Mayor Suspends Council’s Decision Tabling Measure Endorsement

By Steven Tavares

The political winds sweeping across San Leandro abruptly changed Tuesday night once the school board unanimously voted to endorse the city’s 10 percent sales tax hike. The move has forced Santos to scramble to return the district’s favor. Santos announced Wednesday morning his intention to use powers given to the mayor under the city charter to suspend the city council’s 4-3 vote Monday night to table discussion of the school district’s ballot measure.

San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos struck a grim tone yesterday as to whether its school district would endorse the city’s ballot initiative Measure Z a day after the city council tabled its backing of Measure M–the school board’s own $50 million school sports facilities bond.
This is only the second time in Santos’ stint as mayor that he has used powers written into the city’s charter to overturn a council decision. Santos used the same powers earlier this year to suspend a council vote in opposition of ranked choice voting. The council later approved the new election system set to debut this November.

Section 305(h) of the city charter reads: The Mayor “posses the authority to suspend implementation of any action taken by the Council by filing with the City Clerk, within three days after such Council action, a notice of suspension thereof. Such suspension shall constitute a motion for reconsideration of the action taken, to be voted upon by the Council at its next regular meeting.”

Councilmembers Joyce Starosciak, Bill Stephens, Ursula Reed and Diana Souza successfully voted to table the endorsement this week after a long and often contentious debate over whether the council had the jurisdiction to vote on resolutions not at least partially emanated from their body. Included in the motion was a plan to send the question to the council’s Rules and Communication Committee, which meets Sept. 28. Santos, Stephens and Councilman Jim Prola sit on the three-member rules committee.

Prola, whose wife, Diana Prola, also sits on the school board of trustees, has been a strong backer of both measures and is believed to have been working through back channels to gain the school district’s support of the proposed sales tax increase.