Letters • 12-18-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Honored to Serve the San Lorenzo School District


I’d like to extend my gratitude to the voters for supporting and placing faith in me.

I took office on Tuesday, December 16th and was honored to be sworn into office by my close friend and newly- elected State Assemblyman, the Honorable Tony Thurmond (AD15).

I am excited, humbled, and honored to serve the community of the San Lorenzo Unified School District, and represent the needs of our families and children/students.

While I know that the hard work of getting elected is over for now, the “real” work began on Tuesday, December 16th at 4:30 p.m. when I took my oath for office.

As a mother of three children in our school district (Corvallis Elementary, Washington Manor Middle School, and Arroyo High School), I bring a much needed, new perspective to our school board. The perspective and “voice” it was lacking – that of a current family with students in our schools! I am most excited and honored to serve as the voice of families, the voice of our Latino families, and a direct connection to what’s happening in our schools.

And to Isabel PoIvorosa, thank you for your 12 years of service as a Trustee on the SLZUSD board!

— Janet Zamudio, San Leandro

Blames Administration for ‘Siding with Criminals’


The advocates for the criminals of color are back, just when a 16-year-old girl from Oakland runs over a cop with a stolen car in San Leandro. During the 16 years that I lived in Oakland some 3,000 were killed, mostly by blacks. I never heard of a demonstration about these killings.

Cops aren’t armed to engage in fist fights with criminals in the streets, least of all with one that’d just committed a crime.

Actually, any person, whether cop or civilian who’s armed, can’t allow anybody with aggressive intentions to come closer than 10 feet for then he or she would be the victim of their own gun. On top of that, the referents for these demonstrations were resisting arrest.

I’m not against using violence against some targets during political demonstrations; the difference here is that these are riots to show solidarity with criminals. The vandalism, the looting of liquor stores and shoe stores show their true character. Their targets are anybody who crosses their way or drives on the freeways or any car that’s parked on the streets. Even a guy who tried to stop the looting was hit with a hammer in the head in Berkeley.

Barack Obama is the man responsible for inciting these kind of actions by siding with criminals when he sends Eric Holder to Missouri to tip the scale on their side. And it’s not only in Ferguson, but also in Florida, Oakland, Chicago, that this administration has come out overtly on the side of criminals; including illegals. Criminals feel encouraged to go on.

— Leo T. West, San Leandro

Letters • 12-11-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Adult Day Care a ‘Necessity That Cannot Be Ignored’


Since the Adult Day Care Center at St. Peter’s was closed down three years back, the Senior Commission has been looking for any organization to restart the Center.

Our City of San Leandro has amenities that  are needed for its residents – we have restaurants, churches, a spanking new hospital, a senior center, community center, malls, a shelter for the homeless, a beautiful marina, even a wonderful doggie park which our family dog Tikka enjoys, but no adult care center for its 13 percent senior residents.

Some of our residents suffer from alzheimers/dementia, strokes, diabetes and other debilitating illnesses. They are isolated and family members/caregivers are overwhelmed with their care. There is no respite for them.

An Adult Day Care is a necessity that cannot be ignored. Our neighboring city of Oakland has four Adult Care Centers (now called DayBreak Centers).

Organization like the Alzheimers Association of East Bay have shown interest in starting the Center if they could get a facility with reasonable rent. The facility should be around 5,000 square feet, have two bathrooms, a kitchen and will have to be ADA compliant. If anyone knows of such a facility, please email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Thanks.

— Bella Comelo, San Leandro

Calls for Police to Get Rid of ‘Trigger-Happy Cops’


 Those folks calling for the end or suppression of protests and demonstrations, seem to forget what triggers these incidents. We  keep hearing about how tough and dangerous it is for the police. We also keep hearing how the protesters need to control the criminal element among their numbers.

Well how about the police ridding themselves of the racists and trigger-happy cops that hide among their ranks?

The last time I checked there was no draft for cops. If the job is too dangerous or stressful for you there is always barber college.

— Vernon Burton, San Leandro

Protests: Time to Try a Different Strategy


Recently I was invited to participate in a march to protest the shooting of Michael Brown a Black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri by a police officer. Previously I was also invited to do the same for other shootings like Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida and Oscar Grant in Oakland.

Although we have taken to the streets shooting after shooting, these marches don’t seem to be doing much good since the shootings have not stopped.

I think we need a different strategy. Instead of marching in the streets, we should march to the schools and libraries and learn English, math and science and earn a high school diploma and a college degree. Then start businesses, create jobs and end poverty.

Since most of the people being shot are poor, once we end poverty we will probably be able to declare Ferguson Shooting Never Again.

— Elie Parker, San Leandro

Body Cameras Lead to Corrective Actions


The massive public reaction to the tragic deaths of three black teens at the hands of white police officers has led to a national call for use of body cameras to record and prevent any future mistreatment of suspects.

There is ample precedent. Animal protection activists have used body cameras to document egregious atrocities and safety violations by workers in the meat, dairy, and egg industries. The resulting videos have led to a number of corrective actions, as well as felony convictions, meat recalls, and even a $500 million civil settlement.

How ironic then that agribusiness interests in seven states (Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah) have now enacted “ag-gag” laws imposing severe penalties for using body cameras in their agricultural facilities. The language is typically drafted by the anti-consumer American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Let’s hope that other vested interests do not impose similar restrictions on the use of body cameras by law enforcement officers.

— Kurt Champler, San Leandro


SLz Schools Slow to Adopt Much Need Technology


Recent Letters to the Editor have lauded the accomplishments of the SLZUSD Board, touting its ability to achieve its goals while maintaining a “rainy day” reserve in excess of what is required under state law and district charter.

While the SLZUSD has accomplished some notable capital and facilities improvements, other arguably more critical areas have been allowed to languish.

While Proposition O brought an infusion of much needed technology into our schools, the adoption of this technology has been slow and arduous, and many teachers are still unsure of how to best use these tools in the classroom.

SLZUSD’s arts, music and sports programs are left under- or un-funded, and only exist through the dedication of parents, teachers and students willing to devote the time and resources needed to keep these programs going. Since 2008, the district has consistently shortchanged the intellectual needs of its brightest students by refusing to devote resources to a Gifted and Talented (GATE) program.

The SLZUSD has been developing its Local Control Accountability Plan, part of the state’s plan to have school districts assume more local decision-making authority. Throughout the first phase of the LCAP process, SLZUSD parents and students consistently rated enrichment programs such as the arts and music, science and technology, foreign languages, and GATE programs, along with culturally and linguistically responsive services, as the highest priorities of the district.

The high priority placed on these services has not been adequately synthesized into SLZUSD’s LCAP as it currently stands.

Effective leadership and good governance is a delicate balancing act that requires more than simply an unwavering commitment to a particular vision of conservative fiscal stewardship. The SLZUSD board and administration are public servants, and they must be open to listening and responding to the needs and wishes of the community they serve.

— Stacy Sterling, San Leandro

Letters • 12-04-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

BearCat Vehicle Money Could Be Used More Productively


I think San Leandro citizens should take a look at the BearCat Medevac truck before the decision is made to authorize its purchase.

It is my understanding that East Bay Regional Parks has a similar vehicle, which is located at the Park headquarters above Lake Chabot Marina, and that this vehicle could be used by San Leandro first responders in an emergency situation.

My thought is that this area only needs one such armored truck and that the grant money could be used in a much more productive way.

— Judith McGough, San Leandro

Purchase of BearCat Vehicle Needs More Study


While it will be nice to see a Lenco BearCat MedEvac, it is better to “study up” on this equipment. The city council and mayor will be voting on the acquisition. Preparation should help them avoid a “Gee, I didn’t know it could do this” moment, like what happened with the security cameras. A 15-minute Google  search is sufficient.

Pro side, go to www.lencoarmor.com for plenty of “news” articles on the advantages of BearCats. Note: The Home Page has a Build Your Own BearCat menu. The MedEvac’s page states that it meets the combined requirements of SWAT and Tactical EMS teams. Among the features are a roof hatch, a gunner’s stand and gun ports.

Will the next procurement be for something to stick out the gun ports?

Con side, below are a few of the sites:

www.mydailynews.com (a mixed pro & con article) “Leftover armored trucks from Iraq coming to local police agencies.”  Note: Military surplus sales exist, but it appears that BearCats are purchased new.

www.motherjones.com  “The Making of the Warrior Cop” by Shane Bauer. In the 10/29/14 broadcast of Democracy Now! (www.democracynow.org) Bauer discusses the Urban Shield [military/police] convention in Oakland (www.urbanshield.org).

www.cato.org  “Police Militarization in Ferguson – and Your Town.”

www.whowhatwhy.com  “Police State Gears Up” States “... Ohio Sate University police got ... one, saying it would provide a ‘police presence’ at the football stadium.”

When did a firefight occur in San Leandro? How many of the “usual” crimes in San Leandro, e.g. murders,  robberies, home invasions, etc., would a BearCat prevent or solve?

Is gang, ethnic, racial, or class war on the horizon? If so, the time to act is now, before we need an armored truck to deal with the situation. Militarizing the San Leandro police isn’t answer. There are better uses of $200,000.

— Jeff Sturm, San Leandro


SL Schools Don’t Need Extra Police Officers


The San Leandro school board has heard dissenting public comment at the last two November 2014 meetings concerning a proposal to add two police officers called “SROs” to SLUSD staff for the next 4 years. There is an upcoming vote whether the school board (not the City) should pay the $1.7 million total cost.

The two existing officers at schools currently budgeted by the city are sufficient for the district’s needs. Apparently, the federal government offered a temporary incentive regarding additional officers as a carrot, but if accepted, the city will need to pay the salaries of the SRO’s at $133,000 per year each (times) 4 years.

San Leandro schools are institutions for greater learning. Police presence often invites problems and is not a positive model. The real budget issue is below-average academic performance. We should fund programs that help students succeed (and avoid crime) like music (which was recently cut for a while).

Our schools need qualified counselors, and they need to retain and attract valuable teachers. I went to Bancroft and SLHS in the 1970s (and got my Presidential Physical Fitness Award from Nixon), and I don’t recall any militarization at school.

