By Steven Tavares

San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy has told at-large commissioners appointed by the former mayor not to bother re-applying for their posts. Despite a perennial lack of viable candidate to serve on the city’s eight boards and commissions, Cassidy is looking elsewhere, according to some who were unceremoniously denied.

Sources say Cassidy told some former members whose term ended last December he was aiming at replacing all of Tony Santos’ at-large appointments, but this is not true. OB Badger, a former councilman and member of the Personnel Relations Board will be retained as will Recreation and Parks Commissioner Benny Lee. According to a source, Lee may be switched to another commission, possibly the Library-Historical Commission. The retention of Lee is peculiar since he is not believed to have been a supporter of Cassidy during the campaign and, in fact, spoke recently at a council meeting in opposition of using ranked-choice voting in future elections.Cassidy parlayed 35 percent of the vote into victory last November using ranked-choice voting.

Among Santos supporters on the chopping block include Kent Myers, the chair of the Personnel Relations Board and Charlie Gilcrest, chair of the Board of Zoning Commission. Former city council candidate Corina Lopez was also a Santos appointee to the Human Services Commission. Lopez may be the city’s most viable Latino politician in a local government devoid of participation by such a large demographic. Incidentally, Lopez received far more votes for council than Cassidy received for mayor, further illustrating the slight to the Latino community.

Finding enough interested candidates for the commissions is often a problem. Each post entails a four-year commitment with a varying number of meetings. Some like the Board of Zoning Commission meet twice-a-month while others meet quarterly.
Cassidy is also looking to tilt control of the important Shoreline Citizen Action Committee. According to city staff, Cassidy will ask the council to approve adding three more at-large appointees to the already robust 30-person committee discussing the future of the San Leandro Marina. In addition, he is also asking for a fourth appointee for new Councilwoman Pauline Cutter. The CAC/Shoreline Committee has been meeting inconsistently for the past two years leading some to wonder whether four new members can accomplish much so late in the game. During the campaign, Cassidy had broached the idea to residents of Mulford Gardens he would favor putting various proposals up for a city-wide vote. A detailed proposal for the so-called 40 acre “jewel” of San Leandro is likely to be released this year.