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Friday, September 27, 2013

Flag Controversy In San Leandro Reveals A Mayor’s Re-Election Vulnerabilities

SAN LEANDRO//FLAG FLAP/ANALYSIS | There's reasons why residents in Oakland, San Francisco and Alameda are not up in arms about a Chinese flag being unfurled over their cities next week, while San Leandrans tears itself apart. It has little to do with geopolitical rivalries, the treatment of Tibetans or China’s awful civil rights records. In San Leandro, the issue may unwittingly have exposed a vulnerable mayor caught between raging displeasure within its growing Asian demographic and a small band of rabid progressives who encompass his likely foot soldiers and campaign volunteers for re-election next year.

In fact, the entire controversy over flying the Chinese flag over San Leandro City Hall Oct. 1 to celebrate its national day is about as organic and unlikely as you will see at any level of government. When Councilmember Benny Lee placed the issue on the Sept. 16 agenda, he simply wanted to encourage Chinese investors to set up shop in San Leandro. However, Lee may have been a bit naïve to the potential political ramifications of flying a rival economic banner over the city. In addition, he could have never foreseen the issue potentially shaping the city’s elections next year by waking a growing Asian American demographic in San Leandro already showing signs of operating aggressively and en masse.

Lee and other who supported the flag flying stress their intentions rest solely on honoring the city’s Chinese residents, not the Chinese government. However, Mayor Stephen Cassidy opposed the resolution as did San Leandro School Trustee Mike Katz, a strong Cassidy supporter and candidate for the City Council next year. Katz’s often abrasive wife Margarita Lacabe, a member of the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee, was also vocal in opposing the resolution. She led an online petition against it citing China’s dismal civil rights record.

The city’s Asian American populations, especially a large number of shoreline residents at Heron Bay, have been deeply critical of Cassidy and the Katz’s in the past. Over the past year, the trio strongly supported controversial approval of a commercial wind turbine just outside the Heron Bay housing development. To say certain influential members of the Asian American community have the long knives out for Cassidy and his core supporters is an understatement. While there is a lament in the East Bay among some Asian American and Indo American leaders their groups often put themselves at a political disadvantage by adhering to cultural mores promoting campaigns run with utmost honor, this is not the case in San Leandro. In fact, Asian Americans here are building the template for growing minority populations in the East Bay to grab hold of their growing power and potential.

San Leandro’s Asian American population showed last year it could organize and vote as one. When Chris Crow, another member of the Cassidy/Katz/Lacabe team, ran for the same council last year seat sought by Lee, the community rose up in ferocious anger when a report detailed comments made by him against Chinese. On a Facebook posting, Crow called Chinese Olympians “sore losers.” Knowledge of Crow’s inflammatory words travelled quickly and seemed ubiquitous within the Asian American community. Although Lee was a likely front runner for the seat, he surprised some by garnering over 60 percent of the vote in a four-person race. The victory made Lee the first-ever Asian American member of the San Leandro City Council.

There is now precedent for candidates in San Leandro to bend over backwards for the Asian American vote. The group is expanding and already encompasses the city largest demographic at nearly 30 percent. The rift between this group and Cassidy seems irreparable after the mayor last week opted to suspend the City Council’s vote to fly the Chinese flag. Adding further insult, Cassidy’s plea for a restart in the discussion is undermined by the calendar. Lee sought to hold the ceremony to coincide with the Oct. 1 Chinese holiday. However, the City Council does not meet again until Oct. 7.

Others have criticized Cassidy for not offering a compromise solution. For instance, nearby Alameda will also fly the Chinese flag next Tuesday, but it displays the banner on a smaller, temporary flag pole and not on the taller stationary poles used for the U.S., state and city flags. The ugly spectacle enflamed by Cassidy appears to have disrespected the city’s largest community, brought a “loss of face” to the Chinese counsel general in San Francisco, shown an antipathy toward the will of a majority of the City Council and possibly endangered business investment from abroad.

From Cassidy’s perspective, the calculation may have been made with serious caution, but it also highlights a mayor unpopular among city staff, many council members and Alameda County Democratic Party leaders. In Cassidy’s case there is no reason to be choosy in picking friends when you only have a few willing to help with your birthday party. In 2010, Cassidy ran on a fiscally conservative platform that demonized city workers. The memory of his words and actions still elicit either eye rolls or gnashing of teeth by party leaders. His bullying tactics as a school board members have also highlighting his tenure as mayor.

Yet, in the past year, he has become noticeably more liberal. First, supporting medical cannabis dispensaries, gay marriage and voting to limit security cameras in public places. Coincidentally, these are all issues his inner circle of friends and potential campaign workers next year vociferously support. Without this group it would appear the political engine leading his upset run for mayor in 2010 would be struggling to hum without motor oil. The battle lines have been set in San Leandro and Benny Lee could have never imagined the ramifications that could linger into next year all for simply wanting to fly a red flag over City Hall.