The school board is not the entity to budget security. The school board and city must decline this proposal. It is not within the scope of education and not affirming to students or the future of the community.

— Lorie Beall, San Leandro


The Rain’s a Blessing, but the Need to Save Water Continues


It is a blessing to finally have some rain during this California drought, but we must keep it mind that this shower won’t simply wash away our problems. No, it will take more than Mother Nature alone to recover from this drought.

It’s at times like these when we need to be the most aware of our water consumption, and where we can cut corners in water usage. I have some simple ideas that can help reduce water usage if many people employ them.

First, taking shorter showers can lower tons of water consumption. If everyone cut back on their shower time by simply 5 minutes, imagine how many gallons of water is saved between 5, 10, or even 100 people!

Second, plenty of water can be saved during lawn care. Watering plants at night when it is cool avoids the water from being evaporated. Furthermore, instead of using wasteful sprinklers, manually watering plants and grass will more efficiently spread water into the roots of grass and plants. Sprinklers tend to use more water than necessary, do not always reach every part of the lawn, and anyone who has walked past a soaked sidewalk knows how much water isn’t hitting the lawn. If one waters grass manually, it can be ensured that every drop reaches its destination!

Finally, if one is willing to make the investment, home improvements such as dual flush toilets, solar water heaters, and greywater systems will save money by reducing water usage in the long run. In general, investing in environmentally friendly infrastructure benefits one’s economic interest because by reducing energy usage, it reduces the money spent on energy.

If everyone pitches in just a little bit, recovering from this drought will be no sweat!

— Randy Fraters Jr., San Leandro

Proud of Her 12 Years on San Lorenzo School Board


Twelve years ago, the San Lorenzo Unified School District Board of Education, with Arnie Glassberg as superintendent, established eight Small Learning Communities. The voters passed the Measure E school bond. It established a partnership with Dell computers that put 5,000 laptop computers in our classrooms, built a new science lab at the high schools, new gymnasiums, and music rooms, much needed library improvements at all the schools and added technology infrastructure at each school.

After Mr. Glassberg retired, Dr. Dennis Byas led us in passing the Measure O school bond, where we renovated the fields at the middle and high schools, made traffic and parking improvements and upgraded safety conditions.

Science labs were built in the middle schools, the digital arts lab was built at San Lorenzo High School and a library was built at Hillside School. Solar panels installed at all sites saved the district a tremendous amount of money.

After Dr. Byas retired, Dr. Fred Brill, after only a year on the job, has continued with renovation and modernization of all schools and hired more personnel for the district.

I would like to thank the voters of San Lorenzo and San Leandro for allowing me to serve you for the last twelve years. I enjoyed working with all the school board members and my three superintendents. I am most proud that we, as a board, were able to keep our school district fiscally sound, and still be able to give raises to our personnel, small raises, but still a raise.

I loved being chair of the Eden Area ROP board, the program that gives our students great career choices. Working with Irene Fuji and Linda Granger has been as wonderful as the program itself. And to Janet Zamudio, congratulations on winning your race. You are going to be a fine asset to the board.

Thanks for a great ride, we did a lot of good things.

— Isabel Polvorosa, San Leandro

Suggest Use of National Guard to End Destructive Protest Demonstrations


Any family that loses a member naturally is heart broken, especially parents.

Those who represent and preach civil rights should try to preach peaceful means of solving problems, not add fuel to the fire. Destroying people’s businesses and setting fires definitely is not the answer.

Why not use the National Guard, along with the police force to protect people’s businesses? As we’ve seen, when the National Guard move in, things calm down and arrests are made.

— Earl Cava, San Leandro

PG&E Safety Tips for Stringing Those Holiday Lights


Many families will be lighting their homes and businesses for the holiday season over the next few days. PG&E recommends that customers follow these safety tips:

•Avoid electric hazards. Before climbing ladders to string outdoor lights, check for overhead power lines nearby, especially in trees. Contact can be fatal.

•Prevent fire hazards. Avoid overloading extension cords and wall sockets by limiting the number of light strings you connect. Inspect holiday lights for frayed wires, broken sockets or other signs of wear. Don’t place cords under rugs or furniture where they can overheat. Turn off decorative lights, indoors and outdoors, when leaving home or going to bed.

•Go LED. Light-emitting diodes are shatterproof and produce almost no heat, making them safe to touch and greatly reducing the risk of fire. As an added bonus, they consume 75 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, helping you save money this holiday season.

Have a happy and safe holiday season!

— Laura Wetmore, Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Letters • 11-13-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

SL High Failing to Showcase Work of Shop Students


Having spoken to high school students at our high school, at the 7-11, and on the street, I can tell you that we have students today who don’t know shop classes are even offered.

Back in 1970, I started at San Leandro High, walked in the front door and looked into a showcase that held shop projects that were made by students, things I would be able to make.

Wow, I get to do that, make things. Fast forward to 2014, we now graduate students with no skills, and then the parents will pay upwards of $18,000 to send them to a technical school to learn things they could have learned in high school.

You walk into the same school today and there is no showcase. Why? No one knows. It’s filled with plywood and sheet rock.

Students who take shop classes today don’t have a place to showcase their work so other students can see what’s available – what they too can create. It’s unsettling and tragic. Industrial art should be a prerequisite, not an elective.

Maker fairs are very popular right now and there’s a reason for that. Robotics is popular too. Even the Boy Scouts will teach you how to re-screen a door.

The California Teachers Association, and anyone else who is influential in the education in this country, should be taken to task for not seeing this as a No. 1 priority. But it won’t happen, because we are not creating opportunities for shop teachers to be fast tracked into the shop programs.

Shame on us.

— Larry Arnold, San Leandro

Souza Congratulates San Leandro’s Election Winners


When one makes the decision to enter a political race, there is a passion and excitement for San Leandro, a vision of what we see for San Leandro and how we want to be a part of making that happen.

The decision is made with eyes wide open, knowing that in the end there will only be one person on top with the most votes.

January 1, 2015 brings new passion, excitement and vision to City Hall.

I would like to congratulate Pauline Cutter, Mayor elect. Along with all the Councilmembers elect – Deborah Cox, District No. 1; Lee Thomas, District No. 3; and Corina Lopez, District No. 5.

I would also like to acknowledge the many candidates that stepped up and ran for office in San Leandro; Dan Dillman, Gregg Daly, Ken Pon, Mike Katz-Lacabe, David Anderson, Victor Aguilar, Allen Schoenfeld, Leah Hall, and Mia Ousley. We are a City of engaged residents! The diversity of positions, culture and vision become the strength of San Leandro.

I would like to thank all those who supported me and invested in my campaign. While we did not win the race, we know that we ran a race we could be  proud of,  with integrity  and commitment for all San Leandrans. Our voice will continue.

Thank you for the opportunity and the experience of having served as your District No. 3 Councilmember for the past 8 years. It has been a grand journey. I look forward to the next journey that these experiences lead me on, as my passion and excitement for San Leandro continues.

— Diana Souza, San Leandro

Lopez Thanks Supporters for Her Council-Seat Victory


No words can really describe the immense gratitude I have for all the effort and countless hours that people have contributed toward my election to the San Leandro City Council.

This historic victory represents many years of loyal support by so many people who have given me so much. To my supporters, volunteers, endorsers, and financial contributors, I thank you very much for enabling me to share my message with the voters. San Leandro is a wonderful community, and I am grateful to you for giving me the confidence of your vote.

I cherish the time I have served as your trustee on the San Leandro Unified school board. I am committed to serving as your councilmember to the best of my ability. Thank you for believing in me.

— Corina Lopez, San Leandro

Sheridan ‘Humbled’ by Support at the Ballot Box


I am humbled by the overwhelming show of support at the ballot box. Thank you San Leandro for choosing me as the candidate to help create better schools for our children.

I first want to thank my family for their support through this campaign, especially my daughter for being my inspiration to run. I also want to thank Hermy Almonte for putting me on the right path, my manager Jose Perez for his support and hard work, and all of the volunteers that helped with my campaign.

Thank you to the SLTA, CSEA, Alameda Labor Council, Alameda Democratic Party, the Hayward Demos and the supporters from City Hall, Mayor Cassidy, Jim Prola and Michael Gregory.

A thank you is also in order for Lance James, Ron Carey, Vince Rosato, Diana Prola and Corina Lopez of the SLUSD School Board for their support as well. I would also like to thank all my contributors that believed in me, Ruth, Betsy and Jeanne at San Leandro Color for their flexibility and contribution, and everyone from San Leandro Unified who took the time to meet with me.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone at James Monroe for their support. We have such an awesome community there and I want to do my part in making it even better.

In just a few short weeks, it will be time to roll up my sleeves and get to work. I look forward to serving you and our community. Thank you again.

— Leo Sheridan, San Leandro

Inquiring Reporter Lambasted for Freeway Question


Last week’s question:  Do the freeways ever worry you?

What does that mean? Does the freeway jump up and bite cars on a random basis? Does the freeway leak oil? What could a freeway do that would worry me? The San Leandro Times for lack of a better word is a newspaper. So tell me, how is it the “journalist” (visualize air quotes please) who works at the newspaper, can ask this particular question with zero regard for grammar, syntax, or context?

Please do better... there are people reading!

— Diana Cohn, San Leandro

Letters • 11-06-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Asks: What Planet has John Jermanis Been Living On?


Former city manager, John Jermanis, bemoaning that the city does not have the resources for the streets, etc., is rich! What planet has he been living on or is he that consumed in his own avarice?

CALPERS does not make enough on their investment port-folio to cover the city’s pension obligations to him and the other retirees. The city is responsible for the shortfall each year. The shortfalls have been massive. Resources for these wonderful projects have to be reallocated to cover this open ended  pension liability. It is only going to get worse as others retire. Your readers should know how extravagant and excessive these pensions are to the city and taxpayers.

According to the CALPERS $100K club website, the top 27 city retirees, receive  combined pension payments of $3,560,545.68 per year.

