medical marijuana

Sep 182016

marijuana-dispensary1Update: On Sept. 20th, the City Council voted 6-0 (with Benny Lee abstaining) to approve a third marijuana dispensary in San Leandro.

Short months after approving licensing a second marijuana dispensary in San Leandro, the City Council is considering adding a third license: one that would be granted directly to Blüm, a dispensary chain that already has three locations.  Blüm scored highest in the last application process, but the dispensary license was granted to Davis Street,  likely because of the close relationship between City Council members and the would-be operators of such facility.  Faced with the prospect of a lawsuit by Blüm, the City is considering just creating a third license and granting it to them.

But is it a good idea to have three marijuana dispensaries in San Leandro?  I was a very big proponent of having multiple licenses for marijuana dispensaries from the start.  I lobbied the City Council and spoke at numerous community meetings to that effect.  But with two dispensaries in the works within San Leandro, and the prospect of more dispensaries opening in other areas, I think it may be wise to wait.  The regulatory scheme for operating dispensaries is both untested and strict, and the zoning restriction for these facilities place them outside residential areas, in locations badly served by public transportation.  It may be wiser to let these dispensaries open, analyze how they work and what accessability problems patients encounter, and then perhaps modifying the regulatory and zoning scheme before granting further licenses.  By then, recreational marijuana may be legal in California, which might create new challenges that will also require adjustment of our regulations.

In any case, the San Leandro City Council has a history of making careless policy changes to respond to litigation, brought up by careless actions by the Council, compounding mistakes and causing needless trouble.  Let’s hope they don’t follow on their own footsteps.

Oct 312014



The positions below are based on candidates’ answers to questionnaires and to questions asked at candidate fora and on other public statements from the candidates.

* While the candidate currently holds that position, s/he might consider voting differently.

? The candidate has not indicated their position on this issue.


Mayoral Candidates

 Is in Favor of:  Diana Souza   Pauline Cutter   Dan Dillman   Gregg Daly
(write in) 
 Red Light Cameras   Y  N  N  N
 Surveillance Cameras  Y  Y  N  N
 Long Term Retention & Sharing
of License Plate Reader Data
 Y  Y*  N  N
 SLPD Armored Personnel Carrier  Y  Y*  N  N
 SLPD searching private property
without a warrant
 Y  Y*  N  N
 Ban on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries  Y  N  N  N
 Making School District Pay
for SLPD resource officers
 Y  N  N  N
 Flying the People’s Republic of China’s
Flag Over City Hall
 Y  N  N  N

City Council District 1 Candidates

 In Favor of:  Deborah Cox   David Anderson   Ken Pon   Mike Katz-Lacabe 
 Red Light Cameras   ?  ?  ?  N
 Surveillance Cameras  Y  Y  Y  N
 Long Term Retention & Sharing
of License Plate Reader Data
 ?  ?  ?  N
 SLPD Armored Personnel Carrier  Y  N*  N*  N
 SLPD searching private property
without a warrant
 ?  ?  ?  N
 Ban on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries  Y  N  N  N
 Making School District Pay
for SLPD resource officers
 ?  Y  ?  N
 Flying the People’s Republic of China’s
Flag Over City Hall
 N  N  N*  N
Attends City Council Meetings
& Speaks Out on Issues
 N  N  N  Y/Y


City Council District 3 Candidates

 In Favor of:  Lee Thomas   Allen Schoenfeld   Victor Aguilar 
 Red Light Cameras   N  N  N
 Surveillance Cameras  ?  N  N
 Long Term Retention & Sharing
of License Plate Reader Dataa
 ?  N  N
 SLPD Armored Personnel Carrier  Y*  N  N
 SLPD searching private property
without a warrant
 N  ?  N
 Ban on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries  Y  N  N
 Making School District Pay
for SLPD resource officers
 Y  N  N
 Flying the People’s Republic of China’s
Flag Over City Hall
 N  N  N
Attends City Council Meetings
& Speaks Out on Issues
 Y/N  Y/N  N

City Council District 5 Candidates

 In Favor of:  Leah Hall   Corina Lopez   Mia Ousley  
 Red Light Cameras   ?  ?  N
 Surveillance Cameras  ?  N  N
 Long Term Retention & Sharing
of License Plate Reader Data
 ?  ?  N
 SLPD Armored Personnel Carrier  N  Y  N
 SLPD searching private property
without a warrant
 ?  ?  N
 Ban on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries  Y  N  N
 Making School District Pay
for SLPD resource officers
 ?  N  N
 Flying the People’s Republic of China’s
Flag Over City Hall
 N  N  N
Attends City Council Meetings
& Speaks Out on Issues
 N  N  Y/Y
Oct 022014

NotesThese are Mike Katz-Lacabe‘s tweets from the City Council 9/15/14 meeting.  Since the Council eliminated minutes, the only written record of what happens are Council meetings are Mike’s tweets.  The Sept. 15th meeting featured two sets of public speakers, one speaking for paying ACI workers a living wage and another against the militarization of the SLPD and the purchase of the armored personnel carrier. Tweets are organized thematically, not necessarily chronologically.

