Reed’s Rant: Like Wow, Ok

These are very tense times for the San Leandro City Council. It might be difficult to see by the slight sneers and pointed, but passive aggressive remarks, if you only watch this group in action. The atmosphere in Hayward is vastly different, yet they still have their disagreements. The difference? Hayward doesn’t have a councilmember running against a sitting mayor and San Leandro does.

The council is now clearly split between Mayor Tony Santos and Vice Mayor Joyce Starosciak and the difference of opinion between councilmembers is spilling over into the city’s business whether it’s Ranked Choice Voting, AC Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit proposal or contentious discourse between members and the mayor.
This fighting is apparently too much for one councilwoman. Ursula Reed ended Monday’s meeting with a message for the council: “stop the fighting,” or, “can’t we all just get along?” or, “Don’t criticize me, I’m just a volunteer,” or, “It’s the fault of those pesky blogger(s)!” For all we know, her speech was about all of the above? Read it here:

It was interesting because you’re sitting in a room campaigning and talking about political things, it seems to me whenever there is an election season, it brings out the best and sometimes the worst in people. From a volunteer standpoint, being a volunteer pretty much all my life, I feel like working as a city council member is a public service. It’s not necessarily a place where we get all kind of money and get all kind of recognition. I think that in the public service of being a city council member we also get darts thrown at us a lot and get talked about and peeled apart. We put ourselves out there just for that but because we do that we are here to serve the community and the public. I guess, I’m a little unnerved right now. I’ve been reading blogs and things that are very disturbing. Just the communication that is going back and forth and it’s only April. The election is in November. I’m feeling like, wow, ok, this is quite early for all of this to be happening. My hope is that throught all of this that we focus on public service to the community and try to stay focus throughout this election year.

Immediately after Reed’s rant, Santos said, “That is an excellent comment” and detailed a late evening phone call he received last week in which the caller described critical words directed at the mayor. “There is no reason for that type of thing occurring,” said Santos. “We may have disagreements from time to time, but that is what the democratic process is all about.”

The funny thing about the speech and Santos’ comments is Reed was likely criticizing the mayor’s comments in The Citizen, but Santos apparently did not make the connection and then quickly ran with the message to criticize the person who had made comments about Santos. That person, incidentally, was sitting in the audience watching the entire spectacle.

-STEVEN TAVARES
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