Chinese Flag Raised At San Leandro Marina; Protesters Scuttle Similar Ceremony In Alameda

San Leandro Councilmember Benny Lee addresses an audience at the city’s marina following a flag-raising ceremony in honor of China’s national day. PHOTO/Steven Tavares 

SAN LEANDRO//FLAG FLAP | They couldn’t fly the Chinese over San Leandro City Hall, so over 100 Chinese Americans in San Leandro, instead, moved it Tuesday to the city’s scenic marina. Meanwhile, pro-Tibetan protesters in Alameda scuttled a similarly planned flag-raising in front of their City Hall to celebrate the country’s national day.

Lee raising the Chinese flag at
the San Leandro Marina
PHOTO/Steven Tavares

Demonstrators carrying signs protesting the Chinese occupation of Tibet chanted and placed themselves in front of a banner celebrating the founding of the current Chinese government, said those who attended both events. Representatives from the Chinese counsel general’s office urged their group to refrain from moving forward with the ceremony.

Although the current controversy over the flying of the Chinese flag in public spaces started last Sept. 16 after San Leandro Councilmember Benny Lee asked for approval to fly the banner over City Hall in recognition of the city’s growing Chinese American community, the event at the marina came off without a hitch. Seven different singing acts entertained those in attendance without much reference to Mayor Stephen Cassidy’s decision last week to suspend the council’s 4-3 vote approving the flying of the Chinese flag over City Hall. Cassidy’s power to negate the vote falls under provisions of the City Charter.

Although the ceremony did not occur at City Hall, Cassidy was not in attendance for the late Tuesday afternoon program at the Marina. The four members of the council who voted for the resolution last month, Councilmembers Jim Prola, Ursula Reed, Diana Souza and Lee, were among the dignitaries for the over two hour ceremony. Council members said an email sent by Cassidy this week instructed them their attendance did not amount to the city endorsing the flag-raising. During his comments, Lee referenced the controversy following Cassidy’s suspension of the council vote.

The two-hour program Tuesday afternoon
featured seven singing artists and groups.
PHOTO/Steven Tavares

“Things got unsettled at City Hall,” Lee said during his remarks and noted Tuesday’s event was solely the work of the community, which scrambled to put together the ceremony in just eight days. Lee helped raise the Chinese flag, while Prola did the same for the U.S. banner. “When we look at these flags together we see a bright future,” said Lee. “We see hope.”

Former San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos, a frequent critic of Cassidy, said the current mayor has insulted a large portion of the community. “It’s an affront to the Asian community in San Leandro,” said Santos after the flag-raising. “Whether he likes it or not, they make up about 30 percent of the population.” As mayor in 2008, Santos led a city delegation to Yangchun for a cultural and economic exchange. Incidentally, Lee, not yet an elected official, was part of the same delegation.

The flag issue may still come up in the near future. The City Council next meets Oct. 7. However, Lee will not be in attendance. He is among a group of local officials coincidentally travelling to China this Sunday. Still unresolved, though, is Cassidy’s assertion a council policy for raising foreign flags over City Hall does not exist. Prola said Tuesday he hopes an ad hoc committee or standing commission could tackle the question and provide potential solutions. Lee told The Citizen he believes Cassidy’s made his decision last week to suspend the council’s decision while “operating on limited information.” In fact, foreign flags have been flown over San Leandro City Hall in the past, including the Chinese flag in 1988.

CORRECTION: The next San Leandro City Council is Monday, Oct. 7, not Oct. 8.

Categories: Alameda, Asian, Benny Lee, China, Chinese flag, flag, Jim Prola, S.L. City Council, san leandro, Stephen Cassidy, Tibet, Tony Santos

61 replies

  1. This is nothing more than 3 really stupid people trying to get attention. We already know Mike Katz's and Marga Lacabe are stupid. They accused San Leandro teachers of teaching religion, when children sang a religious Christmas Carol at an evening Christmas program. Raised such a stink and got their kids moved to Roosevelt school. Which was all they really wanted. All they do is bully, lie, harass and bitch!
    I can remember going to visit John Muir Middle School and always seeing the flags of different countries hanging in the main hall. I was told the flags respresented the countries that the students attending that school were from. What a great way for children to learn.
    Are Cassidy, Katz and Lacabe going go to that school and make sure the Chinese flag is taken down?
    The school board needs to stay out of this. Mike Katz your not on the city council and there are many children of Chinese ancestry living here and attending our public schools. Mike Katz needs to spend time trying to figure out how to raise test scores and pay back all the money this school district is going to owe at tax payers expense.
    Cassidy has proven his stupidity many times. OK to have one flag at city hall, but not another. He's so busy having to be the center of attention, that it's nauseating. He gets off on bullying and belittling people. If I ever hear and see you doing this to any one in public again Cassidy, I will call you out on it!
    These 3 people are an example of dirty politics.


  2. Did anyone notice that Alameda still flew the chinese flag? It was only the ceremony that was scuttled.


  3. The Chinese flag still flew in Alameda, indeed.

    Tibetan protesters were not peaceful. They were loud and rude yelling epithets of bloody murder in Alameda scaring the large group of school children including my own who were singing the American national anthem. When my child lined up to sing, they jumped in front and started waving signs in front of her. No one should ever do this to children. Never!


  4. It's a organization pays those white Tibetans wear cowboy hats and their back up screamers to do the monkey shows. They get paid to perform disturbing peace for a living.


  5. Cassidy is a bully and insulted the Chinese people, 2014 will be your last year warming the mayor seat!

    And Mike Katz, don't bother to run for anything because your screw!


  6. People inciting fears of communism know nothing about Chinese people or ideals. Chinese people are raising with Confucian values in spirit driving them family oriented and work hard. Do people who incite communistic fears believe that Chinese people are bad for United States? The Chinese flag represents culture identity of the Chinese people and not political beliefs. To celebrate Chinese identity and welcome friendship creates practical outlook.


  7. The flag should have flown at City Hall just like it has before. It's an insult to the Chinese and we will never forgive Cassidy for what he did. The Chinese community will put out flyers and work against him in 2014 when he runs for election.


  8. Big mistake by Cassidy unless he thinks dividing the city is smart. Isn't the mayor supposed to unite the city instead of create racist divisions?


  9. The mayor could be one term if anyone besides Marga's friend runs against him. Being associated with Katz-Lacabe will destroy her chances.


  10. We should have raised the flag to honor the Chinese people.


  11. If anyone meaningful runs against Cassidy-he will be defeated.


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