San Leandro Council preview: A realignment toward NIMBYs

Before 2010, San Leandro voters had never seen a city council incumbent lose re-election. With the aid of ranked-choice voting that year, San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos was upset by Stephen Cassidy. Two years ago, Councilmember Lee Thomas was narrowly defeated by Victor Aguilar. Next week, there's a good possibility a third incumbent in the … Continue reading San Leandro Council preview: A realignment toward NIMBYs

San Leandro approves 42-unit housing project that angered NIMBYs

The San Leandro City Council approved one of the city’s most contentious housing projects in years on Monday night amid continuing concerns from neighbors over parking and traffic.  The project, referred to as the 1388 Bancroft Apartments, is a three-story, 42-unit, multi-family residential development initially proposed to include more than 70 units. The higher density … Continue reading San Leandro approves 42-unit housing project that angered NIMBYs

San Leandro approves budget, sets aside $1.7m that could be reallocated from SLPD

Facing a hard deadline to put forth a balanced city budget by the end of the month, the San Leandro City Council closed a $7 million budget shortfall that includes the potential for later shifting more than $1.7 million from its police department to bolster various community services. Monday's council meeting featured over three hours … Continue reading San Leandro approves budget, sets aside $1.7m that could be reallocated from SLPD

San Leandro asks AG to investigate killing of Steven Taylor by police

San Leandro councilmembers voted in closed session on Monday night to request an independent investigation by the state attorney general's office into the fatal shooting of Steven Taylor, an African American resident, by police on April 18. The move comes amid the backdrop of the killing by Minneapolis Police of George Floyd, which has roiled … Continue reading San Leandro asks AG to investigate killing of Steven Taylor by police

Fencegate returns: San Leandro official who illegally built fence says, ‘We play by the rules’

The rivalry between San Leandro Councilmember Victor Aguilar, Jr. and the man he replaced on the city council, Lee Thomas, is easily the most bitter in all of East Bay politics. And following a newspaper article in which Aguilar, Jr. denied wrongdoing for building an illegal fence, Thomas lashed out at his former opponent in … Continue reading Fencegate returns: San Leandro official who illegally built fence says, ‘We play by the rules’

San Leandro scuttles campaign finance reforms

Cities without campaign contribution limits, however, will be preempted by a new state law coming into effect in 2021.

Power shut-offs also impacted San Leandro with police overtime costs

San Leandro's response to two power shut-offs by Pacific Gas & Electric last October was suboptimal, but the city ultimately learned from its early mistakes, city officials said. The pair of power shut-offs, which occurred in the northeastern area of San Leandro, came with a price tag to the city of at least $15,000 in … Continue reading Power shut-offs also impacted San Leandro with police overtime costs

San Leandro’s early cannabis tax revenues look promising, but there’s a push to lower the rate

San Leandro's early projections that the cannabis industry would bring roughly $500,000 in new annual tax revenues have largely failed to materialize. One big reason is the inability of its three permitted cannabis dispensaries to actual open shop. Last January, the first of the three dispensaries went into operation near the Kaiser Permanente building. The … Continue reading San Leandro’s early cannabis tax revenues look promising, but there’s a push to lower the rate

Hubris or hypocrisy?

Unless somebody complains then, you know, I’ll submit an application for a modification.-San Leandro Councilmember Victor Aguilar, Jr., in an interview on June 6, admitting he had built an illegal fence on his property all the while politicizing his council opponent's efforts last year seeking approval for a fence modification from the city. READ the … Continue reading Hubris or hypocrisy?

San Leandro Fencegate: Aguilar attacks Thomas’s character in social media post

A few hours after San Leandro Councilmember Victor Aguilar, Jr. was grilled last Thursday night by a planning and zoning commissioner who took umbrage with his attempt to secure a zoning variance for a fence he constructed without a permit, Aguilar took out his anger on former Councilmember Lee Thomas, the man he upset in … Continue reading San Leandro Fencegate: Aguilar attacks Thomas’s character in social media post

San Leandro official knew his own fence was illegal when he criticized council opponent’s fence

Victor Aguilar, Jr. was already eyeing a rematch for the San Leandro City Council in 2018 when incumbent councilmember Lee Thomas  got caught up in a unsubstantiated scandal that he used his influence as an elected official to receive city approval to build a 10-foot high fence at his corner house. The controversy represented an … Continue reading San Leandro official knew his own fence was illegal when he criticized council opponent’s fence

San Leandro accepts federal grant for drone without specific policy for its use

San Leandro accepted a nearly $32,000 federal grant that will allow its police department to purchase a drone. The San Leandro City Council, however, did so despite the city not having a specific drone policy. The lack of a policy for local law enforcement to use drones has drawn concerns from privacy advocates in the … Continue reading San Leandro accepts federal grant for drone without specific policy for its use

San Leandro official illegally built a fence on his property even as he was publicly criticizing an opponent’s own plans

A fight over a neighbor's fence is the most provincial of problems. But complaints of abuse of power last year against former San Leandro Councilmember Lee Thomas and his attempt to extend a fence on his property may have been a reason why he was upset in the November Election by the challenger who exploited … Continue reading San Leandro official illegally built a fence on his property even as he was publicly criticizing an opponent’s own plans

San Leandro mobile home park rep says evicted elderly renter who was arrested wants to be a martyr

John Busch, the 82-year-old San Leandran who was evicted last year from his space at the Bayshore Commons mobile home park following his refusal to pay a large rent increase, has been a cause celebre for renters' rights advocates in the city. When Busch did not leave the space, Alameda County sheriff's deputy were summoned. … Continue reading San Leandro mobile home park rep says evicted elderly renter who was arrested wants to be a martyr

STEVE TAVARES IS ANGRY: Ep 26–Requiem for a bad mayor; Farewell to Lee Thomas

One clever Twitter user called Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer's re-election defeat last month an "end to an error." After covering Spencer for the last four years, I'll break down the worst mayor that I've covering over the last decade in East Bay politics. Later in the podcast, I look at the brighter side of local … Continue reading STEVE TAVARES IS ANGRY: Ep 26–Requiem for a bad mayor; Farewell to Lee Thomas