Public Comments

Armored Vehicle

San Leandro Mayor Cassidy starts City Council meeting by stating that grant hasn’t been awarded to San Leandro for armored personnel carrier

Public speakers at San Leandro City Council meeting now speaking against armored personnel carrier.

Public speaker at San Leandro City Council says she called police to check on possible intruder. Showed up in military gear – scared her.

Cynthia Chandler at San Leandro City Council notes de-militarization of Richmond Police, resulting in less crime and less violence.

Mike Chase of ACLU NorCal at San Leandro City Council wants discussion/transparency about armored personnel carrier/police militarization.

Oakland resident who volunteered at Urban Shield thinks armored personnel carrier is unnecessary for police.

At end of meeting:

Mayor Cassidy suggests putting armored personnel carrier on agenda in Jan/Feb 2015 & town hall mtg – council agrees.

Paying ACI workers the living wage

Despite San Leandro’s living wage requirement, ACI workers are paid less than $10/hour. They are at City Council meeting to speak out.

In San Leandro, Alameda County Industries (ACI), a local garbage company, contracts with a staffing agency for its workers.

Public speaker says she has worked for ACI since 2012 but is a “temp” worker. She was surprised to learn about San Leandro’s living wage.

Mayor Cassidy allowing additional time during public comments for ACI workers who need translation.

International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) is helping organize ACI workers in San Leandro, who get min. wage, not living wage.

Jennifer Lin of EBASE speaks on behalf of San Leandro ACI workers during public comments – worked on city’s livable wage.

Supporting Candidates

Pamela Fobert, wife of San Lorenzo School Board trustee, is speaking on behalf of Alameda County Superintendent of Education candidate Helen Foster.

Not in the tweets, but our daughter Mika Lacabe also spoke on behalf of write-in Mayoral candidate Rascal, her Tasmanian devil stuffed animal.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Update on the medical marijuana dispensary operator selection process now at the San Leandro City Council meeting.

Details of ICFI‘s recommended process for San Leandro medical marijuana dispensary operator

Final recommendation for San Leandro marijuana dispensary operator expected in Spring 2015.

San Leandro Councilmember Jim Prola expresses concerns about lengthy timeline re: dispensary since City been dealing with this for years

Council Member Responsibilities / Waste Management

Vice-Mayor Benny Lee appeared before the Oakland City Council to speak in favor of giving Oakland’s trash contract to California Waste Solution, a move that would cost San Leandro millions of dollars, as Waste Managment has its transfer station here.

San Leandro agenda item on roles/responsibilities of Councilmembers is for Benny Lee, who spoke at Oakland City Council

Mayor Cassidy says letter of guidelines not violated, but spirit was “egregiously violated.”

San Leandro Councilmember Jim Prola on Lee at Oak City Council: “I’ve never seen that happen before” – maybe need more CM orientation

San Leandro CM Diana Souza on Benny Lee at Oakland Council mtg: “There were a lot of people who might have known something or could have said something.”

San Leandro Councilmember Prola suggests City Council pass resolution urging Oakland to re-open waste contract. Not enough Council support.

San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata says he is meeting with Waste Management tomorrow about the Oakland waste contract.

City Manager

In closed session today, San Leandro City Council unanimously formed ad-hoc committee consisting of Ursula Reed, Mayor Cassidy and Jim Prola

San Leandro’s newly-formed ad hoc committee will review and make recommendations on City Manager’s performance evaluation and contract.


San Leandro City Council unanimously approves nine-member arts commission.

San Leandro City Council unanimously approves installation of two electric charging stations at parking garage & one station at water plant.

Business Improvement District (BID) for San Leandro LINKS ballots go out this week. Public hearing set for Nov. 3.

Sep 172014

In the last week there have been two poorly-advertised and poorly-attended Mayoral and City Council candidate fora in San Leandro.  Mike Katz-Lacabe tweeted from the Mayoral fora.  He’s running for City Council himself, so he couldn’t report on that part of the fora, though he did note some of the “lightening questions” from the first forum.

