Wednesday, September 8, 2010

City Council Debate Preview

Councilman Michael Gregory, David Anderson
What a difference a year makes for Gregory. Last year, the sharp-dressed, well-groomed councilman had more than a few hairs out of place. Under his watch, there was a strong possibility of losing San Leandro Hospital, which sits in his district. He was also on the outs with local labor unions, which insiders say caused him more than a few night's sleep. Fast forward and the political landscape looks far more rosy for Gregory. San Leandro Hospital's future is not secure, but the bleeding has been stopped for time being and labor support has even come his way. Gregory is simple: he is all about improving lifestyle. He promotes ditching the car for a bike and eating your vegetables. He's congenial and well-liked, either because he smiles a lot or does not aim to make waves. His opponent, though, comes to San Leandro with quite a bit of baggage. David Anderson is not well-known. What he is known for is accusations of wrongdoing at the school district in Oakland. Anderson, though, is a strong union man, which made Gregory nervous. In the end, the labor unions, seemed to have shied away from Anderson in favor of Gregory. It will be interesting exactly how Anderson tacks against Gregory sunshiny persona and whether he has sounds like he has the experience to match the incumbent. If you are looking for political fisticuffs this is probably not the race for you.

School Trustee Pauline Cutter, Corina Lopez
With two months to go, this is the race most likely to produce a surprise. Four years ago, Ursula Reed played this role. This time around it could be the Princeton-educated Lopez who pulls it off. District 5 has not seen a competitive council race in over a decade. Councilman Bill Stephens was re-elected twice without an opponent. Lopez is well-spoken and intelligent, but her main asset could be her grasp of the undervalued and unrepresentative Latino demographic. She is also a ballroom dancer, which should go well with the Dancing with the Stars set. In a city with a burgeoning Latino flavor, neither the city council or school board is represented by a person of Hispanic descent. If she can connect to those voters, she could defeat the more experience Pauline Cutter. Rallying that large sleeping giant of a demographic, though, is a big if. Cutter has shown herself to be a part of the more moderate wing of the school board. For instance, she sided against giving departed superintendent a pink slip earlier this year in opposition to the Katzites who had it in for Christine Lim. Some though say she has done little to set herself apart from a quite lackluster school board. While she has a good deal of union support, it is a bit spotty and her support among the current school board members is waning. This summer she seemed fearful of losing Tony Santos' support which is only exacerbated by Santos acolyte Charles Gilcrest being involved in Lopez's campaign. Cutter is a bit laid back in demeanor and will likely step up the rhetoric making this race a tossup and with any close race, it usually comes down to who makes the biggest mistake and when.



Just FYI, and as a reminder to do your homework, Mike Katz-Lacabe, the president of the School Board (and my husband) is actually of Hispanic descent. His grandfather is Mexican while his grandmother was Bolivian. Latinos, believe it or not, come in all skin tones and bear all sorts of surnames.

The name "Katz" doesn't come any more Jewish than that.

Manuel, are you under the impression that there are no Latino Jews? Not that Mike is one - Katz is his stepfather's last name - but there are approximately 2.5 million Jews in Latin America.

Again, let me repeat, Latinos do not all share a specific DNA, skin color, surnames, /or religion/. What we share are roots in one of the very many, very varied (both without and within) Latin American countries. You will find Latino Jews, Latino Muslims, Latino Buddhists, Latino atheists and Latinos who belong to a myriad of Christian sects. You will find black Latinos, white Latinos, "brown" Latinos, and - get this - Asian Latinos. A former Peruvian president was of Japanese origin, the parents of a former Argentinian president were Muslim immigrants from Syria.

What the Latino "raza" and culture is all about is actually the mixture of the blood and/or culture of foreign settlers with that of the native populations. That's why Latino culture is so rich.

Well written summary Steve. Incisive word smithing and good journalism. I guess you are doing a good job when the comments are about the commenters and not about your work.

WHAT a DUMB DUMB racist statement from Manuel<----the portuguese racist!!! I don't know who Mr. Katz is but to call him Jewish?!! You are a clueless IDIOT. I been told that you're portuguese or of portuguese descent, should we refer to you as a sardinha? or linguisa? or bacalhao? you're despicable and I would consider you a IGNORANT RACIST.
By the way the name "Manuel", coming from "Emanuel" is a favor name is the jewish religion.



Marga, you are trying to reason with Manuel. Manuel doubts his Latino roots, since he is a typical Portugese. He has little understanding of facts and generally emulates the least desirable Portugese derogatory traits. You are absolutely right about the richness and diversity of Latino culture. You left out the fascists Salazar, Franco, Peron, Fujimori and Pinochet. Manuel has their posters on his wall at home which he shares with his Mommy.

Yedidiah, shame on you for dissing Portugese racists and haters by including Manuel in with them. They would not have him. He is without hope. He is the last guy. You know the one that even Mother Theresa would have left in gutter and peed on.

To put Manuel in perspective he still lives at home with mom and dad, explains a lot(retarded?)

Just to clarify....Most of us Portuguese residents of San Leandro, DO NOT associate ourselves with the like minds of Manuel!! It is despicable that this worm has a internet connection. We shouldn't care what he does when the curtains are closed (and his parents are gone) and he is home wanking...but this guy is a disgrace. Tavares you're portuguese aren't you? are you a racist or do u consider your family and friends to be like Manuel?

