Thursday, 21 August 2014 14:09
By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times
Dan Dillman is perhaps the most unique candidate for mayor of San Leandro in the upcoming election, not only because he has not previously held elected office, but also because he spent the majority of his summer in the county jail.
Four years ago, Dillman, owner of the historic Bal Theatre on East 14th Street, got into a run-in with two plain-clothes deputies of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.
They arrived at his business unannounced and demanded to interview a laborer Dillman had hired who had been robbed days before. Dillman said he had no idea who they were and asked for their IDs and they never said they were cops.
The officers, on the other hand, said Dillman was aggressive toward them, while Dillman said he was protecting his employee. One trial and one appeal later, Dillman was convicted of misdemeanor obstruction of justice and battery and spent almost two months in jail at Santa Rita in Dublin starting in June.
Dillman says his time locked up has solidified his desire to serve the city, but he doesn’t want to focus his campaign on his time in jail, which sprang from a trial that he said was “unfair” and “crazy.”
“I’m really trying to look at it as a learning experience,” said Dillman. “I was sitting in a 6-by-11-foot cell everyday. There was a lot of time to think. I’ve got to say, when I was first in jail, I was Daniel in the lion’s den.”
Because of the crime, Dillman was held in the medium-to-heavy security unit, despite the fact that he had no previous record. He had to deal with gangs and spent 22 to 24 hours a day in his cell.
Dillman says he got through it by staying true to himself and, when he was eventually allowed a Bible, reaching out to his fellow inmates religiously. He says he crossed gang-affiliation lines by creating what fellow inmates jokingly called the “Jesus table” where they could all play cards regardless of affiliation.
“I consider myself someone who has been though a lot of stuff,” said Dillman. “And I’ve got to say, through sacrifice comes triumph. I have a great desire to serve the city.”
Dillman says he’s not totally in favor of the proposed Measure Z increase and extension on the November ballot, which would create a half-cent sales tax that would last 30 years.
“I’m a successful businessman,” said Dillman, who is running against current City Council members Pauline Cutter and Diana Souza for mayor. “ We need to look for creative ways to generate income for the city. I have a lot of ideas to share with the council if elected.”
Dillman said that, as a political outsider, he could use his business acumen to promote San Leandro. If elected, he said he will continue the push toward attracting technology-based businesses to town.
But through it all, Dillman sees himself as a man of the people.
“Now that I’m out of jail, I’m going to talk to people everyday,” said Dillman. “Go out there and see their needs, and see what needs to be done to make San Leandro a better place.”
Thursday, 21 August 2014 14:07
By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times
San Leandro police have arrested three suspects in last week’s shooting at Bayfair Mall.
On Aug. 11 at just before 11 a.m., a 25-year-old man was shot in the parking lot on the east side of the shopping center. He had gotten into an argument with a group of two men and two women inside a shoe store in the mall and they followed him outside and opened fire, police say.
The suspects and victim had all fled the scene by the time police arrived, according to Lt. Robert McManus of the San Leandro police. The victim, a Richmond, resident, was later found at a hospital being treated for a non life-threatening gunshot wound to his leg.
Last Thursday, police released footage from the shoe store of the two male and two female suspects. On Friday, anonymous leads helped them identify an 18-year-old San Lorenzo woman as one of the perpetrators.
San Leandro police conducted surveillance on that woman’s home on the 17100 block of Via Media in San Lorenzo.
On Friday, Aug. 15, the two male suspects, a 19-year-old from Las Vegas and a 20-year-old from Oakland, arrived at the home.
Police arrested all three for attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, according to McManus.
The fourth suspect was identified as a minor. She was questioned and released by police after they determined that she was not directly involved in the shooting.
Police searched the San Lorenzo home and found evidence of the crime, but would not elaborate on the nature of the evidence, McManus said.
Police believe the suspects knew the victim prior to the shooting and that “the motive stems from a prior altercation,” McManus said,
The district attorney has so far filed attempted murder and gun charges against the two male suspects, who are being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin pending arraignment later this week.
Thursday, 21 August 2014 14:04
By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times
Campaign season is up and running, and from now until the November 4 election, we will be taking a look at the San Leandro City Council, mayoral and school board candidates.
Mike Katz-Lacabe is running for the City Council District 1 seat after spending the last eight years on the school board.
Katz-Lacabe says it is his experience that sets him apart from fellow District 1 candidates David Anderson, Deborah Cox, and Kenneth Pon.
“I’ve demonstrated on the school board that I can ask tough questions and represent the public,” said Katz-Lacabe. “I’ve long had an interest in the politics of the city.”
Katz-Lacabe is a frequent public speaker at City Council meetings, often critical of the police department and the council’s decisions, but he says that he feels he’ll be able to work well with even those he has disagreed with in the past.
“I’ve had differences with people in the school board and still maintained good working relationships,” Katz-Lacabe said.
Katz-Lacabe has gotten national attention (including articles in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes) after he filed a Freedom of Information Act request and discovered that the San Leandro police are compiling millions of photos of citizens in their cars, hundreds of his own family’s two cars, and even photos that include his children.
The police department’s license-plate scanning patrol cars were photographing not only cars, but the people and places around them and storing the photos indefinitely.
When that information came out, public outcry led the police to reduce the time they store the photos for one year.
The City Council is currently in talks about setting up stationary cameras and license plate readers around the city, and as a public speaker at council meetings Katz-Lacabe again disputed the necessity of storing photos
Katz-Lacabe says that if elected to the council, he will “absolutely” make an effort to change the police department’s camera policies.
