife, Aster Yohannes, has also been arrested. Amnesty International considers Petros and the other G15 to be prisoners of conscience, and calls for their immediate and unconditional release.

To learn more about Petros, the G15, and human rights in Eritrea, and to write letters to advocate for their freedom, stop by Zocalo on Saturday, October 21.

The event is free and writing supplies will be provided. Zocalo Coffehouse is located at 645 Bancroft Avenue (near the intersection with Dutton) in San Leandro.

For more info, email aiusa612@aivol.org

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October 10, 2006

Bancroft Art and Wine Festival Benefits Davis Street

On Sunday, October 8, 2006, Paradiso and Zocalo Coffeehouse became home to wine tasting and an art auction. According to a Daily Review article, more than 200 people joined in the benefit for the Davis Street Family Resource Center that featured paintings, glass work, sculpture, photographs, and a raffle. City officials included Mayor Shelia Young, Vice Mayor Surlene Grant, Council Member-Elect Michael Gregory, and City Council candidate Diana Souza. The event was intended for a wider audience than Davis Street's Opera Night fundraiser, and it was successful in attracting a larger and more diverse crowd.

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September 20, 2006

Fundraiser at Tommy T's on Sept. 27 to Help Rebuild Pee Wee's Pizza

Tommy T's in Pleasanton will hold a fundraiser on Wednesday, September 27, 2006, to help rebuild Pee Wee's Pizza, which was gutted by a fire on September 5, 2006. Comedian Mike Marino is the featured performer that night at 8pm. Tickets are $10.

Pee Wee's Pizza is owned by Eddie Tarin and is located at 2198 E. 14th St. in San Leandro. The Caselli family opened Pee Wee's in 1953, but Tarin inherited the restaurant and has been running it since 1993.

More details available in the Daily Review article.

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September 13, 2006

Former San Leandro Officer Up for US District Court Position

In a press release issued on September 12, 2006, Senator Dianne Feinstein asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve the nomination of former San Leandro Police Officer Lawrence O'Neill to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (Fresno Division). Senator Barbara Boxer also supports his nomination to the judiciary.

O'Neill was a San Leandro Police Officer after he attended Berkeley and before he received his law degree from Hastings College of Law.

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September 11, 2006

CalTrans Awards Contract for Widening 238 and Improving Interstate 880

According to a press release from Royal BAM Group nv, its subsidiary, Flatiron Construction, has been awarded a $91 million contract from the California Department of Transporation to "widen and rehabilitate I-238/I-580 and place rubberized asphalt concrete overlay along I-880." The 238/I-880 interchange will be re-done and bridges will be widened and retrofitted.

CalTrans awarded the contract on August 17, 2006, and the project is scheduled to be completed in June 2009.

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September 5, 2006

Flooding? In San Leandro?

Although it's unlikely, the failure of the dam at Lake Chabot would be devastating for San Leandro. Inundation maps showing time it would take water from the dam to reach areas of San Leandro and the depth of the water are available at San Leandro City Hall, the county's Emergency Operation Center in San Leandro and in the Office of Emergency Services.

In the Daily Review article, San Leandro's Public Information Officer Jane McCrea states, "It's very difficult if not impossible to say what the scenario would be if the dam broke." "We'll use the alerting and warning system and get information out as quickly as we can. I don't think we can say, 'Here's this plan and you're going to follow it for a dam failure.' The city is putting its effort into disasters that are more likely. There are a limited amount of emergency resources."

David Larson, chairman of the geography and environmental studies department at California State University, East Bay, describe McCrea's reasoning as "faulty logic."

Lake Chabot contains an estimated three billion gallons of water and is about a quarter mile from the Hayward Fault. The Upper San Leandro Reservoir contains an additional 13 billion gallons of water.

Also see this Daily Review article for more information.

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August 30, 2006

San Leandro's Bigge Crane and Rigging Co. Lifts Part of New Bay Bridge Into Place

San Leandro's Bigge Crane and Rigging Co. was featured in the August 30, 2006, edition of the Contra Costa Times as it lifts a 1,750-ton piece of steel that will connect the skyway to the new suspension span of the Bay Bridge. In a press release, Weston Settlemier, president of Bigge Crane & Rigging states, "We are unaware of such a heavy load ever being lifted so high anywhere in the United States. However, what makes this job possible is that we have an engineering solution using our own equipment, which is the very latest in computer-controlled lifting technology."

The San Francisco Chronicle covered the same story, but didn't mention Bigge Crane & Rigging's name.

Bigge Crane & Rigging is located at 10700 Bigge Avenue in San Leandro and was founded by Henry J. Bigge, who established Bigge Drayage Company in 1916. According to its web site, "Bigge hauled steel for the building of the Golden Gate Bridge. Bigge transported Liberty ship sections during World War II. Bigge has contributed to the erection of fossil and nuclear power stations and every refinery in Northern California."

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August 28, 2006

"Not a Genuine Black Man" on SF Chronicle's Top 10 List

Brian Copeland's "Not A Genuine Black Man," his story about growing up black in lily white San Leandro, is number 9 in the San Francisco Chronicle's list of the top-10 best non-fiction best sellers in the Bay Area. The book, just likes his one-man show, is both moving and hillarious and Brian deserves its aclaim. If you haven't read it, make sure to get a copy.

There should be a signing at the San Leandro Public Library later this fall.

This
Week Last
Week Weeks
On List NON-FICTION / BAY AREA
1 1 3 FIASCO, Thomas E. Ricks (Penguin; 496 pages; $24.95): A strong indictment of the war in Iraq, from planning to occupation, by the longtime Pentagon reporter at the Washington Post.
2 2 18 THE OMNIVORE'S DILEMMA, Michael Pollan (Penguin; 464 pages; $26.95): UC Berkeley Professor Michael Pollan examines what he considers America's unhealthy food culture and takes on some surprising targets.
3 3 2 THE FEMALE BRAIN, Louann Brizendine (Morgan Road; 279 pages; $24.95): A Bay Area doctor and UCSF scientist weighs in on the side of biology in the latest round of the scholarly gender wars.
4 6 3 I FEEL BAD ABOUT MY NECK, Nora Ephron (Knopf; 160 pages; $19.95): Fifteen short essays about aging and womanhood by the author of "Heartburn."
5 9 5 CONSERVATIVES WITHOUT CONSCIENCE, John Dean (Viking; 288 pages; $25.95): The Watergate conspirator-cum-political critic takes aim at social conservatism, arguing that it has claimed the mantle of conservatives' past while eschewing libertarian policies.
6 8 70 FREAKONOMICS, Levitt and Dubner (Morrow; 256 pages; $25.95): An economist and a New York Times columnist delve into the often-surprising explanations for current trends and everyday events.
7 5 6 THE LONG TAIL, Chris Anderson (Hyperion; 256 pages; $24.95): A theory of the future of commerce in which companies will thrive by selling "less of more."
8 - 22 MARLEY & ME, John Grogan (Morrow; 304 pages; $21.95): Memoir of the Philadelphia Inquirer's life with his irrepressible Labrador retriever.
9 - 1 NOT A GENUINE BLACK MAN, Brian Copeland (Hyperion; 272 pages; $22.95): Based on the longest-running one-man show in San Francisco history, this is Copeland's discussion of life as a black child (and, later, man) living in white suburbs.
10 - 1 THE QUANTUM ZOO, Marcus Chown (J. Henry; 200 pages; $24.95): A layman's guide to complex issues in contemporary science by the former radio astronomer and author of "The Universe Next Door."

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August 27, 2006

Local Senior Pushes for City-Wide WiFi

Local senior George Tucker is pushing for city-wide wifi internet access in San Leandro, which would enable anyone with a wireless computer to access the Internet from anywhere in the city. Tucker is chairman of San Leandro's Senior Commission. More details in the Daily Review article.

Posted by mike at 6:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 24, 2006

Local Artist Carl Angel Visits Libraries in Hawaii

Carl Angel, who lives in San Leandro, has collaborated on two children's books that are written in Tagalog and English. Angel is in Oahu this week, where he will read from his book Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel at local libraries. He also illustrated Lakas and the Manilatown Fish, Xochitl and the Flowers, Willie Wins, Honoring our Ancestors, and Mga Kuwentong Bayan: Folk Stories from the Philippines.

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Eat at Horatios on August 29 to Help the Gulf Coast Rebuild

Horatio's will help to support rebuilding in the Gulf Coast areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina by participating in Share Our Strength's Restaurants for Relief 2 on Tuesday, August 29, 2006. Other local particpants include Knudsen's Ice Creamery in Castro Valley and Kincaid's Fish, Chop and Steak House and Montclair Bistro in Oakland. Horatio's and Kincaid's will donate $1 per guest served and Knudsen's and the Montclair Bistro will donate 25% of sales.

Posted by mike at 12:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brian Copeland to Speak at Commonwealth Club

After a successful book-signing at Zocalo Coffeehouse - A World of Books sold all 74 copies of Not a Genuine Black Man - Brian Copeland will speak at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Tuesday August 29, 2006.

A wine and cheese reception is scheduled for 5:30pm and the program will start at 6pm. Prices are $12 for Commonwealth Club members and $18 for non-members. The Commonwealth Club is located at 595 Market Street in San Francisco.

From the Commonwealth Club web site: "Bay Area diversity has a downside. In 1972 African-American Copeland moved to San Leandro - which was, at the time, 99 percent white - and spent his youth struggling with racism and identity issues. As an adult, he turned his experiences into humor. His recently closed performance was the longest running one-man show in San Francisco history and is now headed off-Broadway. Come hear him talk about trying to be a kid and learning to be a man."

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August 20, 2006

Local Doctor Dan Martin Profiled on KGO

Local doctor and family physician Dan Martin was recently featured on KGO. Although he's retired after serving San Leandro for 51 years, Martin volunteers at the Davis Street Family Resource Center, where he provides free medical care services. During his career, Martin was a pioneer in the use of ritalin and was a strong opponent of cigarette smoking.

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August 16, 2006

Copeland, S.L. racism mentioned in the Chronicle

From yesterday's Leah Garchick column in the San Francisco Chronicle
(http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/08/15/DDGMQKH0R41.DTL):

"The San Leandro Community Action Network is throwing a book party on
Thursday at Zocalo Coffee House for Brian Copeland. Copeland's
one-man show/book/forthcoming TV series, "Not a Genuine Black Man,"
is about his family moving to San Leandro in 1972, when the National
Committee Against Discrimination in Housing called it "a racist
bastion of white supremacy." Copeland says there's lately been a
local controversy over whether an official history of the town should
make reference to these not-so-shining aspects of its past.

Margarita Lacabe, one of the organizers of the book party, says that
although San Leandro is now home to people of many different origins
-- it is said to contain the fourth-biggest number of diverse
communities in any town in California -- "we are still surprised at
how strong the current of racism in this town can be.''

Posted by marga at 6:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 14, 2006

San Leandro Mother and Two Children Killed in Nevada Car Accident

On Friday, August 11, 2006, Amy Hong Ma, 36, and her children, Amanda Lauren Lew, 9, and Alec Bernard Einhaus, 7, were killed when their sport utility vehicle overturned near Winnemucca, Nevada. Ma's husband, Wallace Woo, was injured and was taken to Humboldt General Hospital.

More details from the Daily Review.

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August 9, 2006

Free Shots for Kids at Davis Street on August 30, 2006

From 2 to 6pm on Wednesday, August 30, 2006, the Davis Street Family Resource Center will offer free immunization shots through its RotaCare Free Acute Clinic. Shots will be offered for measles, mumps and rubella, including booster shots, to children of all ages.

The Davis Street Family Resource Center is located at 3081 Teagarden Street in San Leandro. Call (510) 347-4620 or email info@davisstreet.org for more information.

