EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cassidy's Call For Sacrifice Does Not Jibe With His Reality

BREAKING THE UNION ONE BACK AT A TIME, BUT HOW DO YOU ATTRACT BUSINESS IF YOU SAY THE CITY IS NEAR BANKRUPTCY?
By Steven Tavares
steven.tavares@eastbaycitizen.com
Follow @eastbaycitizen on twitter


As far as ruses go, San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy’s ploy to bolster his sacrifice to the city’s budget perceived woes is one for the record books.

Cassidy famously vowed to not draw a salary as mayor until the budget was balanced. This was honorable until critics pointed out the budget, despite shortfall, has always been balanced. Every cities budget is balanced by law, they said. But Cassidy trudged along raising the spin of sacrifice based upon a lie.

What is galling about Cassidy’s ruse is it is based of downright righteous indignation. There is very little sacrificed involved in foregoing a paltry $3,500 monthly salary when you draw the paycheck of partner in a San Francisco law firm. It’s an affront to working people, the very employees he intends to cripple on the false assumption the city’s finance’s are shot thereby in need of a fix zeroing on pensions and benefits.

San Leandro’s announcement last week of a balanced budget, more precisely posed as a fiscal proposal with very few further cuts to services will lead to the wealthy mayor to again draw a salary. Ironically, Cassidy’s pocket money comes not by any fiscal solution on his part, but ironically from his rival, former mayor Tony Santos.

City Manager Stephen Hollister said without $2.5 million in additional sales tax revenue from Measure Z, the city faced a potential hole of $3.5 to fill. The sales tax measure overwhelmingly passed last November by voters, was vehemently opposed by Cassidy on the basis the tax was regressive. He now prospers on the back of a budget-saving proposal he did not support. His political sideshow duping financially struggling residents into believing the high-priced lawyer was acting as one of the people is shown nowhere in reality. In the months since becoming mayor, Cassidy has not personally struggled with his mayor’s salary, in fact, he plans to move to San Leandro’s most expensive addresses in the Bay-O-Vista neighborhood.



Despite signs of an economic prosperity in San Leandro’s future, Cassidy is now ignoring the recent good news and instead is again creating a false reality were a dire fiscal situation is still somewhere around the corner. Of course, no amount of good news will stop Cassidy from fulfilling his real agenda: breaking the city’s employee unions.

Last Monday, Cassidy unfurled a “Mission Accomplish” banner at City Hall and announced with the budget “balanced,” he will now accept payment for his work in the mayor’s office, although, most agree he barely spends one day a week at City Hall. But not to be outdone by the seemingly positive budget news, Cassidy puffed out his chest feathers like giant warbling Thanksgiving turkey and said he would take the initiative in paying more towards his city pension. “Leadership is by example,” he told his colleagues on the City Council. Cassidy will be paying eight percent of his salary towards his pension, but this Kabuki dance begs the question, if he is such a big shot, why is he drawing a pension anyway? The medical benefits are far more valuable than the pension. Why not give that up?

Of course, this is another attempt by the rotund mayor to continue to eat the city’s finest meats and cheeses from his home in the San Leandro highlands, while acting the hero. But his actions Monday night were far worse than that. As Cassidy’s brutish, uncivilized personality dictates, he rudely called out the council in open session to follow his lead. The ambush was noted afterwards by several council members, who waved off it off as Stephen Being Stephen.

“I’ll also put out there for consideration that we contribute to our CalPERS rate,” he said. “It’s your decision, but I think it’s something you need to think about because at the end of the day there’s going to have to be additional sacrifices and it’s not fair to ask others to sacrifices if we’re not going to sacrificing ourselves.” He later specified the sacrifices others, namely city employees, would be making is paying more benefits while receiving less pay and working more hours. “This is sacrifice is going to be employees picking up part of the CalPERS costs,” he said. Nevermind such a proposal does not have nearly enough support on the council to be approved and not to mention the notion of Draconian austerity will become increasingly laughable with shrinking shortfalls and an improving economy on the horizon.

He also did not realize his various sacrifices by example to the residents of San Leandro is not novel. Councilman Jim Prola does not draw a pension from the city and yet he did not stand on his chair and crow about his decision. The comments also raise questions of Cassidy’s ability to be collegial with the members of the council and whether anything will ever get done in the shadow of the impolite mayor.

