Construction on Apartments Starts in December PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 25 September 2014 23:00

092514n5By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

Over 100 parking spots at the San Leandro BART station will soon be closed due to the construction of a new apartments, and BART officials are working on a plan for replacement parking.

Construction will begin in December on the Cornerstone, a five-story, 200-unit apartment building at 1400 San Leandro Boulevard, east of the BART station.

The Conerstone project is a low-income apartment complex. Residents qualify if they make 30 to 60 percent of the city’s median annual houshold income of $65,300, about $19,600 to $39,200.

The new building is scheduled to be open by the spring of 2016, said Tom Liao, deputy community development director for the City of San Leandro.

Liao said one of the provisions that the city agreed upon with the developers of the apartment was to provide replacement BART parking once the construction is completed. That parking will be under the apartment complex and open to the public.

The construction will cause 120 parking spaces to be closed, out of a total of 1,270 spaces available at the San Leandro BART station, according to BART spokesman Jim Allison.

The spaces that will be closed are “daily fee” spots – people riding BART can purchase a one-day pass to park there. Other spots in the surrounding lots are monthly reserved, which people can pre-pay for online, Allison said.

With some daily fee spots unusable, BART will have to decide how many monthly fee spots need to be converted to daily spots. Allison said that will be a challenge as all the parking is usually full by 7:45 a.m. on weekdays.

“There is a lot we are trying to mitigate, but I’m confident that we will have a plan in place by October or November,” said Allison.
Allison said they are in the process of looking to find alternative space for parking during the closure.

He said when similar construction was happening at the Pleasant Hill BART station, BART hired professionals to park the cars because they were more adept at getting many cars into a tight space.

“It was valet parking essentially,” said Allison. “That might be one option for San Leandro.”

CAPTION: Construction on the apartments will begin in December in what is now a BART parking lot across San Leandro Boulevard.


Oakland to Stick with Waste Management PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 25 September 2014 22:56

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

The Oakland City Council reversed an earlier decision about their trash collection contract, now staying with Waste Management, a move favored by San Leandro City Hall.

In August, Oakland decided to sign a 10-year, $1 billion waste pick-up contract with California Waste Solutions instead of renewing its contract with Waste Management. That would have meant that San Leandro would lose about $500,000 annually in fees from the trash that Waste Management processes at its Davis Street Transfer station.

Waste Management responded by filing a lawsuit against Oakland, saying the city unfairly negotiated with California Waste Solutions. Waste Management also hired signature-gatherers to put the contract on a ballot for Oakland voters.

Waste Management then made a counter offer on the contract that matches California Waste Solutions’ offer and the Oakland council voted to accept it on Monday night.

Also under the new contract, California Waste Solutions will now handle all of Oakland’s recycling contract. Previously, they’d handled half the city’s recycling and Waste Management did the other half, but Waste Management agreed to the compromise to get the trash contract.

The new contract is $36.82 per month for a single family home and will take effect in July 2015 – a 24 percent raise in rates for Oakland customers, the same as what California Waste Solutions was proposing.

The garbage contract got attention in San Leandro after City Councilman Benny Lee spoke at a previous Oakland City Council meeting urging the selection of California Waste Solutions as they are a local family-owned company and Waste Management is a larger operation based in Texas.

Mayor Stephen Cassidy was upset that Lee would support a contract that would hurt the city financially and Lee later said he was unaware of the severity of the fiscal impact on San Leandro when he made his comments.

Cassidy himself spoke in front of the Oakland Council at Monday night’s meeting, urging them to pick Waste Management.
“I talked about how it was a good deal for the people of Oakland and that it would insure that their trash would still be picked up, because the reality is that California Waste Solutions doesn’t have the infrastructure in place like Waste Management does,” said Cassidy. “I told them it was also a good thing for San Leandro. I tried to highlight that San Leandro is a new center of innovation and that what Waste Management is doing is part of that innovation.”

