Pauline Cutter Best Choice, but Vote for Her Third
The following are my ranked-choice recommendations for San Leandro Mayor, as of the time of updating this article. Things can change in political races as you learn more about the candidates, which is why I don’t vote until election day. Note that while I’m making recommendations on this race, I’m not endorsing any of the candidates.
The race for San Leandro Mayor features four candidates: City Council members Pauline Cutter and Diana Souza, theater owner Dan Dillman and former police officer Gregg Daly, who is running as a “write-in” candidate. Politically, Daly and Dillman are the most progressive, Cutter is a centrist while tilts right.
Originally, I thought the real race was between Cutter and Souza, with Cutter as the likely winner. They are both City Council members and running as such. However, Souza has been plagued by scandals, including taking money from California Waste Solutions, supporting the raising of the Chinese flag and continuing to support red-light cameras.
Dan Dillman, meanwhile, is likely to benefit from the anti-establishment vote, which in San Leandro hovers at around 25-30%. That may be enough to knock Souza into third place.
The particularities of ranked choice voting make it possible for voters to vote their conscience while still not wasting their vote on candidates that are unlikely to win. In this case, a voter can comfortably vote for Gregg Daly and Dan Dillman first and second and Pauline Cutter third, knowing that if Souza does make it to the last round, their vote will count for Cutter.
These are my recommendations for San Leandro Mayor:
First Choice: write-in Gregg Daly
Second Choice: Dan Dillman
Third Choice: Pauline Cutter
FIRST CHOICE: GREGG DALY
Gregg Daly is running as a write-in candidate to oppose the militarization of the police. A vote for him, therefore, it’s a symbolic vote against the militarization of the police.
Daly, a former police officer, filled out a long and quite thorough questionnaire that I’ve sent to all Mayoral and Council candidates. I found his answers to be thoughtful, intelligent, based on facts and research and a broad base of knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, he’s running as a write-in which means he neither will be tested in the campaign field nor he has a possibility of getting many votes. But as a protest vote, write in Gregg Daly as your first choice. He will be eliminated after the first round.
Gregg Daly has lived in San Leandro with his wife and three children for 18 years. He is a retired California peace officer and former US Army Military Police with MPI and CIDC experience. He currently runs an IT Consultancy firm.
SECOND CHOICE: DAN DILLMAN
Dan is a great guy, and he’s done a great service to San Leandro both through running the Bal Theater and by being a strong liberal voice on civic issues. Dan frequently attends City Council meetings and shares reasonable and often inspired positions. He has spoken up against red light and surveillance cameras, against flying the Chinese flag over San Leandro, for expanding rather than limiting entertainment options and for marijuana dispensaries, among other issues. A vote for him is a vote for the liberal politics he espouses. While Dan is unlikely to win enough votes to become Mayor, I think he can make it past Diana Souza if people who appreciate his idealism vote for him.
THIRD CHOICE: PAULINE CUTTER
Pauline is a very pleasant lady and she has taken her job as a City Council member seriously. She does her homework, asks questions and tries to make the best decision. However, she is not particularly progressive. She has voted the right way in a number of issues, including against flying the Chinese flag, against red light cameras, against restrictions of entertainment uses in the industrial area, against unnecessary golden handshakes to public employees and in favor of marijuana dispensaries. As a former School Board member, she has reached out to partner with the schools in a variety of projects. However, she has voted in favor of the expanded use of surveillance cameras and supports the militarization of the police department, albeit not as fully as Diana Souza.
Cutter has committed to do the job as a full time mayor, and I think she’ll do a competent job. I don’t think the same of Diana Souza.
Diana Souza originally ran for City Council to try to get a competitive pool built in Washington Manor. When that proved to be an unpopular expenditure of taxpayer money, she retreated and has since taken direction on how to vote from other Councilmembers and, later, from the Police Chief / City Manager. Not surprisingly, she is endorsed by the police union. Souza has also shown quite an antipathy to collaborating with the schools, and has voted in an extremely conservative manner: in favor of flying the Chinese flag over San Leandro, in favor of red light cameras and surveillance cameras, against marijuana dispensaries and in favor of restricting entertainment in San Leandro. Souza has the support of the owners of California Waste Solutions, who also seem ready to try to take over San Leandro’s garbage contract as well.