San Leandro is one of the very few who will avert another devastating round of budget cuts. Alameda County, alone , is facing a $140 million shortfall. In the entire landscape of the East Bay, San Leandro’s proactive stance in cutting staff and gaining concessions from labor unions over the past three years is the main reason the hurt is a lot less here than other cities. What is most disconcerting about this mayor’s early performance is he has put his conservative fiscal agenda ahead of San Leandro’s ability to continue to climb out of the Great Recession. Ask yourself this: how can the city attract and maintain burgeoning tech industries when the mayor’s consistently plays the bankruptcy card when the truth is so far from his own reality?

34 comments :

Mr. Tavares,

Being a union schill, you don't understand how private industry works. Private business would actually come to San Leandro if it didn't support regressive sales taxes and create quasi-legal assessment districts for things like the STINKs shuttle that put money into Gordan Galvan's pockets for doing nothing. Cassidy is trying to prevent the city from going bankrupt - and he's done that. Every year Santos was in office, the city borrowed from reserves. Cassidy is in office for less than a few months and San Leandro is in the black.

If city employment was pay-for-performance, Cassidy should collect double the current salary (though that's kind of questionable benchmarking because all other mayors have set the bar extremely low); and Tony Santos would have to give back his salary and pensions and actually owe the city money for running it into the ground.

If Cassidy's "real agenda" is to break employee unions, then more power to him!

"Anonymous" is incorrect about many things.

No policy put in place during our new Mayor's term has had a chance to affect our City's budget, positively or negatively; there simply hasn't been enough time.

If businesses don't like San Leandro, why are our tax revenues improving?

It is revealing that "Anonymous"'s screed responds to none of the factual reporting in this story, particularly Cassidy's opposition to Measure Z. I share our Mayor's distaste for regressive taxes, but given the sclerotic state of tax policy discussions at the Federal and State level, it has become increasingly neccessary to fund basic services by passing local measures.

I am willing to fund government services, because I am aware that safe streets, skilled and motivated public employees and good public schools must be paid for. When these deteriorate, it can be tied to the long-term campaign by plutocrats and the conservatives who serve them to defund and privatize everything. Our country is made greater when quality government services are enjoyed by all.

Better public schools are important to me even though I have no children or relatives in school. It is valuable for my tax money to pay for services which help the most destitute among us. Any of us could be in their position but for the grace of God. Helping see that they are fed, housed and given decent health care and other social assistance makes the streets of San Leandro safer. Besides, it's the right thing for us to do.

Stealing pensions from workers who have taken lower wages their entire career so that they could enjoy a dignified retirement for their years of service is unfair and cruel, particularly since the pension fund deficits were caused by Wall Street and financial institiutions, not the workers.

Unions are responsible for the first and only broad middle class our great Nation has ever enjoyed. If you are a member of the middle or poorer class, "Anonymous" doesn't give a damn for you, whether you are a Union member or not.

Tavares this YouTube clip about sums up this latest post by you....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0&feature=share

The rotund Mayor doesn't have a clue about what he's doing ... He cannot simply forego his pension. The entire City Council would have to agree to do the same, AS A GROUP. And I heard no mention of his medical/dental benefits. Is he passing on those too and taking the Opt-Out ($550/month) as Councilmember Cutter takes padding her deferred compensation? He's grandstanding to come across like a gracious and generous Mayor who is going to save the city. He would be more effective if he actually knew what he was doing.

Appears any of his "backers" are blindsided by his showmanship at council meetings, as well. This will be the most ineffective one-term Mayor in the history of the city. You cannot affect change if you're clueless as to how things work, Mr. Cassidy!

Not only would the entire Council have to agree to amend the contract with PERS Mayor Cassidy, as a new employee, will be contributing 6% his first year 4% the second and 2% his third, if re-elected. This is a formula that the city employee's put into their contract about 5 years ago to help the city save money so I hope Mayor Cassidy does not try to make it look like he is doing something to help when he had no hand in it.