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Reception for Brian Copeland

The San Leandro Community Action Network & Zocalo Coffee House invite you to

A RECEPTION & BOOK SIGNING
in honor of
BRIAN COPELAND
and his new book

Not a Genuine Black Man:
Or, How I Claimed My Piece of Ground in the Lily White Suburbs

The reception will take place on
Thursday, August 17th 7 PM at
Zocalo Coffeehouse, 645 Bancroft Ave. San Leandro

Copies available for purchase at the event.

Based on the longest-running one-man show in San Francisco history - a hilarious, poignant, and disarming memoir of growing up black in an all-white suburb.

In 1972, when Brian Copeland was eight, his family moved from Oakland to San Leandro, California, hoping for a better life. At the time, San Leandro was 99.4 percent white, known nationwide as a racist enclave. This reputation was confirmed almost immediately: Brian got his first look at the inside of a cop car, for being a black kid walking to the park with a baseball bat.

Brian grew up to be a successful comedian and radio talk show host, but racism reemerged as an issue only in reverse when he received an anonymous letter: “As an African American, I am disgusted every time I hear your voice because YOU are not a genuine Black man!” That letter inspired Copeland to revisit his difficult childhood, resulting in a hit oneman show that has been running for nearly two years which has now inspired a book. In this funny, surprising, and ultimately moving memoir, Copeland shows exactly how our surroundings make us who we are."

Reviews
“A beautiful mix of wry humor and heartbreak, indignation and inspiration, a singular story of extreme isolation that speaks to anyone who’s ever felt out of place.”
San Francisco Chronicle"

----
Please forward this invitation to your friends

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July 31, 2006

Thrift Town Featured in Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle

The July 30, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle featured San Leandro's Thrift Town in an article listing places to go for cheap dates and fabulous funk.

From the article:

Thrift Town, 16160 E 14th St. San Leandro. "Thrift Town, the first-class secondhand store. Tina's been going to Thrift Town San Leandro for, like, 20 years. The best in the Bay Area. You can always find something there. She got a Nauga for $1.99 recently. They play awesome oldies tunes -- there really is nothing better on a Sunday afternoon than thriftin' to the oldies."

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July 25, 2006

Vigil for Slain SL Police Officer Nels Dan Niemi Tonight

One year after the shooting death of Nels Dan Niemi, a vigil will be held tonight at 8 p.m. in front of the police department at 901 East 14th St. The 45-minute vigil will be an upbeat celebration of Niemi's life, according to Police Chief Joe Kicthen.

The suspect in Niemi's death, Irving Ramirez, has a pretrial hearing scheduled for August 28, 2006, and a jury trial set to begin on October 22.

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July 24, 2006

Escaping the heat in San Leandro

I don't have to tell you that it's been really, really hot in San Leandro. And of course, most of us are not prepared for the heat. Our houses (well, at least my house) are not well insulated, and they don't have A/C. What to do to escape the hotest hours of the day? Go to Zocalo! This most San Leandran of cafes has both air conditioning and working fans - not to mention a plethora of cool drinks. And of course, our presence, as that's where we've been spending much of our time :)

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July 13, 2006

San Leandro Resident Wins at the Alameda County Fair

San Leandro resident Scott Landrey won 1st place for his collection of Nascar driver Tony Stewart memorabilia at the 2006 Alameda County Fair.

landrey-ala-co-fair.jpg


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July 11, 2006

Chronicle Covers Albertons' Closures

In an article published in its July, 11, 2006, edition, the San Francisco Chronicle discusses the impact of Albertsons' store closure on various communities, including San Leandro:

In San Leandro, when Albertsons on East 14th Street closed about a year ago, the community's first instinct was to grieve.

"Obviously when a grocery store closes, there's a lot of disappointment," said Hanson Hom, community development director for San Leandro. "A lot of residents like the choice of having two grocery stores."

Soon after the store closed, people started dumping their furniture and selling old cars on the site, Hom said. Police eventually put an end to that.

Now the main concern is what will happen to the property, which is in the hands of the Red Mountain Retail Group in Southern California, a company that specializes in recycling old shopping centers and supermarkets for new use. Eric Nelson, director of entitlement for Red Mountain, said he is working with another grocery chain to fill the space, although he would not name the retailer.

Officials in San Leandro are hoping that whatever ends up in the former Albertsons will fit it with the city's bigger plans to create a mixed-use transit development, with bus stops along East 14th Street. But Hom pointed out that because the store is an awkward size -- 23,000 square feet -- it has been difficult to find a replacement. Many retail chains lean toward the 50,000-square foot range. Smaller chains typically measure around 10,000 square feet.

"There's not a whole lot of retail chains looking for that size of a space," Hom said, adding that sometimes the best option is to simply tear down those types of buildings and start from scratch.

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July 6, 2006

Free Electronic Waste Drop-off July 14 and 15, 2006

On Friday and Saturday July 14 and 15, 2006, you can drop off your electronic waste for free at the Bayfair Mall southern parking lot on E. 14th Street.

Items you can drop off:

  • televisions and computer monitors
  • laptop computers,, parts, and accessories
  • computer parts, towers, desktops, hard drives, CD ROM drives, loose PC boards, cables, discs
  • any other electronic waste

Microwaves will not be accepted.

The event is sponsored by Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay, the City of San Leandro, and the Bay Fair Mall.

For more information, call Goodwill at (888) 4-GOODWILL.

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July 5, 2006

Drake's Brewing Co. to Hold Fundraiser for Jefferson Elementary

San Leandro's Drake's Brewing Co. will hold a fundaiser for Jefferson Elementary School on Saturday July 8, 2006, from noon to 6pm. Proceeds from the first annual Beer Festival & Washoes (horseshoe) Tournament will go to the Rogers Charitable Fund, which will match the funds raised at the event, doubling the donation for school supplies.

The event will take place at Drake's Brewery located at 1933 Davis St., Suite 177, in San Leandro. Live music and beers from 15 local breweries will be included. Tickets are $35. For more information, call 510-562-0866.

According to its web site, Drake's Brewery was "founded in 1989 as one of the Bay Area's first microbreweries, Drake's Brewing Company is a small, family-owned business dedicated to the art and science of craft brewing." Drake's is one of numerous companies owned by the Rogers Family, which also owns San Francisco Bay Coffee, The Organic Coffee Co., Fairwinds Coffee, Audobon Coffee, Cafe Jerusalem, and East India Tea Co..

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June 28, 2006

Invitation to join SLCAN mailing list

You're invited to join the San Leandro Community Action Network e-
mail announcement list.

This list is intended for anyone interested in the happenings,
concerns, and activities in San Leandro. Announcements will include
significant meetings in and around San Leandro and alerts will be
sent to inform and inspire you to get involved on an issue that
impact our neighborhoods, schools, or otherwise affect our lives.
You can subscribe at: http://www.slcan.org/email.html.

In the near future, we will also be setting up a discussion list, but
until then you can email us with upcoming events or topics that
concern you at elist @ slcan.org.

SLCAN values community involvement. What else can you do to get
involved now? Pass along this e-mail to others you believe may be
interested in receiving our news and announcements.

SLCAN is a newly formed grassroots organization dedicated to
improving the quality of life in San Leandro by ensuring quality
education, smart growth, and an inclusive and equitable community.
For more information about SLCAN, visit our website at http:// www.slcan.org.

SLCAN will not share your personal information or email address with
any other entity; your contact information will be used just for
announcements, discussions and organizational activities of SLCAN.
When our new email listserv is available, you will have the ability
to unsubscribe at any time.

---------------------------------------------------------------------

SAN LEANDRO COMMUNITY ACTION NETWORK
info@slcan.org
http://www.slcan.org

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White Washing History in San Leandro

WHITE WASHING HISTORY
By Brian Copeland

Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.

History is written by the victors.

I think that Ive heard the aforementioned quotes most of my life in one form or another. Ive always found them to be somewhat contradictory in that they say that history is important and that it is also subjective depending upon whos telling the story. In my naivet, I had always believed that what was important about history was truth, but alas, there was no incident involving a cherry tree and George Washington told many lies, Columbus was a much more complicated (and brutal) man than the noble explorer we were taught about in grade school and Thomas Edison received much credit for inventions that, while developed in his laboratory, he personally had very little to do with.

In spite of these revelations, it is a recent experience that has shaken my personal faith in the accurate dissemination of historical records for posterity.

As you have no doubt heard by now, for the past two years, I have been performing a one man play called NOT A GENUINE BLACK MAN, which deals with the organized housing discrimination in San Leandro in the 1960s and 1970s. It was a history that I was never taught in school and one that I only discovered when I began researching a few years back. I found newspaper and magazine articles, transcripts of government hearings as well as a nationally aired documentary (THE SUBURBAN WALL, see it at www.briancopeland.com) on the sorry situation. Today, the formerly 99.99% white enclave is among one of Californias most diverse cities. Unfortunately, that fact hasnt stopped some in the town from trying to hide the fact that it ever happened.

Recently, the city sanctioned the writing of a book on the official history of San Leandro. A young writer was commissioned and given the task of telling the suburbs story from inception through the present day. As part of his research for the book, he attended my play and planned to use some of my documents in his book.

When he presented his outline to the powers that be, he included a chapter on San Leandros Housing Discrimination as well as his intention to interview me regarding the materials Id uncovered. He was told in no uncertain terms that this material was not to be included in the book.

The young author made the case that the segregationist policies of the past are part of the citys history and should be recorded. Just because they are shameful doesnt mean they are invalid. He likened it to writing the history of America and omitting slavery. The opposition was adamant.

To make their case, they went to San Leandros mayor, Sheila Young who has spoken on the issue in an LA Times profile on me recently. Of course, it has to be included, she said. Its history and it happened.

Next they went to the Assemblywoman representing the district, Ellen Corbett, who also said, its history so it has to be in there.

At that point, the young author was paid for his outline and told that there was no longer funding available for the project and that the book was dead.

Maybe theres a more important proverb I forgot. The Golden Rule. He who has the gold makes the rules.


Brian Copelands memoir, Not a Genuine Black Man, will be released nationwide by Hyperion on July 11.

Posted by marga at 4:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 22, 2006

First Review of Brian Copeland's New Book

Not_a_Genuine_Black_Man.jpg Publisher's Weekly has the first review of Brian Copeland's new book, "Not a Genuine Black Man: Or How I Learned to Be Black in the Lily-White Suburbs," which is due to be released on July 11, 2006.

The review, though quite brief, ends with the following positive impressions, "Copeland's comedic talent is evident throughout the book, though he concedes that he uses laughter to keep the pain at bay and endured a time when he descended into depression. Honest and engaging, this memoir is a valuable book for anyone trying to straddle racial lines, for anyone who has ever felt out of place."

The first printing run will reportedly number 35,000 copies.






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June 20, 2006

City Council Approves 2006-2007 Budget

In its June 19, 2006, meeting, the City Council approved the 2006-2007 unanimously. Vice-Mayor Surlene Grant presided over the meeting as Mayor Sheila Young was absent. As in the previous four years, the budget had a structural deficit, which was made up for by using reserve funds. According to City Manager John Jermanis, the good news this year was that the structural deficit was just over $500,000. For more details on the budget, see this previous item.

The City Council also unanimously approved a loan of up to $884,000 to Mercy Housing for the renovation of the former Islander Lodge Motel, which is being converted to affordable rental housing.

Santos and Starosciak both expressed a desire to fund the Cherry Festival, Sunday library hours, and hire additional police officers. Nardine asked for a clarification as to how much the Cherry Festival costs and Jermanis responded that it costs $80,000. Vice-Mayor Grant recommended that the Finance Subcommittee hold an evening workshop so that the public can help to decide what should be the funding priorities.

Public comments included complaints from business and property owners about parking issues on MacArthur Bouelvard, complaints about a neighbors' dogs, and, of course, Lou Filipovich.

One of the items on the consent calendar was the auction of 19 vehicles, four pieces of heavy equipment and one boat. Council Member Nardine asked about the details of the auction, which can be found on the Finance department section of the city web site. The auction of heavy equipment will be held June 24, 2006 at 9am with previews on Friday, June 23, 2006. The auction of vehicles will be held August 5, 2006, at 9am. with previews on Friday, August 4, 2006. For more information contact the City of San Leandro Purchasing Office at 510-577-3376 or First Capitol Auction Co. at 707-552-0739.