Mr. Jermanis has the distinction of receiving the largest city pension of $19,020 per month or $634 per day.

In his letter, does he not advocate that those on fixed incomes or low wage earners should pay just a little more? For what reason? To insure the city has resources for worthwhile projects or that the city has enough to cover their pension shortfall obligation to him and others? I’ll go with the latter.

— Mary Josephs, San Leandro



Upset Over Big ‘Gun Show’ Billboards In Unincorporated Alameda County



Our Bay Area contains some little unincorporated areas called Cherryland, Ashland (sometimes called Eden Area), some parts of Hayward, and even Castro Valley.

These communities have enormous billboards looming over them. Lately, these billboards have had neon yellow-green (the same yellow-green used on school crossing signs) with the enormous words “GUN SHOW” emblazoned upon them.  These billboards are mostly in areas that have not seen their share of community upgrades.

Maybe we who live in these places are mostly low income, so we won’t object, or maybe we are just a better market for guns...

We have not seen these signs in Fremont or Piedmont or Pleasanton, but hey – they don’t have ugly billboards do they?

These things are in our faces every time we take our kids to school.  They are just a few blocks away from the new Ashland Youth Center, and they are just across Mission from several churches.

We have talked to county supervisors, school superintendents – even sheriffs’ deputies and police – they all expressed concern, but are flaccid in their ability to do anything: “It’s a free speech issue, you know ...”

Free speech? What about our children’s right to life? What about our right to life free of intimidation from gun violence? What about our right to a safe community where – when we look up – we don’t see that we are in the cross-hairs of some enormous billboard gun site.

Is this whole beautiful county just existing under the oppression of the N.R.A.? Are we so unimaginative that we can only think of guns as the way to protect ourselves and solve our problems?

We can live in communities where we are not afraid, and where we take care of each other. We don’t need guns – or the billboards that advertise them. (Somehow, they are not allowed to advertise alcohol or tobacco near schools – but guns are fine? There is a sick irony here.)

So shoot me. It would be the expected and cowardly response toward someone who questions this culture of violence. But I do believe we can find a better way, and that most of us do want to live in peaceful communities.

— Rebecca Wiebe, Hayward



The Need for Career Technical Education in High Schools



National educational policy is keeping poor people poor. Sociologists study poverty and provide all kinds of data citing teenage pregnancy, crime, prostitution and domestic abuse as representations of poverty, but doesn’t discuss how educational policy causes poverty in the first place. Poverty must be resolved at its root cause.

The fundamental root cause was the establishment of well-meaning college prep curriculum in our high schools with the general elimination of career technical education, i.e., physical skills development such as wood, metal, auto and home economics shops. College prep courses crowded out high school shops and when youngsters failed college prep courses they were and are left with no job preparation whatsoever.

Thirty percent of high school students, almost a million a year, drop out of high school. Seventy percent will not graduate from college. Only 23 percent of the jobs in America require a college degree. All true.

For a healthier society, perhaps career technical education should be the default high school curriculum, not the college prep curriculum. Community colleges cannot take on this responsibility. Job preparation not college prep education must be required for young people when we have them in a captive setting – high school.

We must help prevent poverty by providing job preparation for our youth. We are the only civilized country that does not require career technical education at the high school level. Your child may be a natural genius at using his or her hands to make things. Their future may be in cabinetry and furniture-making, metal fabrication, building/repairing cars, designing clothing, etc. How do we know? Would we rather see our children fail college only to take a minimum wage job or two?

Insist on giving each child the choice and opportunity he or she deserves.

— Peggy A. Heubel, San Leandro

Letters • 10-30-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail


A mistake in the headline of a letter last week erroneously gave the impression that City Council candidate Leah Hall supported the armored vehicle for the police department. But Hall, in fact, opposes the armored vehicle, as her letter below points out. The Times regrets the error.


Use of Military Equipment Creates a Divide, Not Trust


The people of San Leandro deserve to know the truth about candidates wanting to serve them.

Unfortunately, there was an error in a letter written by a reader and published on Oct. 23 regarding my views on police militarization. This has created an irrevocable impression in the minds of readers that is opposite to the truth of my strong support of community policing.

I am opposed to the action of our city acquiring military-grade equipment, including the armored personnel carrier currently under consideration. This proposal goes against the grain of everything organizers are striving to accomplish in the Durant Neighborhood – building trust, community and meaningful social connection.

We are working with our city officials and local businesses on both sides of the municipal border to make our neighborhoods livable and improve public safety for everyone.

As your councilmember, I will listen to all sides of the issue and push for a vigorous public debate on the question; and, in the end, make decisions that reflect the priorities of residents. I understand that there is a high burden of proof on the part of police departments and city officials to demonstrate the need for this type of equipment in our neighborhoods as well as providing full disclosure of its actual cost to taxpayers. In addition, I ask that our city council work collaboratively to urge our neighboring city officials to weigh the negative impacts or perceived positive outcomes at our shared border areas. Though defensive equipment designed for military use may be seen as useful in suburban and urban environments by some, it creates a divide and our shared goal needs to be building community trust.

— Leah Hall, San Leandro, Candidate, City Council District 5

Supports Hall: Energy, Ideas



I have lived In San Leandro for 45-plus years. I went to San Leandro schools, Roosevelt, Bancroft Middle School and San Leandro High. I am now a proud retiree of Teamsters local 70, a truck driver for 37 years, and a proud member of the Durant Avenue Task force.

Leah Hall has an untiring devotion to our community. I watched her organize the national night out for Durant Avenue Leah got Oakland and San Leandro to close Durant Avenue for this event, which I thought was impossible. 

She is always thinking of ways to help Durant Ave Task force. She is full of energy and good ideas. Leah Hall would be a great city council member. She is always thinking of ways to improve our community. Most of all she loves San Leandro as we all do.

— John Davis, San Leandro


City’s ‘Omissions’ in HH Mailer an ‘Attempt to Circumvent Democracy’



I would like to thank you for the article “City Mailer: Information or campaign literature?” (Page One, The Times, Oct. 23).

You point out the differences between the two, and the questionable nature of the funding that produced the mailers.

I would also like to take this opportunity to second the concerns expressed by Justin Jelinic in the “Opinion” section of the same edition. Mr. Jelincic points out the deliberate omissions made by the writers of what City Attorney Richard Pio Roda calls an “absolutely informational” mailer.

Thomas Jefferson is credited with saying “An informed citizenry is indispensable to democracy,”

The deliberate omissions by the writers of the pro HH mailers are a blatant attempt to circumvent that democracy. Lies of omission are lies nonetheless. By their attempts to deceive the citizenry, our city’s leaders have betrayed us and have effectively destroyed any remaining trust the citizens might have held in them. I can only hope that the partial “regime change” about to take place will allow the lost feeling of trust in our leaders to return.

— Stephen Carbonaro, San Leandro


Supports HH: Funds Essential Services, Provides for Maintaining Infrastructure



San Leandro residents and businesses cannot rely on federal and state financial assistance to maintain City services. We need to take care of ourselves to protect the quality of life in San Leandro that we value and enjoy.

The City has no source of revenue to pay for the repair and replacement of aging facilities and deteriorating streets. That is why the City Council placed Measure HH on the ballot for the November 4 election. Measure HH will continue the 1/4% sales tax used to pay

for current City services and provide an additional 1/4% that can be used to restore lost services and pay for the repair and renovation of facilities and infrastructure.  The funds raised by Measure HH cannot be taken away by the State.

Measure HH accomplishes two vital City needs. First, it continues the current level of funding for essential City services. Second, it provides a new long-term resource that can be used to finance the cost of maintaining and updating City facilities and infrastructure.

The City has a pressing need to invest in major capital improvement projects for libraries, parks and streets. Everyone recognizes residential streets have to be repaired and resurfaced.

Protect our quality of life in San Leandro by continuing the financial support needed for Police, Fire, Library, Recreation and other City services. Vote “YES” on Measure HH.

— John J. Jermanis, San Leandro, City Manager (Ret.)


Some Alternatives to Tax Increases



Do our taxes have to go up again, and for 30 years, if we hope to continue providing basic city services? No, because an alternate revenue stream is available if we get the bloated payrolls and pensions enjoyed by City Hall employees under control.

Call it the program of the three PRs:

Pension Reform: unpaid overtime, vacation time, and time off don’t count. All are capped at 160 hours each, payable in one lump sum on retirement day. Retirement benefits themselves are calculated at 80% of the average of the last five year’s salary paid by the city. If you come here from somewhere else and retire after two years, those other three years count as zero for benefits calculation.

Performance Reviews: with more than one third of City Hall employees taking in more than $100,000 a year, it’s time we make sure we are getting our money’s worth. Performance reviews – corporate style – from top to bottom will tell us if an employee’s duties and performance warrant the salary we’re paying them. If they aren’t measuring up, salary is cut to a level commensurate with performance, not years on the job.

Payroll Realignment: No matter what the salary level, an honest effort must be made to ensure that salaries are also in line with other cities in the state. Not just the Bay Area cities, or the most populous, but each positions’ wages are based on the average of what every city in the state pays for that same position, including Coalinga and Gonzales.

These three programs, if implemented effectively and immediately, will free up an untold amount of taxpayer revenues that can be applied to basic city services and restore our finances without having to squeeze the taxpayers yet again - this time for thirty years.

— Allan Lindsay-O’Neal, San Leandro

What and Who the Sierra Club Endorses



As the Chair of the Northern Alameda County Group of the Sierra Club, I write to address some confusion that may have arisen as a result of a “Green Slate” mailer with which we are not affiliated.

The sole endorsements that the Club has made in San Leandro this year are:  Alameda County Measure BB, Pauline Cutter for Mayor, and Corina Lopez for San Leandro City Council, District 5.

The Sierra Club supports Measure BB because of the amount of funding that is allocated to bicycle, pedestrian, and public transit improvements that will incentivize greener modes of transportation within and around Alameda County.

We also support  Measure BB because it will fund enhanced paratransit services, provide funds to restore some of the AC Transit bus routes and stops that have been previously cut due to the recession, and a much needed free youth bus pass for working Bay Area families.