The problem is that you and Manuel and Steve and the rest of you of Portugese ancestry think of yourselves as Portugese Americans instead of just plain folks who live in San Leandro. Once the ethnicity and cultural heritage goes away, so also will leave the petty, trite and incendiary history that taints the lives of those you touch. Retaining the past allows you to subject all to that same, awful, racist, hate-filled and downright distasteful heritage of intolerance and invective. In short what Manuel, who is also short, is.

Manuel is not a racist because he is portugese american he is a racist because he is an idiot. To suggest someone who tells people is portugese american is a racist is a stretch. many people are proud of their ancestry, whether they are italian american, asian american african american. That is what America is.
The above post is almost as bad as manuels, in a different manor.
Thereis nothing wrong in celebrating ones heritage

Hey, Hey, I'm American. I was born at Eden Hospital, but it is true that I am a "anchor baby" technically even though my father has been a citizen since 1961 and my mother was born in Oakland. Leave me out of this, man. All I know about Portugal is Cristiano Ronaldo, bacalhau and that my ancestors ruled the world 500 years ago. Jealous? ;)

When you celebrate a heritage of poor grammar, lousy diction and punctuation skills of a fourth grade pass through I see only an Ebonics wannabe. There is lots wrong with celebrating a different culture with poisonous values. It is time to send back the anchors and their legacy back to the cultures and nations they came from. If they won't go then we outght to lock them up and starve them like we did with the Indians.

Oh, and for those who are upset by the 'poisonous values' ask yourself how your ancestors got here. They are all illegal immigrants who squat on the land stolen by the original squatters who came here 10,000+ years ago. When you give up the past and live in the now is the only way we will all get on together.

Hey Hey I am Native American I was on this land from the get go. It really has nothing to do with race or socio economics. But more to do with education and values. Everyone needs to grow up so we can fix the mess, keep our traditional City traditional.

The point being made about the lack of diversity in San Leandro city government is less about surnames and blood, but about the immigrant experience. It is those people who did not have a voice in this city government, yet I see them everywhere I go in San Leandro. You can empathize with their plight, but you can't truly know how it feels.

If Mike Katz knows firsthand about the Latino immigrant experience, then why can't he and the school board figure out how to help the children of immigrants get a better education in San Leandro.

This reminds me of the white, blonde-haired boy I knew growing up who repeatedly said he was 1/8 American Indian and thought claiming the heritage for his own was so cool.

Sara, the Franciscan friars and later the Mexican and Californios exterminated the Ohlones. No way you or any other living human have that antecedent blood. Traditional San Leandro was a city of de facto segregation, misognynist laws and active racial segregation directed against every conceivable diverse ethnic minority. Yearning for the good old days is to harken back to an age of much greater hate and discrimination. The good old days are now. Not real nice, but the past was not so good. The sooner that the city gets back to sound financial practices and the schools go back to doing the best they can with the money available, the better off we will be.

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First of all I am Taos Native American, and my grandmother, my mother's mother is full blooded taos. My great, great, great grandfather second in command of the Mexican Army during the annexation of New Mexico. He was the first Native American Senator, and served 14 years in legislation. Good old days of values and hard work. I am for sound financial practices and not asking what we need but what we have, and that is the difference between then and now. At least people knew the value of hard work, signed the Native American who is as American as apple pie. I don't care what race you are, don't come to this CITY and cause chaos PERIOD white, black, hispanic or asian or any other race for that matter, I am prejudice against senseless people.

Oh here we go again, creating lies about San Leandro's past. boo hoo hoo, whine whine whine

Well I see the anonymous babooze doesn't know anything about San Leandro's past or history. He doesn't know anything about all the Japanese American Nursery's that were in San Leandro up until the 1970's. I guess reality and facts hurts those with skewed reality. Fools like this mouth off the traditional Lefists lies, hoping that the gullible will believe them.

Steve, I do appreciate the irony of you, a white native-born male, telling me, a Latina immigrant, about the importance of relating to the Latino immigrant experience. You do seem to have a sense of humor.

But, Marga, if Steve was born in Brasil, or Argentina or Bolivia instead of Eden Hospital you'd be all over him saying how "rich his Latino heritage is". It's you who has the ironic sense of humor.

I think the debate came across fairly good. Some good points, some bad, but at least everyone got a chance to say his piece.

"I don't care what race you are, don't come to this CITY and cause chaos PERIOD white, black, hispanic or asian or any other race for that matter, I am prejudice against senseless people".

Well said Sara Mestas, thank you for your insight and common sense, I just may vote for you.

And Steven Tavares...I agree with you on the statement about Katz, if he did have a clue, we could have a 1st class system for improving the education of our Hispanic youth population. Our schools in this city are an abysmal failure.

Who cares about the "immigrant" experiece Tavares? Do you think that when your old man and my family came over here in the 60's anyone gave a rat's @$$ about how we felt? Do you think people walked along Orchard or Donovan asking if we had a voice in City Hall? When I went to Cleveland School, I was 7 years old, and I was put in kindergarten with 5 year olds because I could barely speak English.

Now, they move the kid along and if he can't speak or read English they give him a diploma at age 18 and celebrate his "diversity". That's insanity.

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