The item on the conent calendar that generated the most discussion was the eradication of non-native Spartina (cordgrass) along the San Leandro shoreline. Council Members Starosciak and Santos attended a meeting in which the eradication program was discussed in great detail. Starosciak expressed surprise that environmentalists were willing to use an herbicide against the Spartina. Vice-Mayor Grant expressed concern about the aerial spraying effects on the health and safety of nearby residents and the potential for the spray to drift onto vehicles. Starosciak reassured Grant that the herbicide broke down after two weeks and was so safe that no mask or protective equipment was needed when applying it.

The resolution approving the grant agreement between the City of San Leandro and the State Coastal Conservancy for Spartina Treatment and Eradication Activities at the San Leandro Shoreline was approved unanimously. The cost of $50,000 would be almost completely reimbursed from a grant of $49,996.

For more information about Spartina, see the San Francisco Estuary Invasive Spartina Project.

The meeting was adjourned in memory of two residents that recently passed away, including Lois M. McDonald, who served on the San Leandro School Board for 21 years.

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June 6, 2006

City Budget and Islander Lodge Motel at City Council Meeting

The main items on the June 5, 2006, City Council meeting agenda were an update on the conversion of the Islander Lodge Motel to affordable housing and the presentation of the 2006-2007 city budget by City Manager John Jermanis.

All members of the City Council were present: Orval Badger, Vice Mayor Surlene Grant, Glenda Nardine, Joyce Starosciak, Bill Stephens, Tony Santos, and Mayor Sheila Young.

The audience for the meeting was nearly doubled by the 12-14 friends and family of Senior Library Assistant Mary Lutvinchuk, who was honored as Employee of the Month.

Public comments consisted of Mike Katz suggesting that the City Council record its meetings digitally so that it can be made available on the city web site and Harold Perez complaining about the lack of adequate response to his complaints about the numerous pit bulls at his neighbor's residence.

After Council Member Nardine asked for clarifications of the consent calendar items, they were approved unanimously. One item included approving $2,000 from the Mayor's Community Fund for Mayor Young to travel to Ponta Delgada, San Leandro's sister city in the Azores.

The Islander Lodge Motel (2398 E. 14th Street) project has changed from the original plan in that the City of San Leandro will maintain ownership of the property and improvements while Mercy Housing will manage the property for the next 55 years. The Islander Lodge Motel will be converted to 62 studio apartments, two one-bedroom apartments and one two-bedroom apartment for the manager. Rents are expected to range from $406 to $626 per month depending on the apartment and the renter's income. The current plan includes gated parking and a computer. The Board of Zoning Adjustments provided the project with an exemption for parking, as the plan calls for just 62 parking spaces. The City Council voted unanimously to approve a loan of up to $727,000 from the Redevelopment Agency to Mercy Housing to cover the costs of predevelopment activities such as architecture, engineering, geotechnical, and legal services. The loan will have a 0% interest rate and will be paid back in late 2006 or early 2007.

City Manager Jermanis provided a very brief summary of the previous year's budget, noting that the City of San Leandro incurred a $1.3 million deficit instead of the budgeted $3 million deficit because of 1.9% higher property tax revenues, 1.2 % higher sales tax revenues, and higher transfer tax revenues, due almost entirely to the $94.5 million sale of the 63-acre Albertson's distribution center property at 1701 Marina Boulevard to Kaiser. The city also managed to save 1.4% in expenditures (almost $1 million).

For 2006-2007, total revenues to the general fund are estimated at $73.6 million and total expenditures from the general fund are estimated at $74.2 million. Reserve funds will be used to make up the deficit of $570,000. The workforce is being rearranged, but the net result is an increase of four full-time equivalents, with a decrease in full-time employees and an increase in part-time employees.

The current budget depends on the passage of Measure I, the business license fee increase, and if it not passed, the $2 million in expected revenue will have to be found elsewhere. Other new revenue in the budget includes $500,000 from the Oro Loma franchise fee and $500,000 from the red light camera program, although that is offset by $500,000 in costs for the program. The State of California will no longer be taking property tax money under Proposition 1A, so that frees up $1.2 million, while growth in property taxes, sales taxes, the 911 fee, utility user tax, and franchise fees all help the growth in revenues. The budget projects a decline in revenues from the real property tax, based on declining home sales.

Public safety (police and fire) constitute $41.1 million (55%) of the expenditures, followed by general government at $6.5 million (9%), and community development at $6.1 million (8%). Of the $2.4 million increase in expenditures over last year, $1.9 million is due to new contracts and step and benefit rollups.

The city still expects to hand out $324,500 in community assistance to groups like the Boys and Girls Club, Building Futures for Women and Children, Davis Street, Project Literacy, Stepping Stones, and SAVE. The city will also hand out $25,000 in community benefit funds to the Arts Council of San Leandro, California Conservatory Theater, Pacific Chamber Symphony, San Leandro Art Association, San Leandro College Bound, San Leandro High School Musical Theater, San Leandro Players, and Washington Manor Middle School Worldancers.

Items that don't have funding include the senior center, a competition pool at Washington Manor, park renovations, the Cherry Festival, Sunday hours at the library, capital improvement projects, police positions, and equipment and maintenance costs.

The budget will be presented to the public at the City Council meeting at 7pm on June 19, 2006. If you want to voice your opinion about how the city should spend its money, contact your City Council Member and make sure to attend the next City Council meeting.

Posted by mike at 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2006

Trader Sports Loses Court Appeal - Ordered to Close June 2

Trader Sports lost an appeal of the ATF's decision to revoke its licence in a decision by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker on May 25, 2006. The judge said that Trader Sports was unlikely to prevail and failed to adequately dispute ATF claims.

The inital date for closure of the store was June 1, but the judge allowed for one extra day so that the owner, Anthony Cucchiara could appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Lee, Trader Sports has failed to account for 1,700 firearms, was unable to properly help the ATF trace guns found at crimes scenes 19 times, and guns it sold showed up at crime scenes about once a week for two years.

San Francisco Chronicle article

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May 17, 2006

Reviews of Copeland's "Not a Genuine Black Man" in New York

Associated Press drama critic Michael Kuchwara reviewed Brian Copeland's Not a Genuine Black Man on Wednesday, May 17, 2006. Kuchwara liked Copeland's show and described Copeland as "a genial, accomplished raconteur..." and concludes, "The man refuses to be categorized. And it is that refusal to be stereotyped that makes "Not a Genuine Black Man" such an intriguing and entertaining evening."

In his review, New York Times critic Jason Zinoman writes, "But a funny thing happens when Mr. Copeland switches to his own voice. He sounds overwrought, false and, when the script calls for anger, oddly unconvincing. His personal tales are riveting, but the manner in which they are told makes it seem that Mr. Copeland might have been better off casting someone else to play himself. Sometimes a bit of artifice can seem more authentic than the real thing."

New York Post critic Frank Scheck's review is even more harsh: "It's a thematically ambitious concept and, while he has some interesting stories to tell, he doesn't quite manage to weave his disparate strands together...There's an awkwardness to the piece's structure and transitions that reveals his theatrical inexperience... Not helping matters is his forced delivery, infused with a comic overemphasis..."

Michael Summers' review in the Newark Star-Ledger lamentsn that the show "...for all of its honest humor and candid social insights has its occasional lulls..."

From the New Yorker: "...this one-man show has a motormouth verbal energy and an appealing emotional honesty. Copeland moves past the distracting rhythms of standup comedy early in the show to let his gift for ambiguity take over."

And a similar summary of the reviews from Broadway.com.

And finally, this item from Leah Garchik in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Copeland's show at the DR2 Theater continues until July 30. Tickets are available at www.telecharge.com or by calling (212) 239-6200/

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May 15, 2006

Student Perspective on the San Leandro High School Disturbances

New American Media is a news service for ethnic youths and is a project of the Pacific News Service. Elliot McGregor, a 16-year-old writer and video producer, penned a commentary entitled "Rules of Engagement -- Black Versus Brown in High School" on May 15, 2006.

Since it's been more than 20 years since I've attended high school, I found his perspective illuminating and somewhat disturbing.

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May 12, 2006

Fire Destroys Family Home

A fie reported at 3:10am on May 12, 2006, at 2621 W. 133rd Avenue destroyed a house and all of the family's boxed-up belongings. The family was in the process of moving at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported.

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May 11, 2006

Starosciak asks community to support library/cherry festival

The following is a letter sent by District 4 city council member Joyce Starosciak to her supporters. In the letter Starosciak argues that there will be money in the city budget that can be allocated to re-open the libary on Sundays and to fund the Cherry Festival (cut from last year's budget). She asks the community to let other city council members know they support these expenditures.


Dear Friends,


The City Council work session on the budget last night left me with a very disturbing sense that I need your help to understand and to respond.

The City looks to be in good fiscal shape for the 2006-07 budget year. While costs are increasing, the passage of the Measure I Business License Fee will help us increase our revenue to compensate for the additional costs. In fact, even the most conservative projections show that our ending balance will be $238,000 in the black.

The disappointment is that even with this strong and conservative projection, the Cherry Festival and the Sunday Library Hours are not proposed to be restored in this budget.

Last night I implored my colleagues on the Council to consider using a modest $200k of our budget to restore these very important community assets. With the exception of Councilmember Nardine, the Council was completely silent on this issue. Councilmember Nardine shared my opinion that these were very important services to restore. The Mayor instead suggested that we wait until September or October to review our revenue before considering funding these programs.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we cannot wait until September to fund these programs. They are vital now. In fact they have been sorely missed for 2 years. Even if funded now, the Cherry Festival will not happen until 2007. I do not want to pass up this opportunity and push it out until 2008! In addition, the City staff must start working now to pull the festival together for next year. They cannot sit in limbo until October, they deserve a firm commitment from the City Council.

So I am asking you, the active members of the community, to get involved. There are two things that you can do.

1) Contact the rest of the Council to tell them how you feel about the Cherry Festival and the Sunday Library Hours. Each program costs less than (or equal to, there are no firm numbers) $100,000. Let them know how their leadership can make a difference. If you feel very strongly, let the Mayoral candidates hear that your consideration of their leadership depends on this issue. How can they abandoned two of the most important programs in San Leandro and at the same time say they want to lead this City in a better direction? Let them know how you feel.

There are other budget issues that I will discuss in future updates. This one, however needs your attention right away.

Our Council meets again on May 15, which is our regular meeting date. The next consideration of the budget will be June 5, where we will be reviewing the Draft Budget. We hope to approve the final budget on June 19.

It is important for your voice to be heard before May 15. That is where the Council has final input before the Draft Budget is presented. Calls and emails are good; personal letters are even better. Please let me and the other Councilmembers know how you feel.

As always, I appreciate your feedback on these issues.


Joyce Starosciak

City 510.351.5876

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May 5, 2006

San Leandro Company Gets $30.5 million of venture capital

According to a report in the Contra Costa Times, ePAC, a San Leandro-based provider of printing and logistics solutions for the high-tech industry, has received $30.5 million of venture capital in its third round of funding. Menlo Ventures is one of the funders. The second round of funding totaled $12.8 million back in September 2003.

ePAC is located at 2561 Grant Avenue in San Leandro, but according to the web site, "ePAC is headquartered in Silicon Valley."

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May 2, 2006

San Leandro Resident Stephanie Mathews Reported Missing

Stephanie Mathews, a 19-year-old San Leandro resident, was last seen in the parking lot of the Union Jack Pub, in unincorporated San Leandro.

According to the KTVU web site:

"She was last seen getting into a blue 2002 Chrysler Sebring with four or five black males. The car bears the California license plate 4VAJ479.