We are also impressed with the overall environmental commitment of both Pauline Cutter and Corina Lopez – especially their commitment to affordable housing for a variety of income levels and family sizes that is built close to the public transit.

Should Measure BB pass, both of these candidates recognize the importance of including a complete streets approach and investing in sidewalk and bicycle path expansion alongside of road repair and maintenance.

For a more walkable, bikeable, and transit-accessible San Leandro, the Sierra Club urges you to vote for Measure BB, Pauline Cutter for Mayor, and Corina Lopez for Council, District 5.

— Olga A. Bolotina, SF Chapter, Northern Alameda County Sierra Club


Cox Called ‘Absolute Asset’ as District 1 Councilmember



Deborah Cox will be an absolute asset to the San Leandro City Council District 1. Her many years of service to San Leandro include Chair of San Leandro Human Services Commission, President of Political Action Committee for Excellence (PACE), Co-founder and President of San Leandro Education Foundation (SLED), President of Estudillo Estates Homeowners Association, and many other committees.

Also, I strongly recommend Isobel Dvorsky for Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board of Trustees, Dan Walters and Howard Kerr for Oro Loma Sanitary District, Evelyn Gonzalez for San Leandro School Board, and either Diana Souza or Pauline Cutter for Mayor of San Leandro – both are well qualified.

— Al Frates, San Leandro


Vote for Schoenfeld ‘to Get Things Accomplished’



As election time is less than one week away, San Leandro has to make a lot of important decisions.

We have to elect not only a new mayor but three new city council members, as I am running for one of those positions. I would like to make sure everyone gets out to vote on November 4th and express how you feel about the issues in San Leandro.

Having lived in San Leandro for over 40 years, I feel San Leandro is at the crossroads for new leadership that will lead us in the right direction. San Leandro has issues such as Public Safety, Street Repair, and what to finally decide what to do with the San Leandro Marina.

I promise that a vote for Allen Schoenfeld for San Leandro City Council District 3 will be a vote you can count on to get things accomplished.

— Allen Schoenfeld, San Leandro, Candidate City Council District 3


Lopez: ‘Track Record, Broad Range of Endorsements’



I’m running for San Leandro City Council because I’m committed to making San Leandro into a vibrant and thriving community.

On the Council, I will provide a strong voice, pushing to make public safety a top priority; promote economic opportunity and job creation; and improve roads, parks, libraries and senior services.

I am committed to working collaboratively with our school districts to promote student achievement. My aim is to make San Leandro a better place for all.

To do this, I think the City Council needs to stay focused on the big picture prioritizing the day-to-day issues that affect all San Leandrans. It is important not to be caught up in the issue of the day but to instead focus on the wide range of issues that impact our entire community.

As an elected official, I know that to be successful in implementing plans, one must work with a broad group of stakeholders, listening to concerns, and then implementing policy for the good of all. By working together, my colleagues and I on the School Board have lowered the computer-to-student ratio from 40:1 to 2:1 in just two years. I’m very proud of the strides we’ve taken towards transforming San Leandro’s schools into a model for 21st-century learning.

Because of my proven track record, I’m proud to have a broad range of endorsers throughout the community.

I’ve earned the sole endorsements of Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, Senator Loni Hancock, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Supervisor Wilma Chan, the Alameda County Democratic Party, the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce PAC, San Leandro’s teachers and firefighters, the Sierra Club, and many others.

You can read more about my campaign at www.corinalopez.com.  You may also contact me directly at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . I would be honored to have your vote.

— Corina Lopez, San Leandro, Candidate for City Council District 5


Retiring Oro Loma Director Recommends Walters



I wish to express my thanks to the voters for giving me the privilege of serving the past 20 years on the board of directors of the Oro Loma Sanitary District. It has been a pleasure, and our board has served you well in creating and maintaining a most efficient public agency.

I will be leaving Oro Loma in December this year, and I strongly recommend voters to mark their ballots for Dan Walters to be a new board member at Oro Loma.

Mr. Walters knows Oro Loma and has demonstrated a great interest in all phases of its operations and facilities, and possesses great knowledge of the industry. Dan’s the man for Oro Loma.


Dan Walters is a successful business owner and operator in San Leandro, is active in local and regional affairs, is past president of the Chamber of Commerce, and currently is an active member of the board of directors of the California Small Business Association, a statewide organization representing business owners.


I recommend Oro Loma customers to give Dan Walters your vote, and to also vote for the two incumbents Becker and Kerr to be retained on the board for continuity.

— Frank V. Sidari, San Leandro


Supports Cutter for Mayor: ‘Untiring Dedication, Always Accessible’



I am proud to support Pauline Cutter in her candidacy for Mayor of San Leandro.

As District 5 Councilmember, she has served the residents and the City with untiring dedication and is always accessible to the public. She cares about San Leandro’s future, our neighborhoods, our quality of life issues, and researches the facts before she makes a decision.

While she won’t always tell us what we want to hear, her decisions are fair and unswayed by politics, special interests or a personal agenda.

— Gayle Hudson, San Leandro

Letters • 10-23-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Pauline Cutter ‘The Only Intelligent Choice for Mayor’


As the owner of a longtime family small business in San Leandro, I am acutely aware of the importance of having a City government that supports and encourages business with actions as well as words.

That is precisely why I am supporting Pauline Cutter for Mayor of San Leandro. She values and respects the efforts and the role that all businesses play in crafting the success filled future of San Leandro.

San Leandro has made great economic progress in four years due to Pauline Cutter’s leadership on the City Council. Thanks to her support on key issues such as the business license fee holiday and expansion of the free LINKS shuttle to the new Kaiser hospital and the industrial area of the City, we have a climate where new, well paying jobs and our local economy can thrive.

Pauline is supported in her campaign for Mayor by a huge number of business leaders, property owners, and community activists, She is an active listener, a consensus builder, a fiscal conservative, and has pledged to be a full-time Mayor.

It takes a unique candidate to unite the Chamber of Commerce, Building Construction & Trades Council and the Alameda Labor Council in support of her candidacy. Like many of us, they have concluded that Pauline best represents San Leandro’s business and working families.

I have known Pauline for over 30 years. We met when our children attended Broadmoor Preschool together. The way you campaign for office is a strong indication of how you’ll govern in office. I know that honesty and integrity are an important part of her core values, and I also know that her campaign reflects those values.

I believe that Pauline Cutter is the only intelligent choice for Mayor.

— Lawrence Allphin, Owner Allphin Jewelers, San Leandro

Souza for Mayor, or ‘History Will Repeat Itself’


I recently received an interesting mailer from Mayor Cassidy endorsing Pauline Cutter for mayor. They have the same mind, having cast their votes for the marijuana dispensary, while claiming to have the best interests for the good of San Leandro.

It seems they are quite taken with themselves, Mayor Cassidy’s constant use of “I did this, I did that” speaks volumes.

Why not vote for Diana Souza? She has the best interests and love for San Leandro. The police endorse Diana Souza. We have enough crime. A church in San Leandro has become a dumping ground for local pot growers – 12 cases of butane so far and the pot club isn’t even open yet.

Please vote and remember, history will repeat itself without positive change. Vote for Diana Souza who truly cares for a better San Leandro. Otherwise we may have marijuana dispensaries by the time Pauline Cutter leaves office. Maybe her Southern California contributions will help fund it.

— Pat Eisfeld, San Leandro

Souza’s ‘Accomplishment’ on Restaurants Questioned


Diana Souza lists an accomplishment on her flier, “Brought New Shopping and Dining Opportunities to town” that I seriously question.

Dining to me means Paradiso and Horatios’.  Our city has zero new dining options in this category in 8 years. What we do have is a new chain-store wings place and pending chain-burrito, coffee, and burger places coming to downtown.

In my opinion, this is not really something to boast about. These offerings, except for the wings place maybe, just compete with local’s like Los Pericos, Englander, and Cafe Sorriso in the downtown core. That’s not a growth model. It is dividing the pie not making it bigger.

I also don’t see any new shopping opportunities in the downtown core. There are storefronts years empty on one side of E. 14th while the Lucky’s land deal was meant to bring new options across the street.

After the Grocery Outlet (a victory claimed by Souza) was pushed out the core we get a new (surprise!) CVS, two pending large vacant spaces, and a huge loss of cash on the deal. Perhaps instead of the NIMBY driven “Blocked” crematorium the city could have offered the East Bay at least this new shopping option, collected the sales taxes and be one step closer to not needing HH.

I am sure Diana and other city representative work hard and maybe she will make a great mayor. As for eating out and shopping, our city’s options did not get significantly better over the last 8 years. The new mayor and council should really recognize that revenue comes from increasing the variety and volume of commerce not dividing it up and moving it around.

— John Clouston, San Leandro

Souza, Hall Scored for Support of ‘Police Militarization’


At the Oct. 16 candidate forum I asked all candidates for Mayor and City Council the same question: “Will you vote against the City acquiring an armored personnel carrier?”

Only five candidates said they would vote against the armored vehicle:  Mike Katz-Lacabe (running for District 1), Victor Aguilar and Allen Schoenfeld (D3), Mia Ousley (D5) and Dan Dillman (Mayor).

Diana Souza (running for Mayor) and Corina Lopez (D5) support the SLPD acquiring the armored vehicle. The rest of the candidates dodged the question.

At least on this one matter, voters’ choices are clear. If you favor police militarization, Souza and Lopez are your gals. If you oppose it, then vote for Katz-Lacabe, Aguilar or Schoenfeld, Ousley and Dillman. If you want candidates who are unwilling to say what they really stand for, vote for any of the others.

As a final reminder, all San Leandro voters are able to vote for all City Council races.

— Margarita Lacabe, San Leandro

Supports Lopez for Council: ‘Dedicated, Knowledgeable’


Since we are all inundated with campaign literature right now, I’d like to share a thought about one candidate for City Council.

I have served on the San Leandro School Board with Corina Lopez this last term. I have found her to be dedicated, knowledgeable, and a hard worker. Corina has made it a point to visit schools, meet principals and teachers, talk with parents and show up at most school events.

