SLPD: Tell us about your experiences.

The San Leandro Talk blog has moved. You can find this post at: http://sanleandrotalk.voxpublica.org/2011/05/23/slpd-tell-us-about-your-experiences-2/

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San Leandro cop arrested for selling pot

The San Leandro Talk Blog has moved. You can find this post at: http://sanleandrotalk.voxpublica.org/2011/05/20/san-leandro-cop-arrested-for-selling-pot/


San Leandro gears up for Constitutional fight.

San Leandro Talk has moved. You can now find this page here: http://sanleandrotalk.voxpublica.org/2011/05/07/san-leandro-gears-up-for-constitutional-fight/


Have a Beef with the School Board? Cut Mike’s Tail!

Congratulations and Thank You to Rob Rich for winning this auction! Roosevelt Elementary is several hundreds of dollars richer, and after Sue of Level 5 Salon did her magic, Mike looks younger and thinner than ever. Thank you Sue!

Come on, admit it! You aren’t entirely happy with how the San Leandro School Board is doing.  In particular Mike Katz-Lacabe (aka “my husband’)  should be doing a much better job!  Maybe you are a teacher and angry at him because he stuffed your classroom with kids, maybe you teach PE and resent that the Board cut your hours next year, maybe you are a parent and resent his views on homosexuality, religion, race or uniforms…  Perhaps you are even a former superintendent and really have a beef with him.

And there is no reason for this to end there!  Are you a personal friend of former trustees that he helped defeat?  Do you hate Mayor Cassidy? Mike helped elect him!   Are you upset about how high your property taxes are?  Mike worked to pass two bond measures for the schools.  He is despicable.

Now it’s your chance to get back at him.  You know that long, luscious brown hair that is his pride and joy?  That soft, smooth, silky mane that gives him that sexy heavy Jesus look?  Well, you can now rid him of it!  Cut if off, leave him looking like a hedgehogRoosevelt Elementary will be holding its annual Spring Auction this Saturday, May 7th, starting at 5 PM (at the Veteran’s Memorial Hall on Bancroft Ave.).  Mike will be auctioning his ponytail to the highest bidder during a live auction at the end of the night.  The winner gets to cut it off him or herself, in front of a live audience, and then donate the ponytail to the Locks of Love charity.  If you can’t be there, maybe you can get someone else to bid and do the deed for you (Tony Santos, here is your chance at revenge!).  But don’t miss this unique opportunity.

Now, here is the best part.  Sunday is Mother’s Day so you know he won’t be able to get a real haircut until Monday at the earliest – so you can have the satisfaction of having him looking goofy during my special day.  You hate me too, right?

So come to the event and bid high!


Come pray at the Senior Center!

I pride myself on being San Leandro’s most infamous atheist.  I came into local prominence a couple of years ago when I challenged the San Leandro School District to stop teaching overtly religious songs in school.  I had been appalled to find out that McKinley Elementary School‘s evangelical Christian music teacher, Kathy Maier, had made my 6-year old learn and sing the song “Silent Night” which praises Jesus as God.  Not kosher in my book. So when I read a letter on last Thursday’s San Leandro Times accusing the city of establishing religion by allowing the Calvary Chapel church/religious group to hold services at the newly opened Senior Center, I had to investigate what was going on.  And apparently it’s much ado about nothing.

Calvary Chapel is a small religious group started/run by the Cortez family, who relocated their ministry to San Leandro  from the city of Guadalupe in late 2009.  They are fundamentalist neo-Pentecostals (competition for Faith Fellowship?) but they don’t seem to make too big a deal out of speaking in tongues.  They’ve been meeting at the Marina Community Center since they started, and apparently now they are moving to the Senior Center. I don’t know if that’s because the Senior Center is more centrally located or if they were able to see the signs predicting the end of the Marina center.

Meeting rooms at the Marina and Senior Centers are available for rental by any member of the community.  Non-profit groups, apparently including churches, are charged reduced non-profit rates during non-peak hours and regular rates during the peak hours that Calvary Chapel mostly reserves.  Any group is allowed to use these facilities, provided they pay the appropriate fees & deposit, have insurance  and don’t have a history of trashing the facilities.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with that.  I don’t really want the government to have to inquire as to what every group who rents a room at a public building is going to do in the room.   Whether a group of people want a room to hold masturbation workshops,  have a Barbie convention or pray to imaginary cosmic entities, it’s really nobody’s business but their own.