Why is the City Council getting a pension to begin with? Once again the leeches of government workers are exposing themselves. Cassidy so far is doing better than any low-life that's been in the Mayor's seat in 55 years.
Manny

Sounds like those who suck at the government teet are scared they may have to work for a living like the rest of us and won't get to retire fat on the hog. Are any of you city ingrates talking to Tavares? Don't make me have to put in another Freedom of Information Act on your emails to Mr. Tavares/other blatant union advocates to shut you up!

The next post from "Manny" and/or "Anonymous":

I am not my brother's keeper. Social Security and Medicare are funded with my money- more piglets sucking on the Government teat. Older people should work until they die or starve to death. Those who disagree with me need to shut up- Here, I'll issue a toothless threat. I'm ignorant of the fact that Social Security and Medicare cuts are opposed by 75% of Americans. LISTEN TO ME!!! HELP, LOU FILIPOVICH!

"Ray J" you are just as physically and cyber hidden/silent as other's who post anonymously so please spar us the "macho" posts.

Steven Tavares, you are devoid of any principles if you have the poor humor to defend the lavish pay and benefits of City Workers especially when most of the jobs there are not reaquired to be done by a government monopoly. You defend the pillaging under the guise that "the deficit is so small". To continue on a path of free spending is a path to ruin. We have to commend Mayor Cassidy for having the courage and foresight to look towards the future and not be so selfish as to only seek instant graification. Mayor Cissidy is a very liberal politician and his proposals are not even conservative but common sense.

Speaking of sucking on things and money - I wonder if Tavares will tell us who financially supports him to write this blog? Are there enough San Leandro city employees, or is it a conglomerate of multiple union slush funds? Is he getting paid by the word? Maybe he was sending his bills directly to city employees via their city email and therefore was scared by the FOIA request? Will he admit to being a homosexual and a communist?

The last comment is quite odd since only one person in town obsesses over my finances and he just cut off his ponytail.

And then to the comment above that, what is a "government monopoly" over employment? Are you calling for a shadow government in San Leandro to create jobs?

To better communicate what you're trying to say, you believe outsourcing city work will improve efficiency, right? I'm afraid having private companies do government work hasn't really worked out recently.

Ironically, many of the people who believe this are the same who complain about talking to automated phone lines and service centers located in El Segundo.

Have you been to El Segundo Steve? It's actually quite cleaner and way more attractive than downtown San Leandro.
Manny

Steve still won't answer the communist/homosexual question. Hmmm?

"Frank Sousa" is unable to take on the content of other contributors' arguments. Therefore, he obsesses about identities of contributors and his unique perspective on their level of manliness. Would he care to take on any of the points made by "Ray J"? Those views stand unless they are taken on.

Would he care to deal with the fact that San Leandro City workers have taken cuts and freezes in their compensation for many years now?

Does he claim that ALL City workers recieve "lavish pay and benefits"? If so, he has the burden of proof. He provides no evidence for his claims, such as a comparative analysis between City jobs here and in other cities in the region. I don't think "Frank" knows what most of our public servants make.

Message to "Frank": Many of our greatest Americans have used pen names, including some of the Revolutionaries during the founding of our Nation. As examples of more recent pseudonyms, ever heard of "Mark Twain" or "George Orwell"? Your friend "Manny" posts anonymously, yet you don't discount his statements because of that. In fact, you embrace and openly defend his views. Funny, that.

John Evans must be a communist and homosexual too! If he's not, can he provide proof?

WTF is a "John Evans"?? Why does he think he's a real person but others who post aren't??? Just another jackass flapping his mouth in the wind. "John Evans" likes to open his piehole long and wide but never provides any proof to back up his claims yet wants others to back up their own claims??? "John Evans" claims others post anonymously, but WTF is "John Evans"????Another jackass flapping in the wind. And for anyone of you fools out there "Ray J" is the guy who was porking Kim Kardashian in her sex tape. So "John Evans" you jackass, you're just defending "Ray J" not knowing who the hell he is. It's probably you posting under another alias. Jackass!

What does any of this homosexual communist crap have to do with the article?

You jackasses are just like your mayor ... You're always missing the real point!

And in case no one explained it to you using small words ...this is about Cassidy talking out of both sides if his ass. A lot like you losers!

Ray J, John Evans and Proud San Leandran are the only ones who post facts and make points that you name callers can't, or won't refute. You do make me laugh at your whining (Paul Vargas) and your ineptitude (Frank Souza).

