Laython Landis, long-time, controversial San Leandro public official, has died

Laython Landis, in a photo from earlier this year,
served 42 years in public office.

SAN LEANDRO | OBIT | Layton Landis, the long-serving East Bay sanitary district member and former San Leandro City Councilman, who retired from public office earlier this year over controversial statements, has died. He was 89.

After serving on the Oro Loma Sanitary District for 42 years Landis choose to retire last March amid calls for him to resign his seat following a meeting in which he used a racial epithet.

However, his comments may have overshadowed a long and successful life in public service. An avowed conservative, Landis had a hand in keeping down costs at the sanitary district and maintaining low sewer rates for customers in San Leandro, San Lorenzo and unincorporated Alameda County.

Known as “Judge,” Landis was elected to the San Leandro City Council in 1976 and won a second term four years later. Although, he did not possess any legal training, Landis borrowed the nickname from his famous uncle, former Major League Baseball Commissioner Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis.

Up until his passing, Landis kept connected to the city’s politics while contributing to the campaigns of several council candidates.

Former San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos credits Landis as being part of the group that help deed Washington Manor Park from the homeowners association to the city.

“I know he got himself into hot water with that inopportune comment,” said Santos, “but you can’t forget the good that he did, too.”

2 thoughts on “Laython Landis, long-time, controversial San Leandro public official, has died

  1. By MW:

    I had never even heard of Laython Landis until the widely publicized fairly recent incident in which he was accused of using he “n” word, However perhaps the most important item relating to Laython Landis was the fact that certain people who get in positions of power at a fairly young age stay there basically forever, and then absolutely refuse to leave even when they have gotten so extremely senile that they barely even know their own name anymore. That, for instance, was the situation with Pete Stark.

    And then a few years ago there was the situation involving a lawyer in a major East coast city who was in his eighties, and back when he was considerably younger was an undeniably brilliant man.

    (While an unusually high percentage of lawyers are nothing but parasites, sleazy scumbags, and bloodsucking leeches, he had not only been a brilliant man, but also a force for good, a town father, and had even become a local institution, and deservedly so. However now that he was in his eighties, he was definitely extremely senile; and as a result in litigation and on various public policy issues he would sometimes make absurd statements and also take positions that were beyond ridiculous. But since he had long been a local institution and a well respected expert, therefore whenever someone even gently slightly hinted that his brain was not nearly as good as it had been previously, and therefore his analysis of a situation was not to be thought as wisdom straight from heaven and the absolutely final word, his defenders then would strongly attack anyone who had suggested that other opinions besides the ones from the former expert should also be considered. In fact as far as people who should have retired years ago, it is obvious that at least two US Supreme Court justices, one an extreme liberal and one who is an extreme conservative, are as senile as can be.)

    For those who have followed baseball, Joe DiMaggio, and back when he was only thirty-five, chose to retire, and totally voluntarily, since he realized that he was not even a shadow of the fantastic player that he had been only a few years earlier. But some other MLB players continue to be able to perform at a top notch level into their late thirties, and a few even into their forties. And I do, however, remember the guy who had been one of the very best MLB players while in his twenties, but very over the hill by about thirty, and who therefore then chose to voluntarily retire at about 32, and rather than trying to hang on for a few more years.

    Similarly, a lot of politicians, judges, and other public officials should choose to voluntarily retire when they have obviously lost it, and rather than imitating Laython Landis by hanging on basically forever, and thereby making fools of themselves.

    While I do know some people in their late eighties and early nineties who are sharp as a tack, however many others should not be in any decision making position, and therefore if they still are in a decision making position should choose to retire.


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