San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy announced today that he will not be seeking re-election for a second term as Mayor. The news are unexpected, Cassidy had launched his re-election campaign with a kickoff fundraiser on St. Patrick’s day of this year. Cassidy cites the difficulties of campaigning while also working full time, raising a family and performing his duties as Mayor. Cassidy had no declared challengers at the time of his announcement.
Cassidy’s exit from the race leaves the field wide open for anyone who may want to run for the office. With six months to go before the election, the biggest challenges will be fundraising and creating name recognition.
Two candidates are already likely to enter the scene. Council member Diana Souza had long made the rounds trying to garner support for a campaign. She hadn’t been very successful, but with Cassidy out of the way she has a shot. Souza, however, was one of the candidates who voted to raise the Chinese flag over San Leandro City Hall, a very unpopular move with voters. She has, otherwise, a non-existent record of accomplishments.
Dan Dillman, the owner of the Historic Bal Theater, has also indicated he might run for this office. Dillman ran for the District 2 City Council race in 2012, and commanded a respectful 25% of the vote despite virtually no campaigning.
Cassidy’s exit from the raise reinforces the urgency of turning the Mayor’s job into a full-time position with a corresponding salary. It is very difficult for any person who has a full-time job and is raising a family to also successfully fulfill the responsibilities as Mayor. And yet, some of the most competent and qualified candidates are exactly in that position. I hope whoever is elected moves the city in that direction.
Mayor Stephen Cassidy’s statement
Dear Friends and Neighbors:
I have concluded it is in the best interests of our city and my family that I focus on serving as Mayor for the remainder of my term, which expires at the end of the year.
When I originally ran for office, I did not have the responsibility of governing. I have come to the realization that adding campaigning to my list of duties would mean the compromise of too many important existing responsibilities. I wish this was the not case. But I see no way I can meet my obligations as Mayor at a high level, as well as my work duties and be present for my young daughters, while also running a vigorous campaign for re-election.
I am proud of the renaissance that is occurring in San Leandro. The San Francisco Business Times recently reported that our city is “buzzing with a fresh technology focus.” In five weeks, the state-of-the-art San Leandro Kaiser hospital will open. Last month, the City Council unanimously approved construction of a commercial district for tech firms and other companies at the forefront of today’s innovation economy. Three, Class A office buildings will be built on the vacant lot next to the San Leandro BART station, creating nearly 2,000 quality jobs.
Much more can be accomplished this year. Again, I will complete my term as Mayor.
I look forward to working with the community and my colleagues on the City Council to place a revenue measure on the November ballot to repair our deteriorating neighborhood streets, create a commission of residents to foster and support the arts and culture in our city, and extend Lit San Leandro, our ultra high speed broadband network, to our schools.
It has been a privilege to serve you and the people of San Leandro as Mayor, and previously as a school board trustee. Thank you for enabling me to have such honors.
After my term as Mayor end on December 31, 2014, I will remain active in our community. I love San Leandro and look forward to continuing to make a positive difference for our city.