Friday, September 8, 2017

Let States And Cities Establish Their Own Cannabis Laws

Throwback to Summer 2013: I was one of 18 U.S. mayors that co-sponsored a resolution calling on the federal government to respect state and local cannabis laws. The resolution was presented at the annual meeting of the US Mayors and adopted with bipartisan support. 
I was quoted in press reports stating: “The prohibition on marijuana has been ineffective and counterproductive. Voters in states and cities that wish to break the stranglehold of organized crime over the distribution and sale of marijuana in their communities by legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana should have the option of doing so.”
The need for local control is even more imperative today. The restraint established by Congress in 2014 on the Department of Justice from destroying patient access to medical marijuana by criminally prosecuting cannabis cultivators and dispensaries nationwide expires at the end of September 2017.  This article explains what's happening:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

How California Women Won The Right To Vote: Lecture by Elaine Elinson

In 1911, California passed Amendment 8, granting women the right to vote in state elections almost a decade before the 19th Amendment provided women's suffrage throughout the U.S. On August 26, 2017, in San Leandro, noted author Elaine Elinson spoke on How California Women Won The Right To Vote as part of the Women's Equality Day Celebration at the San Leandro Museum and Casa Peralta.

Elinson is the co-author of "Wherever There's a Fight: How Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California." The book tells the story of how freedom and equality have grown in California, from the gold rush right up to the precarious post-9/11 era. You can learn more about the book and Elinson's other writings at The event was co-sponsored by the San Leandro Public Library, Community Impact Lab and OSIsoft. I recorded the video.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Come To San Leandro For The Best Craft Beer in America

Love craft beer? There is a small but mighty city in the East Bay I want to introduce you to. It's called San Leandro. 

You have to come visit us this weekend (Sat. Aug. 26th). Both Drake's & 21st Amendment are hosting celebrations.  

For details visit

And while you are in town, also stop by Cleophus Quealy.

Friday, August 18, 2017

San Leandro Should Honor Former City Council Member Surlene Grant

San Leandro City Council July 1, 1998, with its first African American member Surlene Grant.

The national news can be so disheartening. Hatred and prejudice against African Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants and transgender persons (to name but a few groups), while always present, are like types of cancers that have metastasized across America this year.

Let’s act, right here in San Leandro, to change this storyline. Specifically, I support the effort to name a public plaza or other location in honor of former City Council member Surlene Grant. This proposal was first raised by community leader Bernard Ashcraft and advocated by former City Council member Ursula Reed at several City Council meetings in 2016.

The first African American elected to the San Leandro City Council, Grant’s election set an important precedent, opening the doors of City Hall to persons historically disenfranchised. Today, the majority of City Council members are persons of color. Grant spearheaded the city’s first ordinance requiring affordable housing in the construction of new, for-sale residential housing. More recently, Grant co-founded and serves as a leader of Unity in the Community, a coalition of San Leandrans that celebrates our differences while focused on erasing racism and bigotry in San Leandro.

As current events show, how a city memorializes its past can send a profoundly negative message to certain segments of its population. Alternatively, building and place names, statues and other public art can send powerful, positive symbolic messages.

This is why I was proud to join with other San Leandrans in successfully lobbying the school board in 2009 to name the new campus near San Leandro High School after Fred T. Korematsu. He was an ordinary American wronged by our government who showed extraordinary courage and became a national civil rights hero. Furthermore, despite deeds prohibiting the sale of houses to non-whites which prevented Korematsu and his wife from purchasing a home in the City of San Leandro after World War II, Korematsu loved our community and showed his dedication to San Leandro by being a member of San Leandro Lions Club for 30 years.

The Mayor and City Council should take similar action and recognize another notable San Leandran who has helped make our city a more tolerant community. By dedicating a public location in Surlene Grant’s name, we show that San Leandro acknowledges the racism of its past, embraces its diversity of today, and is a welcoming community for all in the future. Through our words and actions, let’s be a shining beacon of positive energy, mutual respect and tolerance for our state and nation.


Please feel free to share this page with others. If you agree with this effort, please share your views the Mayor and City Council by contacting them by email message to

Only by many San Leandrans stepping forward and contacting the Mayor and City Council will this proposal become a reality. The power to make change in our city rests in our hands. We simply need to act in unison.