Update: See also responses to the APA Caucus questionnaire below.

City Council Candidates

All San Leandro City Council candidates favored a marina with small boats – in other words, no support for paying to dredge the channel.

All San Leandro City Council candidates said that they did not support surveillance cameras throughout city. Leah Hall was late so no answer

San Leandro City Council candidate Deborah Cox said she supports marijuana dispensary but spoke against it at June 18, 2012, City Council meeting

All San Leandro City Council candidates say they support marijuana dispensary except Lee Thomas.

All San Leandro City Council candidates support ranked choice voting except Dist. 1 candidates David Anderson & Deborah Cox.

Mayoral Candidates

Dan Dillman says San Leandro’s pressing problem is perception. It’s a beautiful city.

Pauline Cutter says San Leandro’s most pressing problem is economics.

Diana Souza says San Leandro’s most pressing problem are the streets.  (The street conditions decreased every year she’s been a Councilmember).

Mayoral candidates on Marina: Cutter: exciting new development planned. Dillman: what voters want. Souza: new restaurants, hotel, conference center

San Leandro mayor candidate Souza asks for other candidates’ views on rent stabilization. Cutter: we need to consider. Dillman: what voters want.

San Leandro mayoral candidates on city staffing: Souza & Cutter: more cops. Dillman: use police from CHP, BART, Sheriff, Parks.

San Leandro mayoral candidate Diana Souza says working poor can be helped by recreational programs for youth, seniors and adults.

Breaking news: All San Leandro mayoral candidates support transparency at City Hall. Cutter & Dillman mention improving meeting minutes.

San Leandro mayoral candidates on red light cameras: Cutter and Dillman oppose. Souza supports. Thinks they save lives.

San Leandro mayor candidates on SLPD acquisition of armored personnel carrier: Dillman opposed, Cutter researching, Souza supports.

San Leandro mayor candidates on Measure HH: (sales tax increase for 30 years) Dillman opposed to length. Cutter & Souza support HH.

San Leandro Mayoral candidates on whether they support marijuana dispensary: Cutter and Dillman: yes; Souza: No.

San Leandro Mayoral candidates on whether to keep ranked choice voting: Cutter says yes, Souza says no & Dillman says “what voters want.”

San Leandro Mayoral candidates on flying the flag of other countries: Cutter says no, Souza says yes, and Dillman says: whatever voters want.

Note: During the interviews for the Democratic Party endorsement, Souza and Cutter clarified that they are in favor of surveillance cameras, just not throughout the city.

APA Caucus Questionnaires

While many organizations ask candidates to fill out questionnaires, very few actually make the answers public.  The Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus of Alameda County is the exception.  Here are the answers from San Leandro Candidates to APA Caucus questionnaires:

San Leandro, Mayor

San Leandro, City Council

District 1

District 3

District 5

Jul 242014

The July 23rd Council meeting went extremely long. Mike had gone to speak in favor of a strong privacy policy for surveillance data, and didn’t get to do so until nearly 11. Before that he tweeted from the meeting. My comments are in italics. The Tweets have been organized by subject. Follow him @slbytes.

The only City Council candidates present at the meeting were Mike Katz-Lacabe and Mia Ousley.

San Leandro City Council to discuss Heron Bay wind turbine lawsuit in closed session on Monday 7/21.

Surveillance camera policy is on the agenda for Monday night’s 7/21 San Leandro City Council.

Councilmember Jim Prola is absent from tonight’s San Leandro City Council meeting.

pickardCongratulations Officer Pickard for being recognized as the City of San Leandro employee of the quarter!

Kinkini Banerjee & family accept Proclamation from Mayor Cassidy declaring Aug. 2014 as Indo-American Heritage Month.

Kinkini is one of my best friends and I love her, but I wonder why India West was not invited to receive the proclamation or at least attend the ceremony. India West is the largest Indian-American newspaper in the US, and it’s based in San Leandro!

LINKS shuttle

San Leandro LINKS shuttle: 6.25 mile loop, 23 stops to connect W. San Leandro to downtown BART. Hours: 5:45am-9:45am and 3-7pm

Bike racks added in past year. Avg. 737 riders per day. 191,646 total riders in 2013.

Goals for San Leandro LINKS: shorten route to reduce time, reach Marina Sq./Auto Mall, service to Westgate, Kaiser, 21st Amendment Brewery.

