City Council Meeting 9/2: Heron Bay Gate, Massage Parlors, E-cigarettes, Audio Surveillance
The San Leandro City Council eliminated full minutes of Council meetings several years ago. To make up for this, and keep San Leandrans informed of what their Council is up to, Mike Katz-Lacabe tweets from the meetings. I’ve started compiling his tweets on this blog. You can follow Mike’s tweets at @slbytes. My comments on his tweets are on italics.
At last night’s meeting, Mike was – as it’s often the case – the only candidate for City Council that was present.
Al Frates condemns Vice Mayor Benny Lee for advocating for California Waste Solutions Oakland garbage contract.
Gating Heron Bay
Benny Lee recuses himself from Planning Commission appeal of new gates & fencing for Heron Bay. Lee’s a member & former President.
San Leandro staff recommendation is to not allow Heron Bay to construct a gate and fencing to make it a gated community.
There are 629 homes in the Heron Bay housing development, 451 of them detached units.
San Leandro’s General Plan discourages gated communities. Heron Bay developer told City that it would be and remain open.
San Leandro staff shows crime stats for Dist. 4, where Heron Bay is located. Lower than other districts, so public safety not compelling.
Staff presentation on gating of San Leandro’s Heron Bay
San Francisco Bay Conservation & Development Commission says that Heron Bay not complying with permit issued in 1994 for public access.
Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) opposes Heron Bay gates because they would adversely impact access to the Bay Trail.
San Leandro Planning Commission alternatives to gating: Neighborhood watch, security cameras, improve exterior lighting.
Heron Bay Atty Jeff Tepper says 479 Heron Bay homes support gates. Says residents afraid of becoming prisoners in their own homes.
Doug Siden, Director of @ebrpd, supports city policy of maintaining open access – opposed to gating Heron Bay.
Former San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos supports staff recommendation denying appeal – opposed to gating Heron Bay. Should remain non-gated
Betty Mousse (sp?) of San Lorenzo Heritage Society supports San Leandro staff recommendation to not allow gating of Heron Bay.
San Leandro Heron Bay resident supports gating. Notes that there are other ways for people to access waterfront.
Mayor Cassidy notes that visitor parking is not allowed in Heron Bay or on Lewelling Blvd. nearby making public access difficult.
San Leandro City Council member Jim Prola tried to stop development of Heron Bay. Original development called for 3,000 homes – limited to 629.
Prola says gating offers false sense of security and then suggests surveillance cameras and license plate readers.
Prola says license plate readers reduced crime in Sausalito because there is only one road into Sausalitio.
Note: During public comments, Mike Katz-Lacabe corrected Prola, noting that the city that put license plate readers at its entrance is Tiburon, not Sausalito, and that no data supports the contention that crime was reduced in Tiburon as a result of the cameras.
San Leandro Citycouncil Member Ursula Reed notes that because she was in wheelchair, she couldn’t access waterfront because of lack of parking in Heron Bay.
After Reed says that she won’t support gating of Heron Bay, about a dozen people get up and leave. One said “Recall them all”
Note: Ursula Reed is a close ally of Councilmember Benny Lee, so Lee’s Heron Bay supporters might have been led to believe that Reed would support Lee’s interests on this matter.
San Leandro Councilmember Michael Gregory won’t support gating of Heron Bay. That’s 3 so far with Prola and Reed. Diana Souza sounds opposed – making 4.
Mayor Cassidy says “I don’t see a public safety imperative.” for installing gates at Heron Bay.
San Leandro City Council votes 6-0 to approve staff recommendation for denying appeal – no gates for Heron Bay.
Presentation on Proposed E-cigarette Ban
Note: The Council was ready to approve the e-cigarette ban through its consent calendar back in March. The item was taken off the agenda after I pointed out that the ban included smoking marijuana e-cigarettes, even in one’s home, and that banning tobacco e-cigarettes without holding a discussion about the reasons for the ban would make the City liable to a lawsuit by e-cigarette makers.
Paul Cummings of Alameda County Public Health Dept. Tobacco Control Program suggests that e-cigarettes are gateway to regular cigarettes.
Four public speakers so far speaking in favor of ecigarette regulation at San Leandro City Council meeting.
Mayor Cassidy says that 14 of 55 San Leandro businesses sold tobacco to minors in police sting. “25%…Shockingly high.”
Presentation on Massage Parlors
City Attorney now presenting on massage parlors. SB731 in 2009 pre-empted most local massage ordinances.
Family Foot Spa in San Leandro was busted in May 2014 for prostitution.
Under current state law, San Leandro cannot enact moratorium on massage businesses that utilize certified massage therapists/practitioners.
San Leandro City Council all want moratorium on massage parlors that don’t have certified massage therapists/practitioners.
San Leandro City Attorney says Family Foot Spa did NOT have certified massage therapists/practitioners.
Note: The problem is that a massage parlor can get just a single certified massage therapist to get a business license, and then have unlicensed employees provide the services. Something other than a moratorium is needed.
In a first for the San Leandro City Council, cave drawings are mentioned in discussion of Arts Commission.
San Leandro City Council unanimously approves creation of Arts Commission.
Audio Surveillance at City Hall
Note: Back in July, the City Council approved a $156K n0-bid contract to replace surveillance cameras at City Hall. After the meeting, Mike Katz-Lacabe researched the cameras that the Police Department had recommended the City buy and found that they contained hidden microphones that would be able to transmit and record conversations. The presence of the microphones in the cameras was not disclosed to the City Council. Mike brought up this issue to Mayor Cassidy, who brought it up to the City Manager Chris Zapata, and at the July 28th meeting, Zapata said staff would be back with a recommendation on audio surveillance. Their recommendation is to disable the microphones.
During public comment, Mike Katz-Lacabe pointed out that audio surveillance would violate employee’s rights to discuss labor issues privately. He also pointed out that while the City Manager says the microphones will be disabled, there will be no oversight to make sure that this takes place. The Police Chief already tried to hide the existence of the microphones from the Council, so it would be imprudent to trust her word alone.
San Leandro City Manager says city hall surveillance cameras will have microphones disabled – except at jail.
San Leandro City Council will discuss roles & responsibilities of Councilmembers speaking at other government bodies at future meeting.