Peter Oshinski

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.

SCHOOL BOARD

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.

 MAYOR

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.

CITY COUNCIL

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 122014
 
Evelyn Gonzalez

Evelyn Gonzalez

The San Leandro School Board has two seats open this November.  The election is by plurality vote – whoever gets the most votes wins, even if they get under 50% of the total vote -, and all registered voters who live within the boundaries of the San Leandro School District can vote in both races.

The race for Area 4 is between three parents: Latrina Dumas, Chike Udemezue and Leo Sheridan.  Parents Evelyn Gonzalez and Monique Taste, retired New Haven teacher Jean Kinkella, and  Peter Oshinski, who runs Hayward Unified’s school lunch program, are contesting for the At-Large seat.

Among these candidates, Latrina Dumas and Evelyn Gonzalez are the clear choice: they have the most experience with our schools, a far better understanding of the challenges facing the School district and have demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to improve not just specific schools, but the district as a whole.

There are great similarities between Dumas and Gonzalez and, indeed, they have worked together over the years.  They both have children that have made their way through San Leandro public schools from elementary onwards (Duma’s youngest daughter is in 5th grade).  They both have been extremely involved in their kids’ schools as class parents, PTA presidents, Site Council members and more.  They’ve even helped other schools with fundraising and other issues – when McKinley Elementary needed to get a computer lab, it was Gonzalez who lined up the donors and made the lab a reality.

As parents of a special needs child, they’ve both experienced the disfunctions of the special education department at the school district.  They understand how it needs to be reformed to serve what is a growing population.  And as parents of children of color, they’ve seen the challenges that minority children face in schools that have a mostly white faculty.

Serving in the School Board requires more than just knowing how a school works. You need to understand budgets, funding sources, state policies and the competing interests of different stakeholders.  Dumas and Gonzalez, alone among the candidates, have been attending School Board meetings for a decade, reading the materials, engaging with Board members and administrators, helping craft policy and advocating on specific issues.  If they are elected, they’ll be able to hit the ground running, rather than spend years trying to get up to speed.

Neither Gonzalez nor Dumas are very political, but they are both personally committed to social justice.  They both volunteer with different organizations helping those in need, and they stand up for the rights of the marginalized.  Finally, they are both caring and non-judgmental people.  They see the potential in children, what they can do, rather than what they can’t.  They believe in instilling personal responsibility, but also offering support to kids that are struggling.  They will bring a sense of humanity and compassion into the School Board that is, frankly, missing.

I know less about the other candidates, in part because they haven’t been as involved in the school district.  Udemezue, Sheridan and Tate are active parents in their children’s schools, but they’ve shown little interest in reaching out to the community as a whole and no desire to learn the actual mechanics of the district and the issues it faces.   I don’t think Kinkella and Oshinski have had any relationship with the schools or the district.  In any case, given the vast experience, knowledge and commitment that Gonzalez and Dumas have demonstrated, they are the obvious choice for School Board.

More info on Latrina Dumas: Smart Voter

More info on Evelyn Gonzalez: Voter’s Questionnaire, Candidate Statement, Smart Voter, Website, Facebook 

More info on Chike Udemezue: Smart Voter, Website

More info on Leo Sheridan: Candidate Statement, Smart VoterWebsite, Facebook, Twitter: @voteleosheridan

More info on Peter Oshinski: Candidate Statement, Smart VoterFacebook

More info on Monique Tate: Smart VoterWebsite,

More info on Jean Kinkella: Smart VoterWebsite,

Aug 132014
 

These are the candidates that will be vying for elected office representing San Leandrans.  The candidate’s ballot designations are in parenthesis. Candidate statements, when available, follow the description of each candidate. Remember, all San Leandro voters get to vote for all members of the San Leandro City Council and School Board, regardless of the district/area they represent.

San Leandro Mayor

Pauline Cutter

Pauline Cutter

Pauline Cutter (City Councilmember/Teacher) is the clear favorite to win this race. She served for many years on the San Leandro School Board, and was elected Board president three times, so she has experience as the executive officer of a deliberative body. She won her seat on the City Council four years ago in a competitive race, and has experience campaigning both for herself and others. She has a good relationship with labor – teachers’ union excluded – and is likely to win the Democratic endorsement. As the clear favorite, she’s also likely to be able to fundraise the money she needs to win this race. Politically, Pauline hugs the center. She’s a workhorse and very detail-oriented. She is probably the most independent voice in the council, there have been at least a couple of 6-1 votes, where she’s the 1. If elected, she promises to be a full-time Mayor. Candidate Statement. More on Pauline

