Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cassidy is no longer mayor, but he isn't leaving San Leandro politics

Stephen Cassidy: Out of power, but not
out of things to say.
SAN LEANDRO | Stephen Cassidy left the mayor's office in San Leandro after just one term. There was no specific public reason for why he left thousands of his supporters in the lurch and bowed out of a likely successful re-election campaign.

The reason is believed to be job-related, which should reflect worse on his employer than Cassidy, but the gruff former mayor has never really cared about what people think.

In a farewell letter published by the Bay Area News Group Wednesday, he rehashed a similar piece written just before his decision to bypass a re-election campaign last spring. "I love San Leandro. It's been the greatest honor of my professional life to serve as your mayor. Thank you again for providing me this honor," wrote Cassidy.

As I wrote last March, Cassidy's list of accomplishments clearly belong to his predecessors and one private citizen, OSIsoft's Patrick Kennedy. From the building of the new Kaiser Permanente in San Leandro to steering the city out of the Great Recession on better footing than when it entered, each issue precedes him, and, in the case of the budget, came in spite of Cassidy's opposition to the sales tax measure he vehemently opposed in 2010.

Cassidy's place in San Leandro political history, though, is unclear. Although there are already early indications Cassidy will become what he was before his upset mayoral victory four years ago--a very vocal critic and city advocate.

During his final City Council meeting as mayor last month, Cassidy appeared to be dictating to his colleagues one last time despite his lame duck status. His demeanor, however, was nothing out of the ordinary. Cassidy's controlling and bullying nature has long been the hallmark of his term as mayor and four years beforehand on the San Leandro school board.

Cassidy's unwillingness to release some city council member's from his influence continued last week. During the well-attended public meeting on the police department's hope to purchase an armored emergency personnel carrier, Cassidy again came off as dictating to his now-former colleagues.

The private citizen Cassidy stepped to the mic and publicly asserted his support for the armored vehicle, but then spent the entire time lecturing the council member's seated before him, both on the merits of the purchase and their theoretical duties as a public servant.

One council member told me they didn't mind the tone of Cassidy's public comment last week. More tellingly, they joked about tuning him out a long time ago.


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