Challenger Turns the Heat on Gregory, Current Administration

By Steven Tavares

David Anderson has been quiet in his run to unseat San Leandro Councilman Michael Gregory, until he made a run at the incumbent’s record last Thursday night.

Gregory, who represents District 1, has run on his record from the past four years. His term also coincides with a period of declining revenues and steep cuts to city employees and services. Anderson, who previously served on the Oakland school board before moving to San Leandro, says the city’s actions during the past few years has been slow and obstinate. “He has been there four years,” Anderson said of Gregory’s time on the council. “San Leandro has been moving at snail’s pace.”

Anderson had pointed words for the city’s decision to build the still-empty senior center near San Leandro Hospital. “It is appalling to build a $15 million senior center without a budget to run it,” he said. “There’s no way it should have been built and not staffed.” Afterwards, he told The Citizen, while walking precincts he has heard a constant refrain from residents saying the city has turned a “deaf ear” to their problems.

In response, Gregory said after the conclusion of the second candidates forum at the Marina Community Center, “I don’t understand what he’s talking about.” Gregory pointed to the construction of the new Kaiser building and the city’s noted Transit-Oriented Development strategy as proof San Leandro is moving forward despite a nagging economy. “We are positioned well in the Bay Area to attract businesses,” Gregory said of the city and believes it can do a better job of branding itself as a center of green technology in the future.

On the topic of the city’s proposed sales tax increase on the November ballot, all four candidates for the two open seats voiced support, although some views were tepid, including Anderson and current school board trustee Pauline Cutter, who called it a “short-term solution.” San Leandro businesswoman Corina Lopez, who is Cutter’s opponent for Councilman Bill Stephens’ termed-out seat in District 5, warned if Measure Z is not passed next month the city risks losing more police and services like popular recreation spots and libraries.

Lopez also sternly refuted the idea the quarter-cent sales tax increase would deter residents from making big ticket purchases at the city’s automobile dealers on Marina Boulevard. According to Lopez, any foray made by a San Leandro resident to purchase, say a car, in another city would still pay the proposed 10 percent sales tax.