With the contract in Oakland in place, Cassidy said he expects Waste Management to go forward with a $100 million expansion at the Davis Street Transfer Station.

“That is a huge investment in our community, it creates jobs and they’ll be coming to us with permit fees,” said Cassidy. “It’s a nice sum of money for the city.”

Busy Davis Street Intersection a Danger Zone, Woman Says PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 25 September 2014 22:52

092514n4By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

Don’t even get Carrolyn Bryant started on the intersection of Davis Street and Warden Avenue.

You’ll remember that intersection if you’re ever had the misfortune of having driven through it. It’s that traffic nightmare at the entrance to Office Depot and Walmart.

You can’t blame Bryant for feeling the way she does. The only way out of her Davis West neighborhood is on Warden through that intersection – there’s no other escape route.

And almost every time she sits in the backup waiting for the light, she says cars run the red light, making the intersection all the worse.

“The other day I was sitting there and three cars went through red lights and then an 18-wheeler went through,” Bryant said. “It’s just all day long. People are just not following the traffic rules.”

Once she gets through that mess, she winds up on Marina Boulevard which she says is just about as bad.

“They need to get some police here and ticket,” Bryant said. “It’s not rocket science.”

Tickets would get the message across, in Bryant’s opinion, because the lights don’t seem to be working.

“I don’t know what the traffic lights are there for, decorations?” she asks.

But police are stretched thin, said Lt. Robert McManus of the San Leandro police. He says the patrol cars have a lot of ground to cover.

“We have reduced staff right now. Officers are on overtime,” McManus said. “We’re working with our allocation for the police department. We would love to be in every intersection and make sure nobody runs a red light.”

McManus asks: Should the police patrol that intersection? Patrol the schools to make sure they’re safe? Or patrol the neighborhoods and make sure people’s homes are safe?

Some intersections have red-light cameras, McManus mentions, in a plug for an effective if unpopular means of traffic enforcement.

McManus says that if people notice a lot of violations at certain intersections they can call the traffic division at 577-3228.

For pedestrians, the Davis and Warden intersection should just be labeled “Off Limits.” Bryant says she just prays for anybody walking in that crosswalk.

A crosswalk sign said “Walk” for about 2 seconds, and then, if you do walk, the traffic pours out of the shopping center turning left onto Davis and you just hope those drivers see you.

The construction on the Davis Street overpass and onramps probably adds to the confusion at Davis and Warden, which Bryant says is out of control.

The freeway connection work is scheduled to be finished in 2015, but that doesn’t sit well with Bryant, who says, “So we got another year of this mess?”

CAPTION: The intersection of Davis Street and Warden Avenue near I-880 is very dangerous and people constantly run the red light, says a nearby resident.


Lopez in the Running for District 5 Councilwoman PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 25 September 2014 22:49

092514n7By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

School board member Corina Lopez is looking to break into city politics with a bid for the District 5 City Council seat.

Lopez is running against Leah Hall and Mia Ousley in District 5 and she says she’s the best candidate because of her elected experience on the school board and on the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee.

“On the school board I’ve made public policy that has impacted San Leandro in a major way,” said Lopez. “And on the Central Committee I have a large constituency base that I’m representing.

Lopez said some of those  decisions included implementing bond money that led to the renovation of Burrell Field and working to open a student health clinic.

Lopez says her time on the school board will help her strengthen the relationship between the city and schools.

“I’m a firm advocate for public education,” said Lopez, who went from public school to being an Ivy League graduate and now runs her own computer consulting business. “A strong school district will help retain families that might be considering other communities and those families can benefit San Leandro.”

Lopez says she’ll bring vision to the council and get the ball rolling on projects the public wants.

“Some things have been envisioned by the community that haven’t come to fruition,” said Lopez.

Specifically, she’d like to see the downtown Transit Oriented Development plan be completed with more housing. She would also like to speed up development at the marina.

