No Mention of Mayor Cassidy Quitting; Squabble Over Naming Vice Mayor

First term Councilmember Benny Lee
is San Leandro’s next vice mayor.

SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL | The level of quiet acrimony at the San Leandro City Council is beginning to bubble over. A day after Mayor Stephen Cassidy announced on Facebook he will not run for re-election, some of his council colleagues had not spoken to the mayor before or after the surprise news. The unusually long City Council meeting, which adjourned after midnight, featured no mention by Cassidy of his decision late Sunday night to serve only through the end of the year. Councilmembers Ursula Reed, Michael Gregory and Benny Lee said Cassidy had not broached the subject with them.

Later in Monday night’s meeting, the council voted to name Lee its next vice mayor. The tally, however, was not unanimous, an unusual occurrence for the largely ceremonial position. The 4-3 vote was opposed by Councilmembers Pauline Cutter, Jim Prola and Cassidy and further revealing growing dissension on the council.

The selection also highlighted past confrontations between Cassidy and a few council members, along with some in the city’s Chinese American community still fuming over the mayor’s decision to rescind a vote last fall to allow the Chinese national flag to fly at City Hall in celebration of the country’s national day. The motion, by Councilmember Diana Souza, who is running for mayor this November, may also be political. Souza had previously criticized the council’s method of selecting a vice mayor, while noting she had never served in the role during her seven years as council member. City staff said changing the method for choosing a vice mayor each May would require a costly referendum to change the City Charter. The title of vice mayor can sometimes be a valuable honorific for a candidate running for higher office. However, Souza changed course.

“I’ve been disappointed over the past three years that there has been no support or recognition for anyone to make a motion and support a vice mayor that recognizes and embraces the diversity of this council.” said Souza, who then nominated Lee since he’s not running for office this year and has not served previously. Lee, who is Chinese American, was elected to the District 4 seat in 2012. Repeating Cassidy’s words on an earlier, unrelated agenda item, Souza added, “Think this through carefully.”

After a long 10 second pause, Cassidy said, “I think it is inappropriate to push items for political interests when you touch upon such sensitive matters as respect for other races or other cultures and diversity.” He added other persons of color had served as vice mayor, including Reed, who is black. He labeled Souza’s reasoning a “false argument.”

“Everyone has the opportunity of vice mayor, but no one is guaranteed it,” said Cassidy. Other factors such as experience, temperament and ability to communicate with the public should be included, he went on, “and also a positive relationship with the mayor.” When the final vote was announced, possibly the most telling example of the rift beginning to be made public between Cassidy and the council followed. There was no applause, no congratulatory speeches for the new vice mayor that typically follows. They all just moved on to the next agenda item.



Categories: Benny Lee, chinese, Chinese flag, city charter, Diana Souza, S.L. City Council, san leandro, san leandro city council, Stephen Cassidy, vice mayor

65 replies

  1. Hey Marga, Going to start telling more lies about BENNY LEE AND DIANE SOUZA?
    You told lies to voters and said you were a lawyer to get elected to the Central Democratic Committee. They should kick your a– OFF.
    You told lies about Reed to try to get Mack-Rose elected and the voters didn't buy it.
    You boldly criticize others, when your no saint.
    Still going to sue the school district? Does your husband need campaign funds? Lots a people wise to you.

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  2. LIKE San Leandro 2014 election hot quotes: “THINK IT THROUGH CAREFULLY”, “TIME TO END THE CASSIDY CURSE”.

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  3. I just watched the 5/5/2014 council meeting from the city site, the amazing majority vote from the council for the new vice mayor lee represents the melting pot.

    It would be nice to see a good Latino leader bring our community together, but HELL NO TO THE WANNABE LATINO MIKE KATZ! Stop pretending to help people of color just to further your pitch, we're not your pawns.

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  4. I watched the 5/5/2014 council meeting and totally agree Cutter clearly demonstrated she's Cassidy's puppet. Her remarks made her look dumb and shows she lacks leadership.
    Since being on the city council, Cutter has voted 3 times for a Vice-Mayor before the 5/5/2014 meeting and she suddenly feels she has to ask questions about how the process is done.
    Her not voting for Benny Lee makes it obvious she is willing to play Cassidy's game and is willing to be his stooge.
    Cassidy has already demonstrated he's willing to use his own money to get his stooges elected. We all know what they call women that take money from men for favors. Cassidy time to stop pimping your candidates.

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  5. Wow, eight posts in a row from the same person who has about 80% of the posts on this string. You are not even accurate. Cutter was not on the same side as Cassidy and Katz on almost all of the split votes. She did stand up to his tactics many times as I attended most school board meetings.

    We get you like Lee, but many of us in San Leandro think he is too inexperienced to be in that position. You are either a good friend or related to him.

    As far as Souza is concerned, she is simply not competent to run our city and most of us in San Leandro know that except you. I voted for her as Council, but after watching her for eight years, would never vote for her again.

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  6. Cassidy never been a council before mayor, what make him smarter and quicker learner. Hypocites!
    The councils were elected by the people, for the people, they're all equally deserved a chance to represent the people, the city. Like it not, democracy righteousness! why not rescind new vm, Cassidy is good at it!

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  7. Cassidy was never a council member before mayoral role. Did he put on his campaigning resume that he is just an inexperienced school board bully? Did San Leandran have problem with inexperienced mayor that never served on council?
    “THINK THIS THROUGH CAREFULLY”

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  8. Watch 5-5-2014 council meeting for yourself, Prola knew all these, he sided with Cassidy hoping six months mayor title for free. Salute to Gregory!

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  9. Prola has told people he is not running for Mayor because he wants to spend more time with his grandkids. I respect that.

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  10. Cassidy: Jimmy, just follow my lead, guaranteed you six month mayor, and Pauline since you can't think for yourself let me handle it. (Ooops, Pauline thought to herself, wait, I forgot how the process of motion goes, please repeat, sorry can't expect much from an airhead)

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  11. I'm not sure some of the posters above understand the San Leandro system of Mayor and Vice Mayor. If the Mayor resigns or leaves office for any reason, the Vice Mayor doesn't automatically become Mayor. The six remaining Council people will vote on his replacement. It could be any one of them if they get four votes.

    I doubt if Cutter, Reed or Souza could get four votes since they are running for office. I doubt if Lee or Prola would want to be Mayor for a few months because they would have to give up their council seat which they will be in till 2017. That leaves Gregory who only has a few months left and probably could get four votes by default.

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  12. Hypothetically, even if Prola's city council term shortens, Prola would still be able to retire as a councilman, vice mayor, and [possibly] mayor once Cassidy withdraws from his seat early. Aside being able to spend time with his grandkids sooner, he'd go out with a bang.

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  13. So many people here who are jealous of Cassidy. LOSERS!

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  14. Anon–6:28pm go kiss his pink face, lick his forehead, he's all yours.

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  15. I'm not sure some of the posters above understand the San Leandro system of Mayor and Vice Mayor. If the Mayor resigns or leaves office for any reason, the Vice Mayor doesn't automatically become Mayor. The six remaining Council people will vote on his replacement. It could be any one of them if they get four votes.

    I doubt if Cutter, Reed or Souza could get four votes since they are running for office. I doubt if Lee or Prola would want to be Mayor for a few months because they would have to give up their council seat which they will be in till 2017. That leaves Gregory who only has a few months left and probably could get four votes by default.

    Like

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