Jul 182014

Facebook Advanced Fee Scam targets San Leandrans

Earlier today, the account of one of San Leandro Talk’s Facebook friends got cloned.  That means that someone created an account on his name, and then stole a photo of him.  That person proceeded to “friend” his friends. I figured it was a Nigerian scammer, but when he messaged me on Facebook I decided to play along for a little while.  What follows are my conversations with Scammer 1, who had assumed my friend’s name, let’s call him John Doe, and Scammer 2.  Some of the conversation with Scammer 1 took place at the same time than the conversation with Scammer 2.  I think they were played by the same person. I thought I was quite funny, what do you guys think?

Conversation with Scammer 1:

John Doe: Hello How are you doing

Me: did you get a new FB account?

John Doe:  yes
i have a problem with my formal facebook account
how are you doing

Me: fine, u?

John Doe:  Good to hear from you, I’m doing good and very happy. Have you heard the good news about Agent williams who works for the federal government money grant program offer?

Me: nope

John Doe:  Oh I thought you have heard about it already. The money is from the federal government head office to help all the community. I think you should have get the money already because i saw your name among the winners list when the federal government agent brought cash to my home and I wonder if you have got yours?

Me: if I had, I wouldn’t tell you
you’d just ask to borrow it to get drunk and go whoring all night
and wouldn’t even invite me to come along.

John Doe:  Really, It’s a win money grant offer from the federal government head office to help and maintain the standard of living. I think you should contact the federal government agent that leads the ups to my door step on his face book contact page or email address. Do you have the agent face book contact page link with you?

Me: no

John Doe:  just Click on this link and it will lead you to the federal government agent page that bring cash to my home on his face book page https://www.facebook.com/AgtWilliamBrown4 let me know when you have him up so i can tell you what to do next.
are you on his page now

Me: yep

John Doe:  ok, add him to be your friend and send him a message, tell him you heard of him about win money and how will you claim yours too.
send him a message about you claiming your win money<

Me: OK, though the dog is making panting noises she wants to go out

John Doe:  okay
have you sent him a message yet

Me: His middle name is Smith. Smith Brown. How cool is that?

John Doe:  have you sent him a message yet

Me: just told you

John Doe:  okay
wish you best of luck with him

Me: I do wish his last name was smith wesson

John Doe:  ok
hope he replied you back

Me: yep, I just sent him my info

John Doe:  good
wish you best of luck with him

Me:  thank you, have you gone drinking & whoring with him yet?

John Doe:  what is going on btw you and the aget

Me:  no drinking & whoring dates, if that’s what you ask

sheesh, John, you can’t be included on everything. Ever since that time we didn’t invite you to come to vegas with us, you’ve been so needy!

John Doe:  let me know what is going on with the agent

Me: Sheesh, I promise. Next time we go to Vegas with the boys WE WILL INVITE YOU.
except if Ralph comes, he doesn’t like you.
apparently you tried to blow him once when you were drunk. Do you remember that?
Me: HeyJohn, apparently there is no moola for me. Too bad. It’s up to you now, buddy. I know you got 150Gs. Vegas is ON YOU. Wanna go first weekend in August? And no staying at Hooters on your dime, bro, let’s stay at Caesar’s

And that was that with John Doe :-(

My conversation with Scammer 2

I had to fill out a “questionnaire” and I used the name of the Chief of Police and the address of the SLPD.  I figured that if the scammer wanted to take this further, they could deal directly with the police.


Me: Hello Aget Williams S. Brown.
What does the S stand for?


Me: Cool, I like double surnames<
Me: So, I hear you have some money for me?

Hello, My Name is William S. Brown. I work for Federal Government Empowerment Agency. This is an empowerment program set up by the federal government to help the American communities and other countries around the world. Your name was picked randomly as one of the winners of the week. The money giving by the federal government it’s not a loan. It’s win money giving by the Federal government to help the American communities.You are one of the lucky winners who won from the lottery. You won $150, 000.00 as the star prize. Your Name and E-mail was drawn electronically and you are being picked randomly as one of the star winners. We will need to confirm some information before we can deliver your winnings to you in your home, the winnings will be delivered in cash to you as soon as the information required are duly filled: Claims Requirements: To claim you will need to fill this form to avoid double claiming, so that we can locate your destination when bringing your win money. Are you ready to fill the delivery forms? Regards William S. Brown.