72 comments:

  1. Yes, 'naïve' is the word. Steven, just want to point out that not ALL San Leandro's residents of Asian (25,206) descent are Chinese (11,648 or 46.21%): 7,935 Filipino, 2,715 Vietnamese, 491 Korean, 462 Japanese, 638 Indian, 805 Others. Thanks.

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  2. We are talking about the flag that has been flown in Milpitas, Oakland, Alameda and San Francisco many times. Now we find out it has been flown in San Leandro before at City Hall. This is racism raising it's ugly head again in San Leandro. Just saying

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  3. @Sonny Le, nearly half of the home purchases since 2011 in San Leandro has chinese surnames so whats your point?

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  4. How do we know Sonny Le is not Marga Lacabe?

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  5. Secretary of State John Kerry honors PRC National Day

    http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2013/09/20130927283743.html#axzz2g9YAYjjO

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  6. Sonny Le, do you want to fly Vietnamese flag to honor the Vietnamese people's contribution in America, if you agree, step up the plate, don't whine?

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  7. Big mistake by Cassidy pandering to the extreme left
    and the extreme right.

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  8. So sad idiots like tavares and lee keep mistaking the Chinese for ALL Asians. lol fucking idiots

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  9. The real racists think all Asians are Chinese lol

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  10. Cassidy uses his sole authority to stop the democratic process of 4 to 3 votes by the councils, he openly posted comments on Facebook anti-China because he is a bully. He basically saying our president of United States, Secretary of state Kerry, California Gov. Brown, Lt Gov. Newson, city of San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda, Milpitas are wrong, isn't it?

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  11. Well, the folks who are Asian in this thread are not Chinese should step up and stand in front of the council to represent who you are, don't whine, why you are not being recognized.

    Second thought, it can be Marga Lacabe wrote the comments.

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  12. Marga Lacabe's tactic is old and stale, not working!

    We can't wait to watch the sideshow of how much people are willing to contribute into her husband's campaign, LOL : ,)

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  13. Cassidy and Lacabe should condemn Secretary of State John Kerry for condoning human rights violation by being accepting of the PRC.

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  14. 1203, you're such of sad case, go identify yourself in front of city hall and tell them you're not Chinese and like to be recognized, whining here is not going anywhere. Again, one of Marga Lacabe's back up singers.

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  15. More ugly comments coming from the 3 stooges Cassidy, Lacabe and Katz. These people are a joke, always trying to control everything and everyone.
    Cassidy and company now going after Benny Lee because Benny is a kind and smart man. Benny not going to kiss Cassidy's fannie. Benny Lee makes Cassidy look like fool.
    Thanks Tavares for seeing what idiots these 3 people are. Cassidy gonna be 1 term mayor!

    BENNY LEE FOR MAYOR! BENNY LEE FOR MAYOR!

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  16. Cassidy going after Benny Lee cause Benny can't be swayed to do things Cassidy's way. Cassidy supported and gave money to Chris Crow when he ran against Benny Lee for City Council. Cassidy now picking on Benny cause Cassidy dosen't like having to eat crow. YES, YES, YES, BENNY LEE FOR MAYOR 2014.
    Be careful Lacabe and Katz, IRS gonna be contacting you soon lol.
    Great job Tavares!

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  17. Just fly the flag like other cities and the U.S. Government.
    Make sure the U.S. flag is higher. That's the protocol.

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  18. Cassidy made a huge mistake in suspending the vote.
    Is he going to suspend all 4-3 votes he loses? It makes
    him look like a poor loser and a bully! He got a lot of
    Chinese American votes in his last election. but he won't
    in 2014. My neighborhood liked his fiscal conservativeness, but this insult to our people will never be forgiven or forgotten.

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  19. Other countries flags have flown at City Hall before.
    Why not now? Fly the flag!

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  20. The Chinese flag has flown at city hall in San Leandro
    before. The American flag was on the higher flagpole.

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  21. Cassidy had a chance to be friends with China but
    chose not to. He should take a lesson from Governor
    Brown and President Obama.

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  22. Hey Anonymous! Just a quick realistic RECAP for all you FUCKING IDIOTS!

    White House flag raising - Was not even raised at White House, last minute President Obama interceded and had the ceremony moved to a public park across the street.

    San Francisco - Does not raise the flag in honor of National Day in China. They established a public recognition day called "Chinese Traditional Day" and raise it in honor of that day, not founding of Communist China by Mao Zaedong

    Alameda - Does not raise the flag at City Hall and never voted on it. A Chinese community group uses a temporary poll.

    Milpitas - only raised it once, got hella flak for it and hasn't done it since.

    Oakland - can't figure out how and why Oakland did it, but hey if Oakland is our example for things around here, then we have way bigger problems then raising Chinese flags.

