Jim Prola, Ursula Reed and Benny Lee have been endorsed by the San Leandro Police Officer's Association (POA).
Prola and Reed are incumbents. Lee is one of four challengers for the open seat in Washington Manor that used to be represented by Joyce Starosciak.
Sgt. Mike Sobek, who heads the 87-member group, made the picks public Monday.
"The police have vetted these candidates," he said.
San Leandro and its police have a lot cooking right now.
The city's contract with police expires December 31. New contract negotiations are underway.
One big issue is pension costs.
The city currently pays part of the money that goes into the retirement kitty for police and other city staff.
Mayor Stephen Cassidy , to have police and other city employees pick up all or part of what the city now contributes on their behalf.
Council candidate Hermy Almonte, who is running against Prola, also saying, "I am the only candidate running for the City Council this year to unequivocally call for pension reform."
The pension issue is part of the POA's election calculus.
Benny Lee, who was endorsed in the open district, said he wants to maintain the status quo on pensions, which supports the POA's position.
Reed and Prola could not be reached for comment.
Morgan Mack-Rose, who is running against Reed, said her support for pension reform took her out of the running for the POA endorsement.
The timing of the contract gives the POA considerable leverage in city politics.
The elections are held in November but the winners don't take office until January.
The police contract expires December 31.
In the past the contract has been voted on by the outgoing council.
That means incumbents seeking reelection must stake out positions on the police contract before the election -- with an eye on the POA endorsement, which is valuable as a vote of confidence and as a source of funds.
In the 2010 election, for instance, the POA contributed to mayoral candidates Joyce Starosciak and Tony Santos, and opposed Cassidy, according to the San Leandro Bytes website.
If the pattern holds, the contract will again be decided by the outgoing council. Thus any change of voter sentiment for pension reform will be irrelevant -- at least until the next contract cycle in two years, when incumbents will once again have to face the POA before they face the voters.