Sep 072011
The search for City Manager continues, but will it be transparent?

The San Leandro City Council is meeting tonight in closed session to discuss the appointment of a new City Manager.  At its July 5th meeting, the Council hired Teri Black & Company to conduct a broad search for a City Manager.  The search, which should start some time this month, will be open until October 16th.  According to the agenda for tonight’s meeting, the City Council will update the public on this search. It’s not clear why the City Council is meeting in closed session before the public meeting.  Under the law, all meetings of the City Council must be [Continue Reading]

Jun 302011
Hiding in Plain Sight: How the SL City Council Circumvents the Brown Act

Americans generally believe in open government.  We give our democratically-elected federal, state and local governments enormous authority over our lives and pay for the privilege with a substantial percentage of our earnings, the least we want in return is to know what the government is up to.  To that end, both the federal and state governments have passed “open government” laws that require open meetings and the release of public information.    In California, the Brown Act regulates how government meetings can be held, while the California Public Records Act (CPRA) provides for access to public records. Local politicians and city [Continue Reading]

May 312011
A short look back in time: When San Leandro tried to censor its own history.

The demographics of San Leandro have changed dramatically in the last few years.  According to the 2011 census, just 27% of San Leandrans identify themselves as white, down from 51% in 2000.  In 1970, however, a full 97% of San Leandrans were white.  Africans American today make up almost 12% of the population; in 1970 they were 0.1%.  Those numbers were not happenstance, rather, they were the result of very specific and very successful policies of racial discrimination that kept non-whites, and in particular blacks, from moving into the city.   Originally, non-whites were kept out of town by restrictive covenants.  [Continue Reading]

May 132011
San Leandro City Council to Stop Publishing Full Minutes of Meetings

4/17 Update: As I feared, the City Council has voted to get rid of full minutes. One more step towards hiding what they say and do. If Mayor Cassidy has his way, as of next Monday the San Leandro City Council will be making it much harder for the public to find out what they’ve been up to.  The City Council is planning to vote to eliminate regular minutes of all public meetings and  replace them with “Action Minutes”. While regular minutes include a summary of what was said and done in City Council and other public meetings, Action Minutes [Continue Reading]

Apr 242011
Cassidy asks San Leandrans input on new City Manager - sort of...

San Leandro is about to appoint a new City Manager to lead the city, hopefully effectively and for many years to come.  An ad hoc committee composed by Mayor Stephen Cassidy and Council members Reed and Souza narrowed the field of applicants from 30 to five.  The Council won’t disclose their identities – ostensibly to protect the applicants’ current  jobs – though hopefully demographic information on them will be forthcoming.  Cassidy has not heeded my suggestion that he appoint a citizens ad hoc committee to give input on who among these candidates would work best for the city, but he [Continue Reading]