Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cassidy Is In It To Win It

Former San Leandro School Trustee Stephen Cassidy addresses supporters during his mayoral kick-off party Thursday night at Zocalo Coffeehouse. Cassidy asked voters to imagine their city five years from now as a safe, growing, economically-viable community, if he is elected. Cassidy and Vice Mayor Joyce Starosciak will face incumbent Tony Santos, who has already raised over $20,000 for the 2010 race.

PHOTO: Tim Holmes


Mr. Cassidy, do share with us how you'll make our city safer?! Will your plans included a bigger police force or gates at the city limits? or will you ask all of the criminals to move and not patronize the city? perhaps you'll provided everyone with bumper stickers that will claim that San Leandro "is a crime free city".

Below is the first part of the speech I gave. You can also find it online at http://www.cassidyforsanleandro.com/news/2009/11/san_leandro_2014_a_vision_of_a.html


"San Leandro 2014: A Vision of A Better San Leandro" By Stephen Cassidy

I recently told my daughter Fiona that I was running for mayor against another man and woman. I said I would be having a campaign kick-off party and would make a speech. Fiona responded, “Don’t make it boring or they might vote for the other man or woman.”

My first thought was my daughter is showing such political astuteness at a young age. My next thought was – she knows me well. I can be long winded.

With my daughter’s warning in mind, I want to tell you why I am running for mayor.

I care deeply for San Leandro. I am running for mayor to work with the community tocreate a better San Leandro.

What does that mean? Imagine the year is 2014. Here is what is happening in our city:

• San Leandro is regarded as a safe community. Robberies and burglaries have declined substantially.

o How did that happen? The decrease in crime has been attributed to the return of the police department to full strength as well as the implementation of innovative policing strategies.

• In 2014, San Leandrans are working again. With residents of nearby cities, San Leandrans enjoy shopping and dining at a wide range of quality retail stores and restaurants in the city, including many in the downtown area.

o The economic pick up occurred in part because the city met with the Chamber of Commerce, business and neighborhood leaders and created a strategic plan for commercial and industrial development in San Leandro.

o A key component of the plan has been the targeting of companies in the green economy to establish operations in San Leandro. These are businesses that manufacture energy conservation systems, produce products for solar power and
renewable energy, and promote recycling and environmentally sustainable technologies.

• In 2014, the children and youth of San Leandro are valued when it comes to budget decisions. Services and programs offered for them, such as neighborhood swimming pools and recreational activities, have been maintained and expanded.

• In 2014, a strong and positive relationship exists between the city and both school districts.nship exists between the city and both school districts.

o The city provides direct financial support for the arts, music and other student programs. This funding has allowed our schools to keep valued programs that many other school districts have had to eliminate due to cutbacks from Sacramento.

• In 2014, a new culture of open, honest dialogue and transparency exists between City Hall and the community.

o City council meetings are videotaped. The videos are accessible through the new information-rich and user-friendly city website.

o The mayor and city manager have their own blogs on the website, updating the community on civic matters and answering questions.

o The city conducts community forums for the public to provide meaningful input on key decisions before they are made.

• In 2014, San Leandro is regarded as a model for diverse cities in California.

o The mayor and city council work with all groups in the community to identify and solve problems.

o Residents with creative ideas for making San Leandro a more vibrant, sustainable community are listened to, encouraged and provided assistance by City Hall in meeting their goals.

o The mayor and city council inspire and empower the community to achieve more.

o A positive, can-do and optimistic spirit exists throughout San Leandro.

Here is the second part of the speech:

This vision of the future of San Leandro can be made real. San Leandro could be one of the most desirable communities in the Bay Area in which to live and raise a family.

How do we achieve this?

First, we have to solve the city budget crisis. It is jeopardizing our safety.

Even though robberies, burglaries and property crimes are widespread, the mayor and city council eliminated six police officer positions. The school crossing guards were cut, then eventually restored, but could be cut again.

The solution to the city budget crisis offered by our Mayor and Vice Mayor is more taxes; specifically they want to raise the sales tax to 10%.

I am opposed. San Leandro would have the highest sales tax in Northern California, hurting the hardest seniors on fixed incomes and families struggling in the recession. A 10% sales tax would also hurt commerce in our city, encouraging shoppers to go elsewhere. It would undermine efforts to attract new businesses to San Leandro.

Now, I’m not an anti-tax crusader. I understand quality services come at a cost. As a school board member I voted to put a parcel tax for student programs on the ballot.

However, I want value for my tax dollar. And I insist upon fiscal accountability. Despite the cuts that have occurred, city spending is actually higher this year than last year. There is no fiscal discipline at City Hall.

I have a better solution than tax increases – first bring city expenses under control. Otherwise, any tax increase next year will not return our city to fiscal health. Further tax increases will be necessary.

City employees work hard and deserve our respect, yet they too will have to do their part to solve the budget crisis, starting at the top. As mayor, I will not take a salary until the budget deficit is eliminated.

When I say that, do not assume my family could not use the pay. We could. Like you, we have many expenses. My wife Amy thought I was crazy when I first proposed this idea to her.

Leadership is by example. If the mayor will not make any sacrifices, neither will any city employee.

To create a better San Leandro, next we have to revive the local economy.

I will apply my knowledge as an attorney and former small business owner to support business in San Leandro and bring new companies here, with a focus on the rapidly growing green economy.

That will create quality jobs and generate revenue to rehire police officers, keep our libraries, pools and parks open, maintain services for seniors and fix our streets.

Third, we need City Hall to truly recognize that the welfare of our community and the conditions of our public schools go hand in hand. As a parent and former school board trustee, I know strong schools make a strong city.

I was at the forefront of the campaign to build the new 9th grade campus and performing arts theatre at San Leandro High School.

I will create a positive relationship between our city and schools. As the city budget crisis is solved, this relationship will include a first for San Leandro: direct financial support of valued student programs by the city.

Finally, to create a better San Leandro, we must elect a mayor that offers sound solutions, possesses a record of accomplishment and can look you straight in the eye and say: I will always put the best interests of the people of San Leandro first.

I am the only candidate for Mayor that possesses all three of these qualities.

Will you help me make San Leandro a vibrant, sustainable community with safe neighborhoods and high performing schools?

Thank you for your support.

I will not support a candidate that can not even bother to acknowledge a detailed and thoughtful survey sent to him.

OK, I want the gates at our border and for the future Mayor to ask the criminals not to patronize our city, maybe he can run a public service message on cable in Oakland? And as a bonus, I want the San Leandro bumper sticker that says we are a crime free zone, that should get laughs as I drive around the Bay Area.

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