For more than a year, San Leandro City Council candidate Bryan Azevedo has been doing good deeds around town. He’s received notoriety for organizing outings to pick up litter around the city, helped seniors during the pandemic, and delivered food supplies to the needy.
Within the last two months, Azevedo has taken it a step further by organizing campaign events at this home that involve the preparation of food items, such as barbecue, carne asada, and hot dogs. The events are widely publicized on social media, and hundreds line up at his driveway to receive a meal during the era of covid-19.
However, the health and safety of food preparation at these event was recently called into question after the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health was made aware of the unpermitted events, which have been staged over the past six weeks. On June 2, Azevedo received a cease and desist order from the county citing illegal food distribution at a private residence, along with concerns over the safe preparation of the food being served at the site.
The complaint and subsequent cease and desist letter immediately aroused Azevedo’s suspicions that supporters of his opponent this fall, Councilmember Ed Hernandez, was behind it. Azevedo, who lost a head-to-head match-up four years ago for the District 2 seat, lashed out against Hernandez with an ad hominem attack about his ties to real estate developers, and against Hernandez’s supporters, including former San Leandro Councilmember Lee Thomas, who backs Hernandez’s re-election.
Thomas operates a small barbecue catering business as a side job. After Azevedo alleged that Thomas was seen cooking with protective latex gloves, the gloves were off. “I find it disappointing in these times, as an African American business owner in San Leandro, that a political candidate chooses to target my business, when small businesses are already struggling. I had nothing to do with the candidate’s current county situation,” Thomas responded.
Bitterness between the candidates and their supporters was evident a few months ago after Azevedo was criticized by some, including Hernandez, his wife, and Thomas, for putting resident at risk by potentially spreading the coronavirus in San Leandro due to his large numbers of public interactions during the early goings of the pandemic. Azevedo routinely posted photos of himself helping seniors and others in need, and visiting hospitals, albeit while wearing gloves and a mask.