City Council Opens Door for Big Brother PDF  | Print |  E-mail
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Wednesday, 23 July 2014 15:56

Officials want to keep an eye on you with ‘community cameras’

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

The City Council unanimously voted to install several new security cameras at the civic center, what they called “phase one” of a program that could mean installing surveillance cameras throughout the city.

Mayor Stephen Cassidy took pains to stress that the cameras approved Monday night were only to be installed at City Hall, the police department, and jail.

But this first phase also lays down the infrastructure for further surveillance cameras to be installed around town –  a discussion the council will have this fall.

The contract approved this week calls for 35 video cameras to be installed at a cost of $156,000 from the city’s information technology fund. They will be high definition and record 12 to 30 frames per second. They will have pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities, which will be controlled  and monitored by police dispatchers.

Footage from the cameras will be recorded and stored for 90 days. The cameras will be running by the end of the year.

If approved, “phase two” would include the same brand of cameras installed at places yet to be determined around town using the software and and other technology from the “phase one” cameras.

Additionally, the some of the “community cameras,” as the city calls them, would include license plate readers, according to Capt. Greg Lemmon of the San Leandro police.

The council did not question the installation at civic plaza but did have questions about cameras in public areas.

Cassidy said that the locations of the cameras shouldn’t be decided by police chief Sandra Spagnoli, but by the City Council.

Cassidy also said he wants the cameras overseen not just by the police department, but by the city manager and other city staff as well as the council. He said that a review of the system and its use should be done annually by a third party auditor.

Public speakers also did not object to the city placing cameras around City Hall, but did express misgivings about the potential public cameras.

Mike Katz-Lacabe – who is running for City Council in District 1 this November – said that if the cameras are installed in public places with no expectation of privacy, maybe the footage should be broadcast publicly for all to see on the internet to avoid police misuse.

Katz-Lacabe also said that the City Council should be in charge of the camera policy rather than the police, regardless of whether the police have good intentions and safety in mind.

“Police are not elected officials, they do not represent us,” said Katz-Lacabe.

Speaker Mia Ousley – who is running for the City Council District 5 seat – agreed that, if installed, the cameras should not solely be the jurisdiction of the police.

“Surveillance cameras are a very controversial issue,” said Ousley. “I’m concerned about expanding the program.”


Councilwoman Souza Runs for Mayor PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 15:55

072414n2By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

It may be July, but campaign season has already started, with three candidates so far running for mayor – current City Councilwomen Diana Souza and Pauline Cutter and businessman Dan Dillman.

From now until the November 4 election, we’ll look at the mayoral candidates as well as those seeking office on the City Council for districts 1, 3, and 5 and the San Leandro School Board for areas 2, 4, 6, at the at-large seat.

This week, Diana Souza talks about why she should be mayor.

There is no incumbent running for mayor, as current mayor Stephen Cassidy has decided to bow out after one term and not seek reelection. But Souza said she would have run even if she had to face an incumbent, because she says her plans for San Leandro are in the city’s best interests.

“I’m a person who has experience on the council and who can build relationships throughout the community,” Souza said. “I’ve lived in San Leandro since 1983.”

Souza has served on the City Council, in the District 3 seat, since 2006 and ran for reelection unopposed in 2010. She will be termed out of that office at the end of this year.

“I realized that I’d be termed out but I also still have so much passion and excitement for our city,” said Souza. “I want to keep being a part of all of that.”

Souza has the endorsement of the San Leandro police union and says that adding officers to the department is a big part of her plans if elected, which she says she will pay for by lobbying for grant money.

Souza says the city needs more affordable, workforce housing and she would like to give priority to teachers who qualify to support education in the city.

Souza said she was proud being on the council while the city took a turn to attracting technology-based businesses and said she would do her best to build “an ecosystem” where more business could come to the city and thrive.

And Souza also says she’s a staunch supporter of the extension and increase of Measure Z, the sales tax that was originally one-quarter percent and set to end in 2018, but which is now being put on the ballot in November as one-half cent and set to expire in 30 years.