Me: sure

Fill out the form below accordingly one after the other right now: Your Full Name:——– Your Address———– Your City———– Your State——– Zip code——– Date Of Birth———– Married/Single:———– E-Mail Address———— Phone number (mobile)——- Text Number Number—– Occupation———- Do you Own/Rent a House……. Male or Female———- Are you Deaf or Hearing———- Age———— Do you want Cash or Check? Get back to us Asap. Regards William S. Brown.

Your Full Name: Sandra Spagnoli Your Address 901 East 14th St Your City San Leandro Your State CA Zip code 94577 Date Of Birth 7/4/76 Married/Single: M E-Mail Address sspagnoli@sanleandro.org Phone number (mobile) don’t have one Text Number Number NA Occupation Chief Do you Own/Rent a House OWN Male or Female F Are you Deaf or Hearing depends Age 38 Do you want Cash

SANDRA SPAGNOLI DELIVERY INFORMATION Thanks for getting back to us Asap, we got your information. This is to inform you that your Full Name and Home Address has been forwarded to the Ups Manager for the delivery of your win money to you at your door step.. Let you know that your Win money tracking number and the Ups website to track your win money package is ready. AIM: SHDPsdRep. Reff No: (XYL/26510460037/10) Batch No: 24/00319/IP. WINNING AMOUNT..$150,000 CASH Make sure you keep all your delivery information save and secret with you for more security. Regards William S. Brown.


Me: ok

>>DELIVERY NOTIFICATION>>> MESSAGE FROM THE UPS DELIVERY HEAD OFFICE Thanks for getting back to us asap, we got your information’s. The federal government delivery agent affiliated with the Ups are ready to bring your package money to your door step. You will need to pay for Tax and Clearance fee which is $3000. So we can bring your money asap and you will not have to pay the money back . Go and make the payment now. So we can prepare all necessary documents. This is to inform you that your Full Name and Home Address has been forward to the delivery Manager and will you be at home by 6pm for your delivery and this is the UPS Delivery Cashier Name and Address to make the payment through Western Union Below: Regards William S. Brown.

Me:  I’ll pay it on arrival, thanks

you will need to pay it before we can deliver your win money to you

Me: and what is this for? who does the money go to?

the money will be send to the ups cashier manager
as soon as they confirm it your win money will be deliver to you asap

Me: why the UPS cashier manager? I thought this was federal government money

the money will be deliver to you by the ups cashier manager so you will need to pay for the tax clearance and the shipping fee<

Me: Yeah, but the shipping fee can’t be more than $50 – and that’s stretching it. I do a lot of buying/selling on e-bay so I have the UPS guys at my house all the time. The tax clearance is for the IRS?
should I send a check to the IRS, then/

the money will be send to the usp cashier manager

Me: since when do UPS cashier managers handle taxes? that’s weird.

if you are ready to make the payment just get back to me asap

Me: I still don’t understand why I’d pay UPS rather than the IRS. That seems way weird. I don’t want to get involved in some Leland Yee arms-dealing-scandal-shit.

the ups is the one to deliver the money to you

Me: I get that, but why would I pay a tax to UPS. Taxes are paid to the IRS, aren’t they? Or the franchise board, but you said this was federal money I’d be getting.
Which, btw, I totally deserve because I am a very federalist sort of citizen. I’m always doing federal stuff. I even voted in the primaries, which pretty much nobody else did.

ups cashier will clear out the irs official so you dont have to bother about that

Me: Hmm, OK, I guess. Fine, where do I send the check?

the money will be send through western union

Me: we don’t have western union here

what about walmart store

Me: Yuck! I don’t set foot inside Walmart. Are you kidding? Haven’t you heard how they exploit workers? They pay them so little they have to apply for food stamps and they lock them inside the stores at night because they’re afraid they will steal.

