Thursday, May 13, 2010

Musician Tries To Change City's Tune

The Citizen

SAN LEANDRO Local activist and rapper Sara Mestas is poised to become the third challenger hoping to unseat San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos this November.

Mestas, who performs under the stage name Mo Wiley, issued a blunt press release Wednesday announcing her candidacy and equated herself as a Robin Hood-type figure defending the interest of the working class and poor.

"The unstoppable rap artist, political activist and mother of three prepares to conquer her next challenge: campaigning for mayor of her hometown," the release says.

She joins a mayoral race that has been set and a bit staid since August of last year. San Leandro Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak and former school board trustee Stephen Cassidy have been campaigning raising money for months. Rumors are also circulating another candidate or two may eventually emerging such as former Councilwoman Surlene Grant, who termed out in 2008. Mestas will officially announce her candidacy May 25 at a press conference in front of City Hall.

Mestas candidacy comes as a surprise. She is an admitted newcomer to politics. In December, she was named to the city's Rent Review Board, but her civic participation innocuously began last fall when she, like many parents in San Leandro, were unprepared to learn funding for school crossing guards had been cut by the city council earlier in the year. Mestas was one of the few parents who volunteered their mornings and afternoons to helping children safely cross streets. Afterwards, she stayed on duty after the city and school district agreed to split the costs of hiring crossing guards.

The issue of her nascent music career has also raised her profile among some residents and city officials in both positive and negative terms. Critics have questioned whether the content of her music is an appropriate face for the city along with her troubled youth, something, she says, she is not shy to reveal.

"The whole point of launching my career with an album about the streets is to tell people about the hard places I came from in my youth that listeners can relate to and then show them with later recordings just how I have matured and evolved since then," said Mestas. "There would be a huge disconnect if I did that first without showing the sequence of events that brought me to where I am now."

Mestas recently faced resistance from city officials who declined to work with her proposed youth mentoring program with the Police Activities League and a recreational baseball league sponsored by the San Francisco Giants. She says both the city manager and police chief flatly said her songs glorified a gangster lifestyle and, specifically, promoted prostitution.

COMING SOON: The Citizen has the inside story of the city's reluctance to work with Sara Mestas.

VOTE JUNE 8! www.eastbaycitizen.com



Here you go.

C'mon. This is the town that not only elected but re-elected Dave Karp. And people are worried about her glorifying "gangster" culture. bahahahhahahahaha I'm glad she'l split the female vote that Starociak was going to get in this election.

Nice to see someone other than the Brian Copeland trying to make money telling the stories of her youth.

By East Bay rapper standards her message is concerning female sexual empowerment is positive - better than mysoginistic songs about fellatio (TooShort); and songs about "slappin' ho's up and down the f*ckin' *avenoes*" (Dru Down).

As a crossing guard volunteer, at least she showed she cares about public schools and did something actionable; unlike Joyce Starosciack who used her wealth to put her child in private school.

Better candidate than Joyce and Tony; but not as good as Cassidy in my opinion...

Frank Lynn

Why does Surlene Grant even think she can win as Mayor? Maltester brings her up from Redwood City, where his Machine Tentacles reached, puts her on the City Council to serve as his rubber stamp. When she runs for election and re-election she doesn't even put her picture on any of her fliers. She's a joke. If it weren't for Justin Agrella, whose little toe has more smarts than Surlene, Maltester would have had her run unopposed, just like he had Dopey Stephens and Oh No Badger run unopposed. A Surlene Grant candidacy for Mayor would be a joke.

Off topic, just looked at SL High and Bancroft Middle's 2009 API test scores, holy bottom scraping embarassment and how come both schools have such a super high % of black and hispanic students compared against the cities overall demographics, seems odd. On topic...yeah, just what we need is a rapper for Mayor. One giant whoosh of movement out of the city would occur and oakland could finally annex SL.

The demographic shift is not odd--it just reflects that more black and hispanic people are moving into town and/or have a higher birthrate. If you look around town--there's a lot of old white people, the majority of people under 30 are ethnic minorities.

What's bad about San Leandro schools is that when adjusted for race, English learner and socieo-economic status--they are still at the bottom of the barrel--for instance Washington Elementary is ranked 3; 2 when adjusted for demographics. And this is on a 10-point, not a 5-point scale.

San Leandro will never stop going downhill until school performance stops hemorraging. Unfortunately, town leaders like Tony Santos and Michael Gregory are dependent on an uneducated, impoverished populance--people who are not smart enough to demand better leaders, or who vote for their leader's support of entitlements like Section 8 housing.