Her background in finances has been invaluable in decision-making, and she has taken her responsibilities on the Facilities Committee seriously, making decisions that have helped to bring our buildings and technology into exceptional shape. She cares deeply about our community, and for this reason I strongly support Corina Lopez for City Council.

— Diana Prola, San Leandro

Cutter: ‘The Glue That Keeps the Community Together’


My mailbox has been inundated with flyers from local candidates, all of them spouting the same cliché, “promotes safe, strong neighborhoods.”

However, there is one candidate for mayor whose claim is a description of her life history in San Leandro. Thirty years ago, Pauline Cutter was my next-door neighbor. Because of Pauline, everyone on our street knew each other’s names, something I had not experienced before then and have not since. Pauline is what the author Malcolm Gladwell would describe as a “connector,” a person who serves as the glue that keeps a community together.

Pauline was the person who started a petition to a landlord whose tenant owned a vicious dog that sometimes ran loose near the local schoolyard.  She was the neighbor who checked out anything suspicious she saw going on around your house.  When I was recovering from a surgery, she brought me meals and did my shopping for me.  She offered assistance to a neighbor who was a victim of domestic abuse. And in the early ’80s when people were so terrified of AIDS that there was talk of quarantining patients, Pauline offered her care to two of our neighbors who fell ill and then died.  This was long before she ever dreamed of running for public office.

This was just Pauline being herself. She didn’t ignore the troubles of others — she got involved.

It has been two decades since I’ve lived in that neighborhood, but when I saw that Pauline Cutter is running for mayor, I was delighted, because Pauline began her career in public service long before she ran for any office. She began it as a good neighbor.

— Sterling Kinnell, San Leandro

Supports Leah Hall ‘for a More Livable City’


I am writing to say that I am supporting Leah Hall’s candidacy for City Council for District 5.

My reasons are very simple as to why I am choosing to vote for Leah. She has innovative ideas for our city and has completely taken on the role of being a “grass roots” candidate as well as being a  down to earth person. Leah’s campaign base is from residents of San Leandro and stands on her own with her forward thinking for our City.

Leah has the vision that I have been waiting for since I moved to San Leandro in 2005. She is young and well educated and has a degree from Yale in “architecture.” She will add her creative ideas and her education to the mix to move us forward with becoming a more livable City.

Leah cares about every neighborhood in San Leandro and its complexities because she understands that it takes all of our neighborhoods to make a better San Leandro. Leah does not stop there; she cares about education, teens, crime, responsible development and most importantly about the economics of running a City.

Leah understands when it is not prudent to waste money on certain projects and from her board experience she understands how important it is to work with people. She worked with the City of Oakland regarding the Durant traffic issues and actually was able to communicate with the Oakland officials.

Leah was able to get Oakland to participate in the neighborhood night out on Durant. It was a wonderful event on Durant to see families from Oakland and San Leandro enjoying their neighborhood again. I hope you will join me and vote for Leah Hall for City Council/District 5.

— Johanne Dictor, San Leandro

Ousley: Mayor Cassidy’s Endorsement, in his Words


I’d like to offer a correction to a letter in the Oct. 2 Times. Mayor Cassidy has endorsed only one candidate in the District 5 City Council race, and that candidate is myself – Mia Ousley.

In his own words:

“One could not ask for a harder working Council member committed to improving our neighborhoods than Mia. ‘If you don’t like the news, make some of your own’ is a saying Mia believes in. When Sutter Health was threatening to close San Leandro Hospital, Mia helped organize the community and succeeded in keeping the hospital open. Mia possesses a deep empathy for the less fortunate in our society and has made raising the minimum wage a key element of her agenda to improve the quality of life for all San Leandrans.”

— Mia Ousley, San Leandro, Candidate, City Council District 5

Only Ousley Addresses the Issues of Wages, Rents


All the candidates running for office in San Leandro are promising the same things. They’re all going to reduce crime, make our schools better, and help small businesses thrive.

Only one candidate, Mia Ousley, has actually stuck her neck out to bring two important issues into the fray: a living wage and rent regulation. The other candidates are not addressing these issues because they don’t speak to the middle and upper classes who already own their own homes, have good jobs, and have a decent education.

These two issues matter to people who don’t earn a living wage and struggle to meet the ever-rising costs of rent in this city. These are people who make very little money, don’t have advanced education, and will never be able to afford the American dream home. Oh, and who also happen to demographically be the least likely to be registered to vote.

I see no other candidates remotely championing the types of causes desperately needed by this group of people.  What it proves to me is that elections in this city are very classist.

The other candidates don’t want to rock the boat for their apartment house association contributors or homeowners’ groups, or upset the businesses paying the lowest wages in this city.

It’s very sad that all the other candidates are paying political lip service to the already-established middle and upper classes, and none of them

except Ms. Ousley are actually willing to deal with the fact that there is a lot of inequality in this city which the other candidates simply ignore as if it didn’t exist.

The other candidates like to tout how well they can be inclusive and build dialogue with diverse groups.  But I guess what they really mean is being inclusive with those who they hope will vote for them.

— K. Lee-Figueroa, San Leandro

City’s Glossy Mailer on HH Shows Why Citizens Don’t Trust Government Agencies


I assume that We the citizens of San Leandro paid for the Measure HH  four-page color glossy mailer asking for us to approve the sales tax extension.

The lack of integrity shown in the word selection chosen by the City Manager, and whoever read and edited the drafts prior to publication, make it obvious why citizens no longer trust their government agencies.

“Measure HH extends San Leandro’s local voter-approved sales tax”  sounds good, “at the half cent rate” makes it sound like that is the existing rate.

Integrity by government would have said “Measure HH will extend and double San Leandro’s local voter-

approved sales tax from one quarter to one half percentage rate.”

Vote as you will, but understand that integrity is not on display by those in the City Hall who want more of your hard earned money put into their pockets.

— Justin Jelincic, San Leandro

Letters • 10-16-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Think About Those Campaign Contributions Before Voting


Nothing “makes it rain” like an election. All kinds of money flows into the various national, state and local races.

Some of it comes from sources that are not afraid to identify themselves. Yet, some if it comes from sources that hide behind spurious names like “Americans for a Happier Ever After.” Some names are buried in the hard-to-read fine, white print at the bottom of TV ads. Others are listed in near-subliminal “nano-second” voice-overs in radio ads.

The sources mentioned in the Page 1, Oct. 9 Times article are of the first type, not the latter ones. I appreciate the SL Times shining some sunlight on this campaign financing. From this article, we can see what interests are involved and what they probably want. Now, beyond the rhetoric and platitudes, we have a much better idea of where the candidates stand.

Too frequently, contributions and endorsements are viewed as investments, on which a return is expected. Often, quite often, those returns are realized. I’m not saying, suggesting or implying that the reported campaign contributions received by the mayoral candidates were illegal, unethical or immoral. However, it does call to my mind the expression: “There’s nothing for nothing.”

Think about that when you mark your ballot on November 4, and in future elections.

Jeff Sturm, San Leandro

Thinks Pauline Cutter Has What it Takes to be Mayor


So, Pauline Cutter thinks she’s got what it takes. Well, let’s see. She’s got to work with people who whine, cry and complain about everything. Well, what kind of experience does she bring to the table? She was a teacher for 25 years. I’m sold!

Don’t waste your vote on anyone else. Common sense is hard to come by.

Larry Arnold, San Leandro

Opposes Chamber’s Choice, Supports Souza for Mayor


Our city needs thriving and prosperous businesses, and candidates who support them. I am a small-business owner, a resident, a taxpayer and a long-time member of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce’s PAC recently announced endorsement does not support my interests.

Diana Souza is my candidate for mayor. This past year, Diana worked with Chamber members, union representatives and other businesses to develop a local inclusion policy that the entire city council supported. The policy serves our local economy. Diana gave early in support of the now famous Lit San Leandro: an economic benefit in her current district and the entire city.

Chamber members as a whole do not participate in the endorsement. No one polls the 500-plus membership to see who they want to endorse. The three men on the San Leandro Chamber Political Action Committee (PAC) made the recommendation. All three are businessmen with activities in San Leandro; but two are based outside of the city and are not San Leandro residents.

The PAC money contributed to campaigns does not come from the chamber membership dues. It is raised through separate donations of business owners. The question is: Where is the real San Leandro business voice in this discussion?

My voice is here. Join me and other local business owners and leaders in supporting Diana Souza for Mayor.

Surlene Grant, Founder, Business Assoc. of South San Leandro, African American Business Council

Marina Advocate Backs Dillman for Mayor, Katz-Lacabe for Council


On Nov. 4th, voters will elect a mayor and city councilmembers – important officials if San Leandro is to pull itself out of the economic doldrums that has constrained growth, limited infrastructure improvements, and not allowed for preservation of important city landmark assets, such as our marina. Losing our now blighted marina is evidence of government in disarray and a shameful disgrace.

Citizens are tired of hearing councilmembers say, “We don’t have the money.” This response is indicative of city administrations not capable of effectively planning for the future. This isn’t a recent phenomenon; it’s endemic with administrations over the past 20 years.

What happened?

Millions of unpaid dollars in General Fund loans to the Enterprise Fund is just one indication of city business conducted with the sword of deficit continually hanging over the necks of citizens, prompting powerless utterances such as, “We don’t have the money.”

What happens when a technology business isn’t performing as expected? The CEO and senior management are summarily replaced, and a new start made.

San Leandro needs much more than a reshuffling of incumbent councilmembers with the same-as-usual business model. We need thinkers with the power of imagination, a fearless and staunch willingness to make things happen, along with responsible shoreline development serving local businesses, residents, citizens and visitors alike.

We need city government transparency, clearly knowable and understandable by all citizens, inspiring confidence with San Leandro on the right track to recovery and prosperity.

Voting for mayor and councilmembers not part of the old guard is essential. Candidates Dan Dillman for mayor, and Mike Katz-Lacabe for councilmember are truly worthy, valuable people with know-how, imagination and the drive to direct San Leandro towards a “Prosperous New Future.”

