Police Union Says Dual Endorsement is Intended to Stifle Cassidy

By Steven Tavares

It wasn’t anything Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak said that lead the San Leandro Police Officers Association to split their endorsement for mayor between her and Mayor Tony Santos, it was a statement against their challenger, Stephen Cassidy, said the police union president.

“He is not a friend of the POA,” Sgt. Mike Sobek, president of the SLPOA said of Cassidy.

The reason for the surprise dual endorsement after the union initially announced its full backing for Starosciak last month came from two factors, said Sobek. “The board, at the time, thought Joyce did better at answering our questions,” he said, in addition to unknown factors stemming from the city’s use of a new election system “With ranked choice voting, we felt the public needed to know there were two good candidates out there,” Sobek said, who admits nobody quite knows how the intricacies of RCV will play out.

He was unequivocal, though, in saying the dual endorsement was anti-Cassidy. The candidate’s consistent stance calling for reform of city employee pension and opposition to Measure Z has rankled city employees. The city says the proposed sales tax increase to 10 percent will reinstate city jobs, especially at the police department.

“He wants to balance the budget on the backs of city employees,” said Sobek. “He’s taking lessons straight from the playbook of Meg Whitman.” Santos has also criticized Cassidy’s ideas as right-leaning in the past as did Starosciak last week during their second candidates forum. “That man makes a ton of money and he’s talking about working people paying their share,” Sobek said of Cassidy’s occupation as a consumer attorney.

Cassidy said Tuesday that he agrees with Sobek in support of bringing the police force to full-strength. “Where we disagree,” said Cassidy, “is solely on the issue of whether San Leandro can continue to afford to pay 100 percent the cost of its employee pensions.” Cassidy called for the police department to join other cities and agencies like the Alameda County sheriffs and firefighters, along with police officers in San Francisco in contributing annually to the cost of their pensions. “Otherwise,” said Cassidy, “we will see continued reductions in our police force and San Leandro could join Vallejo in declaring bankruptcy, placing the safety of our community at risk.”

Despite the police union’s comments on Cassidy, numerous sources last week told The Citizen the group had become increasingly disenchanted with a few of Starosciak’s public comments in the weeks after receiving their endorsement. At a Sept. 8 forum, Cassidy called out Starosciak for comments vaguely critical of city employee pensions. Cassidy told the audience her answer that night were in opposition of comments she gave days before to the Alameda County Central Labor Committee.

“We can also hold our employees accountable for their good pensions,” she said that night. “It’s important to remember: good pay should equal good results,” She also called for the unions to make concessions regarding their pension during collective bargaining, which two city employee unions had already agreed to earlier this year. Starosciak also raised eyebrows during at Sept. 21 city council meeting when she grilled representatives from the Alameda County Fire Department and city police over funding for the increased interoperatibility of emergency radios.

The SLPOA’s rebuke of Cassidy follows an equally stern criticism of Cassidy’s handling of the now-fired school superintendent Christine Lim last week from Starosciak leading some to believe the former school trustee’s quixotic run for mayor is gaining support with a month until election day.

Categories: Christine Lim, election, Joyce Starosciak, mayor, Mike Sobek, pensions, police dept., police union, Tony Santos

19 replies

  1. Like we didn't already know that the Police Officer's Association wants to pad and feather their own nest. No news here.


  2. Remember, the San Leandro PD is the one who fought to get paid for changing their uniforms and won – this is a very entitled group of officers.

    Additionally, they have cost city taxpayors a lot of money in sexual harassment lawsuits – from an officer continuously harasing a woman for a date after illegally using police power to pull her over (case already settled) to institutional discrimination against women on the force.

    Not sure it's such a bad thing when you're the candidate this special interest group doesn't like.


  3. I like the slpd, but the quote of 'this man makes a ton of money' is …rich coming from cops that start at 70+k and many make over 100k.


  4. What do you expect from Sobek?


  5. cops don't think joyce can win- hedging there bets


  6. Hedging their bets? Or feathering their nest? Either way, crime will continue to be high in San Leandro. Where and what is all this pay going to them getting us? The highest car thefts in Northern California???? And all the flatfoots can say is; “we can't be every where all the time”???? Yeah, but they sure know when and where to knock on doors for increased taxes to pay their bloated asses.