Mathews is described as a white female, 5 foot 5 inches tall, 150 to 160 pounds, with red hair. She was last seen wearing a black shirt, blue denim skirt and stretch pants with silver shoes.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the 24-hour dispatch number of the Alameda County Sheriff at (510) 667-7721, Sgt. Tom Madigan at (510) 667-3667, Detective Lauren Tucker at (510) 667-4907 or the anonymous tip line at (510) 667-3622."

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April 7, 2006

Brady Ferguson dead at 31

Brady Ferguson, the man who refurbished the Bal Theatre and brought the Rocky Horror Picture Show to San Leandro, died on March 31, 2006, at the age of 31.

According to the funeral notice, "a service celebrating Brady's life" was held on Thursday, April 6.

Brady attended San Leandro High School and CSU Hayward and played violin at both and with the Oakland Youth Orchestra.

Godspeed Brady.

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April 3, 2006

Copeland's Not a Genuine Black Man to Open in New York in May

According to BroadwayWorld.com, Brian Copeland's Not a Genuine Black Man will preview at the Off-Broadway theater DR2 on May 9, 2006, and begin its run on May 15, 2006.

The show will be directed by Bob Balaban and tickets are available from Telecharge.com at 212 239-6200 for $65.

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ATF Planning to Revoke Trader Sports' License

The Associated Press is reporting that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is planning to revoke Trader Sports' license on June 1, 2006.

The ATF reportedly wants to revoke Trader Sports' license because of repeated inventory and sales violations over the past five years. The ATF claims that Trader Sports is unable account for 1,766 weapons in its inventory.

In 1978, the ATF tried unsuccessfully to shut down Trader Sports. Anthony Cucchiara has owned the store since 1958.

Trader Sports is one of Northern California's largest gun shops and, according to a 2004 report, sold 3,858 handguns in 2000.

Trader Sports also gained notoriety when Senator Dianne Feinstein singled it out for criticsm in a press release issued June 17, 2003.

Posted by mike at 11:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 25, 2006

Brian Copeland Featured in New York Times

The Spring Theater 2006 section of the New York Times features local San Leandro resident Brian Copeland as a playwright and performer to watch. His solo show, Not a Genuine Black Man, has been selling out in San Francisco for two years. The show's success has resulted in a forthcoming book, an HBO story, and, beginning in May, a run at the DR2 Theater in Manhattan.

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February 14, 2006

Happy Valentines Day - Now Slow Down!

Two new radar trailers are being deployed to the streets of San Leandro - one where police decide and the other where residents ask for it. The radar trailers display the speed of passing vehicles to remind drivers to obey the speed limit. The trailers will sometimes be accompanied by a traffic officer for drivers who need a more forceful reminder.

Funding for the trailers came from a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. The grant, which lasts from October 2005 to December 2006, states, "The San Leandro Police Department will reduce persons killed and injured in traffic collisions. We will conduct speed enforcement operations and education to the motoring public. Radar trailers, hand-held laser devices, portable alcohol screening devices and enhanced enforcement of speed laws will be used. The department will increase the current staffing of the Traffic Division by one full-time officer as a contribution to the program."

Residents who like a radar trailer to de deployed in a specific location can call the traffic division of the San Leandro Police Department at (510) 577-3208.

Posted by mike at 6:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 30, 2006

State of the County - by Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker on Jan. 31, 2006

Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker will present the State of the County on Tuesday, January 31, 2006, from 6:30pm to 7:30pm at the San Leandro Public Library.

Topics include health care, youth services, and the economy.

The San Leandro Public Library is located at 300 Estudillo Avenue.

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January 6, 2006

Want to blog? Take a class!

UC Extension will offer a one-day seminar for aspiring bloggers on Saturday, January 21. Instructors Tom Abate, a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle and a blogger, and Tim Bishop will be joined by noted bloggers Lisa Stone and J.D. Lasica. Beginners will get the confidence and basic skills to start a blog or take an existing blog to the next level. The class starts at 9:00 am and will be held at 425 Fremont Street in San Francisco (near Embarcadero Bart station). Visit www.bloggingclass.com to learn more about the topics and instructors, or enroll at the UC Extension web site.

If you go, let me know if it was worthwhile.

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December 12, 2005

Shopping at the Cat-Emporium Factory Store

Cat Emporium, the factory store for heavy equipment manufacturer Peterson Tractor/Caterpillar, celebrated its second birthday in November 2005. If you or someone you know is into tractors, graders, bulldozers, and backhoes, then this is the place for you. The store features diecast toys, remote control toys, CAT-branded clothing, videos, golf bags (!) and just about anything CAT-branded that you can imagine. The store has been run by Valencia Davis since it opened. And not only does she run the store, she handles all the orders for the web site, manages the web site, and makes sure that merchandise gets distributed to other stores.

The store is open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm and is located at 955 Marina Boulevard. For more information, check out the web site at http://www.cat-emporium.com or call 510-618-2945.

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cat-emporium2.jpg

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Free Wireless with Your Coffee or Food

So where can you get wireless access for the price of a coffee or some food? Three places we know about are Zocalo Coffeehouse at 645 Bancroft Ave., Joaquin Deli at 275 Joaquin Ave., and Planet Coffeee at 1423 E. 14th St.

For more places to use your laptop wirelessly in San Leandro, check out JiWire. If you know of any other local businesses offering wireless access, let us know.

Posted by mike at 4:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 5, 2005

Ghirardelli Factory Store in San Leandro

Ghirardelli has been making chocolate in San Leandro since 1967, despite Ghirardelli Square's status as a San Francisco landmark. In 2004, Ghirardelli opened a stored at its factory location at 1111 139th Avenue and was awarded the Mayor’s Award of Excellence in Business in January 2005.

If you're looking for a gift for someone who enjoys chocolate, you can find everything from chocolate replicas of cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge to hot chocolate mix, chocolate syrup, and gift sets at the Ghirardelli factory store. Prices are often 25% to 50% less than standard retail prices. You can often find boxes of chocolate squares priced at $25 for 13.5 pounds of chocolate - a very tempting deal for chocoholics.

Holiday hours are in effect until December 24:

  • M - F, 10am - 7pm

  • Sat and Sun, 10am - 6pm

Ghirardelli Factory Store
1111 139th Avenue
San Leandro, CA 94578

Tel: 510.346.3146

ghiradelli_store.jpg

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Update: Open Mon.- Sat. 10 am - 6 pm & Sunday 11 am - 5 pm.

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December 3, 2005

Discuss the Proposed Parcel Tax for San Leandro School District

There will be a meeting at 7pm on Sunday, December 4, 2005, at Jefferson Elementary School to discuss a proposed parcel tax for the San Leandro Unified School District. Superintendent Christine Lim and school board members have noted that San Leandro ranks last in Alameda County in the amount of revenue per student. This often translates to overcrowded classes and resource scarcity.

The parcel tax could appear on the ballot as soon as June 2006, if approved by the school district.

Jefferson Elementary is located at 14300 Bancroft Avenue in San Leandro.

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November 30, 2005

Questions from Project Literacy's 2005 Trivia Bee

An article in the Argus features some of the questions from Project Literacy's Trivia Bee fundraiser, held on October 21, 2005.

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October 22, 2005

San Leandro Players Team Wins 12th Annual Trivia Bee

After a two-question sudden death round, the San Leandro Players team won the Trivia Bee on Friday, October 21, 2005, at the San Leandro Marina Community Center. Second place went to the Kaplan Family, winners of the 2003 Trivia Bee. The deciding question, in the Comics and Cartoons category, was "Which cartoon character's maiden name was Slaghoople?" The answer was Wilma Flintstone.

Third place went to State Roofing Systems after winning a sudden death playoff against two other teams.

As usual, former Jeopardy champion Leslie Frates read the first round of thirty questions. ANG newspaper columnist Ray Orrock read the questions for the final two rounds and the sudden death playoffs. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Kurtz, official Trivia Bee judge, was on hand to determine which ans and Kathy Kurtz was the official time keeper.

In addition to the Trivia Bee, a raffle featured prizes supplied by local businesses including a digital camera and $100 gift card from Wal-Mart, $100 towards travel on Southwest Airlines, and dozens of other prizes from local businesses and individuals. Funds raised by the Trivia Bee help Project Literacy to provide literacy services to 200 adults and 1,500 kids each year.

Pictured below is the San Leandro Players team, shortly after receiving their medals from members of the San Leandro City Council, including Mayor Sheila Young:

trivia_bee_2005.jpg

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July 27, 2005

Mountain Lion Spotted in San Leandro

On Saturday, July 23, 2005, a mountain lion was reportedly seen near the 2800 block of Marineview Drive.

Police responding to the area observed paw tracks along the hillside, but did not spot the mountain lion.

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July 1, 2005

Thai Restaurant to Open July 7, 2005

Thai Satay will open at the former location of Strizzi's at 1376 E. 14th Street on July 7, 2005. The owners have a restaurant by the same name in San Mateo at 173 E 4th Ave. and the San Leandro restaurant will feature the same menu of items.

You can get an idea of what to expect by taking a look at this review at Jason and Terrys Bay Area Review. The San Mateo County Times named Thai Satay the best Thai restaurant in 2003.

If you're looking for a job at Thai Satay, call (650) 576-4513.

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June 28, 2005

ZunZun to Perform at San Leandro Library July 6

On Wednesday, July 6, 2005, the performing arts group ZunZun will perform at the San Leandro Main Library at 300 Estudillo Avenue. The singing duo of husband and wife Stephen Snyder and Gwynne Snyder Cropsey play a wide variety of folkloric instruments while performing songs in Spanish and English. The event begins at 7:30pm.

ZunZun will help the San Leandro Library unveil the latest additions to its collection of Spanish language books, music CDs and audio books, purchased with a $10,000 state grant from the federal Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) Global Language Materials block grant, which is administered by the California State Library.

The concert will include sing-along songs and refreshments will be served.

According to the City of San Leandro web site, 20 percent of San Leandro's 79,452 residents are Hispanic or Latino.

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Joint Meeting of San Leandro's City Council and Unified School District

On Monday, June 27, 2005, the San Leandro City Council and San Leandro Unified School District Board of Trustees held a joint work session at the San Leandro Main Library.

City Manager John Jermanis gave a 14-slide Powerpoint presentation summarizing the proposed budget for 2005-2006. Proposed expenditueres are $70.5 million and revenue is estimated at $67.4 million. The city is planning to cover a $3.1 million deficit with money from a reserve fund, drawing it down to about $12 million. Possibilities for generating more revenue include increasing the business license tax, which could generate $2 million in revenue. Council members noted that San Leandro has the lower business license tax in Alameda County. Another possible revenue increase could come from increasing the tax for emergency medical service to generate about $1 million in revenue. The bulk of San Leandro's revenue in 2005-2006 is estimated to come from sales tax (31%), property tax (18%), and utility users tax (14%), while the majority of San Leandro's expenditures are for public safety services (55%).

In order to reduce expenditures, San Leandro has signed a five-year-contract with the Fremont Animal Shelter after the Hayward Animal Shelter raised its fees and managed to get the fire services contract reduced from $900,000 to $600,000.

The main library will continue to be closed on Sundays and community activities such as the Cherry Festival won't be funded by the city next year as well. Jermanis reported that the Engineering department estimate for ongoing street maintenance is $5 to $6 million per year, but the city has only been spending $1 million the past few years.

At the end of Jermanis'presentation, San Leandro School Board Member Stephen Cassidy cautioned Jermanis against relying on an increase in the EMS fee for increased revenue and suggested that the city look at increasing the business license fee and the 911 fee. Jermanis responded that the business license tax could only appear on the ballot when member of the city council come up for election and the 911 fee is restricted by law to the actual cost of the program.

By contrast the Powerpoint presentation by Superintendent Christine Lim focused on accomplishments within the San Leandro schools and comparisons of funding with other school districts. Lim noted that San Leandro High School was name as a National Demonstration School for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), five students were National Merit award winners, 72% of high school graduates planned to attend a two- or four-year college, and 53 San Leandro High School graduates were accepted to the University of California.

