Friday, February 8, 2013

San Leandro Zoning Commission Approves 100-Foot Commercial Wind Turbine Near Heron Bay

SAN LEANDRO | Despite calls by nearby homeowners for a costly environmental impact report on the effects of a 100-foot wind turbine on the San Leandro shoreline, the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustments unanimously approved a height variance sought by local green tech company, Halus Power Systems.

Members of the Heron Bay Homeowners Association say they will appeal the board’s decision to the City Council before the 15-day deadline.

The seven-member board, of which three were absent Thursday night, said they were not persuaded by over a dozen residents from the nearby Heron Bay housing development, who contend the city and Halus did not take into account the health and well-being of the wind turbine remanufacturer’s neighbors. Numerous residents also feared diminished home prices due to the 100-foot monopole, at least, for the estimated 25 homes that abut the Halus property near the San Lorenzo Creek.

John Dalisay, a member of the Heron Bay Homeowners Association and realtor, told the board potential buyers looking for a home at the development will have little information about the impacts of the proposed wind turbine in the distance. “We’re kind of clueless about the effects,” he said. Commissioner Rene Mendieta, also a realtor, said he understands some landmarks, like wind turbines, can be a negative to prospective home buyers. However, he said the potential health-related concerns such as migraines and noted illnesses believed to come from shadow flickering of turbine blades, are not persuasive in this case.

San Leandro Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Faught, however, said such issues, also including lowered housing values, are not under the purview of the application to satisfy requirements in the California Environmental Quality Act.

Fred Simon, a 15-year resident of Heron Bay, disagreed with the contents of the city’s staff report asserting the monopole will not disrupt the area frequented by two species of endangered birds. “I walk that trail everyday and you’re going to tell me it doesn’t impact the environment?” Simon later added more affluent East Bay city’s do not have wind turbines. “Why should we in San Leandro be the guinea pigs?”

Alan Berger, Heron Bay’s attorney, had serious concerns about the objectivity of the city’s staff report. “I have rarely seen a staff report that is quite as adversarial as this one,” he said, while claiming it contained little independent research. Berger said information in the reports “was feed to the staff and the staff fed it to this board.” A quick read of the staff report prepared for Thursday’s hearing, in fact, contains numerous passages stating effusive support for the Halus wind turbine project and curious uses of grammatical modifiers to bolster efficacy of the plan.

Tom Liao, the acting director of community development, denied Berger’s accusation. “These are documents prepared by staff and vetted by staff—not Halus documentation,” Liao said. A list of responses to resident’s letters prepared by city staff was also dismissive of nearly every complaint. “Lots of comments were not based on facts,” Richard Pio Roda, assistant city attorney, said Thursday. “Some statements were absolutely false.”

At least, two commissioners, voiced wariness for the project setting precedent leading to more wind turbines in the future. Following a question by Commissioner Philip Daly about whether Halus could build more structures, City Senior Planner Elmer Penaranda said yes, but denied it would set precedent on the grounds Halus would need to apply for each in the same fashion as the request on Thursday’s agenda.

“Do you only want one?” Daly asked Louis Rigaud, the owner of Halus, “Oh, yeah, this application allows only one on the property and that’s all we want.” Rigaud says he wants the 100-foot wind turbine for research and development to augment his 10-year-old company at 2539 Grant Avenue, which primarily refurbishes older model turbine parts.

Although saying wind turbines are safe, he specifically chose the center of his five-acre property for the site of the structure for safety reasons. “These are extremely safe, but, if something happens, that’s why I want it in the center of the property.” Daly later said of the wind turbine, “One is acceptable. More than one is not. Any more of these would be an eyesore.”

Rigaud, however, has not been clear about what type of research will facilitate the need for the wind turbine. Critics say it’s merely for saving on energy costs and a vehicle for advertising not rooted in any specific plan for expanding his business through innovation. “This has nothing to do with being green,” said Berger. “This is a 100-foot billboard you’re allowing and not a research and development project.”


City and BZA members froze for minutes when trial attorney Alan Berger talked about going to superior court but they still went along with Halus.

The city is dumb for opening us to more lawsuits even in front of a trial attorney. We have libraries closing and calling our police goes to "press 1 for this and 2 for that". What more do we want to lose with tax money going to lawsuits and not real services for San Leandro?

Does anyone in the city have a brain?

Who appointed this idiot to BZA board? BZA member Phil Daly asked (exact words) "What is a wind turbine fueled by? Is there a gas tank on top?"

