City Attorney to Starosciak: Don’t Get Involved in Election Squabble

By Steven Tavares

The San Leandro City Attorney’s office advised Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak to not get involved in Heron Bay’s dispute among some residents over the homeowners association’s board elections, according to the numerous sources.

According to a memo from the city attorney’s office, Starosiciak was told the city had no jurisdiction to inject itself in the association’s election procedures. City Attorney Jayne Williams did not return a phone call for comment.

In an email sent Aug. 5 by Starosiciak to the city council referenced conversations between the councilwoman and city attorney before and after sending a letter to the Heron Bay Homeowners Association asking for information about its contentious March board elections. Starosciak says constituents in Heron Bay had raised concerns over the eligibility of some candidates and the timely disclosure of the election’s results.

The four-page letter from Starosciak is laden with numerous references to the Davis-Stirling Act which allows planned developments a means to govern themselves. Heron Bay Homeowners Association President Michael Ostwind said he and other homeowners objected to the tone and the perceived “demands” in the correspondence while fiercely protesting Starosciak’s right to intercede in its business. Ostwind called for the councilwoman, who is also running for mayor, to resign and raised the possibility of litigation against the city and/or Starosciak.

According to a source who has spoken with the city attorney’s office, Starosciak may be on the hook for any legal expenses in the event Heron Bay files a lawsuit. Starosciak declined to speak on the issue because of the possibility of legal action against her.

The burgeoning controversy comes at a time when the race for mayor is beginning to heat up. The five candidates, including incumbent Mayor Tony Santos will face-off in a forum Sept. 8 at the Marina Community Center. The fall races for both mayor and city council will feature the city’s initial use of ranked choice voting to elect city leaders.