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Thursday, February 16, 2017

San Leandro set to join list of sanctuary cities in the East Bay

The San Leandro City Council is set to join
Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, and Emeryville
as sanctuary cities in the East Bay.
SAN LEANDRO CITY COUNCIL
Next week, San Leandro is set to join a growing list of sanctuary cities in the East Bay. The San Leandro City Council, acquiescing to growing demand in the highly diverse community to declare opposition to President Trump's immigration policies, is scheduled to discuss the issue next Tuesday.

Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco all reaffirmed existing sanctuary city policies earlier this year in an effort to push back at Trump's heated rhetoric against immigrants. Subsequently, city councils in Alameda, Emeryville, and Richmond have approved various versions of sanctuary status.
Over the past month, numerous San Leandro residents have expressed strong opinions to city officials in favor of passing their own resolution. Recently, the San Leandro Unified School District officially declared their campuses safe havens for immigrants, as did the San Lorenzo Unified School District.

Aside from officially declaring San Leandro a sanctuary city, most of the resolution before the City Council serves to bolster community sentiment encouraging inclusiveness among its residents and underscoring existing policies already employed by the San Leandro Police Department that prohibits arrests for immigration-related offenses.

Similar to Alameda's sanctuary city resolution approved last month, San Leandro elected leaders will forbid its public resources to be used for "any federal program requiring the registration of individuals on the basis of religious affiliation, race, national or ethnic origin, gender, or sexual orientation," according to the proposed resolution.

The proposed resolution before the City Council next Tuesday night boldly declares in the last line, "The City of San Leandro hereby declares that it is a Sanctuary City."

The potential loss of federal funding to the city could be at risk by declaring itself a sanctuary city, notes San Leandro City Attorney Richard Pio Roda in a staff report released Thursday afternoon. Especially after the Trump administration issued an executive order Jan. 25 that put local jurisdiction on notice that funding could be withdrawn for such status. The city attorney's office, however, questioned the legality of Trump's executive order.

Nevertheless, millions in federal funding for much-needed transportation projects in San Leandro, in addition to $2 million in funding for the expansion of its admired Lit San Leandro fiber-optics project, could be at risk by the action.

In total, San Leandro receives more than $9 million in direct, indirect, and anticipated future funding from the federal government. While the amount of risk to projects already approved for funding is low, future funding opportunities are another story, Pio Roda writes. "The City of San Leandro is at risk of future defunding and lost access to significant levels of current and anticipated federal funding if the City Council adopts the attached resolution."

Nearly $3 million, or one-third, of San Leandro's federal funding comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation, including $804,000 for road work on San Leandro Boulevard. Other road projects include several intersection signal improvements and railroad crossing projects. Both issues are highly important to many San Leandro residents who suffer from some of the worst roads in Alameda County, in addition, to a number of fatalities in recent years related to outdated railroads crossing designs.

A vast majority of the city's $3 million in direct funding is allocated to expansion of the Lit San Leandro downtown fiber-optics project, along with $650,260 for Community Development Block Grants and $246,000 for COPS grants used to hire police officers.

The remaining $2.5 million in future grants are equally important and include $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for solar panels and $500,000 from FEMA for the Neptune Drive flood protection.

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