Gotta say that the same men who are demanding that people post their real names use language so personally insulting that it discourages people from putting out their names. Think about what you're doing, guys. Golden rule and all that.

As the commenter above says, many posts have nothing at all to do with the story their comments are linked with. If you want to talk about what terrible people liberals are, there's plenty of places on the Internet tubes for that. You might try Free Republic or Red State; I think you would prefer the company there.

If "Ray J", "John Evans" and "Proud San Leandran" post "facts" why don't they use real names??? That's a FACT!

WOW....You San Leandro folks are a trip.
1. Who cares if the writer of this site is paid, gay or a communist, I did not see him solicit you to look at this site...Or did I miss something? If you do not like what he is saying...do not read,,,simple as that.

2.Councilmember Prola never drew a pension and made it clear when he took the oath back in 2006, that is a stand up guy!

3. The Mayor acting like he had anything to do with balancing the budget is simply ridiculous. He is a "Johnny come Late" and has not respect from the City, the Unions or other elected officials from around the bay. They, just like most, see him as a guy with an ax to grind.

4. NO BUSINESS is going to come to a City where the welcoming committee, lead by Mayor Bankrupcy is waiving a Banner that says, We're Broke.

5. You voters that voted for Cassidy because you did not like Santos, or thought Santos was too close to Labor, or did not have faith that he woulk do the right thing are so wrong. Santos worked daily as your Mayor sometimes in his office longer than the city staff who most made 3 times a month more than the Mayor. He never turned down a meeting, spent his own money when out with groups or organizations and always spoke positively about San Leandro. Sure...he had faults....Crass...Grumpy...defensive....sometimes speaking out of turn...but one thing you need to have as a Mayor that trumps any of his faults is a love for the City. He has that and Cassidy does not, very plain and simple. Hell, Cassidy can't even live in the flat lands like Santos or Prola, he has to run to the hills like Gregory to feel Safe! His next move will be to Danvile after he leaves his wrath on San Leandro...stay tuned....

I'm still waiting for Tavares to confirm or deny the communist and homosexual rumors.

You're just an ignorant idiot. Again, too stupid to ever get the point. Go out and fly your.confederate flag and leave the rest of humanity alone.

Who cares if Cassidy moved up to Bay-O-Vista, it's probably a bigger home than what he's got now. At least he's not these City Employees who cry poor mouth and live in Danville, Lafayette, Crow Canyon, Discovery Bay. You losers can't argue the facts with your stunted mush of a brain so you talk about nonsense.

Oh and "John Evans" was the creator of the sitcom Good Times. So we have two jackasses posting anonymously.

Two??

And your comment: stunted mush of a brain. That's the homophobic pot calling the kettle black!

If Tony hadn't been an I-D-I-O-T on the Hospital issue, he would be Mayor today.

As Tavares pointed out on this site, all Santos had to do is say "The citizens are right- the Hospital should not be closed- Sutter is bad," repeating this at every public and private forum he attended. Instead, he equivocated, making excuses a dozen times, saying that the megacompany could not be stopped. Well, we've stopped them!

Sutter needed to be faced by universal opposition and political pressure by our City leaders. Santos utterly failed at that very important job.

Santos failed at being a human being. All around failure.

Tony Santos had a love for San Leandro all right; loved sucking off the government dole, taking trips to China, Portugal, Germany and around the USA all the while runing San Leandro into a bigger hole than the one he got.

There's no reason whatsoever why any elected official from San Leandro needs to go tour the recycling, sewage or power facilities of Munich, Germany.

Manuel

Everyone can lick cassidys sweaty balls. It's not hid fault SL is going down the shitter. Did he force Santos to be a communist homosexual and ruin this great city? No he did not. the fact he lives in bay o speaks volumes!! It means he feels that if you work hard you should enjoy the finer things available to you. In this case bay o I'd the best SL has to offer. Santos is a retarded pusdy who let's welfare monkeys and huge corporations walk all over his pork and cheese ass.

Manuel

well put manny. Your finally starting to make sense

The budget was balanced because of what the previous City Council did. They made the large cuts that were necessary in the last 2 years, and put a 1/4 cent sales tax on the ballot that the voters passed with 61% of the vote, that Cassidy was against. This years budget was balanced not because of Cassidy, but despite of him.

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