“I would make the police prove that their policies are effective,” said Katz-Lacabe. “For example, Chief (Sandra) Spagnoli said that crime went down in San Pablo after they installed cameras. Well, during that same period crime went down by an even greater margin in San Leandro with no cameras but she left that out.”
He says that, too often, the City Council goes along with reports prepared by the police and other city staff when it is the council that should be setting policy.
“The City Council is there to provide oversight and to dictate policy, not city staff,” said Katz-Lacabe
Katz-Lacabe said that the number one issue the council faces is the budget.
“Everything the council does derives from the budget,” he said. “It’s a document that demonstrates the priorities of the city.”
He says that Measure Z, the proposed sales tax increase and extension that is on the November ballot is being handled badly by the city.
The city called Measure Z an “extension” but it also doubles the tax from a quarter-cent to a half-cent and increases the life of the tax to 30 years.
“I’m troubled by the way it is being sold to the public,” said Katz-Lacabe. “I mean, 30 years is pretty close to permanent. We need to make that clear to voters so we can at the very least have an honest conversation about it.”
If elected, Katz-Lacabe added that one of his priorities would be working to increase the minimum wage in San Leandro.
“We see our neighbors in Oakland doing that and if something is not done on the state level, that’s something we can do on the city level that has been proven to benefit everyone, not just minimum wage workers,” Katz-Lacabe said.
Thursday, 21 August 2014 14:00
Car smashed up in attempted late-night burglary
PHOTOS BY JIM KNOWLES
Jesse Theang (right) and his nephew, Julian Javier, ask why somebody had to do so much damage to a car trying to steal something.
By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times
A San Leandro man heard a crash of glass right outside his house at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, just about the time he gets ready to go to work at a cookie factory.
Jesse Theang jumped out of bed and ran outside. He saw a guy rifling through the inside of his car.
“He was holding my TV deck right in hands,” Theang said. “He didn’t get anything though. All he got was an ass-whoopin’.”
And then Theang said the car burglar ran off but was caught by the police just down the street from the house at the corner of Washington Avenue and Castro Street.
Three of the side windows on Theang’s black Cadillac were smashed and the windshield had a big spiderweb mark where it was struck.
Theang pointed to an iron dumbell in his front yard. “He was using that to smash my car,” he said.
Theang, who works at Otis Spunkmeyer, says he just bought the car and didn’t have insurance on it yet.
“Man, I can’t believe the stuff that’s going on around here,” he said.
Police arrested the 24-year-old suspect who lives in the area for the car burglary, vandalism, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer, according to Lt. Robert McManus of the San Leandro police.
Police rolled up and chased the suspect who tripped on a curb. When a policeman approached him, the suspect rolled over and kicked him, but the policeman was not injured, McManus said.
Police think a possible reason the car was so badly vandalized was because of a dispute earlier between the suspect and the victim.
Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:57
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SLPD
San Leandro police Sgt. Robert Sanchez recently saw his daughter, Taylor, graduate from the Police Explorers. She plans on becoming a cop after college.
Taylor Sanchez, daughter of San Leandro police officer Robert Sanchez, was one of several SLPD Explorer cadets who graduated earlier this summer.
Police Explorer Sanchez successfully completed the second phase of the rigorous Police Explorers academy this year in San Diego.
She was one of 37 explorers in the Phase 2 Bravo Platoon, where she was exposed to training that will further prepare her for a future career in law enforcement.
Sanchez, a 2014 graduate of Foothill High School in Pleasanton, has had a long-term goal of becoming a police officer; and, like her father, would like to serve as a detective in a mid-sized law enforcement agency, specializing in the investigation of crimes against children.
She will begin her college studies this month at California State University Stanislaus.majoring in Criminal Justice, and will seek a minor in Psychology.
If you are interested in becoming a police explorer or learning more about the program, visit the SLPD website for more information or contact Officer Joey Bacon at
Thursday, 21 August 2014 13:54
By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times
The City of San Leandro is sponsoring a bill that will help California cities add broadband networks to their infrastructures.
Assembly Bill 2292, authored by state Assemblyman Rob Bonta, expands the types of projects that financing districts can fund to include high speed broadband, in addition to things like roads and sewers, which were allowed under finance district guidelines.
The bill has passed the state Assembly and is now headed to the governor, who can sign or veto it in the next 30 days. Even if it is signed by Jerry Brown, voters in the cities would have to approve the creation on the districts on a city-by-city basis.
San Leandro does not yet have an infrastructure financing district.
Critics of the bill say that adding broadband would unnecessarily change the districts from just providing essentials and is basically a replacement for redevelopment agencies.
Governor Jerry Brown wanted to get rid of the redevelopment agencies because cities were using it to keep money from the state, which funds public schools, highways and all the other state programs.
Since city redevelopment agencies were abolished by the state in 2011, cities have been looking for new ways to fund local projects.
Mayor Stephen Cassidy says the city chose to sponsor the bill so San Leandro can expand its data loop and so other cities can befit from technology. He testified in Sacramento in favor of the bill recently.
“The traditional infrastructure allowance has been around for a long time,” said Cassidy. “This is a way of adapting to a new technology.”
The city’s current “Lit San Leandro” broadband loop is 11 miles of high speed cable, mostly downtown. So far, over 100 businesses and city buildings have tapped into the network.
The loop will be expanded to 18 miles in the fall. Cassidy says he hopes to expand even beyond that in the near future, mainly in the industrial area.
If the state law expands infrastructure financing districts to include broadband, San Leandro can create a data infrastructure that will attract more technology-based companies, Cassidy says.
“San Leandro is taking the lead to create the infrastructure of the future,” Cassidy said.