Proposed change to San Leandro LINKs to meet goals: split route into north and south routes to reduce wait and trip times.

Proposed change to San Leandro LINKS will cost: $50k from City, $165k more from business improvement dist. & $130k more from grants/business

Mayoral candidate Diana Souza sounds supportive of San Leandro LINKS. She voted against it on 3/16/09.

Former San Leandro Councilmember Gordon Galvan is Exec Dir of San Leandro Transportation Mngmnt Org, which runs LINKS shuttle.

Mayor Cassidy wants to add San Leandro to the LINKS shuttle name a la “Emery Go Round” since the City will be partially funding it.

Diana Souza had been very critical of the LINKS shuttle until now. Her change of face is interesting. Gordon Galvan, who not only runs the shuttle but is also a lobbyist, was one of main contributors to Cassidy’s campaign.


San Leandro City Council voted 6-0 to impose liens for non-payment of bus. license fees, garbage fees, sidewalk repairs, and code compliance.

Among those with liens imposed by San Leandro for non-payment of business license fees: Diana Souza campaign mgr Charles Gilcrest.

I was at the council meeting last year where the Council voted to place liens and one of the business owners who appeared complained about the cumbersome system for paying business license fees, the immediate fines and lack of communication from the city. Apparently things haven’t changed as there were many liens imposed.

Floresta Gate

Much discussion about a gate for the Floresta Gardens neighborhood.

Karen Williams of Floresta Gardens asking for gate to reduce crime from non-residents. City discourages gates communities.

San Leandro City Council approves gate on Caliente Drive for Floresta Gardens neighborhood 4-2. Gregory and Lee vote no.

Facebook comment: A neighborhood in Fremont was asking for a gate along the Alameda Creek a few years ago. After a few months of curfew enforcement and checks at the location of concern we found most of the trouble actually originated from the HOA family members and guest.

Public Comments

First speaker addresses issue of children arriving in US from Central America.

Second speaker supports San Leandro Marina. Work session Mon. 7/28 on marina and shoreline.

Marijuana Dispensaries

San Leandro selects ICF International to help craft dispensary selection process. Mass. paid $335,449 to ICFI for similar work.

San Leandro Councilmember Diana Souza recuses herself because son works for pot dispensary that will apply for San Leandro dispensary.

Nothing in the government code requires Souza from disqualifying herself from this situation, but she doesn’t want to be in record voting against medical marijuana facilities. Alas, she has been on the record speaking and voting against them before. Souza, however, did not feel she needed to recuse herself on a vote concerning the property belonging to her own campaign manager.

Surveillance Cameras

Next up: vote on 36 cameras to monitor San Leandro City Hall and other city properties.

Mayor Cassidy clarifies that the upcoming vote does not approve a policy or anything to do with public surveillance cameras.

San Leandro Councilmember Benny Lee asks about backup of the data and whether backups are encrypted: Answer from staff: I believe so.

San Leandro City Council candidate Mia Ousley notes deficiency in draft surveillance camera policy and confusion about the agenda item.

San Leandro City Council votes 6-0 to approve $156k contract with Odin Systems for City Hall cameras. Not sure if it was sole source contract [later confirmed it was].

Pittsburg PD purchased cameras from Odin Systems. SLPD Chief Sandra Spagnoli used Pittsburg as example of video surveillance success.

However, San Leandro had greater reduction in crime without cameras than Pittsburg with cameras.

Odin Systems recently “donated” 60-inch monitor to Pittsburg PD, which paid thousands for cameras from them

No bid contract approved by San Leandro City Council Mon. 7/21 includes cameras with microphones for audio surveillance [which is unconstitutional].

Facebook comment from Mia Ousley, who was also at the meeting:

Only 3 people spoke out at last night’s meeting — all against the policy as is. However, in a confusing intro, Mayor Cassidy said the Council was not voting on a potential future plan to increase the number of cameras, which is what was written in the printed or online agenda. He said that information was only in the title and was misleading. However, I don’t see it that way at all, so it’s unclear to me what the Council actually unanimously agreed to — just replacing the current cameras at our Civic Center or a plan to install cameras at other areas in the city in the future. So I decided to address that issue anyway, saying oversight must be by a neutral party, and that decisions should come from the City Council, which would allow thorough vetting by the public.

Mike Katz-Lacabe agreed, and also discussed additional security and privacy issues that were not addressed in the proposed policy.

Darlene Evans was the only other speaker on the topic, saying her bike had been stolen from the library, where there was a camera, but the officers there told her spiders covered the camera and they couldn’t see anything.