In one of four slides comparing financials of San Leandro to other school districts, Lim noted that San Leandro's $6.413 revenue per student was substantially less than the state average of $7,276 per student and Alameda County's $7,403 per student. Overall, San Leandro ranks in the bottom 10% of the state in funding per student.

The third item on the agenda was School Board Member Ray Davis' presentation about the planned Bike/Walk to School Day scheduled for October 5, 2005. Davis asked for the support of all those present. Davis noted that in 1969, 48% of students walked or biked to school while today only 19% of students walk or bike to work.

Assistant Superintendent Leon Glaster reported that the state will spend the summer ranking 220 grant applications, including the joint City of San Leandro and San Leandro Unified School District joint grant proposal for a Bancroft Middle School sports field. Glaster said that the 20 grants won't be awarded until the end of summer, but noted that San Leandro was one of only 30 sites visited by the state agency evaluating the grant applications.

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June 23, 2005

Bed Bath & Beyond Opened On Tuesday

Bed Bath & Beyond opened its store at Bayfair Center on Tuesday, June 21, 2005.

This follows the opening of Target and Kohl's in the past few years after Bayfair Center was purchased by Madison Marquette in October 2003. Lady Foot Locker and Champs also opened on Tuesday after moving to different locations within Bayfair Center.

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June 15, 2005

City to Buy Islander Lodge Motel

The owner of the Islander Lodge Motel at 2398 East 14th Street has agreed to sell the 67-unit motel to the City of San Leandro.

The motel will be converted to affordable housing, with Mercy Housing likely serving as the property manager. Built in 1972, the motel has been known for a variety of crimes, including the murder of Shenise McLemore on May 28, 2004.

At the May 16, 2005, meeting of the San Leandro City Council, the vote was 7-0 to authorize "pre-acquisition expenses in an amount not to exceed $205,000" for the Islander Lodge Motel. At the subsequent City Council meeting on June 6, 2005, Resolution No. 2005-009 RDA was passed, approving a letter of intent between the City of San Leandro and Mercy Housing California. The City Council also proclaimed June 4 – 12, 2005 as Affordable Housing Week in San Leandro.

The purchase agreement was soon followed by news that the City of San Leandro faces a $3.1 million budget deficit in the next fiscal year.

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June 12, 2005

Motorcycle Dealer Opens in San Leandro

Monroe Motors, a dealership known for it British and Italian motorcycles has opened a store in San Leandro this past week. Its at the former location of AA Office Equipment at 15296 E. 14th Street, near the northeast corner of E. 14th Street and Fairmont Drive. For now, Monroe Motors is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday.

Although the store has been open for about a week, the signs aren't up yet and the store is still under construction. But there are motorcycles in stock, including the Ducati 999S, 999, 749, Monster S4R, Monster 620, and Multistrada and a variety of KTM models including the 950 Adventure, 525 EXC, 450 SMR SuperMoto, 65 SX, and 85 SX.

monroe_ducati999.jpg

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June 9, 2005

Marina Auto Mall Sign Keeps Crashing

As seen below, the huge electronic sign for the San Leandro Marina Auto Mall has been crashing recently. If you have ever used Windows 95, 98 or ME, the message is familiar: "This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down. Quit all programs, and then restart your computer. If the problem persists, contact the program vendor."

The Marina Auto Mall Sign has peformed an illegal operation...

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June 6, 2005

Open House This Weekend at San Leandro Historical Railway Society

The San Leandro Historical Railway Society will hold an open house on Saturday June 11, 2005 from 10am to 5pm and Sunday, June 12, 2005, from 12pm to 5pm.

The San Leandro Historical Railway Society features HO scale trains running through mountains and miniature California towns with a controller that can be used to automate the trains and add sound effects.

The San Leandro Historical Railway Society is located in an old Southern Pacific Railroad passenger depot that was built in 1898 and was used until World War II, when the Southern Pacific passenger agency was no longer deemed essential.

The open house typically coincides with the annual Cherry Festival, but the Cherry Festival was cancelled this year because of city budget cuts.

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May 30, 2005

Tale of elder abuse in San Leandro

In Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle, Chip Johnson recalls how San Leandro's Mary Basera was abused when she took in Lena Bianco and her husband.

Basera, who was more than 80 years old at the time, soon had her bank account emptied and her house became a haven for ex-convicts. After seeing the unemployed Bianco driving a new car with new clothes and jewelry, Basera's neighbor, Tom Scovill, discovered that Bianco had obtained a power of attorney from Basera and obtained a second mortgage on Basera's house.

It got worse from there. By the time it ended in late 2003, the house had no power, gas, or water, the police had arrested nearly 60 people at or near the house, recovered numerous stolen vehicles, and engaged in a high-speed chase.
Bianca's case is currently making its way through the courts.

Scovill later received a Citizen's Commendation from the police for his assistance. Basera sold the house.

Here are some photos of San Leandro police arresting people at the house:

San Leandro Police Arrest a Suspect at 350 Sybil Avenue
San Leandro Police Arrest a Suspect at 350 Sybil Avenue, San Leandro on August 20, 2003

San Leandro Police Arrest Suspects at 350 Sybil Avenue
San Leandro Police Arrest Suspects at 350 Sybil Avenue, San Leandro on August 20, 2003

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May 16, 2005

Strizzi's to be replaced by Thai Restaurant

The venerable Strizzis, located at 1376 E. 14th Street, will be replaced by Thai Sa-Tay, according to a public notice posted on April 29, 2005. Strizzis opened in San Leandro in 1986. To the best of my knowledge, this will be the only Thai restaurant in San Leandro.

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May 11, 2005

Copeland has continued success with "Not a Genuine Black Man"

Brian Copeland's one-man show Not a Genuine Black Man has been at The Marsh for more than a year now, making it the longest-running solo show in the last 30 years in the Bay Area. The show details Copeland's experiences when his family moved to racist San Leandro in 1972 when he was a child through some of his life-changing experiences as an adult.

Copeland is working on a book for Hyperion and a fictionalized series for HBO is in the works.

Read more details in the San Francisco Chronicle's article TV sniffing around solo show that just won't quit.

"Not a Genuine Black Man" is playing at The Marsh until May 28, and tickets are $15-$22.

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April 12, 2005

Puppet Day at the San Leandro Library

Saturday, April 23, 2005
San Leandro Main Library
300 Estudillo Avenue
Sponsored by the San Francisco Bay Area Puppet Guild and the San Leandro Public Library

10am - 3pm
Ongoing exhibit of forms of puppetry
Puppet Exhibit, Puppet Raffle, and Puppet Store
Estudillo/Karp Room

10am - 3pm
Puppet Petting Zoo
Geared for ages 2 - 7
Estudillo/Karp Room

11am and Noon
Performance Puppet Workshop
Learn how to work puppets, by the Alameda County 4-H Puppeteers
Estudillo/Karp Room

12:30pm
Television Puppet Workshop for Little Kids
Learn how to work a puppet on camera. Puppets and cameras will be supplied.
Mary Brown Room

1pm
Free family Puppet Show - "An Irish Tale"
Presented by The Puppet Company of Children's Fairyland in Oakland
For all ages
Lecture Hall

1:30pm
Television Puppet Workshop for Kids of All Ages
Learn how to work a puppet on camera. Puppets and cameras will be supplied.
Mary Brown Room

1:30pm - 3pm
Advanced Class for Kids 8+
$6 fee for materials and pre-registration (at Children's Desk of Main Library) required.
Learn to build a scarf marionette and perform with it. Limited to 25 kids.
Trustees Room

1:30pm - 3pm
Puppet Making for All Ages
Younger children will learn how to build a fun puppet that they can take home and enjoy.
Estudillo Room

2:15pm
Television Puppet Workshop for Teens
Learn how to work a puppet on camera. Puppets and cameras will be supplied.
Mary Brown Room

3pm
"Vaudeville Follies", "a marionette variety show presented in the spirit of the old time music hall" starring the Fratello Marionettes
$3.00 per ticket

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February 25, 2005

The Bal Can be Yours - For $750,000

San Leandro's historic Bal Theatre is for sale at a list price of $750,000. The Bal, as you may recall, re-opened with great promise in August 2000. After the city revoked the theatre's permit in 2001, the theatre hasn't seen much use. It's currently part of a the NAZ8 chain of theatres and screens films from South Asia, Iran, China, Taiwan, Korea and the Philippines.

The Bal doesn't have much of any off-street parking, which means that the City of San Leandro greatly restricts its use. This makes the property unattractive to potential buyers who might want to show movies or stage live performances in the theatre.

Opening night at The Bal, 2000
Opening Night at The Bal

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February 7, 2005

Ricky's Rates As One of Nation's Best Sports Bars

Ricky's Sports Theatre and Grill was named by Sports Illustrated [Subscription needed] as the #2 sports bar in the United States.

Since you probably don't subscribe to Sports Illustrated, here's what they had to say about Ricky's:

"During the Oakland Raiders' 13 years of exile in Los Angeles, from 1982 to '95, Ricky's was the Penelope of sports bars. "We kept the torches burning," says owner Ricky Ricardo Jr. "All those years we never missed one Raiders game. One time there was a game on Ku Band, and we couldn't get the frequency, so we rented a dish for $1,000 to pick it up." When Oakland beat Minnesota in Super Bowl XI in 1977, the bar recorded the game on three-quarter-inch tape and replayed it three times a day for several weeks; one afternoon a bunch of Raiders players even came in to watch."

Congratulations to owner Ricky Ricardo, Jr.

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January 6, 2005

Zocalo Donates Day of Revenue for Tsunami Relief

Among the outpouring of donations to victims of the tsunami, our own local Zocalo Coffeehouse gave a day's worth of revenue and placed a donation jar on the counter. The donations will be given to Oxfam's Asia Earthquake Fund. According to the Zocalo web page, the total amount from Zocalo and its customers is approaching $1000. Kudos to Zocalo owner Tim Holmes and his good press connections, because he is also featured in a San Francisco Chronicle article about donations for the tsunami victims.

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December 23, 2004

Migrating Monarchs at Monarch Bay Golf Club

Each year, thousands of migrating Monarch butterflies spend the winter at the Monarch Bay Golf Club to avoid the colder temperatures up north. According to the City of San Leandro web site, "Tours are conducted on Saturdays from November 6, 2004, to February 5, 2005, at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., and meet at the Mulford-Marina Branch Library parking lot at 13699 Aurora Drive."

You can read the Chronicle article and see some photos here.

Note that photos can't match the experience of seeing the butterflies yourself.

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December 19, 2004

San Leandro Light up the Night

San Leandro highlights some of its residences in a special "Light up the Night" directory. Residents with holiday light displays are encouraged to submit their address and the addresses this year are:

  • 1624 Daily Ct
  • 3494 Figueroa Drive
  • 1271 Vista Grand Dr
  • 769 Sybil Ave
  • 15688 Elko Court
  • 13625 School St.
  • 1794 Vining Drive
  • 156 Estabrook St.6
  • 632 Begier
  • 672 Tiffany Road
  • 1267 Lillian Ave.
  • 13954 Samoa Road
  • 15103 to 15113 Chapel Ave & Farnsworth
  • 1335 Manor Blvd
  • 1705 Manor Blvd

At least one of the addresses above seems to have listed itself mainly to get people to see that it has apartments for rent. But some of the best are shown below:

Holiday lights at 15102 Chapel Ct
15102 Chapel Ct

Holiday lights at 15103 Chapel Ct
15103 Chapel Ct

Holiday lights at 1101 Gardner Blvd.
1101 Gardner

We recommend the holiday lights at the houses near the intersection of Chapel Court and Chapel Avenue. If you know of a more extravagant display, please let us know.

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December 7, 2004

The Bal Theatre Now Showing Indian Movies

Since the San Leandro Police arrested former Bal theater operator Brady Ferguson in February 2001 and the city revoked the theater's permit in April 2001 for showing "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" after midnight, the Bal theater had been relegated to free screenings of "family" and religious movies on an irregular basis.

