Monday, December 6, 2010

Ten Pieces Of Advice For Stephen Cassidy

10. Act like the liberal that you are. Mayor-elect Stephen Cassidy does not natural possess the center-right political ideology upon which he cajoled resident to vote for him. Cassidy is actually center-left on most issues and less liberal than his predecessor, Tony Santos. The moderate aspects of the Democratic party so enamored him that in 2004, he traveled to Iowa to campaign for then-presidential candidate Bill Richardson. If Cassidy wants to quell initial reservations about his liberal pedigree, it would be best that he lay low on pension reform or risk further stoking a rebellion at City Hall. If he has political ambitions outside of San Leandro (which many believe he does) it would be best to limit the kind of bad press he received from union leaders. You don't go far in this area without union support.

9. Be a nice boy. Everybody is waiting for those first exasperating words of condescension coming from Cassidy's mouth. Condescension sprinkled in with a bit of irony or self-deprecation is how most people get by with an occasional zinger, but it has always been difficult for him to seem at ease in public. It wouldn't hurt to wear a funny tie to break the ice. Show you are human. If all fails, bring a clutch of week-old puppies to council meetings. People love puppies and, by extension, they will love you.

8. Don't dictate in public. Before Cassidy discontinued public comments at council meetings about six months before the election, there was no greater example of his prickly nature than his tendency to publicly instruct council members and school board members on how they should do their jobs. The finger-waging did more to burnish Cassidy's well-deserved reputation as a legislative bully than anything else. A few councilmembers told The Citizen earlier this year that found his personality oft-putting. They didn't have to say it because they all had a look of disbelief bordering on contempt whenever he told them what to do.

7. Get the Marina done quickly. The best and easiest way to quickly put a feather in your mayoral cap would be to wrap up redevelopment of the Marina. Give the city's "shining civic jewel" a good cleansing and take credit for it. If you give more credence to a small minority of residents in the Mulford Gardens neighborhood who want to stifle development of the moribund Marina, you will lose the opportunity for credit. A vast majority of San Leandrans want the Marina populated with shopping and dining opportunities. If you stand by your campaign statements putting the redevlopment up for a city-wide vote, you will drop the ball. This is a campaign flip-flop easily forgiven by voters.

6. Stay away from polarizing figures. Cassidy's liberal support mirrors itself in the often times rudderless left in national politics. Let's face it, it's hard to keep liberals in lock step and Cassidy has the same problem. Arguably, he won the election because he and his support from the city's eastside outworked Santos, but the cast of characters largely from the SLCAN group of supporters might sway Cassidy way to the left, bordering on the bizarre brand of politics sometimes practiced in Berkeley. People's Park South is not what San Leandrans want to be, despite the attitudes of this group. Don't let them embarass you with their tendency to grab attention away from you in the name of some loony, Utopian and hair-brained liberal dream. Remember, San Leandro loves Christmas!

5. Speak up for the minority and poor. We didn't hear nary a word from Cassidy about the plight of San Leandro's burgeoning ethnic minorities, nor concern for those struggling and there are many in a drastic economic bind these days. In contrast, Cassidy allowed city workers to take it on the chin. Cassidy has to begin to limit the perception his candidacy will be about San Leandro's elites and not about the city as a whole. Put it this way, most San Leandrans wish they forego the mayor's salary or any check if it translated to economic security.

4. Say something nice about San Leandro. Here's a few ideas: "Only in San Leandro can you win an election with 35 percent of the vote. God, I love this place!" "San Leandro is a great place to live...and die. C'mon, seniors die already!" "San Leandro: It's not Hayward!"

3. Find a direction for business. This could be your legacy if you choose wisely and position San Leandro competitively in the next wave of business innovation. San Leandro sits nicely between a new wave of green tech possibilities to the south and a growing creative class to the north. Put most of San Leandro's eggs in those baskets and roll the dice. The alternative is a continued slide into irrelevance. San Leandro's industrial past is just that and hasn't changed for 20 years. Get on the green tech boat and watch your downtown boom. The hipsters and great chefs will ultimately follow.

2. Don't dress like this...ever!

1. Don't carpool with Oakland Mayor-elect Jean Quan.


Also, remember breath mints when in public.

If you lose re-election, step back gracefully.

Leave the arrogance at home.

Work with all ideologies and find a handful of people that know what the hell they are talking about.

Focus on your job as Mayor for the next four years and perhaps the following four.

Get over beating Santos and be the change so many want; be the one person capable of doing so.

I think he won there, sport. Santos is the one who should be getting unsolicited advice from biased two-bit hacks, not Cassidy. And your bitterness against Tim Holmes is showing (and your "advice" contradicks itself) when you first tell Cassidy to be a liberal and then you state--don't be as liberal as SLCAN. "Liberal" isn't synonymous with "labor" as you and Santos think it is--oh wee, what up with dat? Haven't you heard the ultra-liberal SF Board of Supervisosors as well as Jerry Brown want pension reform? Your paper might as well be called the Daily Worker. Or if you continue to glorify Santos and do hit pieces on Cassidy - the Daily Dummy.

By not supporting a sales tax increase - he stood up for the poor and the elderly. Sales tax is regressive--hurting low-income people more. Do folks making $150K per year need to retire at 55 or does someone making minimum wage need to buy clothes for their children? Who is standing up for whom, Tavares?

As for the comment about minorities--that's rich. Cassidy got Hermy Almonted elected to school board--the first non-white I've seen on there in a long time; but I guess since you don't like Hermy, he doesn't count, huh? During the 2006 election, one of Santos' arguments for election was that Portuguees have always been on the council. Dumb old Portuguee humor, yes; but kind of racist to draw attention to race/origin when your opponent is African American.

Cassidy won because he ran a better campaign, Joyce and Sara really ran against Tony and Tony just flat out is too old to campaign effectively. He is tired and it shows, not just in his actions but just listen to him. He is ready to retire and enjoy his family. As for the rest of San Leandro we will get to watch Cassidy come to grips with the reality of consensus building, glad handing and selling out his constituents...just like all politicians. If he does not do that and acts as he had most of his career, he will not be long in the seat, and could in fact, given his past efforts, get recalled. There are not many successful politicians who can irritate the far right, traditional Republicans, traditional Democrats, the far left and moderates and still stay in office. He may not do as well as Grey Davis.

Cassidy probably won't be around enough to annoy too many people. He is planning to come in at night to do his mayoral duties while he works his real job full time.
Good luck to anyone wanting to get an appointment with the maor during office hours.

There is no need for the Mayor to be a full time position. Cassidy has a career and family not to mention a mortgage. It will be good to have a Mayor who faces everyday life and not some hack trying to line his pockets like passed Mayors.

Here's my advice; you weren't elected to be a continuum of Santos who was a continuum of Young, who was a continuum of Corbett who was of Faria, who was of Karp, who was Gill who was Maltester. Do what is right. Not what is right for our friends or campaign contributors. Do what is right for the party involved. Don't put off decisions or let City Employees dictated policy. You were elected to make hard decisions, so make them.

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