More on Phil Daly


say the above 4 words quickly

does not know green energy from gas energy for the BZA hearing but wanted to judge people

we are so screwed

REMEBER ALL BZA members approving this. If or when in the future they run for mayor or city council, don't support them and don't vote them in.
I don't live in Heron Bay, but am a San Leandro resident if they allow 1 more will come.
Only thing city cares about is money. Wonder how many palms were grerased by Halus?
Halus put your turbine in San Lorenzo!!

NO wind turbines in San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Oakland, Union City, or any where along the SF Bay shoreline!

The BZA members oath of office they took say they will well and faithfully discharge the duties they are to enter. But during the meeting their copout was that they are just volunteers. Their interest is not in the oath but in taking the office and feeling important by asking meaningless questions and making comments of no value.

Unbelievable of a Deputy District Attorney for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office ran for Alameda County Superior Court Judge who is currently member of SL BZA, Phil Daly, asked whether wind turbines run on gasoline.

senile Howard Kerr went back somewhere in time while making his public comment, white sands rule the rules. By the way, he has very bad breath!

Would 1 Wind Turbine standing up at Bay O Vista is acceptable to the residents, since there are many existing powerlines all over anyway, would it be okay to add over 100 foot demo wind turbine 300 feet next to them?

1 in Bay O, 1 in Heron Bay, let's be fair!!

Put the turbine in BAY O in Cassidy's yard. This guy sucks as mayor. NO TURBINES IN SAN LENADRO! CASSIDY CAN YOU READ THIS?
Most the people working at city hall don't live in San Leandro and don't care what they allow to happen here. It's always been about the money. All they care about is their pay checks.
Put the tirbines in the BZA members yards.
Who appointed Daly? Cassidy did support Daly when he ran for Judge. All cronies? Cassidy 1 term mayor!!

The BZA is a 7 member board and 3 were absent. So 4 people voted yes and the other 3 were probably hidding?
Earth to Howard Kerr your not on the city council anymore. So ride off gracefully Howard. Hey Kerr why not let Halus put his ugly large turbine in your yard!! Then you can see it everyday without having to leave your home. Halus grease your palm Howard?

NO wind turbines next to Heron Bay, Bay-O-Vista, Mulford Gardens, Marina Faire, Washington Manor, or any other part of San Leandro; no one should be the victim of Halus greed and no one should be the victim of the City of San Leandro's desperate desire to label themselves green at all costs. "One business ahead of thousands of residents" - great motto for the City of San Leandro.

San Leandro residents are all up in arms over a green wind mill approved by their local officials, while Hayward city council gave land along its shoreline to build a thermal power plant that will spew greenhouse gases for miles so all the residents can have all sorts of health problems! This toxic gem will be operational just in time for Christmas cheer!


Suggest Heron Bay HOA start a petition informing all San Leandro residents about the city plan for the turbine. I don't live in Heron Bay, but am willing to sign and help.
People might not know about this. If the city allows 1 more could and most likely will follow. This could be done in front of stores and even door to door. I don't think you'd have to be a registered voter, just live in San Leandro to sign a petition against the wind turbine. I would suggest pictures to show how tall and ugly this is. No turbines in SAN LEANDRO.

Petition to recall all city council members that approves the wind turbine.
Sure Katz would approve this, rumor mill says he's running for city council. He'll probably ask Halus for a campaign contribution as his pay back.
Get rid of anyone that doesn't listen to their conssssstituents and remember wake-up San Leandro and vote smarter.

Really like the petition idea, there's strength in numbers! It's not always good to be green. NO TURBINES anywhere IN SAN LEANDRO.

Don't support the 3 absent BZA members, if they haven't the courage to show up get rid of them too.

February 8 @ 6:31. All the city wants is bigger government. All of their decisons are based on increasing their control and bigger budgets. They view their thoughts and actions as being in your best interest. They know what's best for you and it's their duty to take action on your behalf. What other justification is there for bigger government?

Phillip Daly had questions about the turbine before voting on it. He called Halus owner, the applicant, for answers to his questions. Then he motioned to approve the application to build the turbine. Is this the correct process? THe ZBA board asked the applicant, the party of interest, for information for its vote? What a joke!!!

Halus probably paid or rewarded BZA members for their votes. Wouldn't be the first time someones been bought.Halus should put the turbine at his business on Gtant Ave. The city doesn't give a damn about homeowners.

