Santos Reflects On His Public Service

As I say farewell to city government, I want to say I am proud of my service to our great city. San Leandro has always been known to have stable government and I am sure that will always be so. There isn’t any question the city has had many successes over its history of 138 years. One of the first to have a sewer system, one which allowed the community to grow in the early part of the twentieth century.

I want to say goodbye to Councilmember Bill Stephens. He can be proud of his achievements, especially his work with the General Plan Advisory  Committee. His shepherded a plan which will remain with us for many years into the future. Also his dying efforts to make certain our city budget was always balanced. He can truly say all of the budgets he worked on were balanced. It was difficult but the budget has always been balanced and while we leave in a down economy, Measure Zs passage should allow for a more sustainable financial future.

I say to our employees to hang in there and don’t give up what you have earned and deserve.

My individual achievements will always remain with me. Helping to stop the “Southern Crossing” and Route 61. I told the people of Marina Faire and Mulford that as long as I can, Route 61 will never become a reality and it hasn’t nor will it ever. Forming NAACSL was a fantastic achievement. I along with Mason Rashid, Francois Gallo, Jim Athey, Lois and Norman Brown, Kent Myers and Bill Stephens helped to put this very successful program together. It has led to quieter skies and the school district was able to receive over $5 million to sound insulate several of our schools. I also was instrumental in having passed a neighborhood preservation ordinance, a noise ordinance and preserved over 400 acres of open space along our shoreline opening the way towards developing an environmentally sound Shoreline/Marina policy. I also enjoyed the “Coffee with the Mayor” program. This allowed many to come and air their ideas and problems to City Hall.

I cannot say enough about our employees. They have sacrificed much over these past several years. They have had their pay cut and we have lost 20 percent of the best employees in the county. We were involved with discussing pension reform before it was en vogue. I say to our employees to hang in there and don’t give up what you have earned and deserve.

We leave with a transit-oriented development strategy in place. One that when fully implemented will reduce greenhouse gases and which will get people to use transit. Our membership in the Green Corridor will lead to green jobs and get our people back to work. San Leandro has created jobs over the past several years, over 3,000 construction jobs now going on at Kaiser and when it open in 2013, there will be over 2,000 permanent jobs and many of those workers will be living here in town.

I am happy with the work I did lobbying for those police positions–five in all–coming on board. Thanks to our public safety officers, without them we would not have the livable community we have.

I do see a problem with our school system and it needs to be improved. Our at-risk kids need help and at the moment they are not getting the assistance they need. Further, our school test results have not been good and need to be improved. Our kids need the best education possible in order to compete in the global economy.

I am most pleased that we will be dedicating the new Senior Center on Dec. 16. When finally opened, seniors will have a place they can call their own. In closing, I leave knowing I am leaving behind the best government in the county and I say to all, as stated in my first State of the City address: “Know your city and be proud to live, work and play in the best city in the country.”