San Leandro District 2 City Council race between
Bryan Azevedo and Ed Hernandez will take center
stage in November.
Either San Leandrans are content with how their city government and school district is running or nobody is interested to bother with running for local office.
Come November, just one race in the entire city will contested among eight possible city council and school board races.
In the bid to replace termed out District 2 Councilmember Ursula Reed, planning commissioner Ed Hernandez will oppose Bryan Azevedo, a member of the city's recreation and park commission. And that's it for the November elections in San Leandro.
On the city council side, District 4 Councilmember Benny Lee is running unopposed and former San Leandro police officer Pete Ballew is the only candidate who qualified to replace termed out District 6 Councilmember Jim Prola.
Similar to recent San Leandro school board elections, incumbents will receive a free pass to re-election. San Leandro school trustees Monique Tate, Evelyn Gonzalez and Diana Prola will face no opposition this fall. All three will not appear on the ballot, as will two other school board races.
Peter Oshinski, a candidate for the at-large school board seat, and Victor Aguilar for the short term seat, were the only qualified candidates for each office.
The lack of interest in San Leandro politics is troubling, but not surprising because of the city's changing demographics, said former Mayor Tony Santos. "San Leandro is a different city than it used to be. It's getting younger and this group cares less about getting involved in local government."
San Leandro also suffers from a lack of media coverage that has worsened over the past two years. "We don't have reporters covering San Leandro like we used to," said Santos. "The local papers don't even send someone to the meetings anymore."
The dearth of political races, however, will not preclude other important decision for voters in San Leandro. The city is asking voters to approve three tax-generating measures this fall. Combined, the measures could create up to $1.5 million in additional annual revenue, said the city. Among the ballot measures is approval to enact a cannabis tax on gross receipts; an increase on taxes for parking lots and warehouse space, in addition, to raising the city's hotel tax.