By Steven Tavares
The former mayor of San Leandro summed up Mayor Tony Santos' chances for re-election with her typical straightforward style. "Tony hasn't killed his wife and he hasn't stolen any money," said Shelia Young. "There isn't a good reason for him not to win." But four candidates, with varying backgrounds and degrees of experience, see it a different way.
In fact, since San Leandro began directly electing its mayor in 1962, an incumbent has never lost. But in an election laced with high voter angst derived from a poor economy, hard-knuckled political pugilism, and the unfamiliarity of ranked-choice voting, San Leandro is in the middle of one of its most intense mayoral races in years.
Like most municipalities, San Leandro is struggling to maintain basic services while showing few signs of significant recovery. The general fund has been trimmed here and there, including continued cuts to its city staff and police. Its reserve fund, once overflowing five years ago at more than $20 million, has been whittled down to just $1 million. This forced the city's former finance director to sound the alarm this summer, saying that San Leandro could have trouble meeting day-to-day expenses in the next year. Still, despite the grave economic outlook, the city is more fiscally sound than many nearby cities...
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Express endorses San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos for re-election along with Measure M, but denies Measure Z since sales tax increases tend to hurt lower-income residents disproportionately