Dwight Pitcaithley, San Leandro

Teachers’ Association’s Picks


Outstanding communities have one thing in common – outstanding public schools. Since 2006, San Leandro voters have generously passed two school construction bonds and one school parcel tax. The San Leandro Teachers’ Association and its 465 members want to extend our heartfelt gratitude for your support and partnership in helping us build momentum toward our common goal: to build our schools into first-rate learning centers.

Dynamic leadership is a crucial component of any successful endeavor; and, to this end, we ask you to stand behind excellence by joining with us in our efforts to elect the education team for San Leandro: Leo Sheridan and Evelyn Gonzalez for school board. Evelyn and Leo are long-time volunteers in our schools and are both committed to insuring that every student graduates with 21st-century skills. They also understand how important collaboration is with all San Leandro stakeholders to insure that our schools continue to improve.

We who are concerned with our schools and our city are on an exciting and promising journey. This is a journey of improvement, modernization, collaboration and partnership. In order to continue this journey, we need the help and support of our city leaders. San Leandro teachers urge you to support our schools by voting for city council candidates: Corina Lopez, District 5; Lee Thomas, District 3; Mike Katz-Lacabe or Debra Cox, District 1; and Pauline Cutter for mayor.

Each candidate understands that better schools enhance our community and have committed themselves to collaborating with our school district to maintain and fuel the positive momentum. The San Leandro Teachers’ Association is proud to endorse and ask your support for these exciting candidates who are the San Leandro Teachers’ Education Team.

Jon Sherr, President, San Leandro Teachers’ Association

Agrees With ‘That Gary’ – Wants Hall at City Hall


As a resident of San Leandro’s Broadmoor, I couldn’t agree more with last week’s “That Gary.”  He is right when he asserts we need intelligent, imaginative leaders with backbone and integrity – and that’s why I am voting for Leah Hall.

Her intelligence served the San Leandro community when she decided to organize a meeting with immediate neighbors meeting the challenge of packages being stolen off porches. She knows one household cannot do this alone.  She showed intelligence in alerting her neighbors and broader community to impending planning meetings for the BRT project down East 14th – she empowered her neighbors with knowledge and voice by providing easy access to meeting times and locations.

Hall shows creativity when drilling down opportunities to organize and think critically about supporting complete streets and access to bike-friendly, traffic-calming measures. She understands the connection between greening our communities and lowering crime rates. And, she shares her knowledge.

Leah Hall has proven backbone. It isn’t easy to face waning resources on the city and community level and still choose to serve the community. She shows strength in outreach, incorporating small business owners, community leaders and everyday residents to standup against blight at bank-owned homes and illegal activities in traffic situations. Her activism has proven, verifiable results.

Finally, Leah Hall is a leader with the utmost integrity that can be seen in the youth she serves through the Youth in Government program she has been a main supporter of, in the organizing of the YMCA consideration of San Leandro, and in attending meetings across the city and serving on the Human Services Commission – not for personal gain, but for the better good of the people.

We deserve a leader with intelligence, imagination, strength and integrity. So, vote Hall this fall!

Janell Hampton, Public Educator, San Leandro

Durant Task Force Supports Hall for District 5


The Durant Avenue Task Force is  proud to have Leah Hall as their choice for San Leandro City Council, District 5. She will  proudly represent all the neighborhoods of our city. Leah Hall is the ideal candidate to advocate for safer neighborhoods in the North Area and she will take her experience and training to City Hall.

Leah Hall makes positive things happen. She stands shoulder to shoulder with her neighbors advocating for safe streets. She has helped make Durant Avenue better – not only for the people who live on Durant Avenue, but for the larger area as well.

Leah Hall works hard and listens to people. It is clear that she believes that neighborhoods are people – it’s in her DNA. She cares about the San Leandro/Oakland border area.

We cannot ignore our city service challenges and public safety problems – unfortunately this is an attitude of many uninformed people.

Oakland’s streets and services are interrelated with San Leandro’s. Being isolationists is a losing strategy, especially with housing and employment figures improving on both sides of the border.

Both our cities must work together to solve our shared concerns. A high percentage of the crime in our area is related to the impoverished neighborhoods of Oakland, and a lot of San Leandro’s resources are spent to keep our streets clean and safe. Working together, we can solve the challenges our communities face, like crime and high car traffic volumes on our residential streets.

Some Task Force members are seniors. These members love Leah Hall’s energy and compassion. She is like that favorite granddaughter that checks up on you and answers your concerns. Leah’s focus on building clean and safe neighborhoods includes making it possible for both seniors and youth to thrive in San Leandro. Elect Hall this fall!

Gus Roldan, DTF-Founder, San Leandro

Somebody Who Can Get Things Done in Broadmoor


Gary Langbehn’s Oct. 9 letter, “Broadmoor Needs New Leader Who Will Get Things Done,” aptly describes himself as a “big meany and curmudgeon.” He was just scratching the surface.

His involvement in community issues can pretty much be summed up as “somebody else needs to be doing something about it.”

Mia Ousley has been doing something about it since she moved to San Leandro 17 years ago. She selflessly devotes time and energy to public service in addition to raising a family and working a job. She has articulated her positions on the issues facing San Leandro precisely and clearly. I believe that everyone in San Leandro must share in our prosperity so we can have a safe, diverse and economically vibrant town.

Nobody will work harder to achieve these worthy goals than Mia Ousley. Please join me in voting for Mia on November 4th.

Ben Frager, San Leandro

Time for a Woman in Oro Loma’s ‘Old-Boys Club’


As a longtime friend of Shelia Young, I urge you to vote for her as a Director of the Oro Loma Sanitary District.

While a city councilmember and Mayor of San Leandro, Shelia always gave her all for the good of the citizens and the city of San Leandro. Personally, I think it is time for a woman to join this group and bring new ideas to what appears to be an old-boys club.

Gerry Mellen, San Leandro

He Says We’re No. 1! (In Sales Tax Rates)


According to tax-rates.org, San Leandro has higher sales taxes than 90.6% of California’s other cities. Furthermore, between federal, state, county, city, property, gas and sales taxes, a middle-class family in San Leandro pays 50% of their paycheck in taxes.

This money is mismanaged, misspent and, at the local level, a very large part of it goes to pay for lavish pensions and almost free healthcare for public workers that no one working in the private sector (most of the rest of us) come even close to.

So, what does the average citizen of San Leandro get for these massive taxes after the resulting waste and give-aways? We get high crime, bad schools, deteriorating roads and minimal public services for average working people.

Now, already stretched to the limit, we are being asked to pony up more money for BB and HH. Our inept politicians are incapable of curbing the waste, so are now threatening to hold the citizens of San Leandro hostage by telling us our roads will not be fixed and we’ll be more unsafe due to lack of money for streets and public safety personnel. Extortion anyone?

The money is there for all of the schools, infrastructure and services that we require if it would stop being funneled into bad projects, fat pensions, almost free healthcare and early retirement for the minority, many of who don’t even live in San Leandro. See www.mercurynews.com/salaries/bay-area/ for the shocking costs of employment we are on the hook for.

We’re paying too much; and, as long as we keep letting them take more, it will never stop. We will continue to be shaken down until we stand up and so no. Say no to BB and HH.

Larry Schumacher, San Leandro

No Mention of ‘Tax Increase’ In City Manager’s Mailer


I have received several brochures asking a yes vote for measure HH. Not one of these brochures mentions that the measure contains a tax increase.

The “Dear Neighbor” brochure from the City Manager, Mr. Zapata, says measure HH extends San Leandro’s local voter-approved sales tax at the half cent rate. I think anyone reading that would think that we are already paying a half cent rate when in fact we are presently paying one quarter percent.

From the time this measure was proposed and voted on by the city council, all articles and discussion about it fail to mention that it contains a tax increase.

The words “tax increase” usually mean more “no” votes, so one wonders if the failure to mention tax increase is just coincidence or planned. I think it would have been more fair and upfront with the voters if the politicians and other supporters of measure HH had said in plain English that this measure contains a tax increase.

Donald Van Kirk, San Leandro

Collapsed Levees, Poisonous Snakes...Those #@% Squirrels!


The man who thought squirrels don’t damage levees doesn’t know much about them.

I have seen a squirrel hole destroy a levee. First, there is a leak through the squirrel hole and then the dirt collapses, breaking the levee. Fortunately, the one I saw was high on the levee, so water loss was partial.

I have also seen a squirrel hole through asphalt, on a country road, with the squirrel going down the hole as my car approached! I have seen so many squirrel holes under the foundation of a building that it collapsed.

Also, squirrel holes and colonies attract snakes, even poisonous ones. Kids should learn all this about squirrels.

And, on the disappearance of the dead bodies, I think it is more likely that cats, raccoons, skunks or vultures found and ate them. That is why secondary poisons were so bad, and I hope the rodenticide the state uses is one of the two types allowed farm owners.

Cynthia Melendy, San Leandro

Letters • 10-09-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Says ‘Shame on Those’ Who OK’d Chinese Flag-Raising


Shame on those that approved the raising of a flag in our Marina Park that stands for tyranny and repression. A flag that represents Communism and a one-party dictatorship. A flag that represents repression of freedom of press and speech. A flag that was flown as the Chinese army in Tiananmen Square massacred it’s own people with tanks and machine guns. A flag that has terrorized the peaceful peoples of Tibet. A flag that represents a government that hacks into American computers stealing trade and military secrets. A flag that makes threats to our service men and women. A flag that contributes more toxins into the environment that any other nation on Earth.

So Councilperson Ursula Reed believes “that flying the flag at the Marina instead of City Hall is a good compromise.” You are so wrong, Councilwoman Reed. There are many of us here in San Leandro and the free world that feel that this shameful rag has no place other than the Altamont dumps, where it truly belongs.

— Victor Krevocheza, San Leandro

Why Rank-Choice Voting Is Undemocratic


The excellent article “Explaining Ranked Choice Voting, Says Reader” (Oct. 2, page 8) illustrates why ranked-choice voting is undemocratic.

