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Thursday, 27 December 2012 14:40

From new city manager to medical marijuana dispensaries, read San Leandro’s top news stories of 2012



Alumni players and cheerleaders from San Leandro and Pacific high schools gathered together for one last game at Burrell Field last spring. Afterward, the ground was broken on the new sports complex which is set to open next fall.

By Amy Sylvestri

San Leandro Times

Here is a look back at some of the biggest news stories of the year 2012 in San Leandro.


• The first baby born in the entire Bay Area was San Lorenzo’s own Sophia Trigueros – born at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day 2012 at Eden Hospital in Castro Valley.

• City redevelopment agencies were dissolved as part of Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to use redevelopment money to fund projects at the state level. All projects in the works before the dissolution will continue as planned, but Mayor Stephen Cassidy called the loss of the redevelopment agency a major setback for San Leandro and other California cities.

• Chris Zapata was named the new city manager of San Leandro. Zapata, formerly the city manager in a San Diego suburb, agreed to take the job and actually live in the city of San Leandro, which the previous city manager did not.


• A 15-year-old San Leandro High student was found murdered by her ex-boyfriend, who later committed suicide. Myrna Umanzor, a freshman and mother of a 9-month-old baby, was stabbed several times in her home on Pacific Avenue.

• The “Lit San Leandro” project was approved by the City Council. Lit San Leandro is a 11-mile fiber-optic loop that will make high-speed, high-volume data transfer a breeze and hopefully lure tech companies to the city.

• After over 50 years in San Leandro, Girls Inc. announced that it would be moving into a new, larger facility in Oakland.


• Annellie Marie Moreno, 24, was stabbed to death in her car as she was parked in the driveway of her home on Best Avenue. Her ex-boyfriend was arrested for the murder at his home in Ashland after a standoff with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team.

• Three men were arrested for the October 2011 triple murder that took place at a warehouse party on Alvarado Street.

• A random six-hour police patrol of MacArthur Boulevard on a Friday night led to the arrest of two people who were found with loaded guns, eight people found with drugs, and one man with a warrant out for his arrest. Six traffic tickets were also issued during the sweep.


• Alumni from San Leandro and Pacific high schools gathered together for one last game at Burrell Field. Former players, cheerleaders, and fans watched the game and then the ground was broken on the new sports complex which is set to open next fall.

• The state Supreme Court blocked an attempt by the Eden Township Healthcare District to prevent Sutter Health from taking ownership of San Leandro Hospital. Now that Sutter owns the facility, city and county officials hope they can be talked into letting the county run it and keep the emergency room open.

• The San Leandro school district offered “golden handshakes” to veteran teachers in order to entice them to retire early and prevent layoffs. Budget cuts led to 52 San Leandro teachers receiving notice they may be let go, but the pink slips were eventually rescinded.


• Plans were discussed for a heavily revised San Leandro Crossing Projects. The low-income housing project near the downtown BART station was to originally have had up to 700 units, but will now have only 200 apartments and an expansion of office space.

• Former San Leandro police officer Jason Fredriksson agreed to a plea that kept him out of jail –  pleading no contest to charges that he gave marijuana to a police informant who he had a sexual relationship with. Under the reduced charges, Fredriksson was sentenced to five years probation, he had to pay $10,000 in court costs, and he is banned from being employed in law enforcement.

• San Lorenzo school went solar  – solar panel canopies were installed over the parking lots at eight San Lorenzo schools. The district says the panels will save $4.5 million in energy costs.


• The City Council passed a $76 million budget for this fiscal year, with Mayor Stephen Cassidy stressing that employee costs must be curbed.

• A planned wind turbine at Hauls Power Systems is delayed by Heron Bay homeowners, who said they are concerned about the effect on wildlife and property values.

• A woman who worked for Waste Management at the Davis Street Transfer Station was accidentally crushed and killed by a bulldozer on the job. Family described Evangeline Macias, a great-grandmother, as energetic and the life of the party.


• District 4 Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak quit the City Council with just a few months left in her second term, saying she was too heartbroken to stay in San Leandro after losing the mayoral race in 2010. Starosciak and her family moved to the Sacramento area. The City Council appointed Tom Dulgosh as her temporary replacement.

• The City Council approved a $1.5 million loan to the school district to help build a health clinic next to the high school.

• Former San Leandro High basketball player Jared Cunningham was drafted into the NBA by the Dallas Mavericks, skipping his senior year at Oregon State to head to the pros.


• Nurses at Kaiser Hospital in Hayward held a protest against cuts in pediatric care that will be made when the San Leandro Kaiser facility opens in 2014.

• The mother of a man who died in San Leandro police custody after being tasered filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, though the coroner’s office ruled the man’s death was due to a drug overdose.

• The San Leandro Swim Team won the East Bay Swim League Championship for the second year in a row, capping off a perfect 7-0 season.


• Construction began on the new aquatic center at the high school. The new pool facilities are part of the $51 million Measure M bond project.

• The city settled a lawsuit with Faith Fellowship Church over zoning. After more than six years of legal wrangling, the city agreed to pay the church $2.3 million.

• A pension watchdog group published annual pension figures, and 27 former City of San Leandro employees were shown to be collecting over $100,000 a year in their retirement.


• After a Freedom of Information Act request from school board member Mike Katz, it was revealed that the police “license plate scanning” patrol car takes and permanently stores hundreds of photos of San Leandrans each day, resulting in millions of photos on file. Later, Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli agreed to store the photos for one year instead of indefinitely.

• The Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) nixed plans for key features of the proposed marina development. The BCDC didn’t approve plans for a man-made kayak course or a restaurant by the water –  further discussions with the BCDC are still in the works.

• An electronic music concert at the Oakland Coliseum was so loud that over 80 people called 911, tying up the emergency line. The music could be heard from as far away as Washington Manor.


• In the Nov. 6 election, incumbents Ursula Reed and Jim Prola each won a second term on the City Council and Benny Lee was elected in District 4 to become the city’s first Asian councilman.  The Measure L $2.4 million school parcel tax was passed by voters by a narrow margin –  passing by less than a tenth of a percent.

• The City Council okayed new contacts for Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli and Assistant City Manager Lianne Marshall,  with raises that will have them both making over $200,000 at the end of their five-year contracts.

• A spate of street robberies of gold chains and cell phones drew attention to the statistic that robberies in San Leandro are up 28 percent year-to-date over 2011 figures.


• Grocery store Fresh & Easy announced that it is closing down all of its American stores –  including the one that was going to be the anchor store of the new downtown shopping center. The developer is currently looking for another anchor store. The city has already taken a $3.75 million loss on the property that it bought and then sold to the developer.

• City Hall made plans for a downtown “Community Benefit District” as business owners were polled on whether they would be willing to pay a special tax for things like better street maintenance and security.

• The City Council drafted an ordinance that would allow up to two medical marijuana dispensaries to open in San Leandro.





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