Frank Lynn

What demographic shift???? The schools have been majority black and Mexican for close to 20 years!!! It's not a higher birth rate, it's higher percentages of low income apartments which are attracting these people. Schools won't improve until the people who send their kids to the schools improve themselves. When you have a City that attively attracts low-income people what do you expect???? Schools with test scores through the roof?

Cassidy has absolutely no credentials to be mayor and if you didn't know it it looks like he's runnig for the school board. What did he do there and why did he not run for re-election? I've read his postings on the budget, but the whole thing doesn't add up. Take away their cellphone and health club membership and save the city. Cmon. If Cassidy wins, I am sure you will see the city in worse shape. Who's going to listen to him? He has the worst reputation from his schol board days and don't think his attitude toward seeing other peoples point of view has changed one bit. On the bright side I use his picture to scare my kids into behaving. It works better than my belt ;)

John Vieira


Well, Tony has proven in four years that he shouldn't be mayor; well, actually he proved that in his first year in office. And unlike Tony Santos, Cassidy can do simple math--the city's budget is public information - it's not like Cassidy is making stuff up. And it's no secret Joyce and Tony are hoping to raise sales tax--tell me how that's going to leave the city in better shape?

Maybe some of Cassidy's school board constituents didn't like him--because he pointed out their blatant corruption and ineptitude--like the guy who took money for his charity from the law firm that charged SL schools $900,000 in legal fees--a huge conflict of interest that cost students dearly.

We need someone like that on the city council.

Seems like you either have a personal bone to pick with Cassidy, or Mayor Santos has promised you something in return for disparraging him...Given the fact that you feel compelled to insult Cassidy's appearance, I would guess you're aligned with Mayor Santos, the "class act" that he is...

Frank Lynn


I understand that budget information is available for all of us to see, but like I said before, his sketch of a plan doesn't solve the problem. I don't think San Leandro is in the worst financial state compared to other city's around us. Everybody knows the economy is very bad and this is what happens, you cut services and hope for a quick recovery. He just acts like a pest and I dont me to disparage him for that word, but he hits the same theme all the time and I honestly don't feel he has a solution. Raising taxes is necessary, but I want to hear someone tell me about the future and how are we going to bring new companies to the city. I don't hear anyone talking about how we can raise revenues for the next 10, 20, 50 years. This is not a factory town anymore. The pencil factory closed shop like 30 years ago. By the way, if I was one of Santos' cronies, I wouldn't know what the Internets are.

John Vieira

But John, does Tony have a plan to solve the problem? Is he even bright enough to acknowledge there *is* a problem. Hasn't he been at the helm while the city budget hemmoraged and $21 million surplus got spent? Could it be that he *is* the problem.

Do you think raising sales tax will encourage people to shop in San Leandro and raise more revenue for the city--or send people to Alameda, Hayward and Tri-Valley that have better retail choices to begin with?

Do you honestly think that public employees--including $60K/year tree-trimmers (who make $15K more than starting SL teachers); and $150K+/year do-nothing bureaucrats deserve to have their portion of their pensions paid, when no other surrounding city does this? Do you want your taxes and property taxes to go up so that do-nothing city workers get to retire at 55?

As far as jobs--what business has Tony brought to town? Looking at the empty storefronts downtown as well as the demolished Albertsons building, it looks like a lot more left on his watch than came in. Everybody is talking about "green collar jobs" - but those are a myth. San Leandro needs office jobs--but in emails to me, Tony stated he's clearly against building office parks in San Leandro, because it would bring in the traffic congestion that Pleasanton's thriving Hacienda business park has. Is that the opinion of a pro-business, pro-jobs type of person?

Sorry for accusing you of being one of Santos' cronies - you're right - you're literacy and ability to use the Internet suggest you're not an associate of his. :)

Frank Lynn

Tony Santos is a babooze, plain and simple. He doesn't know a thing about creating private sector jobs. He had the gall to get up at a Union meeting and say; "Have the Federal Government give me $10 million and I'll show you how to put people to work". He's babooze.

I think we need an entirely new City Council, a new school board and we desperately need a new mayor in this town.

I like how the Libtards in Broadmoor and Estudillo whine and moan about City Hall but they overwhelmingly voted for Santos.

Frank, that line about no wanting business parks in San Leandro because of "traffic congestion" was the reasoning that the Transit Consultant used to ramrod those low income ghetto apartments near BART. What convoluted reasoning is that?....build apartments for those who don't work so they can "spend money downtown"???? Shelia Young got $400,000 for those bastards to come in here and screw this City and that whore thinks she was a good Mayor???