Souza said that, if the tax measure should fail this fall, she would do her best to continue to put it on future ballots until it passes.

Having been on the CIty Council during an economic downturn that saw the city reduce employee positions by 20 percent, Souza says she is ready to see San Leandro fully recover and grow.

“I think I have the experience, the knowledge and the passion to lead,” said Souza. “I think I can ensure the city stays focused and on the right track.”

It’s not too late to throw your hat into the ring for any office. The filing deadline is Aug. 8.


Fire Damages SLz Apartments PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 15:52



A two-alarm fire damaged several apartments and required the building to be evacuated on Galway Drive in San Lorenzo last weekend.

An apartment building in San Lorenzo had to be evacuated last Sunday after a fire broke out and spread to two-alarms.

The blaze began at around 5:15 p.m. on the 800 block of Galway Drive, according to Alameda County Fire Department spokeswoman Aisha Knowles.

As soon as one fire engine arrived at the scene, they called for additional help, Knowles said.

It took less than one hour for the fire to be knocked down completely.

Five units were damaged by the flames and another five had smoke and water damage.

Residents were not able to stay in the building Sunday night and the Red Cross helped the families that needed aid.

Knowles said that the cause of the fire is still under investigation at this time.

– By Amy Sylvestri

Deputy Shoots Man On East 14th PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 15:51

By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

A county sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man who allegedly tried to attack the officer who was breaking up a a domestic violence assault in the unincorporated area last Thursday.

The victim told police that she was driving in the unincorporated area on Friday, June 18, at around 4:40 p.m. when her former boyfriend spotted her and forced her to pull over.

The suspect dragged the woman out of her car near the intersection of 168th Avenue and East 14th Street and then began to beat her, witnesses told police.

When the first officer arrived at the scene, he found the suspect repeatedly hitting the woman’s head against a car, according to Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.

“The suspect was bashing her head against the car and dragging her up and down the street,” said Kelly. “It was a brutal, bloody scene and she was screaming for help.”

The motorcycle officer, a 15-year veteran of the department, began to break up the beating.

The suspect, 37-year-old Andre Milton of unincorporated San Leandro, got back into his car and tried to leave the scene. He then crashed into a nearby car being driven by a pregnant woman, who was not injured.Milton then changed directions and tried to run over the officer and the female assault victim, Kelly said.

The officer shot Milton several times through both the windshield and the driver’s side window of the car.

Milton was pronounced dead at the scene. The female victim was treated for cuts and other injures at Eden Hospital in Castro Valley and released.

Milton and the woman had previously been involved in domestic violence calls at the woman’s home, deputies said. At the time of his death, Milton had a warrant out for his arrest for possession of a weapon by a convicted drug offender.

The officer who shot and killed Milton is currently out on routine administrative leave. The sheriff’s department is not releasing his name, but Kelly said he expected to be back at work before the end of the week.


Truck Plows Into House of Liquors PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 15:47

072414n3By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times

A San Leandro woman was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving after crashing her pickup truck into the storefront of a liquor store Tuesday night.

The woman entered the House of Liquors at 1167 Manor Boulevard at around 9:30 p.m., bought an unknown item and left.

An hour later, she crashed her truck through a support beam that was holding up a concrete awning and into a wall, according to Lt. Robert McManus of the San Leandro police.

When officers arrived, they found the woman outside of the truck holding her keys and witnesses identified her as the driver.

The officers at the scene said that the woman appeared to be intoxicated and after failing sobriety tests they placed her under arrest, McManus said.

The woman, 40, said she was in pain and was taken to the hospital to be evaluated and was later released and given a notice to appear in court for a possible misdemeanor DUI charge.

The Alameda County Fire Department put up a temporary replacement pole to support the overhanging awning. The liquor store was closed Wednesday.

CAPTION: The House of Liquors in Washington Manor was damaged when a car smashed into the building. Police said the woman driving the car failed the field sobriety test.




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