    Also, regardless of these very very few cities you idiots are citing, THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of cities across the county have chose not to do this. And indeed the vote has come before other communities here in the Bay Area and they voted against it.

    So STOP BEING STUPID...start being SMARTER...get your facts straight.

    ALSO, because the Sister Cities Gallery holds a representation of a flag from one of those countries, it doesn't mean the city has raised the flag before at City Hall.

    STOP BEING STUPID!!!! IT'S BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH!

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  23. Cassidy suspending the resolution to fly the Chinese Flag at city hall because he felt "he needed to allow the community to weigh in." Makes me wonder if Cassidy ask for community input when he flew the Rainbow Flag at city hall?
    Cassidy's playing favorites is a big, really big and very STUPID MISTAKE.
    Being a life long resident of San Leandro, I also agree Cassidy is the dumbest mayor we ever had!

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  24. Oh and in Houston it wasn't at City H the flag was raised by an independent group at the Chinese Civic Center in Houston.

    Any other communities you want to bring up as examples idiots?

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  25. The Chinese flag was flown at San Leandro City Hall in 1988
    when Dave Karp was Mayor. Also, the Portuguese flag has been
    flown at San Leandro City Hall on many occasions





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  26. The Free Tibet Flag was flown at City Hall in 1992. The Flag of the Sudan was flown many times as well. And the Mexican Flag has also flown at San Leandro City Hall. :)

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  27. Mayor Cassidy you made a huge mistake in promoting
    racism and hate speech from our community. It's years
    past all over again, that we hoped San Leandro had left
    behind.

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  28. We don't want bully mayor in San Leandro, he's done.

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  29. Cassidy has caused divisiveness on the council just
    like the divisiveness he caused on the school board.
    It's always about Cassidy who wants to force his
    opinion on others.

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  30. Can't believe he overturned a 4-3 vote of the Council.
    That's not Democracy, that's a dictator!

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  31. 9.28.13 2:07pm Only Loser Crow would write something like that with the "F" words. Bet he was eating sour grapes and Chinese foods, using his Iphone and computer, wearing his T-shirt that are made in Chinese while blowing his bad breath on the internet.

    Anyone anti-China, first thing they needed to do are to close their Facebook accounts, that's the first, on their realistic recap lists; 2nd, must through away their IPhone, IPad; 3rd through away the cloths including underwear made in China.

    4th, important, don't go to Chinese restaurants, additional spice and special ingredients might be added to your plates for your "kind" words.

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  32. The Free Tibet Flag was flown at City Hall in 1992. The Flag of the Sudan was flown many times as well. And the Mexican Flag has also flown at San Leandro City Hall. :)

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  33. The custom made bikini of Marga Lacabe was flown many times as well. : P

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  34. Sept 28 2:07---you need to get your facts straight.
    Other flags have flown many times at City Hall.
    The Chinese, Free Tibet, Sudanese, Portugese,
    LGBT and Mexican to name a few. Some of these
    more than once. Who's the idiot now?

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  35. The sour grape flag of Chris Crow was flown last year 2012. : ()

    The Sour grape flag might fly again in 2014, depends which district Loser Crow prefers crawl to... district 1 to run against wanna be celebrity or district 3... or district 5... not a bad idea run against the dumb mayor. Dumb and Dumber. Dumbest is married to Marga Lacabe. : )

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  36. FB, Facebook, to open up new areas in China, Lacabes & Cassidy should stop using FB since they consider any relationships with China as condoning human rights violations. If Lacabes and Cassidy continue to use FB, they are hypocrites.

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  37. Wow, amazing of the bully mayor, Cassidy suspended the democratic process of approval by the council4 to 3 not in his favor.

    Lazy Cassidy don't bother to research San Leandro history and publicly posted on his Facebook a position critical of China.

    This shows how he feels about the Chinese and other minorities.

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  38. I came from the China to America to get far from the Chinese abuse my family had got. I hate the Chinese flag and am proud Chinese glad support Mayor not raising China Flag

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  39. Cassidy did not allow presentation on Sept 16th council meeting to make clear for the public to understand our flag policy and proper flag protocol. Cassidy deliberately mislead public into believing Chinese flag would replace American Flag. The Chinese Flag rises only one day to honor Chinese American residents, immigrants, students and foreign officials. USA flag always remain higher than all flags.

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  40. 2:17 Which part of China you from and how old you are? When did you come to USA? What abuse happen to family?

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  41. 217 you're phony, we can tell by the writing style, you absolutely have no Chinese writing style in your writing. You probably just finished having donuts and pizza with Marga Lacabe and Chris Crow.

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  42. The horror! Article shows picture that China raised the US Flag in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 2009 alongside the Chinese Flag.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/11/obama-china-townhall-text.html

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  43. The horror!