The fact that the candidate with the fewest votes will have his or her second choice votes distributed to the remaining candidates is a manipulation of the voting process and shows that the voters have lost control of their choice of candidate. The candidate with the most votes should always win, even if it takes several run-off elections. Saving money at the expense of democracy isn’t worth it.

— George Banks, San Leandro

Mayor: Pass HH Now or Face Bigger Price Tag Later


We all benefit by living in a safe, well-maintained City with quality services. San Leandro has received national recognition for Lit San Leandro, an ultra-high speed fiber network. New companies are relocating to San Leandro creating quality jobs for residents. Thousands of new jobs have been created since 2010. Our City is on the right track. This is why I ask the community to vote yes on Measure HH on Nov. 4.

Measure HH  continues Measure Z, the local quarter-cent sales tax approved in 2010, for 30 years and increases the rate to a half-cent. All funds will remain in San Leandro.  Measure Z is temporary and expires in four years. Without the $4 to $5 million dollars Measure Z produces annually, we will have to make significant cuts in local services.

Revenue from Measure HH will flow into the City’s General Fund and be used to  maintain vital local services, including police and emergency medical response, as well as to repair neighborhood streets. The 173 miles of city-maintained roads in San Leandro are unfortunately among the worst in the county. While Measure HH will not fix all roads in San Leandro, it will allow us to repair the residential streets in the worst condition.

Why does Measure HH last for 30 years? Similar to financing the purchase of a home by obtaining a 30-year mortgage, repairing San Leandro’s roads is a major capital improvement project that requires a long-term revenue source to pay for the project. And the sooner we start, the more work we can accomplish. If we delay, the price tag for repairing our neighborhood roads increases substantially.

Please keep San Leandro moving forward by voting Yes on Measure HH.

— Mayor Stephen Cassidy, San Leandro

Broadmoor Needs New Leader Who Will Get Things Done


I’m a big meany, a curmudgeon, the neighborhood ogre. I’m actually known as “That Gary.”  

Here’s why I’m in such a bad mood.

I got involved in the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association (BNA) after the editor of our newsletter knowingly printed a false negative article to try and sway opinion against the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project. She said her arm was “twisted” into doing it by the BNA president. Now Mia Ousley is running for city council. Do we need someone on the council whose arm is so easily twisted?

And then we have Leah Hall who used the BNA email to discuss among other things; her insistence no one use SL Blvd. anymore because she and her daughter witnessed a bad accident on it, that the SL Police prescreen potential buyers for a house for sale on her block, and my favorite, her concern about a “pot growing hippie commune” moving into the neighborhood.  Now Leah is running for city council too. Do we really want her on the council?

So you see, there’s a reason for my discontent. I’m hoping a new breed of leader emerge in the Broadmoor with intelligence, imagination, personal integrity and the backbone and drive to actually get something done for the Broadmoor. Till then, with this cast of characters, I remain “That Gary”.

— Gary Langbehn, San Leandro

Argues Against Raising the Minimum Wage


Raising the minimum wage reduces employment. Period. If Doug Jones, Mia Ousley, or Mike Katz-Lacabe is confused, do the thought experiment: “what would happen to my job if the minimum wage were $50/hour...or if you’re even more well off, how about $100/hour?” Either you would lose your job, or the general price level would rise (inflation) to the point that your “raise” still bought the same standard of living. Increasing wages by fiat, without an increase in productivity yields nothing but a combination of inflation and unemployment.

The Congressional Budget Office came to the same conclusion:  Raising the minimum wage to $10.10/hour would reduce employment by 500,000 to 1 million jobs. Note:  This is reduction of employment which includes employers withholding hiring, a pernicious effect of raising the minimum wage which is largely unnoted by the studies that claim raising the minimum wage has no effect on jobs.

While there are certainly people struggling to raise a family or otherwise support a household on the minimum wage, this is a very small minority of American workers.  As of Sept. 8, 2.6% of American workers earn the minimum wage, with over half being aged 16-24.  Less than 1% are heading up a household.

The effects of raising the minimum wage will largely be felt by teenagers and young adults, who will lose the entry-level job opportunities that are critical for those with less education and skills to attain work experience. There is no doubt about that – simply look at demographics.

— David M. Nierengarten, San Leandro

Letters • 10-02-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Urges ‘No’ Vote on BB, HH


San Leandro voters will see two tax measures on their November ballot, BB and HH. These aren’t new taxes though, just extensions to existing taxes scheduled to sunset in a few years. The county transit tax we’ve paid since 2000 will expire in 2020. Most of the projects funded by this tax will be completed by then, but the county wants to modify the terms of the measure six years before it expires.

Measure HH will replace an existing “temporary emergency” sales tax due to expire in 2018. It will double that tax and extend it for another 30 years! The city of Concord has an identical tax increase on its ballot (Measure Q), as does Richmond (U) and Union City (JJ).

The provisions of all five tax proposals are startlingly similar. It’s as if each one was copied from the same boilerplate document. It should surprise no one that the same consulting firm crafted all five of these proposals, surveyed 700 likely voters in each city to identify the best ways to sell the new taxes to them, and pocketed generous consulting fees for their hard work.

Don’t be deceived. Measure HH is not being proposed for your benefit. The original tax (Measure Z) was supposed to fix our streets, but only 5 percent of the revenues went to public works projects. Even less went to maintain parks and after-school programs. The majority of the funds went to the police and fire departments and to pay off debts incurred by the remodeling of City Hall and refinanced the city’s pension obligation bonds.

The City Council broke its promise to use this money for street repair. Let’s make sure they keep their promise to sunset this tax in 2018. Vote NO on HH.

— Terry Floyd, San Leandro

HH Would Give SL One of the Highest Tax Rates in County


This November I am encouraging all my friends and family in San Leandro to vote “No” on Measure HH, the 30-year, half-cent sales tax.

It would be enough to know that some of the money will likely be used to buy and maintain an armored personnel

carrier for the police department for me to vote no and encourage others to do so. Since the city’s leadership seems committed to allow our police force to develop more military capabilities without open debate and input from the community, we as citizens must deprive them of taxpayers’ funds to do so.

In addition, measure HH will give San Leandro one of the highest sales tax rates in Alameda County, while companies like WalMart enjoy the lowest business taxes in the county. The city could raise  substantial revenue by restructuring its business license fees for big box stores to have them based on gross receipts, rather than number of employees.

The City could also raise more than a million dollars in permanent revenue, by instituting a parking lot tax like Oakland has. Our leadership has failed to seriously consider these viable options.

During the recession, the City Council assured us that Measure Z, which imposed a 1/4-cent per dollar sales tax for 7 years, was needed as a temporary measure to stop the bleeding. The economy has improved, as have the city’s revenue, and City Hall has promised us that the fiber optic loop, which they invested in, will usher an economic renaissance in San Leandro which should put the City on good financial grounds. It’s not clear why this new tax is needed.

Don’t let your elected officials continue to pull the wool over your eyes. Vote No on Measure HH.

— Chris Crow, San Leandro

No Mention of Mosques?


In reference to “Recognizing Those Who Care For the Homeless,” (Letters, Sept. 25), I see many churches, but no mention of any mosques.

Was this just an oversight or what?

— Chuck Gavrilis, San Leandro

Oro Loma Director Kerr Urges the Election of Dan Walters


It’s not often that a ready-made and well experienced candidate  runs for public office for the first time, but Dan Walters is on the November ballot running for election to the Board of Directors of Oro Loma Sanitary District.  For the sake of the future continued successes of the Sanitary District he deserves your vote to be elected to its governing board.

Dan Walters is a successful business owner and operator in San Leandro, has been very active in civic affairs regionally, is past president of the Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the Board of Directors of “The California Small Business Association,” a statewide organization representing business owners.

Dan Walters  knows well of Oro Loma’s accomplishments and has committed to maintain low rates, good service and high efficiency that is so well  known by Oro Loma Sanitary District’s customers.

For Oro Loma, vote to re-elect incumbents Tim Becker and Howard Kerr, and vote to elect newcomer Dan Walters.

— Howard Kerr, San Leandro

Urges Support for Lopez for City Council


I urge our Voting Public to join the San Leandro Teachers Association and the Alameda County Democratic Party in supporting Corina Lopez for San Leandro City Council, District 5. She demonstrates the ability to enact our commitment to making San Leandro a better place for all. Most notably, during her tenure as a School Board Trustee, Corina, and  her colleagues, prioritized modernizing San Leandro’s schools reducing the ratio of computers to students from 40:1 to 2:1.

Corina has earned the endorsement of the Sierra Club, the Mayor, the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce PAC, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, Councilmembers Jim Prola and Ursula Reed, and many other community organizations and elected officials because she is committed to improving public safety and to creating a closer and more proactive relationship with our school districts.

Corina has had a successful career as a financial analyst with her husband, Luis, and a business owner of a technology company based in San Leandro. The daughter of migrant farm workers growing up following the lettuce harvests between the Salinas Valley, Bakersfield, and Yuma, Corina learned throughout her life that keys to success are education and hard work.

She is a competent bridge-builder and a genuinely very hard worker. The organizations that take time to interview all of the candidates and assess their qualifications are backing Corina Lopez because she is the best-prepared and most qualified candidate for City Council District 5. I urge you to vote for Corina Lopez for San Leandro City Council, District 5 as the ballots now get delivered, or at the polls on November 4th.

— Vince J. Rosato, San Leandro, Neighborhood Watch Captain

Letters • 09-25-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

Pon’s Her Favorite in a Field of Four Great Candidates


District 1 has four great candidates for City Council. Any one of them would make a good representative for us.  

So, why do I think Ken Pon is the best of the best? It’s his track record of always being willing to volunteer his time to make San Leandro a better place to live.  

Our kids grew up together here, so I’ve known Ken for over 30 years and seen his commitment to our community. He served 25 years on the Bay-O-Vista Improvement Association, and our neighborhoods benefited from his dedication. Eight years Ken spent as a SLUSD School Board member, where he worked hard for the successful 1997 School Bond measure that strengthened and improved SL’s public schools.  

