Victor Aguilar

Nov 022014
 

As a growing number of California votes, I get an absentee ballot but I wait until election day to fill it out and drop it at the polls. That way I can be sure I have as much information as possible before I cast my ballot.  This also gives me time to discuss my choices with others, and do some more deeper thinking.  Inevitably, this leads to changing my mind in a few races.  That’s the case with the San Leandro City Council District 3 race.  I am now recommending the following voter order:

First Choice: Allen Schoenfeld
Second Choice: Victor Aguilar
Third Choice: Lee Thomas

Allen Schoenfeld

Allen Schoenfeld

FIRST CHOICE: ALLEN SCHOENFELD

Allen Schoenfeld cannot win this race if only because he did not submit a ballot statement.

Truth be told, Schoenfeld probably shouldn’t win either.  He has no experience in City government, has only recently started attending City meetings, and is unfamiliar both with the issues and the system.  Without that basis of knowledge, he would be able to do little more than rubber stamp what is put in front of him.  He might surprise me, but I doubt he would make a particularly good City Council member.

Allen, however, is a good man who clearly cares for his community and for human beings.  He also has maintained a clear anti-police militarization stance since he joined the raise.  His views don’t seem to be as politically driven as community driven, “what’s the point of spending money on things we don’t need and don’t help us?,” seems to be his attitude.  A vote for him, in my view, is a protest vote against police militarization. He will be eliminated after the first round, so anyone trying to make that point should choose him first.

More on Allen Schoenfeld: Candidate QuestionnaireSmart Voter, SL Times profile

Victor Aguilar

Victor Aguilar

SECOND CHOICE: VICTOR AGUILAR

The race for District 3 is really between Victor Aguilar and Lee Thomas.  Thomas’ success is almost guaranteed. He has the better name, the better ballot designation and the better candidate statement. Still, I believe that we should vote for the best candidate, not the most popular one.

I originally recommended voting for Lee Thomas as a first choice because Thomas is the most knowledgeable and competent candidate on this race (see below for more on this).  Victor Aguilar has not been following what has been happening at City Hall and he seems to have very little understanding of the issues that are facing this city.  For example, he seemed to be unaware of the long battle to save San Leandro Hospital.

Moreover, at the time I wrote my original recommendation, I was unsure about what his political views were.  He had not yet responded to the candidate questionnaire I sent out, and none of his answers at the candidate fora showed a clear liberal bent.  This has changed.  He has completed the questionnaire, did not back away from the more difficult questions, and he has made it clear he supports civil liberties and the right to privacy, and opposes the militarization of the police department and the diversion of classroom funds to pay for police officers.

My concerns about Aguilar’s inexperience persist.  However, practically speaking, it’s unlikely he would get elected unless there is a significant swing to the left by the electorate. In that case, it’s likely that at least one the other liberal candidates – Mike Katz-Lacabe, Mia Ousley and Dan Dillman – would be elected, so that the pressures on Aguilar as the sole liberal member wouldn’t be so overwhelming.

Ultimately, I have said publicly that if you oppose police militarization, you need to vote for those candidates who do as well.  I must follow my own advice and choose Aguilar before Thomas. If we are not willing to take a chance to get what we really want – a freer and more just society -, then we will never get it.

More on Victor Aguilar: candidate questionnairecandidate statement, Smart Voter, Facebook page, SL Times profile

Lee Thomas

Lee Thomas

THIRD CHOICE: LEE THOMAS

Lee Thomas is a great guy. He works as a director of youth programs at the YMCA, and he clearly cares about children.  He has been involved in San Leandro’s civic life for a long time, including a stint in the Human Services Commission and later in the Board of Zoning Adjustments.  I have seen Lee in action at BZA meetings and he asks intelligent questions which show that he’s done the background reading and has thought about the issues before him.   I’ve met with him to discuss his race and I found him to be amenable to new ideas, looking forward to collaboration, and endowed with strong problem-solving skills.  Lee was the first candidate to return the San Leandro Talk/Nextdoor questionnaire, though he didn’t complete it.   He regularly attends City Council meetings – at least, I’ve seen him at them many times – and he got the endorsement of the Oakland Tribune.

In some ways his views are very progressive, he rejects warrantless searches of private property (which, unfortunately, the City Hall as a body approved of) and he believes the City needs to do a much better job of bringing after-school activities.

