Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kids for Cassidy?


By Steven Tavares

Stephen Cassidy
Stephen Cassidy is using support from the San Leandro school district to flout election fair practice laws, according to his opponents, Mayor Tony Santos and Sara Mestas.

The Santos campaign is asserting an elementary school fair last Saturday became a defacto campaign event when Cassidy and three other candidates up for election this November were advertised to attend. A flyer for the event refers to Cassidy as a "parent/mayoral candidate" slated to appear for a dunking contest. School Board President Mike Katz, Councilman Michael Gregory and school board candidate Lance James were also listed. James is also listed as a school board candidate on the flyer.

According to Santos, no other candidates were extended an invitation, while Cassidy and Katz wore campaign t-shirts, giving the impression the event was being used as a campaign event. "Here's a guy who just can't follow the rules," Santos said of Cassidy on Monday. "This is a clear violation." As of Monday night, a decision has not been made whether to issue a formal complaint to the Fair Political Practices Commission, although Mestas says she intends to hammer Cassidy over the issue.

Video of the event shows Cassidy introduced as the "next mayor of San Leandro." The event was also sponsored by the local coffee shop owned by Cassidy's campaign manager, Tim Holmes. Cassidy called the allegations against him "unsubstantiated." While he acknowledged the introduction, he says the two men heard in the video were not his volunteers and were speaking on their own accord.

Cassidy's use of schools for the purpose of politicking has come under fire in the past as recently as last month. On the evening of the second candidates forum Sept. 30 a complaint was also levied against Cassidy's campaign. Observers said they witnessed a volunteer for Cassidy distributing campaign literature at San Leandro High School during its Back to School Night. Passing out campaign brochures is not illegal as long as they are handed out away from school property. According to witnesses, volunteers for Cassidy were seen distributing literature on campus and on one occasion inside the school. San Leandro School Superintendent Cindy Cathey in an email acknowledged a report of an individual that night distributing campaign materials at the high school.

The district had notified school administrators this fall to be vigilant in detecting the use of their schools for political campaigning, but a group of community leaders and parents led by Hendy Huang contend Cassidy has repeatedly undermined the school district. According to Huang, a female volunteer for Cassidy was seen in front of a school entranceway distributing his literature during Back to School Nights Sept. 16 at Roosevelt Elementary and Sept. 23 at Bancroft Middle School. Principals at both schools told Cathey they were unaware of any possible violations.

Huang has led the way in trying to rid politics from school yards this campaign season. He was also part of a small band of parents who vigorously opposed the firing of Christine Lim, the former superintendent of schools and blamed Cassidy and Katz, among others, for her dismissal on the grounds of racism. Huang says the recent instances of alleged impropriety extends back to Cassidy's time on the school board three years ago.

During the end of Cassidy's only term as school trustee he was reprimanded by the FPPC in 2008 when an article bearing his name and title appeared in the school newsletter. Cassidy says he penned the column for the high school PTA, but a volunteer parent editor printed the column with his name in boldface. "That was her decision," Cassidy said. "I had no part in the production of the newsletter. As it it turned out having my name in bold was against the FPPC's interpretation of a set of arcane regulations concerning the sending of material through the mail by a public agency in which elected officials are named." The letter from the FPPC notifying Cassidy of the violation was also sent to the school's principal. Ultimately no fine or further action was taken by the FPPC.

Cassidy also said he had no knowledge of a volunteer distributing campaign leaflets, but was aware of the allegation. "All that I have heard is that one volunteer at solely the high school back to school night may have been on school property at one point," said Cassidy. "He was told to not distribute literature on the school property, a direction that the volunteer promptly followed."

On Monday night, Gregory told the city council he had no part in the burgeoning controversy. Gregory noted he was at the event solely as a resident, even wearing a San Leandro High School t-shirt to the dunking. Gregory said his appearance at the school fair was not political.


Tavares is not working for Santos. Not at all. It's just a journalistic coincidence that all the mayoral stories happen to highlight the shennanigans of Santos' opponents, except the one supposed opponent who supports him. Because like his name implies, Tony Santos is saintly and has never done anything wrong or questionable. And he's certainly been the best leader ever in San Leandro.

If you break the law during an election, Or someone misconstrues illegal or unethical conduct during a campaign, a journalist has every right to expose the truth. back talking and being viscous is how some of my nieghbors describe my opponent. At least this is tangible unlike some of the personal attacks coming from my opponents crew.

Ms. Mestas, you've the first one on here defending the Santos/Tavares machine. Doesn't really help refute the argument that you're all working together.

Tavares machine? Congrats, Steve, you made it!

I am my own machine thank you. Don't be mad I am well liked.

Cassidy should be disbarred for this. He's a lawyer. How come he can't follow the rules? They're pretty simple. I also find it interesting that he blames everybody but himself in the article for every indiscretion. In that regards, he would make a great mayor.

Hey Cassidy, give Tavares $1000 for a full page ad. I bet he'll keep quiet.

I wonder what Santos has promised Tavares? Six-figure job with the city? Or have there been secret cash payments?

Well, hell, If I knew Santos was going to be in a dunking booth, I'd have shown up with a wad of dollar bills.

Maybe Tavares will become the next City Information Officer????

I was promised to be the new finance director, but was double-crossed because they hired someone else. Expect anti-Santos stories now. I'm my own machine now!

Cassidy has a law degree but does not practice law, maybe that is why

You know, that picture of Cassidy that Tavares posted for this story looks like Fat Bas&^d from the Austin Powers movies.

I agree. Cassidy should have known better. I'm also amazed that he blames his own people for everything. For someone running on accountability he's surely lacking big time.

I get some kind of Commissioner job that I don't have to do anything...it's gonna be fuggin' sweet. Steve...lets get offices next door to each other with two secretaries and call em' broads and smack their butts. Mel can visit, I'm sure she's got a big ol' rump!

Cassidy has a track record of failures. Why anyone in our community would support someone from our School District, a former School Board Member seeking higher office is absurd to me. My kids attend San Leandro Schools and they are horrible. We rank very poorly. The Board would rather build new facilities and fields than educate our kids. I am not voting for Cassidy. He came to my door and I told him just that! Santos has been navigating this town fairly well despite the nationwide recession. I see construction happening around town. Pot holes being filled and our community clean! Thats why you vote for a Mayor.

The only construction around town you see is what the School District is building.

Manuel, ever ride your bicycle to Merced. I don't think that giant pile of dirt near the freeway is a Portuguese motocross competition.

John, shhhhh, don't tell anyone you saw me there on my bike.

Obviously you have no clue. The School District did not build ANYTHING new. They had to ask US a few years back to pass a BOND to build what they built. NOW, guess what, they are asking us to pass another build so they can build new fields nso our kids can play soccer, baseball and football. Great, we have worse scores than Hayward...but hey, let's build nice fields!!
Drive down East 14th....new medians. You folks that think that the conniving lawyer is gonna lead this community you are wrong. Tavares archive this and bring it back to life in 18months when residents lead the efforts to recall Cassidy

Hey Babooze above; what does the medians on E.14th have to do with the price of linguisa at Porters Market? or Tony Santos?

Tony Santos had nothing to do with Kaiser coming here. The plans were in the works before he was Mayor. He was more of an impediment to progress.

San Leandran's for A Better City says...I love the new medians on E 14th, but why only a few blocks, do the entire street???

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