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. I will be posting the answers as I receive them. Pauline has not yet answered all questions, but she promises to do so in the near future.
Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire
1- Do you have a website, Facebook Smart Voter page with more information about you and your platform?
2- What is your political philosophy?
I work to bring people together to work towards common goals by listening to and engaging the community—working for all of San Leandro.
3- How do you evaluate when to stick by your principles and when to compromise?
I evaluate what changing my mind will do. Is the end result a good compromise for the city? Can we can live with the end result? Does it get us closer to a goal? My answers to these questions determine when I compromise and when I stick to my original position.
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 am a sitting City Councilmember and in the last 4 years have attended all meetings except for 2 due to illness. I speak often.
4- 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?
I am researching a solution that would satisfy public requests for full written minutes of Council meetings in a cost effective manner in addition to the audio/video recordings that are available. .
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.
The City Council needs to educate new Councilmembers regarding their rights and responsibilities while in office. When I was President of the School Board we had a policy that each new member had an orientation about matters of concern to the job. This would include orientation about ethics, the Brown Act, confidentiality, and communications.
8- What’s your position on measure HH?
I support Measure HH. Ideally I would like to dedicate the additional .025 % specifically for deferred maintenance projects such as street and road repair, city infrastructure, unfunded pension liabilities, among other projects. These would be onetime expenses not ongoing.
9- Do you support continuing or making permanent the business license fee holiday for new businesses? Why or why not?
Before we continue the business license fee holiday we must have information regarding the actual loss of revenue, number of new businesses attracted, etc. We need to receive and study the data to understand if business license fee holiday worked in the way intended by the Council.
10- Do you support pension reform in San Leandro? Be specific.
I do support pension reform. By the end of 2014 all city employees will be paying their full share. This was accomplished by negotiating multi-year contracts with all our employee groups. Now we need to get serious about retiring some out the outstanding debt so we are paying down our costs today and not asking future councils to find a way to fund this debt.
11- What are your plans for increasing revenue and/or cutting costs in San Leandro? Be specific.
There is a big push to attract new business to town bringing with them new jobs and employees with money to spend in San Leandro. We need to look at our Industrial area and figure out how we can make it more attractive to business. We want to attract high-tech and advanced manufacturing jobs in that area but we need to have some kind of nightlife or extra curricular activities to assist in attracting new businesses to that location so the employees stay around after getting off work to spend their extra pay in San Leandro.
I would also like to find ways that our Parks and Recs Department can expand to offer more recreation time for the millennial generation. An increase in public transit options, and expanded and safer bike routes throughout the city will also assist in attracting new business.
We also need to support our schools.
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?
The situation in Oakland has changed. Waste Management will provide garbage pick-up services in Oakland. In terms of what could have been done to prevent it in the first place. San Leandro staff members were in touch with their counterparts in Oakland and the prediction was that the Waste Management contract would be renewed because CWS couldn’t handle the new services. Oakland staff did everything they could to present the facts and advocated for Waste Management.
It seems the Oakland Council was aware of the ramifications for certain agencies and they took precautions for them as in the case of Stopwaste. It wasn’t public knowledge that they were making sure they were protecting agencies and planning to go with CWS. What we can do is ask that any business that are located in San Leandro and dependent on other cities for their livelihoods keep our city staff informed of negotiations and deals of this sort so this situation doesn’t come up again.
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?
We must keep the position of Chief Innovation Officer filled and ensure we participate in tech and manufacturing events where we can feature and market San Leandro to outside businesses and groups. We need to attend events where we can meet the decision makers of these and make a connection, invite them to visit as a first step to them putting down roots in San Leandro. We need to ensure that we keep the loop current and expand it whenever possible by hooking up new businesses and laying new fiber. I would also like to see the city have a system for all residents to take advantage of very low cost or free internet services.
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 think Bayfair is a tremendous opportunity for San Leandro. We need to make sure the shops at the center are those we want to shop at, that there is good public transportation to the shopping mall and that the area is safe to travel to and be around. We have funding for a study for a TOD (Transit Oriented District) at Bayfair that has the potential to completely change that area, and provide additional affordable housing options near the transit corridor.
The downtown is finally seeing some long needed improvements but traffic remains a problem because it runs right through the middle of downtown. We are currently updating the City’s Master Plan which addresses housing and traffic in addition to the businesses. I know there has been much communication to the city from folks in District 5 but I would like to get a wider group involved.
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.
