AC Transit Plans: Shorter Routes, and More Buses PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 16:10

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

AC Transit is planning some big changes to more than 40 bus routes, including many in San Leandro. The district says it will be less confusing and you won’t have to wait as long to catch a ride.

The plan, set to go to the AC Transit board for approval on Dec. 9, aims to increase convenience and frequency of buses, largely by shortening routes.

For example, many lines would be turned into two shorter straight routes, instead of one larger loop, to make it easier for riders to plan trips.

AC says that will mean fewer delays, more busses, and the transit district anticipates hiring over 100 more drivers to run the new routes. Under the new plan, the vast majority of busses would arrive in intervals of 30 minutes or less.

AC Transit says that their “central county” lines, which cover San Leandro, Hayward, and the unincorporated area, are among their least profitable – accounting for 9 percent of ridership but using 13 percent of revenue.

The transportation district believes they can improve ridership by changing all lines with 60 minute frequency to 30 minutes to make riding more appealing. AC Transit also says that the shorter routes will make more casual weekend riders more likely to hop on a bus.

Among the changes in San Leandro and San Lorenzo will be a 15-minute crosstown route from Foothill Square into Cherryland, increased service to Kaiser from both north and south routes, and Line 85 will be spilt in two and the frequency of busses will be increased to provide San Lorenzo with more connections to Bayfair and into Hayward.

All of this will be funded via Measure BB, the sales tax that voters approved last year as an extension of the original tax that first passed in the year 2000.

Measuer BB is a 30-year sales tax expected to generate a total of $8 billion, of which about $30 million a year will go for bus service and maintenance.

The full list of proposed changes and animated route maps are available at

The changes are expected to go into effect in the spring.


Kerr Retiring from Oro Loma Board PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 16:06

112615n3By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

Howard Kerr, the vice-president of the Oro Loma Sanitary District board of directors, is stepping down next week after 30 years in the elected office.

Kerr, 92, says he has decided to retire because he’s getting older and has some health problems. He was just reelected last year to a 4-year term set to expire in 2018, but says he no longer feels up to it.

Kerr’s last meeting will be Dec. 1 and a temporary replacement will be appointed in January to serve until next November, when the spot will be up for public vote.

Kerr has long been an active member of the community, serving for four years on the San Leandro City Council in the 1990s, as a Washington Manor Little League coach and umpire, and as a member of the Washington Manor homeowners’ association for 65 years.

Kerr graduated from UC Davis with a degree in dairy studies and began his career with the City of Oakland as a dairy inspector. From there, he worked as an environmental health specialist, in the sanitation division, and for the employment and housing programs.

“I came a long way from cows,” Kerr joked.

Oro Loma provides waste and recycling and wastewater treatment for customers in parts of San Leandro, San Lorenzo, and Castro Valley and is governed by a five-member board.

The utility’s general manager Jason Warner said he was sad to see Kerr go.

“He left the district far better than when he arrived,” said Warner.

Warner said Kerr’s achievements include helping Oro Loma pay off all the district’s debt and use all-cash funding for projects while maintaining the lowest rates in the Bay Area.

Kerr said he’s happy to have been a part of an efficient team and believes the district will continue being successful in the future.

“We’ve accomplished a lot and I know the board and the employees will continue that good work,” said Kerr. “I’m leaving it in good shape.

As for his plans for retirement, Kerr says he’s happy to have no plans.

“I’m retiring, period,” said Kerr. “I’m retiring from everything and from making plans. I’m happy and I am going to relax and watch football and enjoy myself.”


Fire at Safeway Facility PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 16:00

112615n1A trailer at the Safeway distribution center caught fire Monday, Nov. 16 at just before 10 a.m.

Firefighters arrived at the plant at 2000 Adams Street to find one trailer completely engulfed in flames near a building that was in danger of going up, according to Aisha Knowles of the Alameda County Fire Department.

Knowles said there was a great deal of black smoke and it was not immediately known whether the building was involved.

The ACFD contained the fire to the trailer and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

CAPTION: A semi trailer at the Safeway distribution plant caught fire last week.