Dan Dillman

Dan Dillman

Dan Dillman (Businessman), the owner of the Bal Theater, is an amazing man. He has worked incredibly hard to renovate the theater and bring options for entertainment to San Leandro (much to the opposition of City Hall), as well as to revitalize the south area of town. He is also someone who is not afraid to speak his mind and who brings a level of love and laughter to San Leandro that make this City great. He is not a serious candidate; in the past he has failed to do what it takes to win a campaign: raise money and walk, but he will bring issues to the debate: privacy, civil liberties, freedom, that the other candidates rather ignore.  Candidate Statement. More on Dan

Diana Souza

Diana Souza

Diana Souza (San Leandro Councilmember/Businesswoman) is running for Mayor because she has termed out from City Council. Her tenure on the Council has been uneventful. She got elected with the single goal of getting a competition swimming pool built in the Manor, and when that couldn’t happen, she basically became a second vote for Joyce Starosciak first and, after Joyce left, the City Manager. Her true puppeteer is the San Leandro Police. Diana, however, has a record of not accomplishing anything beyond trying to get the Chinese flag to be flown over San Leandro City Hall. Given that her name recognition is either negative or poor, she is unlikely to present a real threat to Cutter. Candidate Statement. More on Diana

San Leandro City Council, District 1

This is for the Bay-O-Vista/Estudillo Estates/Downtown seat that Michael Gregory is being termed out of.

Mike Katz-Lacabe

Mike Katz-Lacabe

Mike Katz-Lacabe (Trustee, San Leandro School District Board of Education) starts off as the favorite in this race. He was elected to the San Leandro School Board after a competitive race, and has been elected School Board President twice. He has been endorsed by the Alameda Labor Council. Mike has high-name recognition also due to his involvement in the community. He blogs at San Leandro Bytes, is a frequent speaker at City Council meetings and is often quoted in the paper. He is perhaps best known for his work on behalf of privacy rights, but his real strengths come from his vision for the City – he’s the main proponent of turning the 9th grade campus into a High Tech High School -, his thorough understanding of how the city is run and his common sense. Mike is my husband. Candidate Statement. More on Mike

David Anderson

David Anderson

David L. Anderson Sr. (Retired Sheetmetal Worker) is a retired sheetmetal worker and former Oakland School Board member. He gained notoriety in Oakland after he tried to bribe then OUSD laywer Dan Siegel. Siegel recorded the bribe offer, and while no charges were filed, Anderson lost his re-election. Anderson ran for the District 1 seat against incumbent Michael Gregory in 2010 and lost. Candidate Statement. More on David

kenpon

Kenneth Pon

Cheery accountant Kenneth Pon (Certified Public Accountant) is the comic relief candidate for this race. Pon, who served a term in the San Leandro School Board before being ousted by now-Mayor Stephen Cassidy, is known for his bon vivant predisposition, humor and sociability. He’s very involved in the downtown business association, Rotary and other organizations. When he previously ran for office, he proved to be a very lazy campaigner. He’s likely to play the “Sara Mestas”, “Justin Hutchinson” wannabe spoiler role on this race and – he hopes – pick up votes from conservatives who don’t like Cox. Like Cox, he doesn’t speak at City Council matters much, but he did in support of Walmart coming to San Leandro. Candidate Statement. More on Kenneth

deborahcox

Deborah Cox

Deborah Cox  (Public Policy Analyst) is a fundraising dynamo. She is in the boards of many organizations and has helped raise money for schools and the now defunct conservatory theater group.  Her crowning achievement as the head of the Estudillo Estates association was to get a marker for the neighborhood.  She’s also in the Human Services Commission.  Deborah is rarely seen at City Council meetings, but she’s gone to speak against medical marijuana dispensaries and in favor of selling the former Albertson’s property for 1/3 of what the City paid for it, in order to build Village Marketplace (the new location for CVS). What Deborah is not is a public policy analyst, she works as a field representative for Assemblyman Quirk on education matters – which is a very different thing.  Candidate Statement. More on Deborah

 

San Leandro City Council, District 3

This is for the seat that Diana Souza currently occupies.

