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Showing posts from 2009

It's Official - Fred Korematsu Campus

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15th, then the one hundred and fifty years anniversary of the signing of the Bill of Rights, as Bill of Rights Day.

Less than a year later, Fred Korematsu was arrested in downtown San Leandro for being of Japanese ancestry and refusing to report to an internment camp.

Last night, December 15, 2009, the San Leandro School Board, in an unanimous decision, named the new 9th grade campus "San Leandro High School, Fred Korematsu Campus."

By honoring Fred Korematsu, the school board will inspire students of today and tomorrow that they should cherish and, if necessary, fight for their rights under our Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Thank you School Board Trustees and everyone that wrote the board or spoke in support of naming the new school after Korematsu, including last night San Leandro Lions Leroy Smith and Ray Keden.

Fred's wife Kathryn and daughter Karen came to the board meeting after the vote. It was a special mom…

Leading Choice for Name of the 9th Grade Campus: Fred Korematsu

Fred Korematsu is the leading choice for the new 9th grade campus in San Leandro. As noted in the Daily Review, his name was nominated by 32 of 73 persons and groups that submitted nominations:
While President Obama received four nominations, Fred Korematsu far and away received the most with 32. Korematsu was a Japanese-American who refused to go to the internment camps during World War II and was convicted of disobeying an executive order. The conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court, but in 1998 President Bill Clinton awarded Korematsu the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his fight against racism and injustice.



Campaign for Mayor Kick-Off Party This Thursday

My campaign for Mayor of San Leandro commences with a kick-off party this Thursday, November 12th, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Zocalo Coffeehouse located at 645 Bancroft Avenue.  

I am gratified to already have strong support for my campaign. I look forward to seeing old and new friends and supporters at the kick-off party. Five years ago I ran for school board on a promise to solve the overcrowding at the high school. I delivered on my promise. When the new 9th grade campus opens next year, the overcrowding will be eliminated. Today, I am running for mayor to create a better San Leandro.

Fred Korematsu: A Worthy Name For The New 9th Grade Campus At San Leandro High School

The new 9th grade campus for San Leandro High School is being built one block from the main campus of the high school. When opened in the Fall of 2010, 700 freshman students will have their own school site and the overcrowding at San Leandro High School will be eliminated

Moreover, the new school creates the opportunity to concentrate resources and attention on 9th grade students. Ninth grade is a critical year for students. One or two failing grades can seriously jeopardize the likelihood the student will graduate and attend college. As explained in a Los Angeles Times article:
Freshman year can be a trying time. Teens are at a difficult age, on the bridge between childhood and young adulthood. Relationships are changing, bodies are maturing, and hormones are in overdrive. Parents sometimes become less involved in overseeing homework just as teens are being given greater responsibility in school. And they are leaving middle schools for high schools that can be as large as colleg…

Working To Create A Better San Leandro

I care deeply for San Leandro. I have decided to run for mayor to work with the community to create a better San Leandro.
To achieve this, the city budget crisis first must be solved. Even though crime is widespread, the mayor and city council eliminated six police officer positions. Funding for senior services, school crossing guards, libraries and pools was also cut.
Despite these cuts, the city is actually spending more this fiscal year than last year, including millions in deficit spending. The city is rapidly burning through its reserves. Finance officials project $36.5 million in red ink over the next six years. If significant action is not taken, the city could be forced to declare bankruptcy.
In response, the mayor and city council are actively considering an increase in the sales tax, raising it a quarter cent to 10%. If approved, San Leandro would have the highest sales tax of any city in Northern California.
I have a better plan. I will restore San Leandro to fiscal health wit…

Eat Out for Education In San Leandro

Here is a great way to help our local schools and restaurants: have lunch or dinner tomorrow at a restaurant in San Leandro to support San Leandro Education Foundation's first Eat Out for Education.
On the first Wednesday of each month, participating San Leandro restaurants (so far, Paradiso, CreAsian, Luke's, Chang's, and Little Namking) will give 10% of sales to SLED from patrons who present a SLED Eat Out for Education coupon.
In November, SLED reports that The Englander and a new restaurant, Boulevard Burgers - in the old Sonoma's space on MacArthur - will be participating.

The Loss Of School Crossing Guards: A Failure To Prioritize Student Safety

In April, I wrote a letter to the San Leandro Times stating that our schools and city were facing an unprecedented budget crisis and they should work together to address their fiscal challenges. I asked that the city not make any budget cuts that would hurt our schools. In particular, I called for the mayor and city council to reject the city manager’s proposal to terminate all school crossing guards.

As we know, the mayor and city council proceeded to end the program. Why would the mayor and city council risk the safety of children and their parents? Why is there not a true partnership between our city and schools?