However, he has much more conservative views on other issues.  He opposes medical marijuana dispensaries but he is not opposed to the school district diverting money from classrooms to police and he has not taken firm positions against either the use of mass surveillance in San Leandro or the acquisition of the armored personnel carrier.  He serves in the the Police Chief’s Advisory Board, where he has not challenged the Police Chief on her overreaching policies, and has been endorsed by the Police Union.

I think he will do a good job in San Leandro, but if no other liberal candidates are elected – and that’s a strong possibility – I don’t think he’ll be rocking the boat.

More on Lee Thomas: candidate questionnaire, candidate statement, Smart Voter, website, Facebook, APAC questionnaire, SL Times profile: , tweeter: @LeeThomas94578

Oct 312014
 

policestate

 

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 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 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.

 

DISTRICT 3

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.

DISTRICT 5

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.

MAYOR

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 192014
 
Victor Aguilar

Victor Aguilar

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. These are Victor Aguilar’s answers.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

1- Do you have a website, Facebook Smart Voter page with more information about you and your platform?

My Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/victoraguilarforsanleandrocitycouncil

2- What is your political philosophy?

My political philosophy is to protect our environment, provide quality public safety, support a strong positive relationship between the City, and schools, place San Leandro on a substantial foundation for fiscal responsibility, promote economic development, create jobs and housing opportunities, and transform San Leandro into a center for innovation.

3- How do you evaluate when to stick by your principles and when to compromise?

There’s a saying, “that’s not the point, it’s the principle”, I stand by principle. I do what’s right. I compromise when principle is questionable and not concrete.

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 have attended many City council meeting. I’ve checked out the Rent Review meeting and met Mia Ousley. I have not spoken out at any City Council meetings.

GOOD GOVERNANCE

5- 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 a firm believer that all meetings should be recorded. Just like a deposition, the City Council needs to be documents. I would restore full minutes.

6- Do you support a sunshine ordinance in San Leandro? Be specific as to terms.

I support a sunshine ordinance. I believe that the city needs to be informed as to the decisions that are being made by our city manager and officials.

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.

Members of the city council need to remember what the principle is and when to compromise. I believe that the Vice-Mayor Benny Lee should be reprimanded.

REVENUE

8- What’s your position on measure HH?

I support Measure HH. I think the 30 year life is steep. This measure will help the aid public programs and revitalize San Leandro.

9- Do you support continuing or making permanent the business license fee holiday for new businesses? Why or why not?

In order to attract business in San Leandro I support the business license fee holiday for new business. This is attractive to bring business to our vibrant city. We need to make sure that we are attracting the right businesses for our community.

10- Do you support pension reform in San Leandro? Be specific.

I support pension reform. We as taxpayers should not have to pay.

11- What are your plans for increasing revenue and/or cutting costs in San Leandro? Be specific.

My plan to increase revenue is the bring in the Tech Campus and revitalize the Marina. As for cutting costs, we need to address the police armored vehicle. This is going to be expensive to maintain.

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?

I want to make the right choice for our community and support any local business. I would have made sure that the decision that we are making as a city is approved by our council before speaking on behalf of San Leandro. I fully support San Leandro businesses, especially Waste Management.

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?

I support LIT San Leandro http://litsanleandro.com/ We need to attract a new generation of business. This is the age we live in and what better place that to promote San Leandro to house these tech companies within our fiber optic loop. I would work with our Chief Innovator to help promote these efforts.

DEVELOPMENT

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 support redevelopment. We need to make sure that San Leandro is pedestrian, bicycle and commuter friendly. The City is on the right track towards sprucing up downtown, we need to do a better job on attracting quality businesses and limit monopolization. The South part of town needs a facelift. We need to bring back life into our industrial are and fix our streets.

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.

Since the Federal funding has ended and San Leandro has vied to get funds, out dredging option seems bleak. I will work to revitalize the Marina to make it a vibrant attractive and money generating spot. We also need to make sure that we are considerate of our environment.

16- What type of affordable housing requirements do you support for new developments?

We need to make sure that local housing authorities offer rents affordable to low-income households. I support various types of new housing developments.

17- How should the City and the School District collaborate regarding any new housing developments?

The city and the school district need to work closely to mitigate the future of school enrollment. We need to make sure that we closely look at how new developments will impact our schools for San Leandro and San Lorenzo Unified.

18- What is your specific plan for repairing streets and sidewalks in San Leandro?

