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Be on the Alert for COVID-19 Related Scams and Frauds

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I wrote the text below for today's Eden Health District COVID-19 Bulletin. I don't want anyone to be a victim of a financial fraud while we are all trying out best to stay home as much as possible.  Please share it with family and friends, particularly seniors. All the best, Stephen Cassidy

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Scammers are using the pandemic as a means to obtain confidential and personal information from California seniors. Any unsolicited phone call or visit from someone claiming to work for or with Medicare and seeking your Medicare or social security number is a red alert that the person is engaged in a fraud.
In one widespread scheme, the Los Angeles Times reports, fraudsters call Medicare beneficiaries at home, knock on their doors or approach them in the parking lots of grocery stores and pharmacies, then offer them home-test kits for COVID-19 or packages of hand sanitizer, masks and other protective equipment.
What they’re after, explains Timothy DeFrancesca, a special agent with the De…

San Leandro Schools Measure N Update

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I was proud to serve as chairperson of the Yes on Measure N campaign. Here is an update on the election results:
On Saturday, March 7th, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters released a large amount of additional votes yesterday.

The YES vote for Measure N now stands at 61% (55% is required for passage). At the end of election night the support for Measure N was at 59%.

The additional votes were most likely mail ballots dropped off at the polling locations on election day and/or mail ballots received by the Registrar's office right before and after election day. Late mail ballot voters are supporting Measure N at level above 60%.

How many more ballots remain to be counted? I don't know as the Secretary of State has not updated its document showing the number of unprocessed ballots statewide by county. Based upon what Alameda County reported on Friday (250,000 unprocessed ballots) and new ballots released yesterday (96,000 ballots), there may be 154,000 ballots left to count…

Misleading Statistic Used In Editorial Against San Leandro Measure N

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In an editorial in opposition to Measure N, a school bond for the San Leandro Unified School District, the editor recognized that the school district had significant facility needs. The editor, however, opposed Measure N asserting that the size of the bond measure, $198 million, was too large. Combined with earlier debt approved by San Leandro voters, the total debt if Measure were adopted would equivalent to $58,000 per student.

The $58,000 per student statistic is meaningless as school districts are limited by law as to how much bond debt they can issue based on the assessed value of all property in the district. The San Leandro Unified School District will be under the limit and in compliance with state law even with the passage of Measure N. The statistic is also highly misleading. It is based on the false assumption all bonds, past and present, adopted in San Leandro schools are just for the 9,000 students in the school district today. The classrooms and facilities that wer…

A Look Back at San Leandro School District's 1997 Measure A

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San Leandro is a safer and more prosperous city than it was 20 years ago because we have invested wisely in our local public schools. Some persons disagree and assert, without offering any evidence, that all money spent from the bond measures on San Leandro schools has been wasted. I want to show how baseless these claims are by focusing on the very first - or at least first contemporary - school bond measure passed in San Leandro. This was Measure A, a $53 million bond, approved by the voters in 1997. The bond was issued in a series of offerings starting in 1998 and into the early 2000s (totaling $53 million), with each offering lasting 25 years for repayment. That means the Measure A bond will be paid off entirely in a few years. Student safety was the focus of the Measure A bond. The majority of the money was dedicated to seismic upgrades of our schools - necessitated by the greater knowledge of earthquake risks after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Measure A turned out t…

FAQ on Measure N for San Leandro Schools

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Measure N is a school construction bond to fund essential improvements in San Leandro public schools. Here are answers to common questions on Measure N.
1) When is the election?
Election day is Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
2) Why is Measure N on the ballot?
Four years ago, the San Leandro Unified School District conducted a comprehensive assessment of the facility needs of all public schools in the district. Thanks to the generous support of the community, significant improvements have been made. Measure N has been placed on the ballot by the San Leandro school board to finish the work identified in the original assessment. The amount of the bond is $198 million. 
3) How will the Measure N funds be spent? 
• Construct new science and engineering labs and career technical education facilities at San Leandro High School so that students are prepared for college or careers in fields like health sciences, engineering and skilled trades;
• Replace aging portable classrooms at the elementary an…

Cannabis Tax Reform Before San Leandro City Council Tuesday, November 12th

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A recent 60 Minutes report on the California cannabis industry highlights how the industry is a shadow of what was anticipated when adult use of cannabis was legalized three years ago. High taxes, costly and extensive regulations and bans on dispensaries by most cities statewide have enable the underground cannabis market to continue to thrive. Today it is estimated that $3 of every $4 spent on cannabis in California occurs in the illegal market.
Part of the reason why taxes on legal cannabis are so high is that many of the cities that allow cannabis sales impose a gross receipts tax on cannabis businesses. For the consumer this functions as a sales tax surcharge. Thus the consumer pays the regular sales tax (9.75% in San Leandro) plus the gross receipts tax (another 6% in San Leandro). That's nearly a 16% sales tax that a cannabis consumer buying from an unlicensed seller or delivery service never pays.
However, not all localities impose a gross receipts tax. In the City of Alameda…

San Leandro should raise the Pride Flag at City Hall

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Here is a message I sent Mayor Cutter and the City Council today requesting that San Leandro raise the LGBTQ Pride Flag at City Hall in the month of June. You can express your views on the matter by contacting the Mayor and City Council using the email address: citycouncil@sanleandro.org

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Dear Mayor Cutter and City Council, I request that the City of San Leandro fly the Pride Flag at City Hall as part of the San Leandro's recognition of the month of June as LGBTQ Pride Month. For example, the flag could be flown the last week of the month in conjunction with the Pride Parade held in San Francisco at the end of June, which many San Leandrans attend including a contingent from the San Leandro Unified School District. As you may be aware, six years ago as Mayor I asked and received the full support of the City Council to fly the Pride Flag at City Hall. The City Council took this action to show San Leandro’s support of marriage equality when the constitutionality of the issue was …