Lee Thomas

Lee Thomas

BZA member Lee Thomas (Family Services Manager) has been running for a year, so I think we can assume he’s on the lead. Thomas is a nice and jovial guy, it’s hard not to like him, but he is unwilling to commit himself to positions. For example, he was at the meeting where the Council voted to raise the Chinese flag over City Hall, but he wouldn’t speak publicly on it. He belongs to an extreme right fundamentalist church, which opposes medical marijuana. Candidate Statement. More on Lee

Victor Aguilar

Victor Aguilar

Victor Aguilar Jr. (Accounts Manager) is a young account manager at a legal discovery firm. He studied political science in college, worked as a field rep for a City Council member in LA, and is now putting roots in San Leandro. Victor is very active with LGBT rights organizations. Candidate Statement. More on Victor

Allen Schoenfeld (Salesperson) graduated from San Leandro High in 1971. He keeps a very low profile online. No candidate statement filed. More on Allen

San Leandro City Council, District 5

With Pauline Cutter running for Mayor, her seat in the City Council is now open.  This district includes the north-eastern part of San Leandro.

Mia Ousley

Mia Ousley

Mia Ousley (Financial Analyst) is the co-founder of the successful Coalition to Save San Leandro Hospital, as well as the editor of the newsletter of the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association and active MoveOn.org organizer, among other things.  She is a go-getter and has worked on behalf of issues as diverse as getting the City Council to legalize urban farming, expanding entertainment options and developing community-centric public safety initiatives.  Mia is currently a member of the Rent Review Board.  She has worked in campaigns for Obama, Pete Stark, Mayor Stephen Cassidy, Morgan Mack-Rose, Hermy Almonte  and Ursula Reed, among others.  Mia actually likes campaigning, which gives her a leg up on this race.  Full disclosure, Mia is my friend and I’m helping her with her race. Candidate Statement. More on Mia

Corina Lopez

Corina Lopez

Corina Lopez (Trustee, San Leandro School District Board of Education) is currently on the San Leandro School Board, after running unopposed in 2012. Previously, she ran against Pauline Cutter for District 5 and lost.  Before that she was in the City’s Human Services commission.  Corina serves in the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee with me and I consider her a friend.  Corina grew up in Soledad as the daughter of farm workers, made her way to Princeton and now runs an IT company with her husband.  She has been endorsed by the Alameda County Labor Council. Candidate Statement. More on Corina

Leah Hall

Leah Hall

Leah Hall (Community Organizer) is, well, one of those characters that make San Leandro such an amusing town. She’s very active online, a member of the Human Services Commission and a big lover of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Unfortunately, she’s nowhere as funny as her Comedy Central role models, so while her role in the race is that of comedic relief, she’ll probably leave more people puzzled than laughing. Candidate Statement. More on Leah

San Leandro School Board, At Large

Jason Toro resigned from the School Board to apply for a job as director of the new student health clinic (a job he got).  That means that his seat is open and anyone in San Leandro can run to finish his 2-year term.

Evelyn Gonzalez

Evelyn Gonzalez

Evelyn Gonzalez (Community Volunteer) is a mother of three kids that have been making their way through San Leandro Schools.  She has always been extremely involved with the schools, serving in PTAs and school councils, and helping with fundraising.  When McKinley Elementary needed a new computer lab, Mike Katz-Lacabe contacted Evelyn.  Even though her kids weren’t there, she was able to put in a fundraising plan and in no time we had the computers we needed.  Evelyn, a theologian by training, is very involved in the social justice work in her local Parish. Candidate Statement.

Monique Tate (Parent/Administrative Assistant) is an SLUSD parent who is in the LCAP Design Team.  She seems to work as an administrative assistant in the Alameda County Office of Education – which might bring conflict of interest issues.

Peter Oshinski (Child Nutrition Administrator) has lived with his partner in the Broadmoor for the last four years. They don’t have children.  Peter is a former instructor at the California Culinary Academy and now works in food services for a school district.   He does not have a history of involvement with San Leandro schools. Candidate Statement.

Elsie “Jeanne” Kinkella (Retired School Teacher) graduated from San Leandro High in 1962.  She worked for the New Haven Unified School District.

San Leandro School Board, Area 4

Several candidates are vying to replace Mike Katz-Lacabe, who is running for City Council. None of the candidates have been attending School Board meetings until recently.

Latrina Dumas  (Property Manager/Landlord) is a parent at San Leandro High.   She ran against Mike Katz-Lacabe in 2008, because of Katz-Lacabe’s vote to fire superintendent Chris Lim.  Dumas was an ardent Lim supporter.

Leo Sheridan

Leo Sheridan

Leo Sheridan (Businessman/Parent) is parent at Monroe Elementary.  He’s in the Dad’s Club and LCAP team. He works for a paint distribution company. He has refused to meet with me to answer questions as to his qualifications and plans if he’s elected. Candidate Statement.

Chike C. Udemezue (Financial Analyst/Parent) has to have the coolest candidate name in San Leandro. He seems to be a government worker.  He shares his name with a a writer of self-published Nigerian accounting books, and I can only hope they are one and the same. I have learned that he is the brother of Uche Udemezue, the Engineering & Transporation director for the City.

