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San Leandro's Restriction On Speech Of City Commissioners Unprecedented And Wrong

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On July 6, 2018, the City mailed a legal document to all San Leandro commissioners requiring that they sign the document by July 13, 2018, attesting to their acknowledgement that they are contractually obligated to never "demean or besmirch the reputation" of Mr. Zapata.  Failure to sign this document will result in their "forfeiture" from office as a commissioner. The Mayor and City Council have made a serious mistake in placing a restriction on the speech of all City employees and City Commissioners in the course of reaching an agreement with former City Manager Chris Zapata for his departure in exchange for a payment of $350,000. Presumably the Mayor and City Council acted on the poor advice of the City Attorney.  But the decision is their responsibility. The Mayor and City Council have caused great stress and anxiety for all City Commissioners - who give freely of their time for the betterment of the community. [Disclosure: My wife is a commissioner. She refus…

Amend San Leandro Cannabis Ordinance To Allow Adult Recreational Sales

I have advocated that San Leandro amend its cannabis ordinance to allow the dispensaries licensed in San Leandro to sell cannabis to adults for recreational use. Presently the ordinance limits sales to solely persons with a medical authorization card. Unless you possess such a card, you will not be able to walk into a cannabis dispensary in San Leandro and purchase any product. At least one dispensary, the Davis Street Wellness Center, and possibly a second cannabis dispensary will open in San Leandro later this year. [Disclosure: I work for a company whose CEO is the primary owner of the Davis Street Wellness Center.] There are several reasons why I support this amendment to the local ordinance. The principal one is the sale of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes is now legal under state law. There is no need for any adult to spend $50-$80 a year to obtain a medical marijuana card. Consequently, there is no reason why sales to adults should remain restricted in local cities t…

"Says It’s Time for City Manager To Move On"

Below is a letter in today's San Leandro Times from San Leandran Al Frates whom I know personally and hold in high regard. I agree with Al's point. In my opinion, San Leandro City Manager's grossly unprofessional and retaliatory conduct following the accusation of sexual harassment made against him warrants his departure from City Hall. Says It’s Time for City Manager To Move On Editor: I’ve lived in San Leandro for 54 years. Built Washington Manor’s Foster’s Freeze in 1964, Alan’s Coffee Shop in 1969. We raised six children here. I first met Rose Padilla Johnson 27 years ago at 1190 Davis Street (Homer Richardson’s Church). Since then, Rose has helped the poor, the needy and pre-school children at five school sites. Rose has a $15 million budget to run the clinic. She raises most of their money from state and federal grants, foundations, local businesses, Eden Township and our city. Rose is marvelous in raising money for the Davis Street Family Resource Center for the wor…

Trump's Cruelty Reaches New Level

While this blog is focused on San Leandro, I must express my outrage that President Trump is elevating cruelty to a mass level in America to serve his perceived political interests. His policy of separating children from their parents who have been detained for entering the US without documentation is causing irreparable harm to these children and extreme stress and anxiety to the parents.  He combines this cruelty with outright lying and deception by claiming this new policy was forced upon him by the Democrats. Walter Shaub had aptly stated: “Citing deterrence as a basis for the atrocities at the border is an admission that the goal is terror. Citing Romans 13 is to emulate the German Nazis, slaveholders and South Africa’s supporters of apartheid. This is reminiscent of the Japanese internment camps we set up in WWII.”  
For context: “President Trump has calculated that he will gain political leverage in congressional negotiations by continuing to enforce a policy he claims to hate — …

Comment on City of San Leandro Plans for Parcel Tax in November 2018

I support tax measures that enhance public services and programs as long as I am confident the money will be well spent - which requires at a minimum that the public agency is currently managing its budget well.
Accordingly, I am opposed to the hasty and ill-planned effort by the City of San Leandro to place a parcel tax measure on the November 2018 ballot.The City is running a significant budget deficit due to exploding pension costs for public safety workers.Any funds raised in the new tax will be used to backfill this deficit and not address the cause of the City budget deficit nor result in any sustained, enhanced services for our community. Moreover, the San Leandro school district's parcel tax is expiring in June 2018. The district is managing its funds well.Renewing its parcel tax is vital for the continued success of our schools.If the City Council places its own parcel tax on the same ballot as the school parcel tax, the City Council will likely cause both measures to …

A Parcel Tax for San Leandro Schools

I support a measure that would raise revenue for our local public schools to lower class sizes. California has some of the most overcrowded classrooms in the nation. Large classes are an obstacle to student achievement and cause stress for teachers leading to greater teacher turnover and less young persons entering the profession.  The school district's current $39 annual parcel tax expires on June 30, 2018.  Here is a recent letter to the San Leandro Times from the local teachers' union President Jon Sherr on this topic: There has been a quiet renaissance in the San Leandro public schools over the last 5 years.The changes have been numerous and when taken as a whole, dramatic.  A partial list includes: increased Advanced Placement enrollment leading to a recent award by College Board naming SLHS a national leader (San Leandro Times, April 12), SAT testing for all high school juniors, ongoing improvements to each school’s facilities, teacher-led staff development, the mainten…

San Leandro Budget Presentation Tonight

Tonight, Apr. 9th, 7pm at San Leandro City Hall, City Budget Director will provide budget update. What's unstated in the presentation is City is running such high annual deficits that it is on target to burn through all of its reserves - including $5 million set aside in case of a natural disaster - in less than 5 years. This is occurring despite a strong local economy and City annual revenues reaching an all time high level of over $110 million.