It Is Time For A Change; San Leandro Can and Must Do Better.

Our city is struggling because our economy is stalled. If you improve the economy, you improve all those things that matter to us most: safe streets, decent roads, great retail and successful schools.

Our city is wonderfully diverse with an incredible location and so many advantages, but we continue to struggle. We lack strong leadership from all City Council members.  That is why I am running for City Council.  

Developing San Leandro's economy is my number one issue. Our city is struggling because our economy is stalled. Without a robust economy, we cannot support the services that our residents deserve and businesses require: safe streets, decent roads, thriving retail, and successful schools. Our city's economy is the single most important driver of what we all care about and are concerned about.

Fortunately, we have an opportunity before us to change the direction of San Leandro. LIT San Leandro, our new high speed fiber loop, thanks to local entrepreneur Patrick Kennedy. This gives us a fighting chance to dramatically change the course of our economy. I want to see a thriving San Leandro which benefits from the fiber loop, draws new businesses, enables great retail, and creates desperately needed jobs. I will actively pursue partnerships so that as these companies succeed, we all do.

Serving on the Redevelopment Oversight Board, I understand first-hand the impact our city faces with the end of the Redevelopment Agency. Our city must recommit to investing in our businesses by supporting revitalization, working closely with San Leandro businesses to help them grow with incentive programs, streamlining the permitting process, and aggressively marketing the advantages of San Leandro to attract new businesses.

But we can't ignore our budget problems either. Our city budget is balanced on the back of a temporary tax on the people of San Leandro. By taxing you with Measure Z, our city has increased revenue, but you don't see any of our services being restored because it is being absorbed by the ballooning pension liability, currently over 70 million dollars. 

Unlike many surrounding cities like Hayward, Alameda and Oakland, the City of San Leandro pays 100% of both the employee AND the employer contributions to CalPers. This is simply unsustainable; we will face a $7 million dollar shortfall the first year that Measure Z expires. I understand the severity of the issue, that's why the Daily Review has strongly endorsed me for City Council <http://www.insidebayarea.com/daily-review/ci_21593528/oakland-tribune-editorial-mack-rose-almonte-crow-best>.

Insisting on fair, respectful negotiations, I will work with employee groups to address our structural budget problems and create a SUSTAINABLE budget that ensures our ability to pay the pensions they've earned and maintain the services our residents deserve. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Fred Eiger November 03, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Back in my day we had 30 kids in a classroom!!! Quit your belly aching woman. 20 kids in a classroom won't make a pot of difference.
David November 03, 2012 at 02:28 AM
So, Leah, when are you moving to Oakland to enjoy the public schools' incredibly high quality, thanks to their much much higher property taxes (but still lower than the tuition you pay for your daughter's *private* school)? Think of all the money you could save. And those Oakland schools. Models of fiscal probity, and brilliant students with amazingly good outcomes. Or not. http://oaklandlocal.com/article/oakland-school-office-say-they-have-no-idea-what-truancy-actually-costs-records-go-missing http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Absence-rates-at-Oakland-Unified-schools-alarming-2371212.php Oakland schools essentially went bankrupt 20 years ago, with $67M "missing." It hasn't changed. In 2003, the Oakland Unified School District obtained an emergency loan from the State because the District had become insolvent. When reconciliation did finally occur, the District’s General Fund was overstated by approximately $7.6 million, and the Payroll Liabilities Fund was understated by approximately $10.9 million. The result is a net impact on the District’s General Fund balance of at least $18.5 million. Did anyone lose his/her job? Go to jail? Because if I, as an employer, went bankrupt and misappropriated wages from my employees and spent the money on myself, I'd be in jail. Sure, throw away more money. Better yet, Leah, move to Oakland and throw it away.
David November 03, 2012 at 02:40 AM
By the way, graduation rate for OUSD is...52%. Sounds like a great place to spend more money. Oakland Unified spends over $10,500 per pupil http://www.cde.ca.gov/ds/fd/ec/currentexpense.asp So Oakland spends 25% more on students than SLUSD for a 52% graduation rate, and is bankrupt to boot. Wow Leah, have any other updates on your travels to Oakland? Berkeley? Are we going to review yet again how minority students at Berkeley high school do worse than SLHS minority kids?
Fred Eiger November 03, 2012 at 03:25 AM
The amount per pupil spent on Piedmont Schools has NO effect on the ability of the children to learn in Piedmont. These are children of intelligent parents who care about their children. We could take Piedmont High School, place the entire school in Castlemont High and vice verse and the scores would be reverse; Piedmont would now be failing and Castlemont would be succeeding. Leah should just spend her money at the local bar buying rounds of drinks rather than paying more for parcel taxes.
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