SLPD Citizens’ Academy PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 16:03



Here is the 2015 graduating class of the San Leandro police’s Citizen’s Academy, who completed at 10-week course earlier this month. The academy members got classroom and hands-on instruction from SLPD officers, including talks on the selection and hiring of employees, the 911 communications center, patrol and investigative procedures, crime prevention and community outreach programs, ethics in law enforcement, and tactical operations.  The SLPD will be offering another academy for members of the public in 2016.

PG&E has Plan for Low-Income Homes PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 15:58

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is offering a money-saving program called  California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) Program. Currently, more than 1.4 million income-eligible customers throughout Northern and Central California are enrolled in CARE. However, an estimated 14 percent of eligible customers are not signed up for the program and are missing out on significant energy savings – including nearly 20,000 households in Alameda County.

After signing up for the program, combined gas and electric customers receive 30 percent or more in monthly savings on their energy bill; gas-only customers receive 20 percent or more in monthly savings.

Customers can apply for CARE at


Durant Ave. Gets a Break from Traffic PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 15:56


The residents on Durant Avenue have been complaining about the speeding cars and the truck traffic for some time. The neighborhood finally got the traffic calming device it needed in mid October, says Gus Roldan of the Durant Avenue Task Force neighborhood group. The sewer line was being repaired and that shut down traffic completely. “Hip hip hurray, and thank you sewer line for giving us a break from the traffic,” Roldan said.

Veteran Utility Board Member Laython Landis, 89, Passes Away PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 15:46

112615n2By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

Long-time elected official Laython “Judge” Landis has passed away at the age of 89.

Landis served on the board of the Oro Loma Sanitary District for over 40 years, elected by the public 11 times, though he left office this year under fire for using a racial slur. He also served on the San Leandro City Council from 1976 to 1984.

Landis died of natural causes on Nov. 15 and no public service is planned. He said he was the nephew of Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first commissioner of baseball and a federal judge.

During Landis’ time on the Oro Loma board, the utility was awarded by the state for being among the most efficiently run in California.

The board also eliminated all of its debt while maintaining the lowest rates in the area.

Landis’ long time in public office came to an end earlier this year when he voluntarily stepped down from the Oro Loma board after calls for his resignation following his use of the “n-word” during a meeting last December.

Landis maintained that he was using the word as part of a colloquial phrase that he heard growing up and said that he was not racist.

The board also said Landis made an inappropriate comment to a female employee and was drunk at a conference.

In a statement, Oro Loma general manager Jason Warner said the board took a moment to acknowledge and remember Judge Landis at their Nov. 17 meeting.

“In the closing comments, several directors noted that the events of his last year cast a shadow on many of the great things he accomplished in the community and the district in his prior 40 years,” said Warner. “Director Roland Dias expressed his wishes that (Landis) rest in peace.”

At the time, Landis also said it was a shame that the controversy overshadowed his time on the board and said that he truly enjoyed working with Oro Loma and representing the public for four decades.

“This whole thing is sad because it means a lot to me to be on the board,” said Landis last spring. “And the employees think highly of me. They gave me a gift thanking me for my first 40 years of service.”


SLED Raises Tidy Sum for Schools at Annual Gala PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 15:49

112615n4Over 360 attendees enjoyed a night out at the Casa Peralta in September in support of the San Leandro Education Foundation’s third annual “Evening Under the Stars” Gala. The event raised a record $51,000 for schools in the San Leandro Unified School District.

Guests enjoyed high-energy Latin/Soul fusion music provided by recording artist Orlando Torriente and friends and food catered by Acapulco of Alameda which added to this year’s ranchero theme.

“This has really has become San Leandro’s premier fundraising event. One of the things I like most about it is that it brings parents, community members and elected officials out,” said parent and former school trustee, Mike Katz.

“This year’s gala was a huge success thanks to generous sponsorship from Kaiser Permanente and FH Dailey along with over 30 other business and individual sponsors. We also had groups of friends come together to sponsor a table which was a tremendous amount of fun. My favorite table names were BattleSLED GALActica and an alumni table, Pirate Spirit of ’79,” said SLED Executive Director, Morgan Mack-Rose.

Special thanks goes out to the Jefferson Service Club, Key Club and Interact from San Leandro High School which provided over 25 student volunteers to staff the event from set-up to clean up.

“We really could not do this event without the energy of these amazing high school students. I was amazed that many stayed until 11 p.m. that night only to run in a cross country meet at 6:30 a.m. the next morning,” said Mack-Rose.