  7. Manuel

    Why dont you post your address so the cops and fireman know you dont expect there help.

    It will save on expenses


  8. All anonymous posts…every single one…you guys & girls and in-betweens afraid of the cops?

    This comes down to requiring cops to pay into their pension. Cassidy wants them to, and I bet many folks would agree with Cassidy.

    As I've told my cop & fire buddies, what's wrong with you paying into the system just like many others? I put my own money in my IRA…but turns out one of my best friends does too because “you never know when the shit will hit the fan,” believing that some day, the nonsense will come to an end. I hope so.


  9. 30 years ago(before Reagan) public and private salaries and benfits were roughly equal. My first couple of jobs actually had pensions. Reagan destroyed the unions and the middle class and public sector unions got stronger. Today government workers have it good everyone else got hosed.
    Now instead of trying to boost private sector benefits and pay a lot of people are just trying to bring down people who get better pay and benefits than they do.
    The solution is to make public companies give decent benefits not cry about people who have strong unions.


  10. Wow Local, I guess the 104 is your IQ score. Your sense of self worth far exceeds your knowledge of history. 30 plus years ago Government work was always less than private sector because there were never any layoffs and few skills were required.

    In the past 20 years public employees have used a heavy hand through crooked politicians and voter intimidation in order to raise taxes and boost their pay and benefits.

    The worst thing that ever happened was allowing public employees to collectively bargain. Which is an oxymoron in itself considering that you have government workers bargaining with other government workers for money that is not theirs to begin with; it's the taxpayers money. So we have “management” milking the taxpayers and “workers” milking the same cash cow. Now that their scheme is falling apart and the private sector is unable to be tax any further we have dolts like you who will be knocking on doors this weekend crying poor mouth and wanting other people's taxes to be raised in order to pay your lazy butt.


  11. Most of the discontent with municipal unions comes from the lousy current economic situation. In the race to the bottom of the global economy few private sector workers have gotten an actual raise since the 80's. The unions are acting like interest groups but that's how how all interest groups act.


  12. I believe the discontent with municipal unions comes from the high taxes levied to pay a lavish pay, benefit and lifestyle for work that does not warrant such.


  13. Steve, looks like Jason Sweeney at ABAG and the Hayward Review has finally learned how to report intelligently and without partisan screaming, heard so often in the blogosphere. In fact I daresay that he has you scooped.

    Excellent articles on the mayors race as well as districts 1 and 5. Perhaps you will begin to meet this challenge with quality reporting and podcasting.

    Being respectful and professional certainly is refreshing. Maybe Nick will buy you a steak?


  14. Mr. O'Mordha, Jason Sweeney is gone from the Daily Review for a year. When he comes back, it is likely he'll return to a shutter shop window.

    I hope you're kidding about those articles. Do you know they were from quesionnaires? Would you like canned responses from a list of questions? Would you? It would be much easier for me, but I don't think you read The Citizen to be bored, but to be enlightened and entertained.

    I'm going to repost the Citizen Manifesto because I think some readers, maybe new readers, don't have a grasp of the technical points this site represents.


  15. You read the Daily Review? Or,are you one of this large group of people who tell me, the paper just appears on their driveway unsolicited and unpaid for?


  16. If Sobek and the rest of these flatfoots are doing such a DAMN good job then why the hell are they out living in Dublin? Why don't these big mouths put their money where their mouths are; pony up and live in the town that they “do such a great job”.


  17. Agree with the above. Who the hell cares who the Police and Firemen want elected? I sure as hell don't. As far as I'm concerned they are the hired help and we should care even less about who they want for elected office. They work for the taxpayer not the other way around. So until these guys put their money where their mouths are and live in this town their opinion doesn't count.


  18. Agree with both of you above. If you do not live here, you have no say in who is elected to Mayor or City Council. Period, end of story.


  19. Steven, I read the Daily Review, it is my BART commute paper. $35 per yr for Mon thru Fri home delivery. It is just right for BART as it does not require much time and has nice short stories with no depth! (pathetic paper in reality, but for the price it serves its commuter purpose).


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