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Showing posts from June, 2009

Engagement is a Two-Way Street

The Daily Review reported today that the City of San Leandro is moving ahead with plans to poll voters on their support for new tax measures.
City Manager Steve Hollister has contracted with the Lew Edwards Group, of Oakland, to analyze different types of income sources and how much money could be raised. Once options have been developed, Godbe Research, of San Mateo, will conduct the polling. The questions and number of people to be questioned have yet to be determined. The cost to the city will be between $25,000 and $30,000. In addition, The Lew Edwards Group now is setting up meetings with the Chamber of Commerce and other interested parties. Once the poll is completed and survey information is compiled, the city will evaluate short- and long-term financial strategies. This does not constitute listening to and engaging the community in developing solutions for the city's fiscal crisis. As noted by Viewpoint Learning,
In the past top leaders did not need their followers to …

How Should San Leandro Avoid its Day of Financial Reckoning?

The city budget deficit affects all San Leandrans. Needed street repairs are not occurring, branch library hours have been restricted, school crossing guards have been terminated, and many other cuts have been made.

San Leandro's budget consists of nearly $78 million in expenditures, paid for by about $72 million in revenue. The city has covered its deficits by transferring millions from emergency reserve and self-insurance funds. The funds have been drained to dangerously low levels. If a major disaster should occur, San Leandro could go bankrupt in a matter of weeks. Plus, these are one-time only funds that are being used for ongoing expenses.

The budget planned for next fiscal year 2009-10 is seriously flawed. It continues to draw on reserves and relies on unrealistic projections that tax receipts will increase. In the midst of the worse recession post World War II, the city is planning on a 4% gain in sales taxes and 3% growth in property taxes. In the meantime, city s…

Upcoming San Leandro Events: Social and Political

On Saturday, June 27th, the 2009 PAW-A-THON & Pet Resource Fair will be taking place in the San Leandro Marina Park from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Event highlights include a 1-mile walk (with our without a pet) with a beautiful view of the bay, pet demonstrations and a Pet Resource Fair. Proceeds will benefit the new San Leandro Dog Park and local spay/neuter programs.

Next week, on Thursday, July 2nd, the San Leandro Community Action Network (SLCAN) will show the documentary Torturing Democracy as part of its monthly film series. The documentary explores how the U.S. used detention and interrogation practices in the “war on terror.”

Family Nights This Summer At Farrelly Pool

Come with family and friends for summer fun at Farrelly Pool every Thursday night through August 13 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Pack a dinner or bring your food to BBQ on the grills. Every other Thursday night there will be live music. The jazz band Herd a' Cats is performing on Thursday, June 25th.

Click here for the line up of bands performing this summer at Farrelly Pool.

The standard pool admission is $5 per person. There is no extra charge for the live music. The pool is located on the campus of Roosevelt Elementary School at 864 Dutton Avenue, San Leandro.

Earlier this year, the city proposed to close Farrelly Pool for the summer due to the budget crisis. As reported in the Daily Review:
Adults and children signed petitions, e-mailed council members and appeared at council meetings in April and May to protest the Farrelly closure plan. Council members asked that — somehow — the pool open this year. Parent Brian Murrell told council members on May 18 that Farrelly was being "sin…

SCA 6 and Improving San Leandro's Public Schools

California State Senator Joe Simitian has submitted a bill, Senate Constitutional Amendment 6, that would amend Proposition 13 to permit local school districts and community colleges to approve local property taxes with a 55 percent vote of the public, rather than the two-thirds supermajority currently required. A similar measure, Proposition 39, was adopted in 2000 which lowered the voting threshold on bonds for schools from 2/3 to 55% support.

Sen. Simitian has been working on trying to get the amendment through the Legislature and placed on a ballot for approval by the voters since 2003. It takes a 2/3 vote of the legislature to place constitutional amendments on the ballot. Not a single Republican state senator has ever supported SCA 6. Hence, it has not advanced.

This is another example of the tyranny of the minority in California crafted into the state constitution. It should come as no surprise that if only 34% of the members of either house of the Legislature possess the …

Rich School, Poor School: California School Finance

I want to share with you an article from the Wall Street Journal this week entitled "California Schools' Tough Choices."
Residents of some affluent cities in this broke state are banding together to make up for cuts in public education, opening rifts between rich and poor school districts. Key to the debate are parcel taxes, flat fees on property that are used by some cities to help fund public schools.

