Leah Hall

Oct 302014

sroThe San Leandro Police Department applied for a $500,000 COPS grant to fund a total of four school resource officers (SRO’s). The SLPD, however, neglected to let the City Council and the School Board know that they would be on the hook for $1.69 million in matching funds. Any money spent on the SROs would have to be diverted from other uses. In the case of the school district, it might mean further cutting educational programs and not being able to restore counselors and nurses.

I contacted candidates for Mayor, City Council and School Board to ascertain how they would vote on this grant.


At-Large Seat

Candidates Jeanne Kinkella and Peter Oshinski are both in favor of accepting the COPS grant and having the school district pay the whole $1.69 million.

Candidate Evelyn Gonzalez believes that the the City should continue to pay for the two current SROs, and that the District should not spend money on the officers.

Candidate Monique Tate did not respond to my request for her position on this issue.

Area 4 Seat

Candidate Leo Sheridan said he did not support the District paying the full $1.69 million but he did not specify how it should be split. He does support keeping just two SROs at the district.

Candidates Chike Udemezue and Latrina Dumas did not respond to my request for their positions on this issue.


Diana Souza favors accepting the grant and splitting he $1.69 million costs between the City and the school district. She did not specify on what ratio. She is endorsed by the Police union.

Dan Dillman opposes the school district accepting the grant, but believes that if it does, it should pay the full amount.

Pauline Cutter supports maintaining the status quo, with the City funding two SROs.  If the School District wants more than two, Cutter believes the District should pay for the additional officers.

Gregg Daly opposes accepting the grant.


District 1

David Anderson favors accepting the grant and splitting the costs between the City Council and the School District.

Mike Katz-Lacabe opposes accepting the grant and notes that research has found SROs do not make schools safer

Deborah Cox and Ken Pon would not take a public stance on this issue. Cox is endorsed by the Police union.

District 3

Lee Thomas favors accepting the grant and splitting the costs between the City Council and the School District. He is endorsed by the Police union.

Allen Schoenfeld and Victor Aguilar favor maintaining the status quo, with the City continuing to pay for the two existing SROs.

District 5

Corina Lopez believes it’s the responsibility of the City, not the school district, to pay for law enforcement. She did not specify whether the City should continue paying for the two existing SROs or accept the grant and pay the whole $1.69 million to bring them up to four.

Mia Ousley opposes accepting the grant.

Leah Hall would not take a public stance on this issue.


Oct 202014

candidateforumThe Hayward Demos held a candidate forum for San Leandro Mayoral and City Council candidates on Thursday, Oct. 17th.  All candidates, except for Leah Hall, were present. They answered questions from the audience.  The following are tweets from the forum sent by Mike Katz-Lacabe.  Because Mike is a candidate for District 1, he was unable to tweet during that part of the forum.



San Leandro Dist. 3 candidates Victor Aguilar & Allen Schoenfeld against armored assault vehicle. Lee Thomas wants more info and justification.
Lee Thomas disagreed with warrant-less searches of houses includes in chickens/bees ordinance.
Aguilar & Schoenfeld against red light cameras approved by City Council.
All San Leandro Dist 3 candidates support keeping San Leandro Hospital open – Schoenfeld says to clap for Mia Ousley: helped keep it open.
None of the San Leandro Dist. 3 candidates mentioned the $3 million the City has allocated to help keep San Leandro Hospital open.
Lack of questions for San Leandro Dist 3 candidates leads to an early wrap-up.
Thomas says he has the experience to be on City Council. Schoenfeld makes the case for common sense.


Leah Hall only San Leandro Dist. 5 candidate not present at candidate forum.
Mia Ousley opposes San Leandro acquiring armored assault vehicle. Corina Lopez supports/compares to safety vest.
Corina Lopez opposes rent control. Mia Ousley says no need now, but gentrification may necessitate a future review.
San Leandro Dist 5 candidate supports the development at the Marina. Says environment must be protected. Opposes dredging.
San Leandro Dist 5 candidates supports Adventure Playground and small boats at Marina.
San Leandro Dist 5 candidate Lopez says oversight committee has say in Measure HH funds. Mia Ousley: City Council can spend how it wants
San Leandro Dist 5 candidate Lopez: opposed raising Chinese flag at City Hall. Mia Ousley opposed elimination of full council minutes.


San Leandro mayoral Dan Dillman: You have 2 choices: two City Council members with 12 years of experience between them or an outsider.
Dillman is first to mention ebola at tonight’s candidate forum. Says we need to stop the fear.
San Leandro mayoral candidate Diana Souza: avoids answering question on raising Chinese flag. Supports armored assault vehicle for SLPD
San Leandro mayoral candidate Pauline Cutter: opposed raising Chinese flag; sounds supportive of armored assault vehicle for SLPD
San Leandro mayoral candidates on being a full time Mayor: Dillman: Yes; Cutter: Yes; Souza: avoids answering question directly.
Asked whether they supported funding San Leandro Hospital, Cutter said she supported it. Souza avoided answering the question.

