SAYS COUNCILWOMAN MISUSED CITY RESOURCES TO GET INVOLVED IN HOA ELECTION
By Steven Tavares
The president of the Heron Bay Homeowners Association called for San Leandro Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak to resign after he alleges she misrepresented the city's authority and used staff time to intercede in a potential dispute over its board elections last March.
"I find her unethical and a poor representative of the city," said Heron Bay HOA President Michael Ostwind. "I would like her to resign."
At issue was a correspondence sent by Starosciak to the HOA, she says was at the behest of Heron Bay homeowners who voiced concern over the implementation of elections rules. Three candidates were allowed to run after failing to submit requisite forms before the stated deadline. One of those were Ostwind, who eventually won re-election to the board. He says he another candidate had verbally indicated their intent to run before the deadline and no election laws were breached.
Heron Bay reacted to Starosciak's missive printed on city letterhead with one of their own earlier this month penned by the association's attorney who forcefully questioned her authority to oversee their election process. Ostwind says by using city letterhead along with her specific "demands" gave the impression of city involvement. Potentially, Starosciak's use of "I" instead of "we" throughout her letter to the HOA may open herself up to personal litigation, says Ostwind.
Heron Bay also raised the possibility of litigation against the city of San Leandro over the issue. Ostwind says the potential still exists, but he would hesitate recommending such action in the current economic landscape. "The city doesn't have money right now," he said. "I know they have better things for their limited resources."
Ostwind, though, said he notified Starosciak last Thursday in a blistering phone conversation to not destroy records she may possess pertaining to the controversy in the event the HOA sues her. Starosciak is also running for mayor of San Leandro this fall.
Heron Bay, which resides within Starosciak's council district, has butted heads with each other in the past. Some homeowners were against new parking enforcement rules enacted last year that resulted in numerous citations. Ostwind and others led a plan to issue two parking passes for each homeowner. He pointed to his re-election as a signal the new rules had been embraced by residents despite a vocal group that protested its implentation. Ostwind says in the past Starosicak has waffled on issues and pointed to his own success in saving Heron Bay residents hundreds of dollars when FEMA excluded the area from its flood maps without her involvement.
"She talked to nobody about this issue before writing that letter and didn't do her homework," said Ostwind. "I can tell you this, I hope she doesn't become mayor."