I actually go and protest in front of Walmart stores on Black Friday. We had a huge protest last year, the police were very cool, they almost joined in.

it seem you are not ready to make the payment

Me: No prob. Easy come, easy go. But now that I know how much loot John got, he’s gonna have to invite me up for a Vegas weekend, baby!

Jul 162014

With the opening of the candidate filing period, we have officially entered “campaign season” in San Leandro and beyond.  Here is how the races are taking shape.  Remember, that in San Leandro all voters vote for Mayor and all Council and School Board Races.   Mayor & City Council races are by ranked choice voting, while the candidate with the most votes outright wins in School Board races.  The candidates below are those who have pulled papers to run or expressed an interest in running, they may still not make it to the ballot. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

Indicates the candidate has completed the filing.


Stephen Cassidy is not running for re-election, which makes this an open race.

Pauline Cutter

Pauline Cutter

Pauline Cutter is the clear favorite to in this race.  She served for many years in the San Leandro School Board, and was elected Board president three times, so she has experience as the executive officer of a deliberative body.  She won her seat in the City Council four years ago in a competitive race, and has experience campaigning both for herself and others.  She has a good relationship with labor – teachers’ union excluded – and is likely to win the Democratic endorsement.  As the clear favorite, she’s also likely to be able to fundraise the money she needs to win this race. Politically, Pauline hugs the center. She’s a workhorse and very detail oriented.  She is probably the most independent voice in the council, there have been at least a couple of 6-1 votes, where she’s the 1.   If elected, she promises to be a full-time Mayor.

Diana Souza

Diana Souza

Diana Souza is running for Mayor because she has termed out from City Council.  Her tenure in the Council has been uneventful.  She got elected with the single goal of getting a competition swimming pool built in the Manor, and when that couldn’t happen, she basically became a second vote for Joyce Starosciak first and, after Joyce left, the City Manager.  Her true puppeteers is the San Leandro Police. Diana, however, has a record of not accomplishing anything beyond trying to get the Chinese flag to be flown over San Leandro City Hall.   Given that her name recognition is either negative or poor, she is unlikely to present a real threat to Cutter.

Dan Dillman

Dan Dillman

Dan Dillman, the owner of the Bal Theater, is an amazing man.  He has worked incredibly hard to renovate the theater and bring options for entertainment to San Leandro (much to the opposition of City Hall), as well as to revitalize the south area of town.  He is also someone who is not afraid to speak his mind and who brings a level of love and laughter to San Leandro that make this City great. He is not a serious candidate – for one, he’s presently in jail after being railroaded by a lying Sheriff department -, but he will bring issues to the debate: privacy, civil liberties, freedom, that the other candidates rather ignore.

San Leandro City Council, District 1

This is for the Bay-O-Vista/Estudillo Estates/Downtown seat that Michael Gregory is being termed out of.

Mike Katz-Lacabe

Mike Katz-Lacabe

Mike Katz-Lacabe (my husband) starts off as the favorite in this race.  He was elected to the San Leandro School Board after a competitive race, and has been elected School Board President twice.  Mike has high-name recognition also due to his involvement in the community.  He blogs at San Leandro Bytes, is a frequent speaker at City Council meetings and is often quoted in the paper.  He is perhaps best known for his work on behalf of privacy rights, but his real strengths come from his vision  for the City – he’s the main proponent of turning the 9th grade campus into a High Tech High School -, his thorough understanding of how the city is run and his common sense.

deborahcoxDeborah Cox  is a fundraising dynamo. She is in the boards of many organizations and has helped raise money for schools and the now defunct conservatory theater group.  Her crowning achievement as the head of the Estudillo Estates association was to get a marker for the neighborhood.  She’s also in the Human Services Commission.  Deborah is rarely seen at City Council meetings, but she’s gone to speak against medical marijuana dispensaries and in favor of selling the former Albertson’s property for 1/3 of what the City paid for it, in order to build Village Marketplace (the new location for CVS).

David Anderson

David Anderson

David Anderson is a retired sheetmetal worker and former Oakland School Board member.  He gained notoriety in Oakland after he tried to bribe then OUSD laywer Dan Siegel.  Siegel recorded the bribe offer, and while no charges were filed, Anderson lost re-election. Anderson ran for District 1 against incumbent Michael Gregory in 2010 and lost.