“The work should be done sooner rather than later,” said Lopez. “It’s time for the community to have more opportunities as far as recreation.”

Lopez supports Measure HH, the 30-year, half cent sales tax that will be on the November ballot as an extension and expansion of Measure Z. In fact, Lopez is on the Measure Z oversight committee and helped the city gather public opinion on the extension.

“I’m a strong advocate for the tax,” said Lopez. “But I’m also dedicated to accountability and making sure the money is spent responsibly.”

Lopez’s endorsements include Assemblyman Rob Bonta, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, the Alameda County Democratic party, the San Leandro teachers’ and police unions, and current San Leandro city council members Ursula Reed and Jim Prola.

“I’m running because I believe San Leandro has a bright future and there are a lot of things I want to accomplish to help the city,” said Lopez.

The election is  Nov. 4. Ranked choice voting will be used and voters can pick a first, second and third place candidate in each race.

Aguilar Makes Bid for District 3 Council Seat PDF  | Print |  E-mail
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Thursday, 25 September 2014 22:45

092514n6By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

Victor Aguilar has wanted a life in politics since he was in grade school and he says that passion, plus his experience aiding a city councilman make him the right choice to represent District 3 on the City Council.

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been involved in politics,” said Aguilar. “I did student council in elementary school, high school, and college, and I want to make a change for San Leandro.”

Aguilar will face off against Allen Schoenfeld and Lee Thomas for the District 3 City Council seat in the November election.
While at school at Pasadena City College in Southern California, his first class was political science. Soon after that, Aguilar got an internship with Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alatorre and that internship eventually became a full time job.

“Politics became a passion,” said Aguilar. “It taught me how to reach out to a community.”

Aguilar then got his bachelor’s degree in political science from Hawaii Pacific University.

Aguilar and his partner moved to San Leandro in 2011 and he is currently the president of the Floresta Neighborhood Association. He works in San Francisco as an account manager for a firm that provides legal consultation.

In his spare time, Aguilar volunteers with the Starlight Children’s Foundation, the National LGBT Bar Association, the Human Rights Campaign, and Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF).

If elected, Aguilar said he would focus on adding affordable housing and creating jobs.

“I’m a big fan of Lit San Leandro and bringing new business to the city,” said Aguilar.

Aguilar also supports Measure HH, the half-cent sales tax increase and 30-year extension of Measure Z that will be on the ballot.
“I’m a strong supporter of Measure HH,” said Aguilar. “It could bring in more police officers for the city and it could lead to the creation of leadership and mentorship programs for our children and children are our future.”

Aguilar says that it’s time to do something at the marina, even if it means dredging cannot happen.

“We need to look at out options and the council has said that all resources have been exhausted,” said Aguilar. “The marina needs to be a place where the economy is boosted, which could be with shops and restuarants.”

Aguilar is endorsed by the Alameda County Democratic Party and the South Alameda County Young Democrats.
“I love this community and I will be dedicated in serving it,” Aguilar said.

The election is  Nov. 4. Ranked choice voting will be used and voters can pick a first, second and third place candidate in each race.

District Honored for Portable Project PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 25 September 2014 22:39



San Leandro school district bond consultants Jean Moore and Gail Williams of Harris & Associates, bond director John Dominguez,  Rebecca “Beci” Anderson of Beci Electric and NECA president Kurt Brinkman proudly display the award for the work on a portable classroom replacement at Washington Elementary School.

San Leandro Unified School District and the electrical contractor Beci Electric, Inc., recently received an award for excelling from the  National Electrical Contractors Association for their work replacing portable classroom at Washington Elementary School.
“It is an honor to have our team recognized,” said John Dominguez,  district bond director. “This is indicative of the quality of planning and effort that goes into every bond project.”

The total cost of the Washington classroom project funded through savings on the school district’s Measure B bond is $2.2 million.  
The project was judged for the award in five areas: difficulty of installation, originality, aesthetics, quality of workmanship, and application of technology.

