City Council Okays High-Tech Center By BART PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 17 April 2014 15:46

041714n2By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

The City Council unanimously voted last Monday night to approve a rezoning plan that will allow for the construction of a new technology campus to be built by the downtown BART station –  three buildings of up to six stories each and a parking garage.

Westlake Development Partners, which owns the land, estimates that 1,800 new employees in technology and other computer-related fields will work in the offices.

The project will be built in three phases and take up to 10 years to complete. Westlake plans to begin construction before the end of the year, according to Tom Liao, the city’s community development director.

“This is a landmark development project,” said Liao. He added that the tech campus would be “an engine” that could propel San Leandro forward.

The tech campus will be part of the city’s recently-created downtown Community Benefit District – a special tax district which pays for security and maintenance among other things.

The first of the three building is set to house an expansion of OSIsoft, the software development company that is run by Patrick Kennedy, who financed the Lit San Leandro project.

Several public speakers addressed the council, most very much in favor of allowing the campus to be built.

“I can see the enormous benefit this would bring to the downtown,” said Garry Offenberg, who owns a business downtown. “It would mean 1,800 employees downtown at restaurants and stores.”

Rose Johnson, executive director of the Davis Street Family Resource Center, said that the project would benefit everyone in San Leandro.

“I think the phrase “A rising tide lifts all boats’ applies here,” said Johnson.

Some Call for Construction To Be Union Labor

But not everyone is thrilled about the new construction. Several union members expressed concern that Westlake may not use union labor during construction.

Christian Alvarez, a carpenter, says he lives in San Leandro and has to commute more than an hour to Tracy every day. He wants Westlake to provide jobs in San Leandro to his fellow workers.

“I want a commitment,” said Alvarez.

Councilman Jim Prola and Mayor Stephen Cassidy both urged Westlake to choose union contractors.

“It’s a good project, and I urge you to have a labor connection,” said Prola.

Cassidy then expressed his excitement about the project moving forward.

“Cities compete against each other and some cites are winners and some cities are losers,” said Cassidy. “We want to create a city that our children come back to after leaving for college.”

CAPTION: Work could start before the end of the year on the field by the San Leandro BART station that will become a high-tech office building. The grassy field was mowed in the past week so that only a few California Poppies survived out of hundreds that grew in the field, and a group of homeless people camping under the trees were kicked out.


Congress Candidates Face Off PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 17 April 2014 15:42

041714n7aBy Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

Congressional candidates Eric Swalwell, Ellen Corbett, and Hugh Bussell seemed more like old friends than political rivals at a candidates forum put on by the League of Women Voters of the Eden Area.

The three each hope to represent San Leandro and the rest of the 15th District in Congress and took questions from a standing-room-only crowd Tuesday night at the Castro Valley Library.

Swalwell is the incumbent, having unseated Pete Stark in 2012. He told the crowd he brings both youth and experience to the job.

Corbett also touted her experience, having been an elected official for the past 20 years, starting out on the San Leandro City Council and currently in her last term as a state senator, where she has written 158 bills that have passed and become law.

Bussell, the lone Republican, promised to bring a different perspective as both a conservative and a non-career politician.

041714n5aCorbett and Swalwell are Democrats and both of the liberals seemed to be seeking out the conservative vote. Swalwell said that he comes from a family of all Republicans and Corbett pledged to bring “respect” to the bipartisan process in Congress.

Both Corbett and Swalwell are attorneys, Bussell is a former high school teacher who now works in high tech.

Bussell got in the only zing of the evening during his closing remarks, asking “Does Washington need more lawyers?”

Topics ranged from NSA surveillance, to fracking, to campaign finance with all three largely agreeing.

Candidates Oppose NSA Snooping on American Citizens

All were against fracking, all said the campaign finances need to be monitored in order to keep politicians honest and said they’d never be swayed by cash, and all expressed dismay at the NSA’s monitoring of the public.

041714n6a“If people are out to get you, it’s not really paranoia,” said Bussell, who said that people need to be aware that they are being monitoring and should be cautious of the information they volunteer online.

Swalwell said that despite the fact that he serves on the Homeland Security Committee, privacy is priority.

“No law abiding citizen should have their data collected,” said Swalwell. “We cannot and must not sacrifice our privacy.”

Corbett agreed, saying “What we have discovered about the NSA is extremely troubling, nothing is more important that personal privacy.”

Bussell did disagree with Corbett and Swalwell on immigration, saying that, while he did not support deportation, he felt that something must be done to prevent illegal immigration in the first place.

“When someone says that someone is an illegal alien, they instantly get vilified,” said Bussell. “But you need to handle the situation with a little judgment as well as a bit of mercy.”

When asked how they would remain in touch with their constituents while working in Washington, all pledged to regularly travel back to District 15.

Swalwell says he’s been back nearly every weekend during his term and has hosted 13 town hall meetings in order to stay in tune with the people he represents.

Corbett says she has been staying in touch during her time in Sacramento and would continue to do so.

“I’ve represented people in this district for 20 years and developed a lot of relationships,” Corbett said. “It’s not necessarily about the number of visits, it’s about being a good listener and getting to know the needs of the people.”

Bussell said he’s lived in Livermore and Hayward for years and taught the children of the district and is also a political outsider, and he wouldn’t be corrupted by Washington.

“There’s a danger of being in the beltway and getting sucked in,” said Bussell. “I’m a little bit older so my character has been formed.”

The top two vote-getters from the June 3 primary will move on to the November election regardless of party affiliation.


Kiwanis Make Cool Donation PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 17 April 2014 15:40

041714n3The Kiwanis Club of San Leandro recently purchased a new ice-making machine for the Boys & Girls Club of San Leandro.

Kiwanis Clubs are community-service organizations that focus on changing the world by serving children, and helping out in the community.

So, it is a natural fit that the San Leandro Kiwanis Club supports the Boys & Girls Club, according to Bob Glotch, the exectuive director of the Boys & Girls Club.

Frank DeMiguel Plumbing was also instrumental in getting the new ice machine installed as they donated all of their time and materials for the installation, Glotch said.

Rod Krug, San Leandro Kiwanis Club Foundation President said that when they heard the club needed a new ice maker, the Kiwanis knew they had to help.

“The new ice machine is a much needed addition to the Boys & Girls Club kitchen and will not only benefit the Boys & Girls Club, but many other community groups that use the Boys & Girls Club facility for their functions,” said Krug.

Glotch says that about 125 children use the club, which is located at 401 Marina Blvd.

The Boys & Girls Club is now accepting applications for its summer program which begins June 16.

For more information, visit

CAPTION: Rod Krug of the Kiwanis and Bob Glotch of the Boys & Girls Club make some ice.


Foreign Exchange Program Looking for Host Families PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 17 April 2014 15:36

041714n4Brush up on your Spanish this summer by hosting an exchange student from Spain.

A group of 25 students are coming to the East Bay and the exchange program is looking for families to host a student for the 4-week stay. The students will arrive on June 30 and leave on July 28.

The students range in age from 13 to 17 and they will take three excursions each week to places such as Great America, Alcatraz, UC Berkeley and an Oakland A’s game, to name just a few. All their excursions and ground transportation are paid for by the EMY program. Host families are welcome on the trips at a discounted rate.

The students come with full insurance and their own spending money. The program will provide a stipend to cover the cost of the student’s meals. Host families are just asked to provide the student with a bed.

For more information, or to be part of this cultural
experience, call the EMY program coordinator Jan Garcia at 749-7061.

CAPTION: A group of exchange students from Spain enjoyed their excursion to an Oakland A’s game when they came to the Bay Area last year.




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