However, now the Bal is part of NAZ8 Cinemas, a small chain of four movie theaters showing movies from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, China, Taiwan, Korea and the Philippines. The Bal is currently showing Yash Chopra's Veer Zaara. According to the press releases, "Veer-Zaara recounts the epic tale of an Indian man, Veer Pratap Singh (Shahrukh Khan) and a Pakistani woman, Zaara Hayaat Khan (Preity Zinta) - a story of a love so great that it knows no boundaries. It is also the story of Saamiya Siddiqui (Rani Mukerji), a Pakistani lawyer who tries to break the barriers separating the two."

You can check out reviews from the New York Times, BBC, and IndiaFM.

The movie is showing with English subtitles until December 9, 2004. Click here to see Veer Zaara previews. The Bal Theatre is located at 14808 E. 14th Street in San Leandro. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children. Call 510-797-2000 for up-to-date showtimes.

According to a press release dated July 14, 2000, "The Bal Theatre was built post-WWII, and served as the community theater for first-run films through the 60's. Sold to the Martin family in the early 70's, the repertoire changed to Spanish language films until the late 80's. Competition with VHS caused the theater to close, then the Martins leased the building to a Hindi movie company. The Bal has sat vacant since around 1998." Brady Ferguson and Desiree Costa re-opened the Bal on August 25, 2000, with a screening of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

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December 2, 2004

Meeting to Discuss Proposed Indian Casino Near Oakland Airport - Dec. 14

A joint Alameda-San Leandro town hall meeting will held at 7pm on Tuesday, December 14, 2004, to discuss the proposed Koi Nation Indian Casino. The meeting will be held at the Grandview Pavilion, 300 Island Drive, Alameda (on the edge of the Alameda Golf Course. Click here for a map.

Those unable to attend are encouraged to comment via e-mail to manager@ci.alameda.ca.us using the subject line "Casino Comment" and including their city of residence. For more information, contact Jane McCrea at 510-577-3363.

The Koi Indian Nation has proposed a casino to be located in the Oakland Airport Business Park, adjacent to the airport at Pardee Drive and Swan Way. The preliminary proposal includes a 250,000-square foot Las Vegas-style facility with card games and 2,000 slot machines.

Since the casino is in Oakland, the proposal includes an annual payment of $10.7 million to City of Oakland. The proposal does not appear to address concerns in neighboring communitied.

The 30-member Koi tribe is based in Santa Rosa and regained federal recognition in 2000.

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November 7, 2004

Chronicle Article on Brian Copeland

As you probably know if you read this site, Brian Copeland has had an enormously successful run at The Marsh, with his one-man show "Not a Genuine Black Man." It has been extended yet again to November 27, 2004, so go see it if you haven't yet.

The November 7, 2004, edition of the San Francisco Chronicle has an article by Joan Ryan about Copeland and his monologue. As reported previously, Rob Reiner is working on deal for a show and a book may be in the works as well.

Posted by mike at 10:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 22, 2004

McCarthy Re/Max in Motion Wins 11th Annual Trivia Bee

The Irene and Phil McCarthy Re/Max in Motion team won San Leandro Public Library Project Literacy's 11th Annual Trivia Bee held Firday night, October 22, 2004, at the Marina Community Center. Second place went to the Pon-Tificators team and the defending champion Kaplan Family finished third following a sudden-death round as all three teams were tied at the end of three rounds.

The first round of questions was read by Leslie Frates, a San Leandro resident and professor who has appeared on the television quiz show Jeopardy 13 times. Ms. Frates also appeared as a Jeopardy contestant in the movie Goundhog Day. The next rounds and sudden death questions were read by Ray Orrock, a newspaper columnist for ANG Newspapers. Alameda County Superior Court Judge Robert Kurtz was the official Trivia Bee judge and Kathy Kurtz was the office time keeper.

Unlike last year, there were few controversial questions or answers and no successful challenges to questions or answers. The questions that required audio, however, were marred by music that didn't play when it was supposed to or failed to include the vocal portion of the song.

The Trivia Bee is Project Literacy's biggest annual fundraiser with income from team entry fees, dinner, and an accompanying raffle that featured prizes supplied by local businesses including a $275 photo session at Anna Kim Photography, a DVD/VCR from Circuit City, a mountain bike from Nick and Judy Verhoek, and $100 of gift certificates from Southwest Airlines.

Members of the San Leandro City Council, including Mayor Sheila Young presented medals to the top three teams.

2004 Trivia Bee Winners with Members of the San Leandro City Council

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October 16, 2004

Belly Dancing Festival at Marina Community Center Oct. 16-17

Tatseena's Good Vibrations 3rd Annual Belly Dance Fantasy Festival takes place October 16 and 17, 2004, at San Leandro's Marina Community Center. General admission is $10 and $5 for kids 5 to 13.

Seven different belly dancing workshops are also available throughout the festival for $20 each.

The festival runs from 12pm to 8pm on Saturday and 12pm to 5pm on Sunday. A detailed schedule and directions to the Marina Community Center at 15301 Wicks Blvd. are available from the festival web site.

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September 22, 2004

Neighbors of Proposed Development Speak Out at Community Meeting

Neighbors of the proposed low-income housing development at the corner of Estabrook Street and E. 14th Street spoke out against the development at a meeting Tuesday night at the First United Methodist Church.

The September 21, 2004, meeting was the second of four community meetings held by Resources for Community Development (RCD) to discuss the development proposal for the southwest corner of the intersection of Estabrook Street and E. 14th Street across the street from McKinley Elementary School.

The 2.2-acre site is currently occupied by Sir Richard's, a used car lot, and a Salvation Army Thrift Store. RCD is proposing to build 94 units of low-income rental housing along with ground-floor retail space at the location. The development would also include 171 parking spaces, just meeting the City of San Leandro requirement for the number of parking spaces per unit. The 94 units would be a combination of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. Rents for the apartments would range from $430 to $740 for one-bedroom units, $514 to $979 for two-bedroom units, and $601 to $1,235 for three-bedroom units. According to RCD, their typical tenants have one to two cars and two and a half children per household. Occupancy of the units would be four people in a two-bedroom unit and six people in a three-bedroom unit.

Community Development Director Hanson Hom, Senior Transportation Engineer Reh-Lin Chen, and Planning Manager Debbie Pollart were among the City of San Leandro staff on-hand to answer questions about the proposed development. Sergeant Tom Overton of the San Leandro Police Department was on hand to answer questions about crime and related issues.

The first question from the audience was about the presence of members of the San Leandro City Council and specifically, Vice-Mayor Orval Badger, who represents the area in which the proposed development is located. Neither Vice-Mayor Badger or any other members of the San Leandro City Council were present. Vice-Mayor Badger was present at the beginning of the August 19, 2004, community meeting, but appeared to have left when the meeting was moved to a larger meeting room at the San Leandro Library.

The next question from the audience was from man who noted that he worked two jobs in order to buy a house in San Leandro and move his family from Oakland. However, he was unable to enroll his children at nearby McKinley Elementary School for nine months because of overcrowding. He asked whether there were any representatives from the San Leandro Unified School District, but there were none.

One member of the audience spoke up in support of the proposed development, claiming that housing projects in San Francisco and Berkeley did not bring down property values of nearby homes. The audience expressed skepticism at her claim and she was nearly drowned out in the resulting din.

Dan Sawislak, Executive Director for RCD, said that City of San Leandro regulations would allow up to 140 units to be built at the proposed location while RCD had only proposed 94-units. He also said that no study has shown that projects similar to that proposed by RCD have brought down nearby property values and that some studies have shown an increase in nearby property values. He challenged the audience to use an Internet search engine to search for studies about the impact of affordable housing projects on nearby property values. He also sought to answer a question that he has been asked repeatedly: Why did RCD choose the location at the intersection of E. 14th Street and Estabrook Street? His answer: because the City of San Leandro had identified the site for the type of housing project that RCD develops.

Information provided by RCD included a printout of the document Myths and Facts About Affordable & High Density Housing, a report by the California Planning Roundtable and California Department of Housing & Community Development and a handout making RCD's case for the project. On display at the meeting was a drawing showing an aerial view of the area of the project, poster boards of statistics about the housing, and pictures of tenants at other RCD projects.

Lauren Sanborn of the John Stewart Company, stated that her company would provide property management services. She said that her company managed 20,000 units of housing with a focus on affordable housing. In response to concerns about possible increases in crime from the new development, she stated that tenants are subjected to rigorous screening including a credit check, criminal background check, and two landlord references.

In response to concerns about parking in the area, Rick Williams, the architect from the architectural firm Van Meter Williams Pollack designing the project noted that he looked at surrounding apartment buildings and estimated that they needed between 70 and 77 more parking spaces to meet current parking City of San Leandro parking requirements. Existing buildings do not to meet the current parking requirements. This helps to explain why it is difficult for visitors to park on Estabrook Street and Estabrook Circle. The architect also noted the problem of traffic that cuts through the neighborhood on its way from Marina Boulevard to Sybil and suggested that speed bumps on Estabrook Street or a stop sign at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Estabrook Street could be a possible solution to the problem.

In the subsequent session of questions and answers, every person that was selected spoke out against the proposed project or asked questions that indicated they were concerned about the impact of the project. Most members of the audience were very passionate about their opposition to the proposed development, including one young woman who spoke of her concern that the 1930s art deco house built by her father might be devalued. Audience members expressed concerns about traffic, overcrowding at McKinley Elementary School, parking, crime, vandalism, visitors to the development, and depressed property values. While RCD intended to answer some of the community's concerns expressed at the first meeting, it was unable to assuage most of the concerns expressed by the audience. So many people wanted to ask questions or make statements opposing the proposed project that the meeting ended with numerous audience members not having had the chance to ask a question or make comments.

Community Development Director Hanson Hom noted that the project is in a very preliminary stage and that RCD has not yet purchased the property, but information from RCD indicates that RCD has entered into a purchase contract with the current property owner.


Click on the image to enlarge it.

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Neighbors of Proposed Development Speak Out at Community Meeting

Neighbors of the proposed low-income housing development at the corner of Estabrook Street and E. 14th Street spoke out against the development at a meeting Tuesday night at the First United Methodist Church.

The September 21, 2004, meeting was the second of four community meetings held by Resources for Community Development (RCD) to discuss the development proposal for the southwest corner of the intersection of Estabrook Street and E. 14th Street across the street from McKinley Elementary School.

The 2.2-acre site is currently occupied by Sir Richard's, a used car lot, and a Salvation Army Thrift Store. RCD is proposing to build 94 units of low-income rental housing along with ground-floor retail space at the location. The development would also include 171 parking spaces, just meeting the City of San Leandro requirement for the number of parking spaces per unit. The 94 units would be a combination of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. Rents for the apartments would range from $430 to $740 for one-bedroom units, $514 to $979 for two-bedroom units, and $601 to $1,235 for three-bedroom units. According to RCD, their typical tenants have one to two cars and two and a half children per household. Occupancy of the units would be four people in a two-bedroom unit and six people in a three-bedroom unit.

Community Development Director Hanson Hom, Senior Transportation Engineer Reh-Lin Chen, and Planning Manager Debbie Pollart were among the City of San Leandro staff on-hand to answer questions about the proposed development. Sergeant Tom Overton of the San Leandro Police Department was on hand to answer questions about crime and related issues.

The first question from the audience was about the presence of members of the San Leandro City Council and specifically, Vice-Mayor Orval Badger, who represents the area in which the proposed development is located. Neither Vice-Mayor Badger or any other members of the San Leandro City Council were present. Vice-Mayor Badger was present at the beginning of the August 19, 2004, community meeting, but appeared to have left when the meeting was moved to a larger meeting room at the San Leandro Library.

The next question from the audience was from man who noted that he worked two jobs in order to buy a house in San Leandro and move his family from Oakland. However, he was unable to enroll his children at nearby McKinley Elementary School for nine months because of overcrowding. He asked whether there were any representatives from the San Leandro Unified School District, but there were none.