Ken Pon

Cheery accountant Ken Pon is the comic relief candidate for this race.  Pon, who served a term in the San Leandro School Board before being ousted by now-Mayor Stephen Cassidy, is known for his bon vivant predisposition,  humor and sociability.  He’s very involved in the downtown business association, Rotary and other organizations.  When he previously ran for office, he proved to be a very lazy campaigner.    He’s likely to play the “Sara Mestas”, “Justin Hutchinson” wannabe spoiler role on this race and – he hopes – pick up votes from conservatives who don’t like Cox.  Like Cox, he doesn’t speak at City Council matters much, but he did in support of Walmart coming to San Leandro.


District 3

For a while, it looked that Lee Thomas would walk into the seat from which Diana Souza is terming out.  Alas, it doesn’t seem to be the case any longer.

Lee Thomas

Lee Thomas

BZA member Lee Thomas has been running for a year, so I think we can assume he’s on the lead.   Thomas is a nice and jovial guy, it’s hard not to like him, but he is unwilling to commit himself to positions.  For example, he was at the meeting where the Council voted to raise the Chinese flag over City Hall, but he wouldn’t speak publicly on it. He belongs to an extreme right fundamentalist church, which opposes medical marijuana,

Victor Aguilar

Victor Aguilar

Victor Aguilar Jr. is a young account manager at a legal discovery firm.  He studied political science in college, worked as a field rep for a City Council member in LA, and is now putting roots in San Leandro.  Victor is very active with LGBT rights organizations.

Allen Schoenfeld graduated from San Leandro High in 1971. He keeps a very low profile online.

District 5

With Pauline Cutter running for Mayor, her seat in the City Council is now open.  So far, three candidates have put their names forward, though I expect to see others appear as well.

Mia Ousley

Mia Ousley

Mia Ousley is the co-founder of the successful Coalition to Save San Leandro Hospital, as well as the editor of the newsletter of the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association and active MoveOn.org organizer, among other things.  She is a go-getter and has worked on behalf of issues as diverse as getting the City Council to legalize urban farming, expanding entertainment options and developing community-centric public safety initiatives.  Mia is currently a member of the Rent Review Board.  She has worked in campaigns for Obama, Pete Stark, Mayor Stephen Cassidy, Morgan Mack-Rose, Hermy Almonte  and Ursula Reed, among others.  Mia actually likes campaigning, which gives her a leg up on this race.  Full disclosure, Mia is my friend and I’m helping her with her race.

Corina Lopez

Corina Lopez

Corina Lopez is currently in the San Leandro School Board, after running unopposed in 2012. Previously, she ran against Pauline Cutter for District 5 and lost.  Before that she was in the City’s Human Services commission.  Corina serves in the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee with me and I consider her a friend.  Corina grew up in Soledad as the daughter of farm workers, made her way to Princeton and now runs an IT company with her husband.

Leah Hall

Leah Hall

Leah Hall is, well, one of those characters that make San Leandro such an amusing town.  She’s very active online, a member of the Human Services Commission and a big lover of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.  Unfortunately, she’s nowhere as funny as her Comedy Central role models, so while her role in the race is that of comedic relief, she’ll probably leave more people puzzled than laughing.

San Leandro School Board, At Large

Jason Toro resigned from the School Board to apply for a job as director of the new student health clinic (a job he got).  That means that his seat is open and anyone in San Leandro can run to finish his 2-year term.

Evelyn Gonzalez

Evelyn Gonzalez

Evelyn Gonzalez is a mother of three kids that have been making their way through San Leandro Schools.  She has always been extremely involved with the schools, serving in PTAs and school councils, and helping with fundraising.  When McKinley Elementary needed a new computer lab, Mike Katz-Lacabe contacted Evelyn.  Even though her kids weren’t there, she was able to put in a fundraising plan and in no time we had the computers we needed.  Evelyn, a theologian by training, is very involved in the social justice work in her local Parish.

