SAN LEANDRO | They are well known to those who follow San Leandro politics and sometimes loathed by some of their outspoken activism. As San Leandro school board member Mike Katz-Lacabe seeks the open District 1 seat on the City Council, his outspoken partner, Margarita Lacabe took out nomination papers in July to run for her husband’s school board seat.
Both face difficult roads to victory if they qualify for the November ballot. Many in San Leandro have long assumed Katz-Lacabe would seek Councilmember Michael Gregory’s termed out seat this year. However, the race could be tougher than expected. Deborah Cox, the co-founder of the San Leandro Education Foundation and Ken Pon, who also has ties to education in the city, represent tough competition. David Anderson, who ran against Gregory in 2010, is also a potential candidate.
Despite serving on the school board for the past eight years, the pony-tailled Katz-Lacabe may be more well-known for his activism in the areas of limiting government infringement of privacy. He has been an staunch opponent of the city’s use of red light cameras and automated license plate readers. In fact, the latter brought him attention of the Wall Street Journal. His criticism of the San Leandro Police Department has also made him and his wife few friends in law enforcement.
Lacabe’s reputation is less sterling and often unwittingly sullies her husband’s own public perception. She has ruffled feathers at the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee, where she is an elected member, for her in-your-face opinions. While her husband was serving on the school board, she even created a controversy related to the use of the Christmas song, Silent Night, during a school-sanctioned holiday performance. And, after helping San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy win his election four years ago, she publicly asked him during a City Council meeting, “Why do you lie, Stephen?”
But, it’s not clear whether she will actually run or not. “At this point, it’s not my intention to file to run. But I want to make sure that there is at least one candidate in that race I can get behind,” she wrote on her blog. “So far, I’m not impressed by the other candidates that have puled papers – if for no other reason that they have not reached out to Mike Katz-Lacabe, the incumbent.”
Four other potential candidates took out papers before Lacabe–Latrina Dumas, Chike Udemezue, Mark Schneider and Leo Sheridan, who has already completed the filing process.
Lacabe took out nomination papers on July 18, according to the Alameda County registrar of voters. The deadline the finalize paperwork for the November General Election is Aug. 8.