San Leandro Mayor’s Unholy Alliance With Business Interests

Nov. 21, 2011 | Oh, what happened to the Stephen Cassidy who horded up all the Scrabble letters for “leadership” and “transparency” during last year’s mayoral campaign?

The truth is, he never existed and if not for the inherently wacky twists and turns of ranked-choice voting, San Leandrans would have never known his rhetoric turned empty the very second he aligned himself with the city’s unseemly underworld—the city’s corrupt police department and equally power-hungry chamber of commerce.

In a span of a weeks, Cassidy has decline to comment on the persistent problem of gender and racism discrimination at the police department. The lack of leadership is appalling but expected when you take into account the vast amount of disrespect he has earned among the city’s valued employees. Cassidy’s silence is odd since it was him who forcefully shined a harsh light on public servants like former chief Ian Willis eating high off the city’s hog.

News that two powerful police officers conspired to ultimately set themselves up for a handsome $225,000 payday at the expense of another’s life and career did nothing to entice Cassidy to speak up. When I saw Cassidy at the San Leandro Farmers’ Market two weeks before my story on Dewayne Stancill was published in the East Bay Express, I merely said, “thank you” to him. To which he sheepishly grinned. The day the story came out, he said the city attorney and police chief’s comment would suffice.

Two Monday’s ago, Cassidy appeared to be pushing the current police chief to declining future excursions to help Oakland PD with Occupy Oakland, but she told him to buzz off. In effect, telling Cassidy the respect of peers in the Bay Area meant more than his. A week later, Spagnoli provided officers to a second raid on Occupy Oakland. In fact, there is no respect for Cassidy anywhere in the city and it is not hyperbole. Not among the chief, not among his colleagues on the council, some of whom consistently huff and puff about his shocking inability to run a simple meeting. He does, though, have the support of one important group and that is the city’s chamber of commerce.

San Leandro lobbyist Gordon Galvan was once a great ally of Mayor Tony Santos. When Santos was upset last fall, Tony Santos the San Leandro resident was of little importance to Galvan, one of the city’s most garish opportunists. In a few short months, Galvan in cahoots with the chamber, masterfully blended Cassidy’s menagerie of oddball liberals into a full-fledged pro-business whacks. Cassidy acolytes moved in and out of the chamber’s payroll, current members of the council had their arms twisted in various degrees of pain and a political action committee is slated to pump campaign dollars to pro-business candidates.

Those who accept the chamber’s tainted cash should beware because the groups reach into City Hall is not for the good of the city, but for monied interests outside of San Leandro. For instance, the Village Marketplace project slated to replace the old Albertson’s on East 14th Street would be more honestly named the “Global Marketplace” since outside corporate interests slated for the project include AT&T, Chipotle, Peet’s and British grocer Fresh & Easy. That group hardly screams local when the downtown area to truly be special needs only a butcher, baker and maybe a candlemaker to prosper.

Those who get in the way have tendency to be ousted without official reason. Former city manager Stephen Hollister was let go last December by Cassidy at the behest of this group. Why? Residents don’t need to the details, they say. Instead, just trust us, folks. It turns out Hollister’s ability to keep the city solvent was one the East Bay’s major feats in a era of austerity and flat revenues. On Nov. 7, the city approved moving $3.5 million to reserves. If Hollister was such a paid public servant, then how do you account for this transfer during a time when every other neighboring city is scrounging for any scrap of extra revenue? Nobody gives Hollister or any other city employee credit for this seemingly monumental turn of events. It’s just one of those inconvenient facts for Cassidy’s outside interest to avoid mentioning.

From dirty cops draining the public treasury to manipulative businessmen, undoubtedly, San Leandro is entering an era of exploitation and graft while the police chief forcefully backs the perpetrators and the mayor turns a blind eye. It’s not the bill of goods you sold, Stephen, and it’s far too late to disentangle yourself now or until another cockamamie round of ranked-choice  voting brings the city another illegitimate and meandering mayor.

10 thoughts on “San Leandro Mayor’s Unholy Alliance With Business Interests

  1. Hey try to start a home based business and apply for a business license permit from the city of San Leandro. They want to come to your home and verify that you are there – and charge you big bucks to do so! Even though you have no car traffic (as an Internet business…) What's wrong with google earth?


  2. Why don't you think there's a butcher downtown??? Or a bakery? They can't make a profit. Do you know how long it takes to open a business in this town thanks to your jackass patron Tony Santos? What the hell do you think? Someone swings a magic wand and all of a sudden there's a profitable businss? You think a butcher can survice with all the welfare leeches in town wanting a 5 finger discount?


  3. I never wrote an opinion on any of those matters. I'm saying the chamber is running the show. I personally like Chipotle and all those shops, but don't act like the downtown experience envisioned for that area includes those types of businesses.

    People will from all over will flock to the downtown if it offers something unique. I can go to CV or Alameda for Chipotle, but a nice local bakery or butcher in Downtown San Leandro will entice me to go downtown for those items. Leaders in San Leandro don't get that because of some weird spell of uncoolness that pervades City Hall.

    I'll be honest, this article is a preview of what I'm going to be looking at in the next few months. Galvan and the rest of chamber want to get into the political campaign fundraising business then I'll be watching. As opposed to what they usually do, there are rules in this arena that need to be followed. I bet they won't and I bet I nail them.


  4. Who is Cassidy? I didn't think San Leandro had a Mayor.
    From what I'm told he is never in town, sneaks into city hall on the occasional Saturday when no citizen can accost him about his lack of leadership.


  5. Tavares you're full of shit, plain and simple. When that piece of crap Santos and the CIty COuncil hacks were blocking Red Mountain and Grocery Outlet from going on that site you didn't say jack shit. When they turn around and sell it to Starociak's buddy you don't say squat. When the City wanted more welfare housing on the site you didn't say boo. Now that that stupid Portagee Santos is gone you're crying. HYPOCRITE!


  6. I appreciate your sentiments, but Cassidy is the story. It's the big unreported story in the city. Why dont you hear about? Its part of this article.

    Listen, I didn't want to hear about George W Bush for 8 years, but being tired of a subject is no reason to not report it.


  7. so you're some how trying to pin this whole thing on Cassidy? we get it. You don't like him because he's not Santos. Most likely you would be like this to any mayor who didn't have you up in his corner for all the juicy inside scoops.

    Honestly I like your reporting alot and you shed light on alot of east bay stuff that would no would know about if not for your blog but get off the whole Cassidy hate thing. It's degrading your credibility as a quality journalist


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