@2:59 The city does give a damn about homeowners. Their damning the Heron Bay Homeowners. Soon they will damn you too!

School Board Trustee Mike Katz made public comment that Heron Bay HOA trial lawyer was entertaining, and forgot to mentioned his wife Marga Lacabe wannabe lawyer is funnier.

Marga Katz-Lacabe pretend lawyer has been a laughable joke in town, Mike Katz has the nerve to laugh at REAL attorney.

Mike Katz wannabe council memeber is a ass.
Bitches about everything, knows nothing. Him and his wannabe lawyer wife deserve each other. No body else would want either one. They sick their noses in everything. Lots a people getting sick of them both.

Halus' windmill was 44' taller than rules allowed but the BZA members voted that those rules don't apply. BZA members voted against homeowners who were following the rules. BZA members voted for city to have another lawsuit. Stupid, stupid BZA members.

Mike Katz laughs at lawyer? Great school boardmember. Suppost to teach students to be respectful of others and he leads by example.
Katz goes well with the San Leandro school boardmember recently arrested for DUI. Now go teach high school seniors about sober graduation. Great role models.

Yes, they did said that in the meeting. Also, the chairwoman also said that they will kick it to the city council. Guess what the city council will do - they will rubber stamp it. There is no professional responsibility in the mind of BZA board members. What they should have done is to recuse themselves if they are not sure what to decide.

BZA members are political wannabes and cronies of council members or the mayor. They'll do whatever the individuals that appointed them wants them to do. All puppets. No brains, just strings!

True that, these 4 BZA board members forgot they took the oath to serve and listen to all san leandran. Heron Bay 700 homeowners gave the power of attorney to their attorney to speak, Chairwoman told HOA attorney his 3 minutes is up.
Halus owner airbag over a hour, no BZA members told him to go back to his seat!!

6:07pm, Does anyone know where the other 3 BZA members were? Did they stay away because they were scared or did they just not care to be there?
The 3 missing BZA members are useless too!

Any BZA members decide to run for office including clown Katz already lost many votes, count on it.

The BZA hearing is designed to serve Halus and not thousands of homeowners. That's why Halus gets all the time to say anything they want and homeowners get only 3 minutes. The BZA members never asked homeowners or their attorney questions. Instead they asked and accepted Halus's answers. This hearing is about granting Halus a variance so shouldn't the questions be answered independent from Halus? The BZA hearing and their members are so corrupted.

That's right. Chairwoman did not interrupt Halus owner at all but was so willing to cutoff HOA attorney who represents 700 homes. Halus thing has been going on for almost year now so why didn't city and BZA offer HOA attorney equal time. It is corrupted to serve just Halus and not responsible homeowners.

614pm no clue of where were other 3, these 4 BZA jokers had demonstrated of what they made of.

People not to vote for -

Catherine Houston - BZA Chairwoman
Rene Mendietta - BZA Vice Chair
Lee Thomas - BZA member
Phil Daly - BZA Gas Tank member

Mike Katz - clown who joked about HOA attorney and I hear he will be running

During his campaign for mayor, Cassidy "pledge to always put the best intrest of the people of San Leandro first."
He also promised to "end the isolation of city hall from the community."
What happened to Cassidy'd so called concerns about "community members feeling their views were being ignored by city hall?"
Empty promises now mean nothing!

No Turbine in SL, hope mayor and councilmembers remember their promises to us, who voted for you, allow our voices to be heard.

6:43pm, don't forget to include the 3 missing BZA members names. If they couldn't be there to vote, why should we vote for them in the future? Sometimes it takes courage to vote no, anyone can hide. We don't need city hall puppets!!

One of missing BZA members Janet Palma, couple months ago made a blog comment on SL Patch that Heron bay residents are bad neighbors.

Thanks 7:30pm, so now we don't vote for Janet Palma either. Now we need the names of the other 2 missing BZA members.Time to start a list of whom not not to vote for in the future.

don't remember those two, go to San Leandro.org

Jane Ann Abelee, Thomas Makin and Janet Palma were the BZA absentees.
By the way, Janet Palma is at-large and appointed by Mayor Cassidy

When this goes to city council and if you are worried about the time public is allowed to speak, I believe you can fill out a speakers card and when called you can give your time to your attorney or to another speaker. I don't know how many people would be allow to give their time over to another, but have done this at school board meetings during budget cuts. I believe school board and city council have the same rules for speakers.
When your name is called to speak you stand and say I give my time to and say the name of person speaking for you. Might be worth trying.
Let council know about attorney only allowed 3 minutes and Halus much longer. Might be worth talking to Benny Lee about the unfairness of allowed time for speakers.
Keep in mind the council only needs 4 votes for this to pass or fail. Cassidy could vote against it knowing he has enough votes for it to pass. He could vote against it just to look good when re-election comes around.
Keep up the fight! I don't live in Heron Bay, but do live in San Leandro and we don't want any turbines here. SL is not the place!!