For 20 years he has been an active Director of the San Leandro Downtown Association, producing events like the Farmer’s Market, the Sausage and Suds Music Festival, It’s a Wonderful Night, and Bike SL. Ken knows these kinds of events bring the community together.

A salute to his heritage, Ken has worked for 10 years with the Asian Cultural Association.  He has worked hard to bridge the gap between Asians and others in the East Bay community, a gap our two sons bridged long ago, on the very first day of kindergarten.  

The point is that Ken Pon has been a San Leandran in every sense of the word. And, in every step along the way, he has the best interests of this city in mind. The thing that defines Ken Pon is that he is always willing to “walk the talk.”  He is always willing to work hard at making San Leandro shine.

— Suzanne Pershing, San Leandro


Supports Ousley’s Stance on Minimum Wage, Rent Control


It is good to see that Mia Ousley’s City Council candidacy, and her calls for a higher minimum wage and reasonable rent control in our City, are getting attention. The rich have gotten richer and the poor and middle-class have fallen behind in recent decades. It is important to consider where government policies have enabled those trends, and where they can begin to repair the damage done.  

David Nierengarten listed his Doctorate in molecular cell biology to infer he has economic expertise which was not on display in his letter. Mia pointed out that a full-time worker at current minimum wage laws in town makes around $16,000 a year. This makes it impossible for those full-time workers and their families to create jobs by spending money at local businesses, to afford decent rental units in today’s seller’s market, or to have good living standards.

In opposing Council candidate Ousley, Dr. Nierengarten supports keeping local consumers poorer every day while forcing taxpayers to subsidize a rotten business model. More than half of those who receive support from government social welfare programs, including SNAP (aka food stamps) and Medi-Cal, are now from working families. It is wrong to force taxpayers to subsidize the poor wages and unaffordable benefits that mega-rich corporations like Wal-Mart often offer workers. Mia wants to help move us away from this flawed model.

Nierengarten may feel that his work for a leading investment firm which concentrates on maximizing profits for pharmaceutical companies should earn him a fine living, and that servers, janitors, clerks and other lower-wage workers should not be paid enough to afford a decent life. I’m glad that Mia Ousley believes all workers should live in dignity and have some spending money, and that she wants to serve us on the City Council to bring that day closer to us.

— Doug Jones, San Leandro


Recognizing Those Who Care for the Homeless


Since Building Futures’ founding in 1988, generous community members have cooked and delivered nightly dinners to be enjoyed by the women and children living at the San Leandro Shelter.

These caring men and women do more than ease our food budget – although they do that, too. They give of their time, treasure, and energy. Most importantly of all, they let homeless women and children know that our community cares about them.

Building Futures thanks these individuals and groups, who have purchased, cooked and delivered dinners during the past quarter: Suneel Alam, Allen Temple Baptist Church, Celia Bacina, Melanie Blagburn, Brookins AME Church, Ingrid L. Del Carlo, Grace Baptist Church (Pastor Robert Parma, Ron Schultz, Kathy Manos, Carolyn Smith, Janice Sharpe, Rachel Burbank), Mary Gregory, Kat & Paul Haas, Angela Herman, La Shawn Hill, Sue Jardine, Charlene Kehret and Bethel Church, John Kovacevic, Tracy Kuczak, Autumn McFarland, Andrea Malhi, Sarah Marxer, Rejoice in Christ, Kim Robinson, Sai Baba, Brenda Salgado, San Leandro Church of Christ, Alicia Schwemer, Melody Seguine, and Dora Walton.

For information about donating a monthly dinner to the 30-bed shelter, call Lorie Curtis at 510-357-0205, extension 206. To learn more about Building Futures, visit www.bfwc.org.

— Patricia Bidar, Development Director, Building Futures, San Leandro


Calls ISIS ‘Product of 20 Years of Barbaric U.S. Bombings’


No, Peggy Heubel (Letters, Sept. 18), ISIS is not Nazi Germany by any stretch, not even close. ISIS is the product of more than 20 years of criminal and barbaric U.S. bombings of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lybia, Yemen, Somalia, etc. This is just more of U.S. bombings under false pretenses .

The main objective of the Obama Administration is to have an excuse to intervene directly in Syria. Of course, the U.S. media doesn’t show the men, women and children blown to pieces in the Middle East and North of Africa by U.S. planes and drones, which makes it easier for Obama-ites to support another “humanitarian” mission  by the Great Liar.

Regardless, even if the results of U.S. bombings were shown on TV, they wouldn’t bother Peggy Heubel, nor the more recent bombings of Gaza by the Jewish State that killed more than two thousand men, women and children in Palestine.

Hypocrisy runs high.

— Leo T. West, San Leandro

Letters • 09-18-14 PDF  | Print |  E-mail

United We Stand, Divided We Fall


As a 98-year-old veteran, I recall the letter “U” stood for United.

Many decades ago when Pearl Harbor was bombed, the word United was the dominant word, not only on the battlefield but also at home. We demolished the enemy.

The present decade has changed U.S.A. to D.S.A. (Divided States of America) and R.S.A. (Republican States of America), which now spells divided.

After the nation has voted for the candidates to lead them, the D’s and R’s organize their coffee, tea, beer, etc. parties with one objective – to make sure our choice fails. As a result, a confused and disgusted ever increasing number of voters have a champagne party throwing their ballots in the trash can.

— Jack Jones, San Leandro


Amused but Disconcerted Over Police Explanations on Cams, Armored Vehicle


I found the juxtaposition of two articles in the September 11 edition of the Times to be both amusing and disconcerting.

Headline: City Surveillance Cameras Will Have Microphones.

“But don’t worry,” says the police department, “we won’t turn the microphones on.” The question of why the City would pay extra for microphones that will go unused remains unanswered.

Headline: “SL Police To Get Armored Vehicle; Vehicle Has Rotating Gun Turret.” Police Chief Spagnoli was unavailable for comment as to whether or not the gun would be loaded.

— Rob Banks, San Leandro


More Questions about Police Cams, Armored Vehicles


I read “City Surveillance Cameras Will Have Microphones.” Are there other standard “features?” Why wasn’t  the question asked, “what else does this thing do?”

It’s appalling to discover it took a private citizen to discover “a good catch.” Thank you Mr. Katz-Lacabe.

I have a great deal of respect for law enforcement officers for dealing with disagreeable, and often, very dangerous, people and situations.

However, Capt. Tudor’s states, “We have no plans to use the audio” is not enough. Plans change, so our government is based on checks and balances.

Who requested purchasing of the cameras? Who vetted the vendor(s)? The audio recording should have been in the vendor’s sales pitch.

About purchasing the Lenco Bearcat, who requested this procurement for San Leandro? Alameda County officials? Why? Was the SLPD consulted?

Why is this armored vehicle even being considered? Are future crises anticipated, or is this vehicle for ”just in case?”

Because the funding comes from another agency’s budget is not a good reason to make a purchase. What need is being addressed?

Are we really that fearful in San Leandro? Is the city that dangerous? If so, we need to do something else that one vehicle can’t. The action needed is to address the root causes of any dangers before they get out of hand. This is a better use of $200,000.

The cameras and armored vehicle will not prevent terrorism, social unrest, or any crime. Militarizing the police is not the answer. The issue already is here and deserves serious attention now. It’s too important.

— Jeff Sturm, San Leandro


Says San Leandro Doesn’t Need an Armored Vehicle


I read the “SL Police to get Armored Vehicle?” article in your September 11 issue with trepidation.

I urge the city council and police Chief Sandra Spagnoli to decide against the purchase and the acceptance of these funds for the following reasons.

(1) The grant money was given to the Alameda County Sheriff’s department and they should bear the responsibility for managing it. I do not understand their motivation

regarding passing the money out to other agencies, and I do not agree with the principle either.

(2) The cost of the vehicle is one thing, and would be covered by the share of grant money, but what about the cost of training (I would hope there would be special training), maintenance and long-term storage?

(3) Who will bear the responsibil-ity of deciding when to deploy such a vehicle? How will that decision be made?

(4) In light of recent events across the country calling into question the excessive militarization of our police forces, I believe the purchase of an armored vehicle will cause friction between the SLPD and this city’s citizens.

I say, let the county keep the re-sponsibility for the task/funds that they were granted. Our local police force should not be expected to spearhead a response to terrorist acts, their mission should be to protect local citizens from local crimes and threats.

— Michelle Fugere, San Leandro

A Comparison of ISIS to Nazi Germany


As the U.S. and its allies prepare to take military action against ISIS, there is talk from several corners about how this terrorist group is not a threat to the U.S.

Whether or not we can accept it, we live in a world community intertwined at all levels and this will not change. ISIS is a cancer within that community – one that is killing men, women, and children indiscriminately; raping women/girls; globally boasting and publicly posting the beheading of two journalists, etc.

ISIS is being portrayed only as a general threat and even some of our congressional leaders castigate President Obama for planning military action instead of supporting the need to be decisive.

Says an article in the New York Times, ISIS is “the wealthy militant army that has seized wide portions of two countries and attracted thousands of foreign fighters who some officials fear could at some point be sent home to carry out attacks.”

No country with a conscience can let this cancer grow without trying to excise it. To ignore it would be tantamount to accepting the continuation of mayhem, torture, rape, murder, etc., by saying “it’s not a threat to us” (the U.S.).  Sound familiar?

This stance evokes the World’s apathy (and our own) as Nazi Germany ran rampant across Europe without sanction or comment. It can happen again. The threat is there.

In my opinion, the World

Community has a right to attack ISIS without mercy and since the U.S. is part and parcel of that community, we are obligated to act to the fullest extent.

— Peggy Heubel, San Leandro



Weekly specialty items listings, garage sales, and much more!


Current Ads


If you would like to place a Classified Ad, call Patrick at 510-614-1558.

Biz Spotlight

Tell us about your local business, events, and special offerings. Where you make the news!


Submission form

Real Estate

Get the latest in housing news and services delivered to you in full color PDF.


Browse this weeks gallery