EBMUD Looks at Rationing, Rate Increases PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 March 2015 15:30

032615n3By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) is proposing three rate changes that would make water bills rise – a general rate hike, a drought surcharge, and mandatory rationing that could result in penalties for violations.

The EBMUD board of directors held a budget workshop Tuesday to discuss their next fiscal year. The board is considering an 8-percent general rate increase. That comes on the heels of a 20-percent increase in water rates over the past two years. EBMUD says that money will go to replace pipes in an over-100-year-old infrastructure.

On top of the rate increase, the utility is mulling a temporary surcharge due to the drought, according to EBMUD spokeswoman Abby Figueroa. The district wants to buy $55 million worth of water from the state. They had previously considered buying water this January, but put off the decision.

If the surcharge and rate increase go through, the average customer would see a rate hike of about 24 percent total – approximately $12  per month.

The more you use, the higher the surcharge percentage would be – the top one percent of water consumers would have a 45-percent total increase, about $119 more per month. About two-thirds of the district use the average amount of water or less.

If a “Stage 4” drought is declared by the district, mandatory rationing would be put into effect which could also add to your bill in the form of usage penalties.

Currently, EBMUD has asked customers to cut back 15 percent voluntarily and that campaign has been successful, Figueroa said. But now they will be asked to cut back even more.

Figueroa said that the trigger for declaring a “Stage 4” drought is the district’s projected end-of-September water supply. The stage four threshold is less than 325,000 acre feet. As of today, EBMUD projects 260,000 acre feet in their supply, meaning that the stage four declaration is “likely,” Figueroa said.

“Our supply predictions are pretty grim,” said Figueroa. “The forecast and amount of rain we have had so far has been terrible.”

The mandated reductions would be based on a customer’s 2013 water usage –  the average household uses about 7,500 gallons per month so they would need to cut back by 1,500 gallons or be subject to fines.

Using the 2013 rates means those who have already cut back voluntarily in 2014 won’t be penalized for what they’ve managed to do over the past year.

But what if you cut back to the bare minimum in 2013 or before?

Figueroa says the amount of fines has yet to be determined by the district.

If all the proposed increases are approved by the board, the change in a customer’s bill would be “pretty significant,” Figueroa said.

Bills are based on how much water a household uses, so if you cut back, less money is going to EBMUD. So the utility raises rates – effectively raising prices on customers for conserving.

Figueroa says she understands that frustration, but says the district is not being punitive, it is just trying to keep water flowing.

“We thank our customers who have been conserving for years and those who’ve cut back even more this past year,” said Figueroa. “It’s a way of life in the East Bay. This isn’t about punishment, it’s about using every tool we have available, including financial tools, to stretch our water supplies. The surcharges send a clear message to our highest water using customers to cut back because they will feel the biggest impact on their bill.”

The next EBMUD budget workshop is April 14. A vote on the rate increase and surcharge changes to water bills is set for June 9 and. If approved, the rate hikes and rationing would go into effect on July 1.


Overpasses Almost Finished, Finally PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 March 2015 15:29

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

After two years worth of traffic complications, drivers should be relieved by this summer as construction comes to an end on the new I-880 overpasses at Marina Boulevard and Davis Street.

The new overpasses are the biggest part of a $83.4 million I-880 construction project that CalTrans began back in January 2013 and is set to be completed on-time this summer.

The project extends the southbound High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV or “car pool”) lanes from south of Marina Boulevard to Hegenberger Road. Over 3,000 feet of sound walls were also reconstructed, according to CalTrans spokesman Victor Gauthier.

Constructing new overpasses that stretch across I-880 at Marina Boulevard and Davis Street was necessary – since the freeway was getting wider, they had to be wider too.

Drivers have been using the new overpasses for nearly a year, after the old ones were demolished last summer. This snarled traffic as lanes were painted over and reconfigured to reroute to the new overpasses and temporary traffic lights were installed in the construction zone.

In the next few months, the lanes will be permanently marked, a signal will be added at the Marina Boulevard off-ramp and and additional lane added on Davis Street from the southbound off-ramp to Warden Avenue.

Throughout the project, the on and off ramps and some freeway lanes were closed for short stretches, usually overnight.

There is one more closure set for the Davis Street off-ramp to be announced for some time in mid-April in order for equipment and materials to be removed from the site, Gauthier said.


Cutter to Deliver State of City Address PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 March 2015 15:28

Mayor Pauline Cutter will deliver the State of the City address on Monday, March 30,  at the San Leandro Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14th St.

A social hour starts at 6 p.m. and the mayor’s address will begin at 7 p.m., open to the public.

Cutter will provide an update of San Leandro’s “innovation climate” as well as other local developments. Other topics include:

• New investments in infrastructure and public safety funded by Measure HH.

• Various initiatives, including the upcoming Cherry Festival on June 6, as well as other efforts to enhance art and culture.

• Transforming San Leandro’s industrial area into a center for innovation in the Bay Area.

• The city’s ongoing efforts to attract and retain new business investment.

The event is hosted by the City of San Leandro and the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce.

Cutter said a transformation is taking place in San Leandro, made possible by the efforts of residents, business, labor and government agencies working together.


