The Amazing Shrinking Mayor Emerges Just In Time For Re-Election

ILLUSTRATION-RIGHT PHOTO/Steven Tavares LEFT PHOTO/Shane Bond

SAN LEANDRO | Now you see him, now you don’t. San Leandro’s rotund Mayor Stephen Cassidy is looking noticeably svelte in just the past few weeks. Is the puffy, pink-faced mayor on a crash diet or has he gone the route of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and undergone a procedure to shed the pounds just in time for the beginning of his re-election campaign next year?

Cassidy, right, Thursday with
State Sen. Ellen Corbett.

In the graphic above, Cassidy’s transformation is noticeable. The photo on the left was taken last Mar. 28 at a special council meeting discussing the possibility of medical cannabis dispensaries in San Leandro. The photo on right, however, was taken yesterday, just over two months later, at the grand opening of the Zero Net Energy Center.

Cassidy’s typically pink hue is gone and his face and chin are clearly thinner than any time since he came on the political scene over four years ago. He also doesn’t fill out his suit like he once did.

The change in physique is not only thing apparent about Cassidy. He could also be signing like Patti LaBelle and her famous weight loss anthem, “Ooo Ooo Ooo Ooo I’ve Got A New Attitude!”

During the past few City Council meetings, the normally arrogant Cassidy known throughout the East Bay for his consistent attacks on public employees and rude exchanges with fellow council members, has become something of a sweetheart in both the tenor of his voice and demeanor.

In fact, during Thursday’s event featuring Gov. Jerry Brown, one speaker praised the energy neutral building and lauded the state’s progressive politics and labor movement. The large crowd applauded the sentiments behind the remark, but Cassidy sat noticeably still for a moment before mustering just two begrudging claps in support of labor.

Cassidy sits in a dunk tank in 2010.

A similar, but far less dramatic transformation occurred during Cassidy’s 2010 run for mayor. Normally nattily-dressed with a wild and curly poof of hair on his balding head, it became clear to Cassidy’s campaign team, this version of the candidate would not strike an attractive pose to voters. In short time, Cassidy rolled to the upset ranked-choice victory over Tony Santos always in suit and tie and short, clipped hair.

Cassidy wouldn’t be the only “Biggest Loser” in the East Bay, though. Alameda Councilwoman Lena Tam has also undergone as dramatic physical change of late. However, not in such a short period of time as Cassidy.

If anything, Cassidy’s extreme weight loss can, at least, be view as good leadership. San Leandro wasn’t named the fattest city in Alameda County for nothing.

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