Councilmember Jim Prola

SAN LEANDRO//2014 ELECTION/MAYOR | San Leandro’s most liberal city councilman says he is not interested in running for mayor next year. However, if the city’s notorious Mayor Stephen Cassidy upsets him, he might change his mind.

“I have no intention to run,” said Prola during a break in the action at Tuesday night’s council meeting. “I know it’s a weasel answer.”

Prola, the District 6 council member representing the city’s marina west side, is one of the most progressive voice in the East Bay. In fact, his support for labor is so strong, most union shops readily admit they save resources by simply “allowing Jim to handle it for us” in San Leandro.

On Tuesday, Prola voiced support for the possibility of adding two public security cameras in San Leandro. However, he pushed for language potentially limiting the retention of video and license plate reader data to just 90 days. Such restraint for privacy concerns was noted by some in contrast to a belief Oakland council members last July voiced little pushback to a citywide surveillance system.

For months in San Leandro, there has been chatter urging Prola to challenge Cassidy, a moderate Democrat who won the mayor’s race in 2010 on a rigorous platform of  reducing city employee pensions. The potential to attract large amounts of campaign fundraising from labor, eager to fight Cassidy, makes Prola a significant threat. Prola acknowledges he can raise “significant dollars” if he runs, but he’s not interested.

With Cassidy standing in the background Tuesday night, Prola added if Cassidy “gets him upset” over an issue in the future, he might reconsider.

In the meantime, the list of possibly challengers for mayor include: Bal Theatre owner Dan Dillman, who ran for city council last year; Cynthia Chandler, an attorney; and possibly Mike Santos, the son of former Mayor Tony Santos, who was defeated by Cassidy in 2010.

Earlier this year, there was also some indication current Councilmembers Diana Souza and Michael Gregory, both termed out next year, might mount a challenge. Sadly, San Leandro’s perennial candidate, Lou Filipovich, passed away last year having never won an election.