Monique Tate is an SLUSD parent who is in the LCAP Design Team.  She seems to work as an administrative assistant in the Alameda County Office of Education – which might bring conflict of interest issues.

Peter Oshinski has lived with his partner in the Broadmoor for the last four years. They don’t have children.  Peter is a former instructor at the California Culinary Academy and now works in food services for a school district.   He does not have a history of involvement with San Leandro schools.

Elsie “Jeanne” Kinkella graduated from San Leandro High in 1962.  She worked for the New Haven Unified School District.

Randy MenjivarCandidacy withdrawn.   A native of East Oakland, is a grad student in Clinical Psychology.   In 2012 he ran for Peralta College Board as a Green Party candidate, he received about 10% of the vote.   He is interested in working with youth.

San Leandro School Board, Area 2

Lance James

Lance James

Incumbent Lance James is so far unopposed.

San Leandro School Board, Area 4

Several candidates are vying to replace Mike Katz-Lacabe, who is running for City Council. None of the candidates have been attending School Board meetings until recently.

Latrina Dumas is a parent at San Leandro High.   She ran against Mike Katz-Lacabe in 2008, because of Katz-Lacabe’s vote to fire superintendent Chris Lim.  Dumas was an ardent Lim supporter.

Leo Sheridan

Leo Sheridan

Leo Sheridan is parent at Monroe Elementary.  He’s in the Dad’s Club and LCAP team. He works for a paint distribution company. He has refused to meet with me to answer questions as to his qualifications and plans if he’s elected.

Chike C. Udemezue has to have the coolest candidate name in San Leandro. He seems to be a government worker.  He shares his name with a a writer of self-published Nigerian accounting books, and I can only hope they are one and the same. I have learned that he is the brother of Uche Udemezue, the Engineering & Transporation director for the City.   However, Chike has completed the filing to run for the Oro Loma Sanitary District, being on the ballot for two offices at the same time would show a lack of seriousness as a candidate (the late Lou Filipovich used to run for multiple offices, he never got elected to any), so my guess is that he won’t run for School Board.

Mark Schneider is the librarian at Arroyo High School.

Margarita Lacabe is, well, me. I’m not officially entering the race yet. Here is why I pulled papers.

Ron Carey

Ron Carey

San Leandro School Board, Area 6

So far, incumbent Ron Carey is unopposed.

San Lorenzo School Board

Two candidates have filed for the two at-large seats on the Board.

Isabel Polvorosa

Isabel Polvorosa

Isabel Polvorosa has been in the San Lorenzo School Board since 2002, this would be her fourth term in office.  She is a spunky lady, but as I have not followed the doings of the San Lorenzo School Board I know very little about how she’s done there.

Steven Kirk

Steven Kirk

Steve Kirk is secretary/treasurer at the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association, where he’s live since 1997.  He works in the financial services industry.  He was very involved in the campaign to re-elect Barak Obama as President.

Ronald Pereira I haven’t been able to find anything about him.

Oro Loma Sanitary District Board of Directors

The Oro Loma Sanitary District board consists of five old white men, four of whom have served for at least 20 years.  Three seats are open and just one incumbent has pulled papers, though the others have until August 8th to do so.  Board members receive about $1500 of compensation a month plus medical/dental insurance.

Timothy P. Becker is the newest director . He was appointed in 2007, and then elected in 2008.   He works in environmental services.

This will be former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young‘s third attempt to get int he Oro Loma board.  She has high name recognition, which will help her if one of the incumbents doesn’t run.

Chike C. Udemezue is Nigerian and the brother of Uche Udemezue, the Engineering & Transporation director for the City of San Leandro.

Dan Walters is a San Leandro resident who runs a chemical company in town.  He is quite involved with the Chamber and the Boy Scouts, and leans Republican/libertarian on his politics.

Eden Township Healthcare District Board of Directors

With San Leandro Hospital out of their hands, the role of the directors will most likely be to shut down the district.  There are 3 positions open.

Lester Friedman, incumbent

Roxann Lewis, a nurse who was very active in the campaign to Save San Leandro Hospital, was appointed to the board this month to fill a vacancy.