City officials claim the cuts were necessary because the city has a large deficit. That is essentially what San Leandro City Manager Steve Hollister stated to CBS 5 local news when questioned on the elimination of the program. Likewise, the San Leandro Times reported that Mayor Tony Santos says that there simply is no room in the budget for the crossing guard program…

2009 API Scores for San Leandro Schools

Based on the release of the 2009 STAR test results by the state, last month I predicted that the San Leandro Unified School District would fail to meet the proficiency standards set by the state under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) statute. As a result, the school district would be placed in the Program Improvement program.

Unfortunately, this has occurred. Yesterday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell released California's 2008-09 Accountability Progress Report (APR), which provides results from the state accountability system as well as under NCLB. Among the new school districts in California placed within Program Improvement is San Leandro. No district wishes to be labeled a Program Improvement district as the program consists of a series of escalating sanctions for each year the district remains within the program.

San Leandro will not be leaving the program, absent a repeal or substantial revision of NCLB. In time, almost every schoo…

City Council Workshop on Major Building Projects Including Use of Measure WW Funds

Next Monday night, September 14th at 7 p.m., the City Council is hosting a work session on capitol improvement projects. The location is the Helen Lawrence South Offices Conference Room near the police department office.

Among the topics will be a review of the recommendations by the ad hoc Measure WW committee comprised of council members Joyce Starosciak, Michael Gregory and Diana Souza. They recommended that, of the $3.7 million San Leandro will receive under Measure WW, $2.4 million be used to help build a competitive pool at San Leandro 's Family Aquatic Center on Zelma Street in Washington Manor. The committee also recommeded that another $988,000 should go for picnic area renovations at Marina Park at the San Leandro Marina, and the remaining $250,000 be used for improving park pathways throughout San Leandro

Measure WW was a bond passed last November. Each city in Alameda County gets a slice of the money which can go for parks and recreational facilities. All San Leandr…

San Leandro's Unsustainable City Budget

Yesterday, I attended a meeting of the San Leandro City Council Finance Committee. The committee consists of Mayor Santos and Councilmembers Prola and Gregory. Gregory was absent.

In short, if significant action is not taken, the city will burn through all of its reserves, including eventually reserves for natural disasters and other emergencies. By 2015, San Leandro could join the City of Vallejo in declaring bankruptcy.

Summary of Finance Committee Presentation

Perry Carter, the Interim Finance Director, gave an update on the budget. In analyzing a budget, you need to examine at least three years of data - the previous, current and next fiscal years. Carter first reported on the "preliminary actual" numbers for the fiscal year which just ended on June 30, 2009.

Illustrating how quickly the city finances collapsed last year, the original city budget for fiscal year 2008-09 assumed $76.2 million (hereafter simply "M") in revenues and $81.6 M in expenditures. T…

2009 San Leandro High School Exit Exam Test Results Released

The California High School Exit Exam is first given to students in 10th grade and covers two subjects: English language arts and math. The test is based on the California state standards, which define what students should be learning each year.

Students must pass the CAHSEE to graduate from high school. The goal is for all students to pass the test. The results below are for 10th grade students at San Leandro High Schoola nd nearby schools taking the test the first time.

The state average for English Language Arts was 79% in 2009, and it was 80% for Math.

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San Leandro High School:

Scale: % passing
Grade 10
English Language Arts
78% (2009)
75% (2008)
78% (2007)
71% (2006)

Math
76% (2009)
79% (2008)
79% (2007)
78% (2006)

---------------

Arroyo High School

Scale: % passing
Grade 10
English Language Arts
84% (2009)
83% (2008)
83% (2007)
84% (2006)

Math
86% (2009)
79% (2008)
82% (2007)
83% (2006)

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San Lorenzo High School

Scale: % passing
Grade 10
English Language Arts
73% (2009)
69% (20…

Hayashi's Bill Passes - A Defeat for Consumer Rights

Unfortunate news - the auto insurance industry was able to pick up a few more votes from Democrats in the State Senate to join with the Republicans and pass Hayashi's bill. Below is a message today from the Consumer Attorneys of California.
We go up against the insurance industry’s lobby every day. In the face of the industry’s seemingly limitless money and influence, we hold our own and then some most of the time. Despite our best efforts, the Senate on Friday narrowly approved legislation by East Bay Democrat Mary Hayashi that takes the side of the auto insurance industry against the consumer.

Hayashi’s bill would gut a consumer protection measure by Rep. Jackie Speier that was signed into law only a few years ago when Speier was in the state senate. Opposed by virtually every consumer group, including Consumer Attorneys of California, Hayashi’s AB 1200 would water down a prohibition barring insurers from “steering” consumers to the insurance company’s preferred auto body shops —…

"East Bay Democrat Mary Hayashi is carrying a bill for insurance companies at the expense of consumers."

