San Leandro councilman says dispensary permit holder lobbied council colleague’s employer

San Leandro Councilmember Pete Ballew
slammed the city’s second dispensary permit
holder for acting unethically.

The cross section of cannabis and politics clashed Monday night in San Leandro after one elected official said the group seeking to retain its previously approved dispensary permit has acted unethically in its zeal to protect their investment.

San Leandro Councilmember Pete Ballew read potentially explosive remarks into the record during Monday night’s meeting, in which the Davis Street Wellness Center, the city’s second approved dispensary, was allowed to continue with progress towards fulfilling requirements laid out in the conditional-use permit issued in July 2016.

The group backed by Rose Padilla Johnson, the well-known founder of the Davis Street Family Resource Center and Gordon Galvan, a former San Leandro councilmember, have until Oct. 20 to finalize a location for their proposed dispensary. The Davis Street Wellness Center’s one-year conditional-use permit was scheduled to expire this Tuesday, July 18.

Former San Leandro Councilmember Gordon
Galvan and Rose Padilla Johnson, the founder
of the Davis Street Family Resource Center.

But, Ballew’s comments again highlighted the great amount of discord that exists between city officials and Padilla Johnson, along with the public relations hit the venerable San Leandro non-profit specializing in helping women and children has suffered as a result of the dispensary permit.

Technically, the Davis Street Family Resource Center is not part of the dispensary bid, but its leaders and supporters crossover to the for-profit Davis Street Wellness Center. However, the dispensary group intends to open the dispensary near the non-profit, which is owned by the city, but gifted to the Davis Street Family Resource Center.

Ballew, a first-term councilmember and retired San Leandro police officer who ran unopposed last November, slammed the Davis Street Wellness Center group for acting irresponsibly through its political connections.

“Before the permit was given to the Davis Street Wellness Center, the Davis Street Family Resource Center was a beloved institution doing God’s work,” said Ballew.

After accusing the city of unfairly awarding the its first-ever dispensary permit to Harborside of Oakland, said Ballew, the Davis Street Wellness Center acted unethically.

In perhaps the most inflammatory allegation, Ballew said the Davis Street Wellness Center group sent a local labor union president and a former state senator to lobby the employer of a San Leandro councilmember. According to sources, that person is Councilmember Deborah Cox, who is a district aide for Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk.

However, no meeting occurred, according to Quirk’s office.

There is great uncertainty among some Davis Street Family Resources Center’s board members about whether they should have aligned the non-profit with the for-profit bid for a dispensary permit, said Ballew. In fact, the entire ordeal brought to light potential financial problems with the Davis Street Family Resource Center after it repeatedly failed to pay back a $1.5 million loan from the city.

Some public officials in San Leandro also believe Padilla Johnson lied to the city on a number of ancillary issues regarding the non-profit and its finances. Over the years, the city has allocated millions toward helping the Davis Street Family Resource Center and its efforts to help the underprivileged.

Ballew’s comments, though, also appeared to be an attempt to extricate Padilla Johnson and her non-profit from the Davis Street Wellness Center. On numerous occasions, Ballew referred to Padilla Johnson as the “face of goodness.” “I feel horrible that the Davis Street Wellness Center is being put on the defensive,” he said.

Categories: Bill Quirk, Davis Street Family Resource Center, Davis Street Wellness Center, Deborah Cox, dispensaries, Gordon Galvan, Pete Ballew, Rose Padilla Johnson, san leandro, san leandro city council

11 replies

  1. I do not understand why a non profit that will be plowing the earnings from this endeavor back into the city(where there is 12 percent of the population living below the poverty line, according to a recent article) vs purely for profit permit holders like Blum and Harborside
    Also as to the comments about lobbying what about Blum who even though they have a permit are using Diana Souza and the dude who runs Bayfair to denigrate Davis Street?


  2. Forgot to say why is Davis Street being held to a higher standard than the for profits?


  3. By MW:

    If Rose Padilla Johnson is guilty of what Ballew has charged her with, then she should arrange to have it “investigated” by the Alameda County DA's office, and which is presently headed by Nancy O'Malley, since that office specializes in carrying out scripted, choreographed, and prearranged whitewashes that pretend to be legitimate investigations, and as it did for instance when it “proved” that there was no reason to look deeper into the Oakland Police Dept's amusing story that the wife of Brendan O'Brien supposedly committed suicide, and altho almost certainly she was murdered by her husband.


  4. I propose a truce with the East Bay professional politician class. They can fight with each other over marijuana dispensaries, create monopolies or not, hand out licenses to their buddies or contributors or do it by lottery or Bingo machine, limit licenses to locals or not, severely restrict the number of licenses (because we have to do EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING possible to prevent even the slightest probability that a single pot leaf from ever, ever getting into the hands of a minor, because the instant that happens all hell will break loose, and that hell will an unpredictable one given that, to date, our system has been 100% successful in preventing access to minors and, therefore, we have never witnessed the effects of even a single pot leaf ingested by a minor) or instead treat it like beer or cigarettes and let anyone sell it so long as they don't sell to minors, take as much money as they want (cash or check) from the dispensary proponents who seek permits or licenses and use that money however they want………so long as such politicians sign an irrevocable pledge not to involve themselves (meaning, attempt to screw up) in any other aspect of our lives.