Then those idiots up in Estudillo and Broadmoor were moaning and groaning about Grocery Outlet and Popeye's going where Sherry's was located. And what happened? Sherry's is now GameStop, the old Lucky's was sold to another connected political donor. Those people need to shut their piehole.
Trader Joe's was willing to open a store in San Leandro, but the City demanded that they build a store on MacArthur Blvd. and Trader Joe's didn't want to build there. Where did they want to go???? Down on Doolittle Dr. at the Marina Faire Shopping Center or at Greenhouse Marketplace? Why? Well, Greenhouse has freeway visibility and Marina Faire was located within their demographics. But, the City told them they either build where the City wanted them or not, so Trader Joe's told them not to bother them anymore. So all these big mouths from the City Hall, Broadmoor and Estudillo, either shut up or stay home, you're your own worse enemy.

You are so funny Manuel, you moan about low income people "overflowing" San Leandro and then you want more stores that cater to and bring them Downtown. Popeye's is on E 14th and 136th Ave and the Grocery Outlet is perfect where it is in Lower Bal/mid E 14th. Lets bring destination and neighborhood stores, more services and restaurants/bars to cater to the people in Estudillo, Broadmoor, Assumption Parish, other downtown areas, plus the Oakland/SL Hill dwellers nearby and the many office workers in the area and anyone else that lives in our area that does not want to have to go all the way to Emeryville/College Ave/SF or downtown Pleasanton. We can be a regional draw, think out of the box!

Barry, think reality; businesses will go where they believe they can make a profit. Businesses will go where there is traffic. How can an empty storefront attract any business? When businesses come into a town and think about locating they are sure as hell not going to go onto the Estudillo Home Owners Association website and see how many advanced degrees each officer of the Association has under their belt. They are going to look at the location; empty storefronts mean no one is able to have a successful business there ergo no one is doing any shopping there. If Grocery Outlet was in the old Lucky's it would have a full parking lot, just like it does now. Traffic means business is being conducted, it means people will shop at other businesses. These stores that all the misfits in Estudillo, Broadmoor and Assumption want aren't coming here because they don't see any reason to spend capitol in an area they can't see a return on their investment. Grocery Outlet saw a return on downtown and was willing to put up their own money, something NO ONE from Estudillo Estates is willing to do!

I remember at City Hall during the Grocery Outlet debate this coke bottled sea hag got up there and said "I worked for Customs for 25 years, these guys sell tainted food. You can't let any business come into town that wants to otherwise you'll have a hodge podge of businesses". WHAT A DAMN FOOL! I almost yelled out; "Shut your piehole you old rag and go back to watching Wheel of Fortune".

What demographic is GameStop catering to????? Yeah, maybe those 45 year old men wearing backwards baseball caps?

People like the sea creature want businesses to cater to a "perceived" demographic however, that demographic does not exist otherwise those businesses would have come into downtown.

We NEED ANY Business that is willing to invest in our downtown. Once that happens other businesses will follow. But to sit around and just be the blowhard and drive businesss out will not bring businesses into town.

Oh, Barry, Grocery Outlet is NOT in Lower BAL/mid E.14th. It's THREE BLOCKS FROM WHERE IT WANTED TO LOCATE!!!! Basic Economics knowledge is sorely lacking in the Broadmoor and Estudillo area.

I agree somewhat on not being too limited in our vison, but be careful what you ask for.... a city that only low income shoppers from East Oakland want to shop in because of the type of businesses it has, is a city that will never attract the needed variety of people, seniors and families with children and all income ranges. Sometimes it is better to wait for the right mix, which is what Main Street Properties is trying to do. They have done many successful downtown revamps all over the Bay Area. Have patience and lets all hpope for a real change that will finally place the thought of becoming just a East Oakland annex far away from our final reality as a community.