Stores Fined for Illegal Waste Dumping PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 25 September 2014 22:38

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy  O’Malley, along with 34 other California District Attorneys and two City Attorneys, announced recently that Massachusetts-based retailer The TJX Companies, Inc. must pay $2,777,500 as part of a settlement of a civil environmental prosecution.

The TJX Companies, Inc. operates throughout California as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods brands.

The judgment is the culmination of a civil enforcement action  led by the District Attorneys of Alameda and Monterey counties, claiming that more than 286 stores throughout the state unlawfully handled and disposed of various hazardous wastes and materials over a five and a half year period.

Those hazardous wastes and materials included electronic waste, cosmetics, batteries, mercury lamps, personal care products, aerosol spray cans and other toxic and ignitable materials.

Phyllis Hoffman Born in San Leandro a Century Ago PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 25 September 2014 22:35

092514n3Phyllis Hoffman was born in San Leandro one hundred years ago yesterday and lived here for a good part of her life.

She had a big birthday party with friends and family on Saturday in Castro Valley where she lives now. She’s a regular at the Friday Bridge Club at the Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Castro Valley.

Hoffman recalls attending San Jose State College, as it was called at the time, when she lived in San Leandro.

“I drove down to San Jose every day in a 1931 Ford Roadster with a rumble seat,” she said.

Hoffman exercises daily at the Baywood Court residence and believes in moderation in everything. She has three children and became a great great grandmother earlier this month.

CAPTION: Phyllis Hoffman (center), who turned 100 years old this week, plays bridge every Friday and exercises every day.

Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale Set for October 4 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 25 September 2014 22:34

The Friends of the San Leandro Library will host the Fall Book Sale on Saturday, Oct. 4, in the Karp and Estudillo rooms of the San Leandro Main Library, 300 Estudillo Ave.  

The sale is open to members of the Friends of San Leandro Library beginning at 9 a.m., with non-members welcome to join at 11 a.m. until the sales ends at 4 p.m.  A Friends membership is available to the public for $10 per year for individuals and $15 per year for families. A free continental breakfast will be available before shopping.

Over 10,000 quality books covering just about every subject and genre will be available for sale at bargain prices.  The sale includes children’s books, reference items, CDs, DVDs, software programs as well as collectible books. All items for sale are in good or excellent condition.

New memberships can be obtained the morning of the sale, although early registration is encouraged.  Book sale proceeds help support San Leandro Public Library programming. For more information, call the San Leandro Library Information Desk at 577-3971.

High School Students Sign Up Now to Learn the Ropes About County Government PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 25 September 2014 22:32

Alameda County is currently accepting applications for Youth Leadership 2014-2015, a five-session program focused on leadership and local government designed specifically for county high school juniors and seniors.  

This free award-winning county program will accept approximately 35 high school juniors and seniors representing various geographic areas in the county to come together on five Saturday mornings over five months to hear presentations and discuss what it takes to be an active participant in local government as a resident, an employee, a community leader, and an elected official.  
Apply online at by Saturday, Sept. 27. Students will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis by supervisorial district, city and school.

“We are excited to begin the 13th Youth Leadership Academy,” says Board of Supervisors President Keith Carson. “It’s an excellent way for high school students to learn about Alameda County government and to practice leadership skills while meeting students from all over the county.”

“We’re looking forward to sharing information with the students on a wide range of county programs as well as receiving some dynamic feedback from our participants on youth interests and concerns,” says County Administrator Susan S. Muranishi.

Session dates are Oct. 4, Nov. 1, Dec. 13 in 2014 and Jan. 10 and 31 in 2015.  Sessions will also focus on the role of county government in delivering critically-needed services, such as public assistance, public protection and the wide variety of youth-focused programs offered by Alameda County. Students will have an opportunity to visit various county facilities.  

Youth Leadership 2014-2015 is sponsored by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the County Administrator’s Office.



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