"East Bay Democrat Mary Hayashi is carrying a bill for insurance companies at the expense of consumers," is the first sentence of an email message I received recently from the Consumer Attorneys of California, of which I am a member.

I took a look at the bill, AB 1200. As summarized in the State Senate analysis of the bill, AB 1200
Would significantly revise and recast California's auto repair anti-steering law duties, obligations and allowed conduct for insurance companies, relative to consumers and other parties in the claims settlement process, including 1) Eliminating an insurer's duty to provide a specified written notice of a consumers right to select an auto body shop, and 2) Eliminating a prohibition in current law on an insurer suggesting or recommending that the claimant select a different body shop after a consumer has indicated their body shop choice.
The bill is sponsored by State Farm and a host of other auto insurance companies. It has received sti…

2009 San Leandro Schools STAR Test Scores And No Child Left Behind

San Leandro Unified School District students recorded modest improvements on the 2009 California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) test compared to the 2008 results.

The summary report for 2009 showed that on the English-Language Arts test (Grades 2-11) 40.6% of students scored proficient or advanced, up from 37.4% in 2008. In mathematics, however, there was no improvement. 33.8% of students for Grades 2-7 were proficient or advanced in both 2008 and 2009. Certain schools at the elementary level showed significant progress.

However, the overall performance of San Leandro schools was less than the average scores for California and Alameda County students in 2009:

Alameda County
English-Language Arts: 54.9% Proficient or Advanced
Mathematics: 49.5% Proficient or Advanced

California
English-Language Arts: 49.9% Proficient or Advanced
Mathematics: 45.8% Proficient or Advanced


For San Leandro, the most significant aspect of the …

Community Meeting on San Leandro Hospital: August 27th

"What’s Next for San Leandro Hospital?" is the title of town hall scheduled by State Senator Ellen Corbett. Her flyer asks:

Is a transfer of San Leandro Hospital to Sutter in the best interest of our community? What will this potential transfer mean to services at San Leandro Hospital?
The town hall will be on Thursday, August 27, 2009, at 6 p.m. at the San Leandro Main Library.

Schwarzenegger Eliminates Funding for Domestic Violence Shelters

As part of the budget, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger used his line item veto power to eliminate state funding for all domestic violence shelters in California. The cuts could lead to the closure of some shelters, particularly in rural areas. Where the shelter is operated by an organization with other funding sources, the shelter will likely remain open for the next year, but with reduced staffing and programs. Some shelters may be reduced to offering only emergency services.

In Alameda County, five shelters lost their funding, including a hit of $200,000 for San Leandro's shelter operated by Building Futures with Women and Children. As reported in the San Leandro Times,

Building Futures Executive Director Liz Varela said that the budget cuts will mean that the shelter won’t be able to take in as many people and that Building Futures may have to lay off employees. Building Future’s “Sister Me Home” shelter houses over 200 women and children each year and the state cuts will ta…

San Leandro City Budget: Already $1 Million in the Red

Last week the San Leandro Times reported:
The city adopted it’s 2009- 2010 budget just last month, but new figures show revenue is already down another million dollars from what was projected just weeks ago. The initial budget had a projected cuts of $2.9 million happen this year. But recent sales tax figures were down by $455,000 and property tax was down $600,000, meaning the city’s budget is already off by over a million dollars.
In response, at a city council finance committee meeting, Mayor Santos wanted the state constitution amended:
Santos also said that he’d like to invoke the city’s charter, which states that the city can impose an increase in property taxes without a vote, but the state passed Prop. 13 in 1978, which caps the increases. Santos said that he’d like to see the state law changed and that, given the budget situation in Sacramento, now is the time to do it.
The continued and growing city defict comes as no suprise. As I noted last month,
The budget planned for next …

Saving San Leandro Hospital 5: Write the Board of Supervisors

Next Tuesday, July 14th, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors will be discussing the future of San Leandro Hospital. Prior to Tuesday, it is important that we contact the Supervisors and let them know that the planned closure of San Leandro Hospital by Sutter Health will have a significant, negative impact on public health in Alameda County.

Below is email message I sent today to the Supervisors. Please craft your own message or feel free to use the arguments I made in your message to the Supervisors.

The email addresses for the Supervisors are:

scott.haggerty@acgov.org; gail.steele@acgov.org; nate.miley@acgov.org; keith.carson@acgov.org; alice.lai-bitker@acgov.org; shawn.wilson@acgov.org; chris.gray@acgov.org; alison.lewis@acgov.org; seth.kaplan@acgov.org; rodney.brooks@acgov.org

I have been told that not all Supervisors read their email on a regular basis. Therefore, the list includes the chief of staff for each Supervisor.

Please forward this message onto friends and family across…