Big Turnout for New McCammon Health Center PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 March 2015 15:25

032615n9A crowd of 400 people came to the grand opening of the Bill McCammon Health Center at the Davis Street Family Resource Center last Saturday.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was followed by a barbecue lunch, activities for the kids, a farmers’ market and health classes.

McCammon, who passed away last October, was the Alameda County fire chief who was president of RotaCare Bay Area, helping to create 15 clinics for uninsured people.

CAPTION: Rose Johnson (right) joins in at the children’s activities table at the grand opening of the new health center named in honor of her late husband Bill McCammon.


Climbing the Career Ladder PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 March 2015 15:23

032615n6The recruits in the Alameda County Fire Department’s newest class got some training in the fundamentals of ladder handing at their academy recently. Meanwhile, the ACFD knocked down a small blaze on the 200 block of Haas Avenue just before 8:30 p.m. on Monday night.  The fire was contained to a small structure and put out in about 10 minutes. One person was treated at the scene for a minor case of smoke inhalation and released. The cause of the fire is under investigation


District Attorney’s Office Settles Recycling Suit PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 March 2015 15:22

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced this month that ALCO Iron & Metal, a metal recycling company headquartered in San Leandro, entered into a civil settlement with her office to resolve allegations that it had underpaid for recycled aluminum.

The investigation began in mid-2014, when a customer reported that ALCO employees had been under-reporting the weight of recycled aluminum that was being processed through ALCO’s industrial truck scale in San Leandro. It was later determined that there were numerous instances involving the same customer in which under-weighing had occurred.

The settlement requires ALCO to implement a series of corrective and preventive measures, including hiring a full-time manager of corporate security to prevent fraud and abuse, installing a video monitoring system and making better disclosures to customers. ALCO cooperated in the investigation and agreed to pay a total of $750,000 in monetary relief.

The Deputy DA on the case was Matt Beltramo.


Watch Out for Tax Scam PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 March 2015 15:22

A couple of our readers have called recently about a scam that they wanted people to know about.

A San Leandro woman this week said she got a telephone call from someone claiming to be with the United States  Department of the Treasury in Washington, D.C.

The man on the phone told her that there was a warrant out for her arrest because she owed back taxes for 2010 and 2011.

The woman, who has always been up to date on her taxes, suspected it was phony and made up an excuse to get off the phone.

The Internal Revenue Service doesn’t make calls like that. If the IRS wanted to contact you, they would send a letter.

Of course, sometimes phony letters are sent too, but you can always call the IRS to make sure the letter is the real thing.


Soroptimists Make Dreams Come True PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 March 2015 15:19

032615n4Since 1972, the Soroptimist Live Your Dream, Education and Training Awards have provided women with resources to improve their education, skills and employment prospects so they can live their dreams.

On March 12, LaToya Gix was awarded $1,000 from Soroptimist of the East Bay so she could live her dream.

LaToya Gix is a student at the Paul Mitchell School, East Bay where she is dedicated to succeeding as a stylist and future business owner, as well as a mentor to others in need. She has done extensive volunteer work for Bay Area Women Against Rape (BAWAR) and seems to make obstacles a learning experience that help her grow.

For more information about this program, visit

CAPTION: Billie Knight and LaToya Gix at their meeting on March 12 where the soroptimist awarded LaToya with $1,000.

Shipments Start To Arrive at Mangal’s Market PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 March 2015 15:16

032615n5By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times

Shipments are starting to arrive again at Mangal’s Market, now that the port labor dispute is mostly settled.

The recent slowdowns at West Coast ports had stalled businesses that rely on imports, including Mangal’s Market at 1699 East 14th Street in downtown San Leandro. But containers are starting to arrive now.

Owner Robert Mangal said his business has received a couple of containers that were hung up during the port slowdown and his inventory is better stocked now.

Mangal’s sells meats and other food products from Fiji, Australia and other countries around the Pacific to individual customers and to stores. Mangal’s goods are popular with people from the Pacific islands.

The labor dispute was settled on West Coast ports in general. But labor and management at the Port of Oakland still aren’t in agreement on a couple of points, so there are still some slowdowns.

CAPTION: Mangal’s Market owner Robert Mangal points out some of the pallets of merchandise that have arrived recently at his store in downtown San Leandro. The shipments were delayed for months during the work slowdown at West Coast ports.


Calling All Young Artists PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Thursday, 26 March 2015 15:07

Congresswoman Barbara Lee has issued a call for submissions for the 2015 Congressional Arts Competition, a year-long exhibit sponsored by more than 300 Members of Congress.

High school students that live in the 13th Congressional District of California – San Leandro, Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, and Piedmont –  are requested to submit one piece of art by Friday, April 17, at 5 p.m.

All submissions should be mailed to: Office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee, 1301 Clay Street, Suite 1000N, Oakland, CA 94612.

A panel of local artists and community members will serve as judges. The winning artist will receive two complimentary airline tickets to attend the national awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. The work of each district’s winner will also be displayed in the Cannon Tunnel of Congress for one year.

Submissions will be posted on Congresswoman Lee’s Facebook page for viewers to vote for the “Fan Favorite.”

“This competition is a great way to highlight how arts education enhances and enriches the lives our young people,” said Lee. “Each year, the Congressional Arts Competition gets better as it highlights the amazing artistic abilities of young people from across the country. We must remember that artistic expression is vital to a student’s academic and personal development.”




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