    Chinese Flag at Whitehouse by US Presidential Seal.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/foreign/chinese-president-hu-visits-america/2011/01/14/AB5d0fJ_gallery.html#photo=22

    American and Chinese Flags behind Hu Jintao and Obama.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/foreign/chinese-president-hu-visits-america/2011/01/14/AB5d0fJ_gallery.html#photo=35

    American and Chinese Flags in White House Press Room.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/foreign/chinese-president-hu-visits-america/2011/01/14/AB5d0fJ_gallery.html#photo=36

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  44. The horror! American and Chinese Flags in front of the White House.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jan/17/hu-jintao-white-house-visit

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  45. Any of those on July 4th?

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  46. Any of those celebrating anything other than a head of state visit?

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  47. 3:30 and 3:31 The horror! The fireworks and American flags used on July 4th are made In China.

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  48. Ironic, something in common between America and China, that's how it's said in English and in Chinese:

    USA: Money talk, bull shits walk

    China: No money, no talk

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  49. Celebration of July 4th American Independence Day in China by the American Chamber of Commerce in the PRC!

    http://www.amchamchina.org/article/8172

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  50. Other countries celebrate American Independence Day.

    http://www.homelifeabroad.com/2013/07/03/4th-of-july-events-around-the-world/

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  51. Governor Jerry Brown knows the importance of Chinese investments in California.

    http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21576111-old-relationship-presents-fresh-opportunities-chasing-dragon

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  52. Cassidy, just admit you are wrong, and fly the flag!
    You are too stubborn and have harmed our city!

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  53. Cassidy----Many of us who voted for you last time will not do so again.

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  54. Whoever is giving Cassidy political advise doesn't understand politics or our city. A divisive move, but not a very smart one.

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  55. Other flags have flown many times at City Hall.
    The Chinese, Free Tibet, Sudanese, Portugese,
    LGBT and Mexican to name a few. Some of these
    more than once. Huge mistake by Cassidy the dictator.

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  56. For sure whoever is giving Cassidy political advise have made Cassidy look like a fool in our town, around the bay areas, now in Beijing. Raise flag controversy news have been aired in Beijing and will continue.

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  57. San Leandro should be one of the major cities in the bay areas like SF, Oakland, don't let stupid Cassidy to stop massive job opportunities coming into San Leandro. We want China's manufacturers and their investors willing to create jobs here like they invest 1.5 billion in Oakland. What that you don't get, stubborn and foolish Cassidy?

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  58. How embarrassing, Cassidy becomes a clown, people around the bay areas are talking how bully and weak he is.

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  59. Steven T--can you fix this string? It cuts off words after ~80
    spaces. What's up with that?

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  60. 636 try different browsers.

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  61. Many San Leandro residents are turn off by narrow minded Cassidy's action. Hided proper flag protocol and made belief China flag is taking over America flag which is not the case, only one day to honor the Chinese-Americans, America flag still at the highest pole in front of city hall. Most of all, he use sole authority to interrupt the democratic process of 4 to 3 votes approved by the council !! Where is the democracy?

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  62. Cassidy is a bully who doesn't believe in the democratic process.

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  63. Yeah I remember when San Leandro voted to raise the flag of Sudan. See...Mayor Cassidy messed up. I was at the Sudanese Flag raising ceremony. They even had a pre-recorded LRA message welcoming an everlasting friendship with San Leandro. And then there was that headline like 3 years ago or something in the San Leandro Times "Sudanese Jobs on the Rise in San Leandro" that credited the flag raising ceremony with helping bring that investment.. Mayor Cassidy is bumbling fool to miss out on what raising the Chinese Flag could bring like when we raised the flag of the Sudan.

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  64. I was at the flag raising event at Marina Park. They raised both
    the American and Chinese flags. It was a beautiful ceremony
    with dozens of people there. The Mayor should be bringing
    people together instead of trying to divide the city.

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  65. The mayor should have been there. It was at a park like he
    suggested. Aren't you the mayor of all the City.

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  66. Can anyone verify the twitter activity of San Leandro Talk
    claiming postings for Benny Lee?

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  67. San Leandro Talk, she's lied that she's a lawyer never passed the bar exam, now we know she's a babysitter at home, and her husband, Mike Katz school board member don't know what he does for a living. IRS should be contacting them very soon.

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  68. It was so beautiful and amazing, seeing both America flag an Chinese flag were both raised. Our Vice Mayor and three his council colleague (supporting flag raising) and three of council members from the Chinese consulate together were attended the flag ceremony for San Leandro Chinese community and their constituents.

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  69. No one want Cassidy to show up, he is an eye-sore without a vision for the city.

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  70. Cassidy is a screw up mayor.

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  71. It was so beautiful in Marina park today!

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  72. Cassidy tries to bully people who disagrees with him.

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