Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak, who is running for mayor against the incumbent Tony Santos, accused him of violating the Brown Act during a Sept. 13 Shoreline-Marina Committee meeting. Here is the entire text of an email entitled "San Leandro needs a New Mayor" sent to supporters Sept. 14:
So far in the race for Mayor, I have been very restrained, focusing on the fact that I have the experience and energy combined to be a Mayor for the future of San Leandro . But yesterday that changed. You need to hear what is going on. San Leandro , we deserve better.
At the Council Marina Committee meeting yesterday morning, Staff was giving a presentation on the Shoreline Citizens Advisory Committee. Tony Santos, in hearing that there was an opening on the Citizens Advisory Committee, decided to take it upon himself to appoint a resident of Mulford Gardens on the spot to fill that seat. Councilmember Prola agreed. When I objected, saying that this is not the process, Tony said, “It’s done”.
This was not only an inappropriate, knee-jerk reaction, it’s a blatant Brown Act violation. There was no process for the selection; it wasn’t even on the agenda. The resident who was appointed on the spot, even stated he didn’t want the position.
Tony Santos is reactive, not pro-active. He doesn’t listen to residents until he fears that his re-election is in jeopardy. And then the response is short-sighted. This is detrimental to our City. It is time for a change in Leadership.
San Leandro needs a Mayor who will always listen first, then work with the community until the job is done. Here are some examples:
When I was first elected, many District 4 residents were concerned about a growing crime rate in the Windsor Square shopping center at Lewelling and Wicks. I created the first Security Summit, bringing together local residents, businesses, and the police department to focus on changes to make the area safer. From that Summit , we saw a 50% decrease in crime in one year.
When residents approached Tony Santos, concerned about the growing crime in San Leandro , Tony held a security summit, and told the residents that the crime rate was going down: "You live in a very safe community. A lot of you don't believe that. Statistically, you're wrong." The event degenerated into a shouting match between the residents and the Mayor. Certainly not a single problem was resolved.
In April 2009, the staff came to the Council to say that due to a decline in sales tax, the Senior Flex shuttle was going to reduce hours by almost 40%. Tony reacted by just throwing up his hands and blaming the economy. I pro-actively rolled up my sleeves, went out to the Senior community to hear their concerns, rallied Assemblymember Hayashi to our aid, and by June found the grants and existing funds to save the Flex shuttle.
In 4 years we’ve had 4 tax measures. This is because every time the community rails up, Tony Santos reacts by digging further into reserves. So we continue to need more money. I have been relentless in finding outside resources or re-prioritizing existing funds to maintain our quality of life services. Just recently, when bringing back crossing guards in a last-minute, reactive way, Tony wanted to dig into reserves. Instead, I pro-actively found a way to fund them in the existing budget.
The recent Sales Tax measure has my support, because without it our services will be devastated. But, the really important campaign in November is the selection of the next Mayor. San Leandro we need a Mayor who will carefully guard every penny of your tax dollars. I will be that Mayor.