One member of the audience spoke up in support of the proposed development, claiming that housing projects in San Francisco and Berkeley did not bring down property values of nearby homes. The audience expressed skepticism at her claim and she was nearly drowned out in the resulting din.

Dan Sawislak, Executive Director for RCD, said that City of San Leandro regulations would allow up to 140 units to be built at the proposed location while RCD had only proposed 94-units. He also said that no study has shown that projects similar to that proposed by RCD have brought down nearby property values and that some studies have shown an increase in nearby property values. He challenged the audience to use an Internet search engine to search for studies about the impact of affordable housing projects on nearby property values. He also sought to answer a question that he has been asked repeatedly: Why did RCD choose the location at the intersection of E. 14th Street and Estabrook Street? His answer: because the City of San Leandro had identified the site for the type of housing project that RCD develops.

Information provided by RCD included a printout of the document Myths and Facts About Affordable & High Density Housing, a report by the California Planning Roundtable and California Department of Housing & Community Development and a handout making RCD's case for the project. On display at the meeting was a drawing showing an aerial view of the area of the project, poster boards of statistics about the housing, and pictures of tenants at other RCD projects.

Lauren Sanborn of the John Stewart Company, stated that her company would provide property management services. She said that her company managed 20,000 units of housing with a focus on affordable housing. In response to concerns about possible increases in crime from the new development, she stated that tenants are subjected to rigorous screening including a credit check, criminal background check, and two landlord references.

In response to concerns about parking in the area, Rick Williams, the architect from the architectural firm Van Meter Williams Pollack designing the project noted that he looked at surrounding apartment buildings and estimated that they needed between 70 and 77 more parking spaces to meet current parking City of San Leandro parking requirements. Existing buildings do not to meet the current parking requirements. This helps to explain why it is difficult for visitors to park on Estabrook Street and Estabrook Circle. The architect also noted the problem of traffic that cuts through the neighborhood on its way from Marina Boulevard to Sybil and suggested that speed bumps on Estabrook Street or a stop sign at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Estabrook Street could be a possible solution to the problem.

In the subsequent session of questions and answers, every person that was selected spoke out against the proposed project or asked questions that indicated they were concerned about the impact of the project. Most members of the audience were very passionate about their opposition to the proposed development, including one young woman who spoke of her concern that the 1930s art deco house built by her father might be devalued. Audience members expressed concerns about traffic, overcrowding at McKinley Elementary School, parking, crime, vandalism, visitors to the development, and depressed property values. While RCD intended to answer some of the community's concerns expressed at the first meeting, it was unable to assuage most of the concerns expressed by the audience. So many people wanted to ask questions or make statements opposing the proposed project that the meeting ended with numerous audience members not having had the chance to ask a question or make comments.

Community Development Director Hanson Hom noted that the project is in a very preliminary stage and that RCD has not yet purchased the property, but information from RCD indicates that RCD has entered into a purchase contract with the current property owner.


Click on the image to enlarge it.

Posted by mike at 3:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 18, 2004

Mayor Opens Booktique Store at Library

San Leandro Mayor Sheila Young ceremoniously cut the red ribbon to open the new Friends of the San Leandro Library Booktique bookstore this morning. The Mayor was joined by Vice Mayor Orval Badger, Councilmember Tony Santos, Friends of the San Leandro Library Vice President Stephanie Jones, San Leandro Library Services Director David Bohne, and members of the board of the Friends of the San Leandro Library.

Mayor Young noted that the bookstore was funded completely by the Friends of the San Leandro Library. After Mayor Young introduced Friends Vice President Jones, Ms. Jones presented the mayor with a check for $11,000 for the City of San Leandro.

Booktique will be open 11am to 4pm during the week and 1pm to 4pm on Saturday.

San Leandro Mayor Sheila Young and Friends of the San Leandro Library Vice President Stephanie Jones
San Leandro Mayor Sheila Young and Friends of the San Leandro Library Vice President Stephanie Jones
San Leandro Mayor Sheila Young and Vice Mayor Orval Badger
San Leandro Mayor Sheila Young and Vice Mayor Orval Badger just before cutting the red ribbon to open Booktique.
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September 16, 2004

San Leandro School Teacher on Survivor: Vanuatu

Washington Elementary teacher and Oakland resident James "Chad" Crittenden will be one of the contestants featured in the latest Survivor series. Crittenden lost one leg below the knee to cancer but he was able to complete a triathalon just nine months later. He competed in Survivor while taking a year-long absence to be a stay-at-home dad.

Survivor Vanuatu airs tonight at 8pm on CBS channel 5. Click here to read his bio from the CBS website. He's also featured in this article from ANG Newspapers.

Posted by mike at 3:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 11, 2004

Community Meeting for E.14th St. Development Proposal on Sept. 21

The second community meeting to discuss the proposed "workforce housing" development at the corner of E. 14th St. and Estabrook St. will take place at the First United Methodist Church on September 21, 2004, from 7pm to 8:30pm.

The previous meeting was held on August 19, 2004, and local residents expressed numerous concerns about:

  • parking, which is already in short supply
  • increased crime
  • lower property values
  • increased traffic

The reason that people expressed these concerns is because "workforce housing" is a euphemism for low-income housing. According to its website, the developer, Resources for Community Development (RCD) "is a nonprofit housing development corporation with the mission of creating and preserving affordable housing..." RCD has built more than 900 units of housing since 1984.

According to RCD's flyer, at this second meeting, RCD "will focus on:

  • Responses to neighborhood concerns
  • Response to questions regarding workforce housing
  • Presentation of RCD's work/track record
  • Discussion of potential design concepts
  • Next steps"

If you live in the area and need an enticement to come to the meeting, refreshments will be provided.

For more information about the meeting, call Maryann Leshin at (510) 635-2778 or Natalie Bonnewit at (510) 841-4410, extension 19.

You can see pictures and descriptions of RCD's projects here.

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July 22, 2004

Do Traffic Laws Apply to San Leandro Police?

As I followed a San Leandro motorcycle police officer from E. 14th Street to Marina Blvd. today, I witnessed the officer disobey traffic laws no less than three times. There were no lights, no sirens, and the officer certainly wasn't in a rush to get anywhere. She failed to come to a complete stop at a red light at Washington Ave. and Marina Blvd and while traveling west on Marina Blvd., she changed lanes twice without signaling. I realize that the officer is very unlikely to be cited for these violations by another San Leandro police officer, but it begs the question: If the police don't respect traffic laws, why should anybody else?

I also wonder what the department policy is regarding use of cell phones while driving.

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June 29, 2004

Euro Soccer Semis and Final at Englander Pub

We're admittedly late on this, but if you are looking to share the fun and excitement of the Euro 2004 soccer tournament, the Englander Pub in San Leandro is the place to be.

The semi-final between Portugal and the Netherlands is June 30 at 11:45am and the semi-final between Greece and the Czech Republic is July 1 at 11:45am. The final will be shown on July 4 at 11:45am. Games are $20, which is a bargain, considering the $10,000 the Englander paid to show all of the Euro 2004 games.

The Englander Pub is located at 101 Parrott Street in San Leandro between Washington and E. 14th St.

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June 14, 2004

Go See "Not a Genuine Black Man"

Everyone should go and see Brian Copeland's "Not a Genuine Black Man" at The Marsh in San Francisco. And if you live in San Leandro, you must see it. The show has been such a hit that its run was first extended from May 15 to June 26 and it's been extended again to July 24, 2004.

It is a moving, funny, and poignant show. In his first solo show Copeland takes you from his childhood when his family moved into the racist San Leandro of the 1970s into the fight against housing discrimination and the importance of family. For those who regularly read the San Leandro Times, you may remember seeing columns by Copeland discussing the racism that plagued San Leandro while San Francisco was experiencing the "Summer of Love." As a newcomer to San Leandro, I had been unaware of San Leandro's past and it was informative and refreshing to see how things have changed so quickly. It was good to hear that he still lives in San Leandro.

You can also listen to Copeland's radio show Sundays from 9am to 10am on KGO at AM 810.

In the program handed out at the show, Copeland thanked City of San Leandro librarians Penny Peck (known by many library patrons as Miss Penny) and Cindy Simmons (San Leandro City Employee of the Month, June 2004).

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May 19, 2004

Plans Revealed for San Leandro Parks/Facilities

Carolyn Knudtson, the Director of Recreation & Human Services Director for the City of San Leandro was the featured speaker at the Estudillo Homeowners Association's May 18th meeting. Ms. Knudtson covered some of the city's plans for renovations and construction at Memorial Park, Chabot Park, and Washington Manor Pool. In light of expected budget cuts, Ms. Knudtson acknowledged that it has been difficult to fund all of the desired improvements, but she hopes to proceed in phases as funds become available.

The new playground equipment for Memorial Park has already been purchased and, based on the drawing shown at the meeting, the equipment appears to have been purchased from GameTime. All of the existing equipment in the large circular area (swings, large concrete pipe, slide/climbing structure, and metal bridge/climbing structure) will be replaced. The entire circular area will be fenced in, with a separate fenced area for smaller children. The drawing showed eight swings and a play structure with two slides and climbing areas. In the "tiny tot" area will be an imaginary train. As for benches, Ms. Knudtson noted that McCartney Park had six eight-foot long benches, which seemed like overkill for the one-acre park. A little research showed that three four-foot long benches should have been installed at McCartney Park, so three of the benches will be moved to Memorial Park. While Ms. Knudtson cautioned that timelines are subject to change, she expected the design to be complete by July and to go out to bid by August. A contract should be awarded by mid-September 2004, construction should begin around mid-November, and it should be finished by mid-January 2005. Of course, weather, funding, bureacracy, and other factors may delay this schedule.

The plans for Chabot Park are much more ambitious, which makes sense for a park that is five times larger than Memorial Park and in a much more rustic setting. Unfortunately, there is currently no money available, and therefore, no timeline. However, the plans include a new playground area with area for big and small kids that are close enough together that parents will be able to keep track of kids playing in each area. This will require moving the existing ampitheater to another area, where it will integrated into the hillside in an area of redwood trees. Ms. Knudtson noted that wood playground structures are preferred in order to keep with the rustic setting of the park. Climbing structures that resemble rocks are also planned. Parking and turn-around issues were critical for the park's master plan. A water-theme element was too expensive to include in the master plan, which was estimated at around $2 million to complete.

Plans for the Washington Manor Pool are also ambitious. The existing facility will be demolished to make way for a new competition pool and family recreation areas including a "wet playground" and a pool-based fun area where devices would drop water onto the children below. The pool that includes the fun area will feature a beach-like entry where the water gradually gets deeper and deeper. The "wet playground" would include things where kids would press buttons to make water move in various ways. The plans for the pool were approved by a group of 26 people representing various interests including swimming coaches, senior citizens, and other groups. Ms. Knudtson noted that the existing Washington Manor pool has nearly been closed by the county for each the past three years because it doesn't meet current standards. The design for the new facility is still in progress. Ground-breaking is scheduled for September 2005 and opening is scheduled for June 2006.

Much more preliminary plans for improvements to the playground at Bancroft Middle School were presented by supporters from the Bancroft Middle School Dad's Club. The improvement plans are for a field and recreation area that can be used by Bancroft Middle School and San Leandro residents after 4pm. The plans were inspired by a similar joint project between the City of San Leandro and the San Lorenzo Unified School District. The plans include a combined soccer and baseball field, a 440-yard track, tennis court, volleyball court, and badminton court. Ms. Knudtson stated her desire to get an agreement in place between the City of San Leandro and the San Leandro Unified School District so that no effort or resources are wasted in preparations for a park that never happens. Normally, an agreement is signed after construction begins.

Some of the equipment for McKinley Park is shown below:










Posted by mike at 12:22 AM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2004

DeLorean Spotted in San Leandro

Today, a DeLorean was spotted in a handicap parking spot in front of the Washington Plaza Safeway on Washington Avenue. For those who aren't familiar with the car, it was named after its creator John Delorean, and was only built from 1981 to 1983. It was notable for its gull-wing doors, sporty performance, and starring role in the movie Back to the Future.

