In order to better get to know the candidates for San Leandro offices, I sent out a questionnaire with questions provided by San Leandro residents and relevant to San Leandro. Lee Thomas is the first candidate from District 3 to submit his answers.
1- Do you have a website, Facebook Smart Voter page with more information about you and your platform?
2- What is your political philosophy?
My vision as a City Council member to tackle the issues that matter most to San Leandro families: public safety, economic development, particularly revitalizing San Leandro’s downtown and strengthening programs and adding services for families, including the relationship between the city and the school district.
3- How do you evaluate when to stick by your principles and when to compromise?
Principles are important yet so is the need to compromise. It’s important to find the proper balance between the two when representing the people you serve as a city council member.
4- How often have you attended City Council meetings in the last year and what, if any, issues have you spoken out about in such meetings?
I have attended many City Council meetings
5- The San Leandro City Council is no longer producing full minutes of its meetings, and instead produces an audio/video recording and a record of its votes (but not comments/discussions). Would you restore full minutes?
6- Do you support a sunshine ordinance in San Leandro? Be specific as to terms.
7- Do you believe the City Council should censure Vice-Mayor Benny Lee for lobbying the Oakland City Council against renewing its $1Billion garbage contract with Waste Management? San Leandro collects $500K in taxes annually from WM’s transfer station.
Members of City Council need to be mindful that they are representing their City, whether they intend to or not, when speaking at events or meetings. And as a Councilmember, you must always remember you represent the people of your community first.
8- What’s your position on measure HH?
I support Measure HH. If its successful it’s important that we have a strong citizens oversight committee with meetings open to the public to ensure revenue utilized to benefit the city of San Leandro and our residents.
9- Do you support continuing or making permanent the business license fee holiday for new businesses? Why or why not?
10- Do you support pension reform in San Leandro? Be specific.
11- What are your plans for increasing revenue and/or cutting costs in San Leandro? Be specific.
12- San Leandro is about to lose millions of dollars in taxes and development fees, due to Waste Management losing its garbage contract with the City of Oakland. What would you have done to prevent that situation from occurring and what will you do in the future to support San Leandro businesses?
As a member of the City Council, I would have worked on having joint meeting/s with San Leandro and Oakland City Council’s and both Mayor’s to explain the financial impacts this decision would have on San Leandro and our region. I would have been an active proponent of Oakland keeping Waste Management. Fortunately, this situation has been resolved.
13- San Leandro has invested on creating a fiber loop and is trying to market itself to high tech manufacturing. What would you do to promote these efforts?
To promote and market “Lit San Leandro” I propose San Leandro host a conference or exposition. Inviting high-tech and advanced manufacturing company’s to showcase the benefits of locating or re-locating to San Leandro.
14- What are your thoughts on redevelopment in general? What should the City do to spruce up downtown and the South part of town?
I support redevelopment on transit corridors and vertical mixed-use, transit- oriented developments. I want the area around the San Leandro BART Station to be active, vibrant areas that encourage people to walk around and enjoy amenities without being dependent on their cars.
For the downtown I want to work to implement the Downtown TOD strategy. This plan was created with input from the community additionally, we need to work to improve the south part of San Leandro and our industrial areas.
15- What are your plans for the development of the Marina? If they include dredging, who should pay for it? Be specific as to what you will work to see happen.
I think the city should continue moving forward with the current plan pending the EIR. I would like to see the dredge-deposition site restored to wetlands, as the long-term financial impact of dredging is not sustainable.
16- What type of affordable housing requirements do you support for new developments?
17- How should the City and the School District collaborate regarding any new housing developments?
The city and the school district should work closely together with developers to mitigate the potential impact new development would have on our local schools.
18- What is your specific plan for repairing streets and sidewalks in San Leandro?
19- Global warming threatens to raise sea levels. What should the City be doing to help prevent rising bay waters from damaging property?
20- What’s your position on a “tree preservation ordinance”? Please be specific as to any ordinance that you would support.
21- Should the City offer incentives to encourage property owners to install solar systems or other alternative energy sources? Be specific.
22- What will you do to make San Leandro friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists?
SURVEILLANCE & LAW ENFORCEMENT
23- What’s your position on red light cameras and why?
I was opposed to the contract, and keeping the red light cameras
24- What is your position on public/police operated public surveillance cameras?
25- SLPD operates several mobile and static license place readers which photograph millions of license plates and cars. Do you support an ordinance that will restrict how long these records are kept and who they are shared with? Be specific as to terms.
26- How would you tackle the increasing militarization of the SLPD? Do you believe that the SLPD should continue to operate its SWAT team?
27- What are your public safety priorities?
My top priority is ensuring all San Leandro residents are safe by providing our public safety the necessary resources to do their job.
28- When the City Council passed an ordinance allowing citizens to keep bees with a permit, it provided that in order to get that permit citizens had to agree to waive their 4th amendment right to warrantless searches of their properties. What’s your position on this type of requirements? What will you do specifically with the requirement in the “chicken & bee” ordinance?
29- What do you think are the City’s responsibilities vis a vis ensuring that everyone in San Leandro has access to food, housing, health care and other necessities of life? How will you meet such responsibilities?
30- How should the Council promote community health in San Leandro?
San Leandro can work with health care organizations, providers and the county to promote and enhance health care screenings and services and promote healthy lifestyles.
31- Will you support an ordinance to increase the minimum wage in San Leandro? If so, to what amount.
I would support an ordinance that would increase the minimum wage.
32- Do you support reducing development fees, zoning entitlements and construction permits in order to make housing more affordable?
33- What should San Leandro do to aid its homeless population?
The city needs to continue working with non-profit organizations and find ways to leverage city resources for grant opportunities that may exist for non-profits to support the homeless. I would consider creating a homeless taskforce/commission to provide guidance and suggestions to the city.
34- Do you support an ordinance that would stabilize rents and impose just cause requirement for evictions? Be specific as to what proposals you would support/oppose.
35- What’s your position on having medical marijuana dispensaries in San Leandro?
The City has already approved a medical Marijuana dispensary, therefore I am only concerned that we get the right operator in place to ensure that children, youth and families are safe and that the business is efficient and operates within the law.
If you are elected, will you vote to stop the SLPD from obtaining an armored vehicle?