ELECTION ’12//SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL DIST 2 | San Leandro City Council candidate Morgan Mack-Rose accused her opponent Councilwoman Ursula Reed of misusing taxpayers’ dollars by pursuing a proposal earlier this year to purchase iPads for the council’s use. Mack-Rose also faulted Reed for accepting one of the city-issued iPads, but the incumbent Reed vehemently denied the assertion.
“Check your facts, sister,” said Reed after Tuesday night’s candidates forum near the Marina Community Center. During Reed’s closing statement, she took aim at a recent mailer sent by Mack-Rose to area seniors calling her out for buying top-of-the-line iPads for the council’s use. “That is incorrect,” said Reed. “I have my own iPad that I had bought and I use it every day.”
Lasts January, the council approved buying the popular hand-held computers for council members and some top managers to defray costs associated with the printing and delivering of agenda packets. The decision is not unusual. San Leandro was one of the few remaining East Bay council’s not using iPads instead of bulky agenda packets. The nearby Hayward City Council has be using city-issued iPads since late 2010.
Reed said the impetus for the council’s vote to purchase iPads was a cost-cutting measure, not an extravagant use of taxpayers’ money and saves the city $20,000 annually on photo-copying. “There’s all these things that we can cut that are actually frills and we don’t need frills.” Reed added.
Mack-Rose, though, stuck to her claim and equated it with her own time as a school trustee presiding over the city’s financially struggling school district, “It would be unconscionable to take iPads when we didn’t have enough money for papers for our students and I question the validity of the councilwoman’s statement that she did not accept an iPad, because she did.”
“I have no idea where she got her facts,” said Reed, afterwards, “because that didn’t happen.”
In fact, Reed is correct.
According to the city’s Information and Technology Department, Reed was never given a city-purchased iPad for her use as a council member.
It is not the first time Mack-Rose has offered a falsehood to voters this campaign season. At a candidates forum last week, she erroneously said the city’s faced a budget deficit last year when it had not and has proffered a tactic warning voters the city’s settlement with Faith Fellowship Church would bankrupt its treasury when, in fact, the expenditure would come out of a self-insurance fund.
Mack-Rose also levied a potentially more serious allegation against Reed Tuesday night when she accused her of gaining the endorsement of public safety unions as a quid pro quo for the current labor negotiations between the city and labor. “You heard my opponent has the personal endorsement of the police and firefighters union, but, let’s be clear,” said Mack-Rose, “those endorsements and the campaign funds that come along with them is about the current contract negotiations as much as anything else.” Mack-Rose denied the use of the term, “pay-to-play,” but stood by her statement, nevertheless.
Reed again denied the accusation saying, she received the endorsement of public safety unions four years ago and labor tends to stay loyal to a candidate. She also said the amount of financial support from the unions has been negligible—just $500 from the firefighters—along with permission to trumpet their endorsement on campaign lawn signs.