A handful of communities, such as the tony Bay Area enclave of Piedmont, Calif., have passed new parcel taxes to compensate for proposed state cutbacks, and others are considering them. Piedmont said the emergency measures would enable it to lay off only five of its 200 teachers, rather than nine.

"We're very, very fortunate that our community is supportive of our schools," said Ray Gadbois, vice president of Piedmont's school board. In less-affluent communities where voters are loath to approve parcel taxes, the state's funding cuts are expected to hit…

Saving San Leandro Hospital 3: Focus Shifts to Board of Supervisors

Last night, the Eden Township Healthcare District board cast a non-binding vote in opposition to the proposal by Alameda County Medical Center and Sutter to relocate acute rehabilitation care from Fairmont Hospital to San Leandro Hospital and end emergency room service at San Leandro Hospital.

This occurred after Sutter announced earlier in the day that it was assigning its purchase rights under its contract with the Eden Township Healthcare District to operate San Leandro Hospital to the Alameda County Medical Center. Sutter also stated it would be exercising its right to give 90 days notice of termination of operation of service at San Leandro Hospital within the next 30 days.

To maintain emergency care at San Leandro Hospital it is critical that (a) the Eden Township District carefully review the offer from Prime Healthcare to takeover operations at San Leandro Hospital and (b) the Alameda County Board of Supervisors direct the Alameda County Medical Center rescind its offer to Su…

Saving San Leandro Hospital 2: Key Meeting on Monday, June 15th

Next Monday there is an extremely important meeting on the future of San Leandro Hospital. Here is a copy of an email message Doug Jones of our community sent today. Please come to the library and speak out in favor of keeping emergency room services at the hospital.
While the calls and contacts to the Supervisors will have value, I believe it would be wise to presume that the County will not retract its offer before Monday and that the District Board will vote at Monday's EXTREMELY IMPORTANT Eden Township Healthcare District Board meeting whether or not to accept the County's offer. Everyone possible must be at this meeting. Bring your family, friends and neighbors and their families.

Monday, June 15th, 6:00 pm
San Leandro Main Library, Karp Room
300 Estudillo Avenue, San Leandro

We should also make phone calls/emails to the following District members:

Dr. Walter Kran- 510 357 5836
It would be valuable to remind Dr. Kran that San Leandro Hospital has been a valuable player in Alam…

Saving San Leandro Hospital: One Option That Should Be Taken Off The Table

On Monday, June 8, 2009, at the San Leandro main library, Alameda County medical officials have offered their vision of the future of San Leandro Hospital. Their presentation occurred during a meeting of the Eden Township Healthcare District.

In short, the Alameda County Medical Center (ACMC) wishes to transfer acute rehabilitation services from Fairmont Hospital to San Leandro Hospital, along with providing urgent (not emergency) care twelve hours a day. A summary of ACMC's proposal is on the Eden Township's website.

Under state law, Fairmont Hospital must be retrofitted to meet earthquake safety standards. San Leandro Hospital currently meets these standards. However, ACMC's proposal does not maintain the emergency room at San Leandro Hospital.

In my view, county supervisors should solve the seismic safety issues at Fairmont Hospital on their own terms. In 2004, voters approved Measure A, a tax measure to save county-operated Highland Hospital from bankruptcy.

Likewi…

Measure WW: How should San Leandro spend its funds?

Last November, East Bay voters passed Measure WW to improve parks and recreation areas in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The City of San Leandro will receive about $3.7 million under the measure.

In response, Mayor Santos established an ad hoc committee of Council members Michael Gregory, Diana Souza and Joyce Starosciak to recommend to the city council how the funds should be spent. The ad hoc committee met behind closed doors and without the participation of non-City elected officials or community leaders. As reported in the Daily Review:

Over the next 10 to 20 years, San Leandro expects to receive $3.7 million for park improvements from Measure WW funds approved by East Bay Regional Park District voters last November. How the city plans to spend that money — with all but $250,000 going to two projects west of Interstate 880 — has crosstown neighbors at odds. Three City Council members discussed the spending plan during three unpublicized meetings between January and April. On May…

Welcome to Go San Leandro

What are the most pressing issues facing San Leandro? How should we solve them?

There are many answers to these questions. I envision the theme of this blog will be addressing these questions. Together, we can help shape and improve San Leandro.

I welcome the input of the entire community. And if you are interested in serving as one of the blog authors, please send an email message to me individually.