The picture below is not the same Delorean spotted in San Leandro.

Posted by mike at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2004

San Leandro Tops Bay Area Handgun Sales in 2000

According to a report by the University of California, Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, San Leandro had 4,253 handgun sales in 2000. This made San Leandro tops in Bay Area gun sales and fifth in sales in California. Trader Sports at 685 East 14th Street was responsible for sales of 3,858 handguns in 2000, making it the top handgun retailer in California in 2000. Since Trader Sports is closed on Sunday, that's an average of more than 12 handguns sold each day it's open. Alas, since Trader Sports claims to "specialize in individual police officer, city, county, state and police department sales," we don't know how many of those handgun sales were not related to law enforcement or government sales. The authors of the report note, "We have also excluded transactions involving the operations of the Department of Justice itself and certain other transactions."

Trader Sports also had the largest number of denied handgun sales, with 104 sales denied. Forty-three handgun sales were denied because the person was prohibited from buying a handgun and 61 gun sales were denied because they exceeded the one-gun-a-month limit.

Posted by mike at 8:30 AM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2004

Bay City Grill Out - Tapioca Express In

Bay City Grill didn't last long and now the trendy chain Tapioca Express [Warning: Annoying site with noise] has replaced it. It's located at 129 W. Joaquin Ave., just west of E. 14th St. According to the web site, "Tapioca beverage is a various combination of black or green tea, milk, juice, coffee, and small marbles of tapioca (a.k.a. "black pearl" or "boba", made from Tapioca starch, water, corn starch and natural flavors.)" I've tried it and I don't like it, but it seems to be all the rage these days.

I'll miss Bay City Grill, which offered decent food and, more importantly, outdoor dining - which was great on warm evenings.

Posted by mike at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2004

Celebration of Puppetry at San Leandro Library April 17

Celebration of Puppetry
Saturday, April 17, 2004
San Leandro Main Library
300 Estudillo Avenue

Noon - 4pm
Ongoing exhibit of forms of puppetry
Estudillo/Karp Room

Noon - 4pm
Puppet Petting Zoo
Geared for ages 2 - 7
Estudillo/Karp Room

Noon - 3pm
Television Puppet Workshop
Learn how to work a puppet on camera. Puppets and cameras will be supplied. Twenty-minute sessions begin at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.
Mary Brown Room

Noon
Kids Theater and Puppetry
Fourth and fifth-graders will perform an interactive puppet show.
Estudillo/Karp Room

Noon
"Make It and Take It" Free Workshop
Kids can learn how to make a simple mouse puppet. Supplies provided.
Classrooms B & C

1pm
Rapunzel puppet show by Tim Giugni of Il Teatro Calamari
Lecture Hall Theater

2pm
Free Preschooler's Workshop
Preschoolers will learn how to make a butterfly puppet. Adult must accompany the child. Materials provided.
Classrooms B & C

2pm
Free Grade School Student Workshop
Children will make a dragon puppet. Children under 8 must bring an adult.
Classrooms B & C

2pm - 4pm
Advanced Class for Kids 8+
$6 fee for materials and pre-registration (at Children's Desk of Main Library) required.
Learn to build a scarf marionette and perform with it. Limited to 25 kids.
Trustees Room

3pm
Free Workshop for Teachers, Librarians, Day Care Providers, Camp Counselors, Scout Leaders, etc.
Learn how to perform fun and easy puppet shows like "The Three Bears"
Classrooms B & C

4pm
Animal Folktakes of the Americas performed by Michael and Valerie Nelson of Magical Moonshine Puppet Theater
$3 per ticket. For all ages. Featuring large puppets, original songs, and musical accompaniment.
Lecture Hall Theater

7pm
Upset Boulevard performed by Lewis Mahlmann of the Lilliputian Players.
Oddities performed by Tim Giugni of Il Teatro Calamari
Content of these shows is for 16 years and older.
These are NOT children's puppet shows.
$5 per ticket
Estudillo/Karp Room

Posted by mike at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

April 3, 2004

New Vietnamese Restaurant to Open Downtown

On Friday, the sign for Le Soleil Vietnamese Noodle & Grill, went up at 1515 E. 14th Street, the space between the lamp store and Luke's Grill. Don't know if it's the same folks with a restaurant of the same name on Clement St. in San Francisco, but we'll find out.

Looks like the floors were pretty much done on Friday, so just a few more weeks before it opens (hopefully).

Oh yeah - and they're hiring if you're looking for a job.

Posted by mike at 7:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 29, 2004

Oakland Warriors Stars Visit San Leandro Library

In what Librarian Miss Penny says is the most well-attended of the Oakland Warriors library reading events, Jason Richardson, Brian Cardinal and mascot Thunder visited the San Leandro Library as part of the Read to Achieve program. In honor of the late Dr. Seuss' 100th birthday, Thunder read "I can read with my eyes shut," by Dr. Seuss while Richardson and Cardinal each read one half of "Joseph had a little overcoat" by Simms Taback.

Free t-shirts emblazoned with the logo of one of the sponsors were given to each child, plus a bag containing a book, ruler, granola, a Read to Achieve bookmark, a toothbrush, a copy of Hoop Magazine featuring the Warriors, a kit to fingerprint your child, a book of healthy recipes for kids in English and Spanish, and a black and white photo of an Oakland Warriors program. All kids also received a coupon to Hometown Buffet. Prizes were awarded to children for answering questions about the books that were read, the players' shoe sizes, and about the Warriors. Prizes included a t-shirt, Warriors year book, signed photos and a huge basket containing lots of books.

The following photos are all from warriors.com and are available for purchase here.
























Posted by mike at 12:05 AM

March 16, 2004

Bed Bath & Beyond to join Kohl's at Bayfair

The Oakland Tribune reported today that Bed Bath & Beyond has signed a lease for space next to Kohl's at Bayfair Mall at the northeast corner of the mall where Red Robin used to be located. The Trib also speculated that a Borders or Barnes & Noble may be the tenant for space on the other side of the mall. Kohl's and Bed Bath & Beyond are scheduled to open by Christmas 2004.

Posted by mike at 11:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Identity Theft Workshop March 27

There will be a workshop on identity theft prevention on March 27, 2004, at the San Leandro Public Library. The workshop is being presented by Assemblymember Ellen Corbett and will be held 10am - 12pm in the Dave Karp Senior Meeting Facility.

Speakers include:

  • U.S. Postal Inspector
  • Alameda County District Attorney's Office
  • Local law enforcement

RSVP to (510) 614-0180.

Given the number of cases of identity theft reported each week in the San Leandro Times, this seems like a relevant and worthwhile workshop to attend. My advice to avoid identity theft: Shred everything and never tell more about yourself than you must.

Posted by mike at 3:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 11, 2004

Zocalo Features Local High School Art

Zocalo Coffehouse, on Bancroft Avenue near the corner with Dutton, is featuring art from the Advanced Placement class at San Leandro High School. Just another reason to stop by and enjoy the atmosphere at this great local business.

Posted by mike at 11:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 3, 2004

San Leandran Rocks with Metallica

According to this article in the Alameda Times Star, four-year old San Leandro resident Emma Thompson was one of the lucky few to attend a private Metallica rehearsal at the Cow Palace on Friday, February 27.

From the article:

"At one point, a security guard gave a young fan a pair of drumsticks. Four-year-old Emma Thompson of San Leandro then sat on her dad's shoulders and beat along to the music.

Noticing the young girl's handiwork, Ulrich invited her to take his spot on drums. She certainly wasn't shy about it. With no formal training to aid her, just a natural sense of rhythm, Emma pulled off a great drum solo leading into "Dirty Window." She was still swinging the sticks as she was lifted off the throne."

Posted by mike at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2004

LaRouche Supporters on Upcoming Ballot

If you've been to a meeting of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee where the police have been called to deal with unruly Lyndon LaRouche supporters or to one of Congressman Pete Stark's town hall meetings where they've been equally disruptive, then you know how "interesting" some of these folks are.

If you don't know them, rest assured that you don't want them representing you, so don't vote for the following candidates in the upcoming election:


  • Andrew F. Laverdiere - District 18

  • Judith Wierenga Nuerge - District 16

  • Jason Ross - District 16

  • Summer Shields - District 16

  • Sylvia Spaniolo - District 16

  • Christopher "Charlie Spies" - District 16

  • Jonathan David Stuart - District 16

  • Oyang Teng - District 16

So, why shouldn't you vote for them? Because they support or are endorsed by Lyndon LaRouche, who makes Ross Perot look utterly normal and boring by comparison. His Northern California campaign headquarters are in San Leandro, which is a testament to the diversity and tolerance this city has achieved. But while that's nice, electing them to an office, any office, is a different matter. Here's an article from the Daily Californian.

Posted by mike at 9:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 18, 2004

Volvo to Join San Leandro Auto Row

In case you haven't seen the construction at the southwest corner of Marina Boulevard and San Leandro, McKevitt Volvo will soon join the other lower-end dealers at the Marina Auto Mall. The 3.75-acre lot at 467 Marina Boulevard (APN 075-0087-003-02) is the former site of Yokota Nursery. According to the San Leandro Redevelopment Agency web site, it was supposed to open in 2003 and look like this:

McKevitt Volvo

Currently, it looks like this:

McKevitt Volvo - Feb. 2004

Next thing you know, we'll have Infiniti of San Leandro or a BMW dealership. Or a Toyota dealership.

So with Volvo heading to San Leandro, I wanted to see which of the existing auto dealers were on the web and found the following:

FH Dailey - Chevrolet and Isuzu
http://www.fhdailey.com/

San Leandro Honda
http://sanleandro-honda.com/

The Ford Store San Leandro
http://www.sanleandroford.com

Marina Square Auto Center - Nissan, Hyundai and Kia
http://www.marinaauto.com/

Begier Buick
http://www.begierbuick.com/

Marina Pontiac GMC
http://www.marinapontiacgmc.com

Posted by mike at 5:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 5, 2004

Kohl's to build store at Bayfair

Wisconsin-based Kohl's is expected to begin construction of new store at Bayfair Mall in late February or early March. For those of you who don't know, it's basically a Target-clone, selling brand-name apparel, footwear and accessories; luggage; bedding; bath accessories; small electrics; area rugs at "locally competitive prices." I guess someone thinks that we need yet another Target-like store next to the Target at Bayfair and the Target about a mile away on Hesperian.

Posted by mike at 6:13 PM | Comments (1)

January 28, 2004

Marijuana and San Leandro

While leaving the San Leandro Library tonight, I suprised a group of four high school students next to wall of the library on Estudillo smoking pot. I wouldn't even mention it, except that I was with my 22-month old daughter. And that reminds me of the girls I saw smoking pot outside of the Oasis Laundy laundromat a few nights ago (again with my daughter). And the unknown person or persons smoking pot at the "Miracle on E. 14th St" event back in December. It seems that pot may as well be legal given how wisespread and open its use is.

While I support the legalization of marijuana, I don't want to be around the smoke and I don't want it near my daughter. I find it just as annoying as cigarettes. And pot smokers these days are just as bad as cigarette smokers, leaving their trash all around, like these little baggie I've found on the sidewalk in front of my house and on the sidewalks of San Leandro.


pot baggie

Posted by mike at 9:54 PM | Comments (5)

January 21, 2004

Library faces budget cuts

The wonderful San Leandro Public Library faces nearly $300,000 in proposed budget cuts. Possible changes include opening at 12pm instead of 10am, closing on Sundays, cutting Family Fun Nights, getting rid of some staff, eliminating outdoor summer concerts, and other bad things.

Two words: This sucks.

Kudos to Councilwoman Glenda Nardine for opposing closing the library on Sunday.

Contact your member of the City Council and tell them to maintain the library's budget. Learn how to contact Mayor Sheila Young and your City Council member at http://www.ci.san-leandro.ca.us/slcitycouncil.html.

Posted by mike at 9:55 PM | Comments (1)