The San Leandro Education Foundation is the primary conduit for individuals, businesses and foundations to support schools in the San Leandro USD.

The Foundation focuses its efforts in three areas: positive youth development, S.T.E.A.M. enrichment (science, technology, engineering, art/design, and math), and volunteerism. Its activities also include a free weekly e-newsletter for parents and community members to see student work and hear about what is happening across the school district.

More information can be found at

CAPTION: High School students served at the SLED gala at Casa Peralta.


Eden Health and Davis Street Join Forces PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 15:54

Eden Health District and San Leandro’s Davis Street Family Resource Center have joined forces to provide expanded medical services.

Eden Health (formerly the Eden Township Healthcare District) is focused on investing in health and wellness programs, while Davis Street’s mission is to provide child-care, emergency food and clothing, and medical, dental and behavioral health services to those with the most need and the least access.

“Davis Street approached the (Eden Health) District about a partnership in the federally Qualified Health Center and we thought it was a natural progression of our 20-year relationship,” said Eden Health CEO Dev Mahadevan in a written statement.

Both agencies have been working together for the past 18 months to structure their agreement.

Highlighted for expansion under the partnership are a Diabetic Management Program and the Community Behavioral Health Program.


Forget Black Friday – Shop Locally and Help an Eden Area ROP Student PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 15:42

112615n9By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

The kids in the Eden Area Regional Occupation Program (ROP) are learning about business and marketing by actually running a business –  creating and selling discount cards.

It started last year when students in teacher Rick Charles Business & Finance ROP class created their own product for a national young entrepreneurs’ contest – a kind of “Shark Tank” pitch in front of a panel of business professionals.

The idea was to contact local businesses and see if they’d offer customers a discount on services and then sell a special discount card to people, called the “Your City Gold Card.”

Those students, Samantha Faxon and Sharlyn McClendon, wound up beating 1,500 other kids in the Bay Area and won a trip to New York, where they placed 12th in the nation.

The idea was so good that it captured the attention of San Leandro business Continental Western Corporation, a packaging supply company, which helped the kids make their  marketing material more professional and also helped redesign the students’ website.

Now, the whole ROP business class is in on the act, contacting shops and restaurants and expanding their client list and then selling the cards. The idea is to get the kids invested in a business instead of just talking abstractly in a classroom. The students get commission on their sales, so it’s a part-time job for them, too.

“The kids are treated like they are professionals and they get to learn by going out there and doing it,” said Charles.

The Eden Area ROP offers high school students in the  San Leandro,  San Lorenzo, Castro Valley, and Hayward school districts over 130 career-preparation courses.

This year, they have got the endorsement of the Eden Area Chamber of Commerce and convinced over 40 local businesses to participate by offering discounts.

You’ll recognize lots of businesses offering discounts including gyms, movie theaters, cafes, and even the Lake Chabot marina.

The 2016 card is set to go on sale in early December. If you want to buy one, check out or buy one from an ROP business student or email Charles at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

CAPTION: Eden Area ROP students Samantha Faxon and Sharlyn McClendon had such a good business idea, it got them an all-expense paid trip to New York City last year with teacher Rick Charles (left). This year, the whole ROP class is in on the action and they got over 40 business to sign up for their discount “gold card.”


Chayote Plant Grows Wild on Dutton PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2015 15:37

112615n7By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

Rich Rangow planted a chayote in his yard and nature took it from there.

The vines grew up the fence and all the way along the driveway to the garage. Another chayote he planted in the backyard grew up all around the gazebo.

The things grow like crazy, and Rangow says he’s never had to use a drop of water.

“I never watered them,” he said. “They’re drought resistant.”

Now he has a table full of chayote that he gives away. It’s an edible plant from Central American that can be cooked like squash.

People stop at Rangow’s house on Dutton Avenue all the time to ask about the plant, because they see the vines growing in his yard. He says mostly Hispanic and Asian people stop because they know what it is.

Rangow is glad to give away the produce. They’re so easy to grow.

“It’s incredible,” Rangow said. “They grow anywhere. I planted them last year and they just grew. It’s pretty darned cool.”

CAPTION: Rich Rangow’s picnic table in his backyard on Dutton Avenue is covered with chayote from his vines. He gives the plant away to neighbors and anybody who stops by and asks.




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