  5. As the mayor said Monday night, Davis Street was given one-year to get a location because unlike the other dispensaries they have no experience in the field. They're first mistake was adding more permits before Harborside ever opened.


  6. How will the world be different or worse if, instead of handing out permits to political cronies, we just handle this like cigarettes?

    No stupid answers allowed.


  7. By MW:

    If a city or county, etc, decides that it is going to: one, allow marijuana dispensaries; and two, also only allow a small number of dispensaries, and such as for instance three dispensaries – there are various methods to decide which parties receive the permits.

    For instance some years ago in regard to the unincorporated section of Alameda County it was decided that the permits, and which there was to be only a small number of, if I remember correctly exactly three, and with a lot more than three parties interested in receiving one of the permits, the permits were to be awarded by lottery.

    However later it was decided that all interested parties could apply for one of the three permits, and that rather than the three winners being decided by lottery, instead the County would evaluate each of the applicants and then select the three “best qualified.”

    Of course anybody who knows even a little bit about Eat Bay politics is well aware that almost certainly the applicants who were determined to be the “best qualified” would be the ones who were the most politically connected and/or the most important sources of election campaign contributions and/or the most generous sources of under the table bribes.

    So considering the “standards” of our local paid off political hacks, if we are going to allow marijuana dispensaries, then I think the permits should be awarded by lottery.


  8. If we are going to limit the number of them and thereby greatly empower a licensor (with the excuse….I mean rationale…. that we must protect our kids [who, if they want it even a little, are going to easily get their hands on pot anyway {hell, we can't even keep dope out of our prisons}]) then, yes, conduct a lottery among those qualified. We can survive, somehow, I am sure, without the beneficence of our leaders choosing for us the “Best Qualified” pot dispensers [….sounds like a Woody Allen movie…]. That was too cautious. In fact, we will surely be better off without them making choices for us, especially if “Best Qualified” is given its ordinary East Bay meaning, i.e. Nadia Lockyer, Mary Hayashi, etc. etc. etc.


  9. How long until Jeff Sessions shuts down Rose Johnson's other building, the one paid for by the federal government? The one that probably isn't making any money, thus why she took so long to payback San Leandro taxpayers.


  10. By MW:

    Concerning the last sentence of the post of 11:14PM, in other words with its reference to Nadia Lockyer. I seriously doubt that many people got to know and be acquainted with more persons than Bill Lockyer did. In other words with all of the very high ranking jobs he has had, and undoubtedly having regularly traveled all over the state, and occasionally out of state, and attending at least thousands of meetings and conferences over the years, he certainly got to know at least tens of thousands of people, and yet he selected Nadia to be his life partner.

    In other words it would be similar to if a museum director wanted to have on display the best looking person of all time, and therefore spent years on a worldwide tour looking at hundreds of millions of people, and then selected the Hunchback of Notre Dame to be his model of ultimate beauty. Or if a clergyman wanted four paragons of total honesty and extreme virtue for the youngsters in his congregation to emulate and look up to, and therefore went on a worldwide tour looking for the four finest saints of all time, and then at the end of his tour selected Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, John Gotti, and Pablo Escobar to be his symbols of godliness.

    In fact long before Bill Lockyer ever hooked up with Nadia, there were already plenty of rumors going around that he was an alcoholic and/or a drug addict, and so his selecting Nadia to be his wife, AND EVEN CONTINUING TO STAY WITH HER AFTER ALL OF HER VIRTUALLY NON-STOP DRUG FUELED ANTICS, confirms all the serious questions that for decades had already existed about his “sound judgment.”


  11. MW, your post, by focusing on Bill Lockyer, might be read by some as giving reason for optimism. After all, Bill Lockyer is essentially retired, so he won't be sending us “Best Qualified” picks anymore.

    I'm sure you did not mean to overlook the fact that it was the entire class of people in power who bowed down before Bill Lockyer and ratified his choice for “Best Qualified for Alameda County Supervisor”, i.e. Nadia Lockyer. These same ones, hoping we forget about their track record, now seek to reserve for themselves the power to select “Best Qualified Pot Dispenser”.

    I agree, by lottery, if we decide that pot is too dangerous to dispensed in the same manner as alcohol. We have much better odds trusting licensure to a Bingo machine than to our electeds' choice of the “Best” Qualified.

    What would a “Best Qualified” pot dispenser be anyway?

    Also, if we are going to raise enough tax money from this to build affordable housing, then the Bingo machine is still a better idea. The money that would have to paid political campaigns to increase one's chances of being deemed “Best Qualified” can instead go straight to city/county treasurer to be spent on better things.


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