Oct 062014
Mia Ousley

Mia Ousley

The race for San Leandro City Council District 5 features three middle-age women with a lot of enthusiasm for the community and city politics.  Mia Ousley, the co-founder of the Coalition to Save San Leandro Hospital, will be facing San Leandro School Board trustee Corina Lopez and Durant Avenue Task Force co-leader Leah Hall. They will be elected through ranked choice voting.  In San Leandro, all voters are able to vote for all City Council and School Board seats.

These are my recommendations for Council District 5:

First Choice: Mia Ousley
Second Choice: Corina Lopez
Third Choice: Leah Hall

Mia Ousley is such a great City Council candidate that I would endorse her and voter for her first, even if she wasn’t my friend.  I have known her for many years now and we became friends after she joined the San Leandro Community Action Network (SLCAN), a local organization of progressive activists trying to make San Leandro a more equitable city.  Mia spearheaded SLCAN’s efforts to keep San Leandro Hospital’s emergency room open, and went on to co-found the Coalition to Save San Leandro Hospital.  While the feeling back then was that there was little we could do to keep the hospital open, Mia understood that you can’t win if you don’t fight.  Her organizing and lobbying efforts were finally successful and she’s dedicated to make sure that the emergency room stays open and saving lives.

I have yet to see either of Mia’s opponent show up for a City Council meeting, much less speak out at one.  Mia, however, regularly attends meetings and is therefore up to date about how the Council functions and what issues it’s dealing with.  She also makes her positions known, with well crafted an intelligent arguments on issues as diverse as medical marijuana dispensaries, red light cameras,  the housing plan, the oversight of surveillance data and the armored vehicle the SLPD wants to get.  Mia also helped spearhead the urban farming ordinance which was finally passed last year.  She walks her talk, and she is not afraid to make her views known.

In addition to having solid progressive values, Mia has the intelligence and education to make her succeed as a Council member.  She has a BA in Economics and works as a financial analyst.  She can read and understand budgets and contribute to create a long-term strategy to assure the city’s financial stability.  She is a researcher by nature, and already makes it a point to both read background materials on issues before the City Council, and research them on her own.  She listens and pays attention, and is responsive to the community.  As a leader in the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association and the editor of its newsletter, she has often acted a liaison between the community and the authorities.

Mia and her family have made San Leandro their home for the last 17 years and they’re here to stay.  Mia’s youngest daughter attends Roosevelt Elementary, while her oldest son bought a house in San Leandro after he married.

There is one specific quality about Mia that may not belong in an endorsement for an office, but that I want to acknowledge.  She is what we call in Spanish a pan de Dios, perhaps best translated as “the salt of the earth”.  She is not Christian, and yet she is the most Christian person I know.  She buys food for the hungry, gives clothing to the poor and, yes, visits young people in prison to offer them support.  She takes in homeless young people into her home, giving them a place to live and helping them find jobs so they can straighten up their lives.  If you ever need a favor, Mia will not say no.  She is kindness personified.

More on Mia Ousley: Nextdoor/SLT questionnaire, Candidate Statement, Smart Voter, Website, FB page, twitter @Mia4Council

Corina Lopez is my second choice because she is intelligent and often has the right principles.   She is currently on the San Leandro School Board, after running unopposed in 2012, so she just some experience in a legislative body.  Corina also serves in the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee with me and I consider her a friend.  However, since getting the Police Union’s endorsement, Corina has been toeing the police line and she is likely to be a rubber stamp vote for the Police Chief.  At the last candidate forum, Corina objected to calling the Bearcat armored personnel carrier that the SLPD wants to acquire an “armored personnel carrier” and she said she’d vote in favor of acquiring it based alone on what the City Manager told her. Corina did not return the candidate questionnaire, which might suggest that she did not want to commit herself to any particular policy.  I’m recommending her for a second choice vote, however, because she is at least sane.

 More on Corina Lopez: Candidate Statement, Website

I’m placing Leah Hall as my third choice, only because there are three candidates.  If there were more, I wouldn’t even list her.   I have known Leah for four years, I have had many interactions with her, and I find her to be very difficult to communicate with, much less work with.  Her views seem to be random, and they do not follow any ideological principles as far as I can tell.  For example, she supports the legalization of marijuana but is against medical marijuana dispensaries.  She is very insular in her concerns, and she is extremely passive aggressive in the way she communicates with people.  I think it’d be a disaster to have her in the City Council, though it might be perversely fun to watch.  Leah did not return the candidate questionnaire.

More on Leah Hall: Candidate Statement, Website, Facebook page