San Lorenzo School Board

Several candidates, including the incumbents, have filed for the two at-large seats on the Board.

Isabel Polvorosa

Isabel Polvorosa

Isabel Polvorosa (Incumbent) has been in the San Lorenzo School Board since 2002, this would be her fourth term in office.  She is a spunky lady, but as I have not followed the doings of the San Lorenzo School Board I know very little about how she’s done there.

At 89-years-old (you read right) incumbent Helen T. Randall  (San Lorenzo Unified School District Governing Board Member) is the second oldest candidate running for office in San Leandro.  She has been in the San Lorenzo School Board for 20 years.  Before that, she was a secretary at the San Lorenzo School district.

Steven Kirk

Steven Kirk

Steve Kirk (Banker/Financial Adviser) is secretary/treasurer at the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association, where he’s live since 1997.  He works in the financial services industry.  He was very involved in the campaign to re-elect Barak Obama as President. He has been endorsed by the San Lorenzo teachers union. Candidate Statement.

Ronald Joseph Pereira II (Retired Teacher)

Janet Zamudio

Janet Zamudio

Janet Zamudio (Family Program Administrator), she seems like an obvious choice for voters.  She is Director of Parent Services at Children’s Council of San Francisco, and has a BA in Social Welfare/Education from Berkeley, and and MA and EdD in Education, Leadership in Early Childhood from Mills College.  She is the mother of three kids attending San Lorenzo public schools. She has been endorsed by the San Lorenzo teachers union. Candidate Statement.

Guillermo Nevárez (Substitute Teacher) is an activity director for the city of Newark and a substitute teacher for Hayward Unified.  He is a new father and was Mark Salina’s campaign manager.

isobel Dvorsky

Isobel Dvorsky

Chabot-Las Positas Community College District – Area 2

Isobel Dvorsky (Educator), the incumbent, has been representing San Leandro in the Chabot board since 1985

Gene Judson (Higher Education Consultant).  He’s a former San Lorenzo School Board member.  A Republican Mormon, Judson lost his seat after one term in 2008.

 

Oro Loma Sanitary District Board of Directors

The Oro Loma Sanitary District board consists of five old white men, four of whom have served for at least 20 years.  Three seats are open, but only two incumbents are running. Board members receive about $1500 of compensation a month plus medical/dental insurance.

Timothy P. Becker (Director, Oro Loma Sanitary District) is the newest director . He was appointed in 2007, and then elected in 2008.   He works in environmental services.

At 91-years-old, incumbent Howard Kerr (Director, Oro Loma Sanitary District) has the honor of being the oldest candidate for office in San Leandro. He has been on the Oro Loma board for 28 years, before that he served on the San Leandro City Council.  Kerr is an “old San Leandro” guy, representing the values of what was “lily white” San Leandro.

Shelia Young

Shelia Young

This will be former San Leandro Mayor Shelia Young‘s (Business/Environmental Consultant) third attempt to get onto the Oro Loma board.  She has high name recognition, which will help her as one of the incumbents is not running. Candidate Statement.

Chike C. Udemezue (Financial Analyst) is Nigerian and the brother of Uche Udemezue, the Engineering & Transporation director for the City of San Leandro.  He’s also running for San Leandro School Board.

Dan Walters (Engineer/Business Owner) is a San Leandro resident who runs a chemical company in town.  He is quite involved with the Chamber and the Boy Scouts, and leans Republican/libertarian on his politics. Candidate Statement.

AC Transit Director At Large

Joel Young

Joel Young

Joel Young (AC Transit District Director, At Large), the incumbent,was censured by the AC Board last year for reviewing confidential AC transit legal files, to help him with a case he was handling for the private law firm for which he works.  He had descended into ignominy earlier, after allegations of domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend.  Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, Young tried to blame the young woman.  He ran for Assembly in 2012, and lost  in the primaries.  Still, this is a county-wide race with several candidates, and being the incumbent makes him the favorite.

Dollene Jones (Retired Bus Driver), a retired AC-transit driver who went on to fund a casino-bus service, ran for AC Transit board against Elsa Ortiz in 2012 and lost, she’s now making a run for the at-large seat.  Here is a video of her answering questions in 2012.

Adrienne Andrews (Paralegal/Student)

Murphy

Murphy McCalley

AC Transit, Ward 4

Covers another part of San Leandro

Mark Williams (AC Transit District Director, Ward 4) is the incumbent

Murphy McCalley (Retired Transportation Consultant)  has “served as Chief Financial Officer for two major California transit systems, and as a Consultant/Advisor to various