We need to address the street and sidewalk situation, specifically the streets. San Leandro has the worst streets in the county. I will ensure that partial funds from Measure HH (if passed) will be used to fix our streets in conjunction with Measure BB.

19- Global warming threatens to raise sea levels. What should the City be doing to help prevent rising bay waters from damaging property?

We need to education our community about global warming. This is a national issue and needs to be addressed at a local level.

20- What’s your position on a “tree preservation ordinance”? Please be specific as to any ordinance that you would support.

Our environment is not getting any better. We need all the trees that we can get in San Leandro. Trees produce oxygen and we need that to sustain us. I think the city need to plant more trees. I think that the tree preservation ordinance is valid and I support it, specifically Section 5-2-200 of the San Leandro Municipal Code states that it is unlawful for any person other than the City or its contractors to remove, prune, injure or destroy a City street tree.

21- Should the City offer incentives to encourage property owners to install solar systems or other alternative energy sources? Be specific.

We need a GREEN San Leandro. The city needs to encourage property owners to install solar systems and/or other alternative energy sources. I would love to install solar panels on my house, but the reality is they’re too expensive and quite frankly I can’t afford to install without some sort of incentive.

22- What will you do to make San Leandro friendlier for pedestrians and cyclists?

I support measure BB. If this measure passes it will make San Leandro a friendlier place for pedestrians and cyclist. http://www.yesonbb.org/

SURVEILLANCE & LAW ENFORCEMENT

23- What’s your position on red light cameras and why?

I oppose red light cameras. I am also opposed to the non San Leandro business that runs these cameras.

24- What is your position on public/police operated public surveillance cameras?

This is a violation of our 4th amendment right. I oppose public surveillance and police cameras.
http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment
I support private surveillance that monitor private property.

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 will support an ordinance that will restrict the time that this information is withheld and archived. Again, this is a violation of our fourth amendment right. Not only do the readers capture license plate info, but it records the public.

26- How would you tackle the increasing militarization of the SLPD? Do you believe that the SLPD should continue to operate its SWAT team?

I oppose the militarization of police, but I do believe in a SWAT team. This team is specialized in confronting heavily armed criminals; performing hostage rescue and counter-terrorism operations; high risk arrests; and entering armored or barricaded buildings.

27- What are your public safety priorities?

My public safety priorities are to keep San Leandro safe. I believe that a neighborhood watch is a great and free way to monitor our communities. I also believe in adding a few more police officers to our force if our budget allows.

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?

The chicken and bee ordinance is set in place to monitor those that want to turn their backyard into an urban barnyard. We need to make sure that our neighbors are not being disturbed. I believe that we have to plan for the worst and have a plan in place that will prevent an abundance of animals residing in one space. I belive there needs to be a warrant for a search. I don’t believe in warrant less searches. All searches have to be valid with probable cause.

SOCIAL WELFARE

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?

San Leandro needs to be a proponent in taking care of our community. We need to make sure that we have programs to help aid our community and the local, state and federal level. I belive that we need to make information about such programs are availiable to the community as a source. I will make sure that this information is available and accessible for our constituents.

30- How should the Council promote community health in San Leandro?

San Leandro needs to work with health care organization to promote health screenings and/or free examinations at little or no cost to our community. The welfare of community is my concern. We need a happy and healthy San Leandro.

31- Will you support an ordinance to increase the minimum wage in San Leandro? If so, to what amount.

I would support an ordinance for a living wage.

32- Do you support reducing development fees, zoning entitlements and construction permits in order to make housing more affordable?

I believe we need to make an exception in the aspect and reduce permits, zoning entitlements and construction permits. We need more affordable housing in San Leandro. We need to give businesses like this a break.

33- What should San Leandro do to aid its homeless population?

Homelessness is an issue with every city. San Leandro needs to provide aid to those that need assistance. We need to provide a program that helps those get back on their feet.

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.

I would impose an ordinance to stabilize rents. I will not impose a just cause requirement for eviction.

35- What’s your position on having medical marijuana dispensaries in San Leandro?

I am PRO medical marijuana and support the dispensary. Just like prescription drugs, I am a firm believer that our constituents should have easy access to their medication.

BONUS Question

If you are elected, will you vote to stop the SLPD from obtaining an armored vehicle?

I do not support militarization of police and do not support a military type armored vehicle. If this vehicle’s purpose is going to be use as a military type vehicle, I will oppose this. I believe in protecting our city, but not with a military tank style vehicle. We also need to understand the operating costs.