Also if there is enough time, letters to the editor might help inform public of what is going on and of the unfairness at meeting by the BZA members and city for allowing them to treat residents like this.

The article stated "John Daly is a member of Heron Bay Homeowners Association." If BZA members are appointed by their city council representative, it might be time for Benny Lee to replace him.
I would think city council members would want the people they appoint to be respectful and have a little smarts.

Just did some checking and it appears Daly was appointed by Michael Gregory district 1. So Daly must have either moved from Heron Bay or paid to join their HOA.
Catherine Vierra Houston appears to be from the Heron Bay area, district 4.

Very disspointed with Houston careless of D4 residents.

Currently, City of SL does not have a existing policy for Turbine, BZA Jokers went ahead give a PASS with height exception to 1 bussinessman who owns Halus and BZA decided to AGAINST THOUSANDS OF HOMEOWNERS'PROPERTY RIGHT!!

Thousands of property rights are not good enough to BZA & 1 business owner with only 1 property right.

It appears Catherine Vierra Houston was recently reappointed by Benny Lee. I believe her term is for 4 years. He may not have known her very well!
If she is being rude and disrespectful to her neighbors,Benny Lee should replace her. It has and can be done. Everyone is owed RESPECT and FAIRNESS!!

Houston is state union representive, She confuses with BZA meeting vs. labor union meeting.
She definately represent 1 business owner with his 10 labor employees live outside of SL.

Halus owner Louis Rigaud changed his reason for application at least 3 times.

In June, he said the Turbine is to save his PG&E bills.

During BZA meeting Rigaud said Turbine is for TESTING purposes.

After a comment pointed out testing turbines next to thousand of homes is dangerous, he again changed his reason to just a demo convenience for his customers.

The BZA believed all this crap.

One stone two birds for Halus, benefiting his electrical bills and convenient to show his COMMERCIAL demo Turbine to his cusomters - just step outside. Selfish businessman!

BZA board

Catherine Houston, Chairwoman refused to hear thousand of voices decided to listen 1 bussinessman.

Rene Mendietta, BZA Vice Chair applied his own preferrence as an environmentalist not taking any considerations from thousands of residents' concern.

Lee Thomas, BZA member should just stayed home, he sat back and press the green button that was pretty much it.

Phil Daly, BZA member was in LA LA LAND.

The other three BZA absentee members are either cowards or don't give a Sh*T.

I just finished reading comments by BZA member Janet Palma in the San Leandro Patch.
They appear after the article Benny Lee Wins District4; Reed & Mac Rose In Nail Biter, Slim Hope for Measure L. It was posted at 9:47pm. Nov. 7,2012.
It reads: "Damn Chris, (Chris Crow) I really though you would make it. We need some real change in this city not someone who is going to back one "gated" community that should never and would never now have been built. Next time!"
No wonder Janet Palma was absent from the BZA meeting, she appears to have been in favor of the turbine before Benny Lee was elected. Was it "smart" for her to have posted these remarks? NO! Time for her to be replaced NOW!

it appears Janet Palma may have been appointed by Mayor Cassidy.

Earth to Janet Palma, the houses were built there! Are all BZA members really this STUPID? Cassidy picked her? He must not be very bright either.
Hidding won't help. Come out, come out wherever you are Janet!!

Cassidy uses his supporters and his at-large appointees to break up the councils, city staffs and communities.
He's the only Mayor in the history contributed campaign funds to the opponents running against re-elect councilmembers!
Remember voters, Cassidy supports Halus against 1000+ homeowners do not want Turbine project. He already lost thousands of votes!

Assistant city attorney stated on BZA meeting “Lots of comments were not based on facts” and “Some statements were absolutely false.”

Richard Pio Roda assistant city attorney knows all the facts, he and the city will accept all consequences.

5:26 Go further down the postings. Janet Palma said 'Heron Bay are not good neighbors". That's as prejudgemental as you can get. We should ask her who else are not good neighbors? And what makes her the high and mighty to make that judgement on people. Isn't she people or does she think she is above people?