The fees that Calvary Chapel pays the city for the use of its facilities, moreover, help tremendously in keeping the Senior Center open.  And who can complain about that?


The Librarian is watching you… but not while you surf.

Last Thursday’s San Leandro Times included a number of interesting letters from local citizens.   One that particularly caught my eye was sent by Leo West and concerned the use of monitoring software on the networked computers at the library.  According to the letter, “any librarian can log in and watch what any computer-user is watching – contacts, contents of materials received or sent, websites used, everything”.

I talked to the library about this issue and I was told that the software in question has been installed so the city’s IT department (the library does not have its own) can troubleshoot computer problems over the network, from their home base at city hall.   Librarians themselves can only access the software for very limited purposes (like extending the time a patron can use the computer).  IT staff will access the software when a patron reports a problem, so the patron will be aware of what the staff is doing.

No records are kept of patron’s computer sessions.

Personally, I’m not overly concerned about the library staff or the IT staff at city hall watching over my shoulders (in particular after 5 PM, I very much doubt anyone is left over at City Hall after working hours) – but this tool potentially could be misused.  That’s just as true of a pencil, however.


Want to fix San Leandro? Run!

Are you, like me, unhappy about the idiotic decision the San Leandro City Council made in renewing the contract with Redflex, the red-light camera company, for eight years?  Do you wonder how we got into that whole pensions mess that risks bankrupting the city?  Are you angry that the City pays its law firm over $1 .2Million a year but cut down on swimming pool and library hours and did away with the Cherry Festival and the Christmas Tree lighting?  Well, you have no one but yourself to blame.  YOU are the one who voted for this Council.  It’s YOUR fault.

Ok, that’s sort of unfair.  I voted for them too.  Truth we told, we didn’t have a choice.  Most of members of the City Council ran unopposed or faced opponents with even fewer qualifications than themselves.  We voted, in many instances,  for the lesser of two evils – but a lesser evil is still an evil.

Ask anyone who follows San Leandro city politics closely and they’ll tell you the biggest problem is finding competent candidates.  Running for office (if you get a serious, even if incompetent, opponent) can be expensive and time consuming, there are few perks to being a Council Member and, if you take your role seriously, it’s a lot of work.   Unless you need an extra $1200 a month or have political aspirations, the only reason to do it is to help your community – and lets be honest, most of us are not that civic minded.  But without that civic mindedness we end up where we are.  So really, take on the challenge – run for office!

The next City Council elections will be in November 2012.   The seat for District 4, which mostly includes Washington Manor, will be up for grabs as Starosciak will be termed out.  Prola (District 6, the Marina) and Reed (District 2, southeast San Leandro) will face re-election.   To run for a city council seat you must live within the borders of the district you are running for (look at the map) – so if you don’t live in those areas you’ll have to wait until 2014 (when Gregory from District 1 and Souza from District 3 will be termed out, Cutter from District 5 will probably run for re-election).

I’ll be honest with you: running for City Council is not going to be easy.  In District 6, Jim Prola is virtually indestructible.  Not only does he come with all the strength of organized labor behind him, but he’s a tireless campaigner.  He’ll walk every street of San Leandro during the campaign – twice – and will have fun doing it.   Ursula Reed, on the other hand, is more vulnerable.  While defeating an incumbent in San Leandro is very hard (Michael Gregory, for example, easily got 65% of the votes in the last election), it’s not impossible as Cassidy’s defeat over incumbent Mayor Santos showed.  Reed ran a very good campaign in 2008, but it was against an opponent who relied on her name recognition alone and did not campaign.   Reed received a lot of support from part of the progressive community in 2008 that may no longer be there in 2012.  I think that a progressive candidate that could create a good grassroot campaign would be able to defeat her.

The District 4 Washington Manor seat, however, is wide open.  There have been whispers about a couple of people running for that seat but nobody has announced as of yet and none of the potential candidates are well know.  If you live in the Manor, you are smart, competent, willing to do a lot of work and make sound decisions – and preferably (for me) progressive, you should seriously consider running.

The Alameda County Democratic Party will be holding a “running for office” workshop on May 14, 2011, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m at  UFCW Local 5 in Hayward.  This would be a great place for you to start if you are intrigued by the notion of a 2012 City Council run.  For more information e-mail  info@acdems.org or call 510.537.6390.