Charlie Gilcrest is a former Planning Commissioner and is/was campaign manager for Diana Souza, David Anderson, Benny Lee and Tony Santos.

AC Transit Director At Large

Joel Young

Joel Young

Joel Young, the incumbent,was censured by the AC Board last year for reviewing confidential AC transit legal files, to help him with a case he was handling for the private law firm for which he works.  He had descended into ignominy earlier, after allegations of domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend.  Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, Young tried to blame the young woman.  He ran for Assembly in 2012, and lost  in the primaries.  Still, this is a county-wide race with several candidates, and being the incumbent makes him the favorite.

Igor Tregub

Igor Tregub

Igor Tregub, a former member of the Berkeley rent board, is the vice chair of  Berkeley Housing Advisory Commission and a member of the Zoning Adjustments Board.   He is very active in Democratic Party politics.  I serve with him at the ACDCC.  An Ukrainian Jew, Igor immigrated to America as a child and is an engineer working at Lawrence Livermore.  I think he offers a great combination of practical, problem-solving skills (perhaps he will figure out how to get the buses to run on time) and concerns for social justice.  He believes public transportation is key for social advancement and a safe environment.  He will likely garner the support of progressive and Democrats in this election and should have a good shot at winning.  I have endorsed him.

Dollene Jones, a retired AC-transit driver who went on to fund a casino-bus service, ran for AC Transit board against Elsa Ortiz in 2012 and lost, she’s now making a run for the at-large seat.  Here is a video of her answering questions in 2012.

Tyron Jordan works as a legal analyst and is a former bus rider.

AC Transit, Ward 3

Covers part of San Leandro

Elsa Ortiz is the incumbent.  I don’t know much about her term on the board, but she responded quickly to my complaint about a missed bus.

Rosa Lea Barker seems to be a writer for online publications.

AC Transit, Ward 4

Covers another part of San Leandro

Mark Williams is the incumbent

Murphy McCalley runs a consulting company that “provides financial consulting to transportation, transit and municipal clients.”

 EBMUD, Ward 3

Frank Mellon, the incumbent, drew heat in San Leandro for his flippant attitude to citizen’s concerns about letting San Leandro Creek go dry.  Finally, a solution was found by talking to EBMUD staff itself, without help from Mellon.  He is running unopposed, however.

Jul 122014
By pandering to Israel, Rep. Swalwell condones killings of Palestinian civilians

Over a hundred Palestinian noncombatants, mostly women, children and elderly people, have been killed by the Israeli attacks on Gaza.  There are at least 850 injured people.  The toll can only grow as Israel intensifies its attacks. And yet, when Rep. Eric Swalwell decided to speak about the conflict in Gaza, it wasn’t to condemn the vicious attacks on the Palestinian civilian population, attacks that Human Rights Watched has deemed to be war crimes, but to support them: Post by Congressman Eric Swalwell. Swalwell made no mention of the Palestinian civilians killed by Israel.  Israel’s security matters. Palestinian lives do [Continue Reading]

Jun 042014

This is the second open primary that California voters faced, and what I, personally, have learned from it is that voter behavior was pretty much like in a regular primary. To recap: ♦ Name Recognition Matters Greatly Incumbents and candidates with generic names did particularly well.  My guess is that Helen Foster‘s 2nd placing in the Alameda County Superintendent race was due greatly to her name.  Similarly, there can be no explanation for either Leland Yee or Mary Hayashi placing third in the races, ahead of other candidates, beyond name recognition. ♦ Ballot Designation Matters The best explanation for why [Continue Reading]

Jun 042014
California & Alameda County Election Results Are In

Despite most open primary, most November contests will feature a Democrat vs. a Republican candidate Races for Controller, State Superintendent, CD 15 and AD 16 still too close to call Good morning San Leandro! Happy post-election day! And what a stressful day it must be for many candidates in California!  The mailed & poll-day ballots have been counted, but many races are close enough that the absentee ballots turned in at the polls and provisional ballots may very well make the difference. This election, I think, has been characterized by voter apathy and lack of knowledge about candidates, so name [Continue Reading]