This issue has been out there for at least the past 25 years. I think every person in San Leandro would like to see a Marina for larger boats maintained. The unfortunate reality is that there is no money to do that without cutting essential services. We have requested (and continue to request) funding for dredging from State and Federal government agencies and they are not supporting funding for smaller Marinas like ours anymore. We have explored a ferry system there but San Leandro is not even on the list of Bay Area Cities that would be considered should funding ever become available. There are now about 35 full time residents who live at the harbor and another 85 or so that rent space there. In order to make necessary changes to the facilities there the costs would need to be raised and those increases wouldn’t allow for dredging. The channel that the boats use to come enter and exit the Marina is silting up and will need to be dredged soon or boats will be stranded in the harbor. This isn’t a decision that can just wait until funding eventually becomes available.
About eight years ago the council started working on this through an ad-hoc committee with Mayor Santos, and Councilmembers Starosiack , and Prola discussing the issue and to find solutions. Eventually out of that committee a Citizen’s Advisory Committee was formed with 30-35 people, from all parts of San Leandro, including residents, business owners, employees, boat owners, etc. They held over 50 meetings between their regular monthly meeting, Townhalls and Council workshops to discuss the viable options for the Marina. In the beginning the committee was committed to find a way to keep the boats in the Harbor as was the developer, Ed Miller. But as more information was gathered and supplied to the committee they voted to adopt the new plan for the Marina. This plan is in place and an Environmental Impact Report is being conducted right now. The report is expected the beginning of next year.
The plan has some very good aspects to it that will allow us to bring in quality restaurants, a meeting venue, a new library, additional recreation areas and will enhance the area while maintaining the natural beauty of the surroundings.
16- What type of affordable housing requirements do you support for new developments?
I support affordable housing in the city. We will need to look at our transit corridors for future “smart” development areas. I do not want to see a lot of infill housing in
17- How should the City and the School District collaborate regarding any new housing developments?
The school districts should be aware of possible new housing development and should have input to the Master Plan as we are discussing housing and the impact to local schools.
18- What is your specific plan for repairing streets and sidewalks in San Leandro?
We need to start addressing the very worst streets as well as maintaining the streets that are not so impacted. I am supporting both Measure BB which will bring over $35 million to San Leandro for street and road improvements but most importantly San Leandro Measure HH which will give our city local control over money that can be used to repair city streets.
19- Global warming threatens to raise sea levels. What should the City be doing to help prevent rising bay waters from damaging property?
As a city we should work toward decreasing our Carbon Footprint. We need to consciously make decisions based on conserving energy. It should be conservation first then look to becoming “greening” our buildings, operations. And eventually our city.
20- What’s your position on a “tree preservation ordinance”? Please be specific as to any ordinance that you would support.
I would like to see an ordinance that is not punitive in nature but will focus on educating people about the importance and significance of heritage trees in the city.
21- Should the City offer incentives to encourage property owners to install solar systems or other alternative energy sources? Be specific.
If we put in place a conservation program in our City we could use the savings to fund a program to assist home owners with the cost of solar installations. This would need to be offered to many people not just a few so I see it more in the way of a no interest loan instead of money granted to homeowners without them paying it back.
22- What will you do to make San Leandro friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists?
As we are looking at the roads and transportation aspects of the city we need to create safer bike routes around the city. We also need more bike stands and lockers for people who commute by bike. I also would like to see a system in place for bike sharing.
If we want more people to feel the downtown is a destination place then we need to slow or lesson the traffic there so pedestrians feel safe.
SURVEILLANCE & LAW ENFORCEMENT
23- What’s your position on red light cameras and why?
I voted against red-light cameras.
24- What is your position on public/police operated public surveillance cameras?
I supported surveillance cameras as a tool to keep our community safe.
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.
I would consider an ordinance to restrict the amount of time these records are kept and with whom they are shared.
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?
Keeping our neighborhoods safe is my top priority.
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?
It is heartbreaking to me that there are people in our community without the basic necessities to survive. I will continue to work with the community and non-profit agencies to provide for the basic needs of those in our community in need. And also work toward providing the tools needed for them to become self-sufficient—quality jobs, education and job training.
30- How should the Council promote community health in San Leandro?
31- Will you support an ordinance to increase the minimum wage in San Leandro? If so, to what amount.
Yes, I support an ordinance to increase San Leandro’s minimum wage.
32- Do you support reducing development fees, zoning entitlements and construction permits in order to make housing more affordable?
I am supportive of affordable housing and will consider all avenues to provide additional housing of this type in transit corridors. But I do know that the schools depend on part of these fees to mitigate the impacts new development will have on the schools.
33- What should San Leandro do to aid its homeless population?
There is no easy fix for the homeless population in our community. People are without basic shelter for a wide variety of reasons. We need to work with non-profits and other agencies in order to provide the services needed to stabilize their situations and get people into housing. I am very supportive of the Homelessness Ad Hoc committee our city is forming to help us get a better understanding of the scope of the situation and ways to ease it.
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?
I consistently supported medical marijuana dispensaries in San Leandro.
If you are elected, will you vote to stop the SLPD from obtaining an armored vehicle?