San Leandro Councilmember Ursula Reed’s bid
to lengthen term limits is falling flat.

Using the same rationale that led to the extension of term limits to 12 years in the state Legislature, San Leandro Councilmember Ursula Reed believed by the time the city’s elected officials became proficient in their jobs, they were ready to be termed out. Reed, herself, will leave office in December after eight years on the City Council.

But her push to extend San Leandro’s term limits is apparently going nowhere after the City Council’s Rules Committee decided Monday to recommend it keep the status quo at two, four-year terms.

“I don’t think this is an issue at this time,” said Councilmember Deborah Cox, who is currently in the middle of her first term on the council. She also questioned the prudence of spending money to place the issue on a future ballot.

It’s the issue that initially hampered Reed’s proposal last May when the prevailing wisdom was another measure might overload San Leandro voters already set to be asked to approve three revenue-generating initiatives deemed more urgent than term limits.

“If we had the public really pushing for extended term limits, most of us would go along,” said Councilmember Lee Thomas, also in his first term. “As of right now, I really don’t see a need.”

However, Thomas added, any tweaks to the city’s election code, instead, should focus on placing fundraising caps on political campaigns.

Mayor Pauline Cutter said she understands Reed’s view that it takes time for new elected officials to get to know people and gain an understanding of the lay of the land. “I understand where she’s going, but on the other hand, what we have right now–eight years–is a good time to be involved,” said Cutter.


  • -San Leandro will be eyeing a prohibition on the sale of flavored tobacco products in coming months. The retail ban within city limits would not cover conventional cigarettes since federal law supersedes any local and state laws. However, the city can regulate small cigars known as cigarillos, which often come in fruity flavors that can attract the use of teenagers. San Leandro City Attorney Richard Pio Roda said during Monday’s Rules Committee that a ordinance could be presented before the City Council sometime next March.
  • -Councilmember Corina Lopez is pushing to create a multicultural committee, but only one person has volunteered for the ad hoc committee leading to its creation, said Cutter, who added she may wait until after the next council is seated on Dec. 19 to the move item forward again.
  • -Attendance has been spotty for some appointed council commissioners, according to Cutter. In addition, ethics and Brown Act training has been lax. The Rules Committee discussed numerous ways to be stricter on absent members, including having individual councilmembers keep tabs on their appointee’s attendance. In San Leandro, commissioners are appointed by district.