|San Leandro mayoral candidates (left-right) Stephen Cassidy, Mayor Tony Santos, John Palau, Sara Mestas and Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak Sept. 8 at the candidates forum in San Leandro.|
CASSIDY CALLS FOR PENSION REFORM; STAROSCIAK: TRADER JOE’S
By Steven Tavares
All politics is local, yet the areas of concern for mayoral candidates at a San Leandro forum last week mimic those both statewide and nationally. Pension reform, business quality of life issues allowed the four candidates hoping to unseat incumbent Mayor Tony Santos a chance to peg their policy differences in front of a large Wednesday night gathering of over 350.
Santos’ job last week was extensively to fend off criticism from all of his opponents the city’s economy during the four years has been lacking along with a less than rosy outlook for the future. “I kept business strong when other cities were not,” Santos said while mentioned the construction of the new Kaiser Permanente building–the biggest construction project in the city’s history, according to Santos.
Starosciak, whose campaign has failed to gain much momentum, called for city employees to make concessions during collective bargaining. At one point in response to a question on employees and pension reform she said, “Good pay should equal good results.” She reiterated her platform calling for “low crime, good schools, well-paved roads” and good places to shop. Her constituents say there are eschewing dining and shopping in San Leandro for better places in Castro Valley and Pleasanton. In a flyer passed around Wednesday, Starosciak vowed to bring premium stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market to the city.
Activist and rapper Sara Mestas attempted to carve a niche as the outsider candidate saying, “I have no allegiances to any special interests, only to the citizens of San Leandro.” Mestas said she would create both union and non-union jobs in San Leandro and believes economic development will get the city out of its current troubles. She curiously offered keeping pensions for the police department at 100 percent while others would only contribute slightly. Later in the forum, she reversed herself saying all employees should contribute to their pensions.
CONTINUE SCROLLING FOR THE QUOTE SHEET FROM THE SEPT. 8 FORUM