The truth about Trader Joes is this, they wanted to come to Marina Square but need 50000 sq feet, Marina Square didnt have it. If Trader Joes wanted to come to SL the city would lay down to have them. There was no other site they were interested in.
The liars on this site are multipling

Barry, there's a Food 4 Less or Food Maxx or whatever it's called at the old GM Truck Plant on Durant, East Oakland has places for their residents to shop for groceries. The people at Grocery Outlet are people that LIVE in San Leandro. Grocery Outlet is catering to the people that LIVE here. I go there, big deal, some things are worth buying and some things aren't worth buying. There's a Wal-Mart on Hegenberger, there's banks there also, East Oakland residents have businesses in their area. San Leandro needs to bring the white-collar office jobs into downtown. Main Street Properties is doing the opposite; they are attracting NO jobs, only low-income and NO income people. Once we have the jobs and its disposable income then the stores will come. We're not catering nor attracting any stores to this city that aren't serving an established cliente. It's similar to when the City converted apartments around Greenhouse Marketplace to low-income and then complain when check cashing businesses wanted to open up. WTH????? Yet, Trader Joes wanted to locate at Marina Faire Shopping Center. What does that tell you about the neighborhoods surrounding downtown?

It tells you that freeway access is important.
And its Marina Sq not Marina Fair that Trader Joes wanted to locate in

Manuel ran for city council twice as Paul vargas and was creamed, so why should we care what he thinks?
No one in San Leandro does.

Oh so everyone on this site is a liar? And if it was Marina Square not Marina Faire how the hell do you know BIG MOUTH? Either put up or fecha a boca babooze. Marina Square does have 50,000 square feet in that Office Max location, which is now Shoe Pavillion. And NO you Asshat, the City blocked Trader Joes from going there, they demanded that they build on MacArthur Blvd.

Regardless of who is right or wrong, wouldn't you agree Trader Joe's spurning the city is still a major psychological kick in the gut for San Leandro residents? It kind of said, "San Leandro, you not good enough, classy enough or rich enough" for Trader Joe's and I think it still hurts the community's self-esteem. They're wrong, but the feeling won't go away, I suppose, until we can buy Trader Joe's brand canned tomatoes in the city rather than going to Alameda or Castro Valley.

Absolutely agree with you Steve and the feeling will not go away until they open a store here. Being rejected as not good enough, with the "wrong demographics" and worst of all not considered cool enough for a Trader Joe's, does not feel at all good to our collective SL psyche.

San Leandro's psyche is one of delusion; "we can bring in all the low income ghetto-graphics into town and demand that high end stores locate here"???? WTH?

Trader Joe's is not high end...and you are a Repubtard.

For this town Trader Joe's is considered high end. Most people who live here wouldn't shop there. Don't you think that Trader Joe's collects zip codes from their customer's at the Castro Valley store? Yes they do, and obviously there's not enough people in San Leandro willing to travel the 3 miles there. Which by the way, is in not in a high end location, that intersection is more like Washington Manor. Trader Joe's sees no profit in coming here, therefore they don't.

I do think it is great that she wants to be a mentor to the youth and stop youth violence, don't get me wrong. That's great. . . really. . .
But as far as running our city??!! How can she run our city when she can't even control her kids; If she is. . . then why are her kids are running around the city streets LATE LATE at night and doing whatever they want to? If she wants to be a mentor, why doesn't she start by trying to mentor her own kids? Not to mention she isn't even an active participant in her children's life. . . Living in the manor, I see what goes on.

When someone wants to lie about me or tell half truths about me then that's one thing, but when they make personal attacks against my children that is where I draw the line. My kids running around LATE, LATE at night, lol, that is the funniest LIE I have heard yet, since my children are not allowed to even be out of the house after school unless I have approved it and know exactly where and who they are with, which of course I do allow on occasion maybe once a week, but never LATE, LATE at night. MY CHILDREN AREN'T EVEN ALLOWED TO BE WALKING AROUND THE MANOR IT'S NOT SAFE!!!! Hence the reason I pick them up from school. Not active in my own children's lives that too is just the funniest thing I have heard yet, maybe it's because I am not joining your hand at accusing the school of pencil whipping your child's grades, no sir, I make my children take personal responsibility. Furthermore, I am self employed, I set my very own hours, I pick my children up from school and drop them off, and spend more time with them than I do with anyone else or on any activity for that matter, like Manual says, bahahahhaha. I am very active in my children's lives and my children are in the mentoring program, probably need to be, because they go to school with your child. You live in the Manor so you see what goes on, again LOL, the San Leandro Police Department should hire you, they could use someone like you. Also, for clarification, I do not mentor the children directly, I coordinate the program, and if you are such a great individual I must ask the question why aren't you mentoring a child. Sounds like either you are jealous because I am an active participant not only in my own life but my children's as well or could it be your upset because I do things you only dream of, i.e music career, running for Mayor just to name a couple. Usually when someone is stating a fact they would not mind revealing themselves, so since this sounds more like a rumor than a fact I can see why you wish to remain anonymous. Those who live in glass castles.........

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