Thanks again Tavares for writing the facts so well!

Senile wannabe power house Howard Kerr is one of the board members of ORO LOMA SANITARY DISTRICT located at 2600 GRANT AVE SAN LORENZO is right next to Halus - What's up with that? greasing each other? inside trading?

An article wrote by The Oakland Tribune on 2/9/2013 stated Halus moved from Hayward to San Leandro couple years ago.

While back Heard SL Chamber Member Gordon Galvin owns some Turbine business in Hayward.

Now Halus Wind turbine applicant is represented by members of San Leandro Chamber of Commerce leadership!! The dots are start connecting!

Article link below:


Wivies of SL chamber memeber Gordon Galvin and SL mayor Cassidy are cousins.

SL School Trustee Mike Katz openly brown nosing these groups behind Halus hoping they grease up his wannabe council campaign. Sicko!

It is not uncommon for wind turbines to have fossil fuel generators. Wind is an intermittent power source which often requires backup. Think and fact check before you speak.


10:05PM 'not uncommon' double negative meaningless crap. Hybrid turbines are not common so think before you want to pick apart words, dickwad.

It's easy to be vicious when you're anonymous.

I apologize for the poor word choice. I only meant to point out that there are in fact wind turbines powered by fossil fuels.

And, since that is the case, asking about the presence of a fuel tank falls in the realm of responsibility rather than that of stupidity.

That is all.

We dont want any wind turbine in San Leandro or near the shoreline. That is all.

If Gordon Galvan(related thru marriage to Cassidy, wives ARE cousins) owns or did own turbine business in Hayward and if Halus has moved from Hayward to San Lorenzo, there should be a way to get this information. Might be worth asking for information as to who owners are and if Gordon Galvan or his wife are or ever have been involved with Halus in anyway? Keep following the corrupt trail.
Galvan moved to Castro Valley, but owns the Links shuttle here in San Leandro. I believe Links gets funding from the city. Has Cassidy ever stated he and Galvan are related?
Cassidy promised "to end the isolation of city hall from the community" when he was running for mayor. What happened Steve???
Might be time to vote senile Howard Kerr off Oroloma board when he comes up for re-election. NO dirty politics and NO TURBINES IN SAN LEANDRO!!!

Tavares, Is there anyway you can help find out if Galvan is or every has been involved with Halus?

Just learned Gordon Galvan may be part owner of Boulevard Burger in Castro Vally, if he is I won't be eating there. Not fattening his wallet.
Wow, this guy is into everything! Corruption now moving into Castro Valley?

3 of the 4 commissioners who voted for the Haulus windmill live in San Leandro west of 880 and were appointed by Benny Lee, Diana Souza and Jim Prola. Most people in San Leandro support the project.

So instead of doing a "costly" environmental report, you would rather spend the money on a lawsuit which makes you wonder why they don't want to do the environmental report. Is it because there is more risk than they are saying that they are afraid would show up as a result of that detailed report? Dismissing over 1000 San Leandro homeowners as if they are just pests is proof that you are not here for the people of San Leandro.

We need to revitalize the city to be attractive to both homeowners and other businesses, not put in another eyesore in one of the remaining gems of the city, the shoreline. Every time a new business comes in, it's a Goodwill Store or another Walmart, while businesses that originally intended to come to San Leandro like L&L and Five Guys end up going to Hayward instead. Why can't we attract businesses like even a Trader Joe's? It's because the city is not made to look attractive to these businesses. Maybe they should work on our image vs. doing something to make San Leandro even more of a second rate city. I can bet that something like this would never even be proposed in the cities on the Peninsula or Marin.

9:30, Dollar stores are all over too. I was told by more than one business owner that moved out of San leandro, the city has not always been business friendly. So they moved to other cities. Maybe this is why the city is trying to push Haulas off on us.
It's a no brainer the city must learn to work with homeowners and businesses. No turbines in San Leando.

Just re-read EB Citizen story from June 22, 2012. Was not suprised to read "city staff appeared to be rushing through plans for purposed turbine and without noticing homeowners."
Don't live in Heron Bay, but city did same exact thing to us on something they were allowing to be built in our end of town. No meetings held, no cards sent to residents living within 300 feet or less from site. City got caught and admitted they should have handeled this better. I would think the city of San Leandro would have learned when we caught them pulling this should have change they ways!
Next time city wants voters to approve a tax for them, this could work against them.

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