Ursula Reed & Benny Lee Enter Council Races

Both candidates filed paperwork with the city making official their intentions to run, in Reed's case for re-election. Lee enters a three-way race for an empty seat.


Ursula Reed has officially opened a campaign committee to campaign to seek re-election as city council representative in San Leandro's second council district.

Last week Bal Theatre owner Dan Dillman announced his intention to run against Reed.

Heron Bay community activist Benny Lee has also officially entered the race for the fourth council district.

There will be no incumbent in that race because term limits prevent Joyce Starosciak from seeking re-election.

Starosciak recently announced her intention to move out of San Leandro.

Darlene Daevu and Chris Crow have already entered the fourth district race. Lee's entry makes that a three-way contest.

The outcome of that three-way race will be determined by ranked-choice voting, under which voters expresses preferences for second and third choices.

The sixth council district will also be up for re-election. Incumbent Councilman Jim Prola will seek re-election but has not yet opened a campaign fund because, so far, he is unopposed.

Under the city's election rules the nomination period for city council seats opens on Monday, July 16 and closes on Friday, August 10.

To qualify, a candidate must obtain the signatures of at least 20, but not more than 30, registered voters in the district he or she seeks to represent.

(Editor's note: Ursula Reed sent in this statement when asked why she was seeking re-election: "I am excited about the next four years in San Leandro. As a council we have begun many projects, downtown, at the marina and the transit-oriented development. We have joined a private partnership with Patrick Kennedy at OSI Soft with the fiber loop which will bring many more opportunities to our city.  Being on the council for the last four years has allowed me to positively represent San Leandro in local arenas as well as in our State and National Capitol. I take this responsibility very seriously and plan to continue to represent our diversity, our intelligence and our resiliency as a city." )

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Marga Lacabe June 27, 2012 at 07:32 AM
It's pretty interesting that even Ursula has been unable to find one single example of anything *she* has gotten done in the last four years, one cause she has championed, one project she's seen through. That is not to say there isn't one - Ursula was the primary force behind getting free i-pads for City Council Members and staff, but I guess she doesn't want to take much credit for that :-) It's also interesting that she sees her role in City Council as that of an ambassador. Perhaps that's the fundamental problem vis a vis her lack of actions in the last four years? She was unaware she was supposed to actually deliberate, seek out information, make informed decisions, lead, etc. etc. and she thought the Council meetings were just formalities? I, for one, am glad that Dan Dillman is running. He definitely has his issues, but it's been a long time since anyone in this town has cared about *issues* like making this city more livable, more equitable, more fun. Dan may be many things, but I think most importantly he's sincere. I have no doubt that I'll have many reasons to criticize him if he gets elected, but being a tool for the police and the city establishment won't be one of them.
Marga Lacabe June 27, 2012 at 08:02 AM
As for the District 4 race, I think it's going to be interesting. I'm looking forward to see who falls behind which candidate. Benny Lee is the logical choice for the Police and San Leandro's old boys network. He's a moralist who seems to believe that the goal justifies the means. Those views would fit well with the current do-nothing City Council. On the other hand, moralists can be hard to control as well as they do tend to have a mind of their own. So any support they give Benny will be at their own peril. Chris, on the other hand, is your "upright young man" sort, almost out of a 1940's movie. Actually, when I think of Chris, I think of him in black and white :-) He's dedicated, he's smart, he's willing to do the work - really, I think he's the only person in town that reads and understands what City staff puts out. He's green, but only in the sense that he hasn't been jaded by the political system yet and that he seems to believe he can actually accomplish something if elected. I'm personally inclined to give him a chance. I think having Chris in the City Council is City staff's worst nightmare. To actually have someone who questions them (intelligently), who doesn't nod at their BS, who doesn't let them get away with breaking the law right and left? It'll be a fun race to watch.
Brash Brazen June 27, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Hey,Hey ! Ho,Ho ! Ursula Reed has Got to Go !!! Her efforts to ban medical marijuana dispensaries conflicts with state law & the will of the majority of local voters. Putting her personal biases before the needs of her constituents is an outrageous abuse of her elected office. Obstructing & ignoring state law is certainly grounds for a charge of malfeasance in office which would lead to her being "banned" from ever seeking public office again. Dan Dillman who supports legally regulated medical marijuana dispensaries & is much more suited to represent the disparate elements of our community is the obvious choice this November. San Leandro needs new more responsive leaders whose actions better reflect the needs of their constituents,not more of the same from the self-righteous simpletons who are in office now. It's time to make Ursula pay for her ill-conceived & unwarranted attack on cannabis patients by putting an end to her political aspirations once & for all by electing Dan Dillman this November !
Marga Lacabe June 27, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Brash, I think we're being too tough on Ursula. She was recruited to run for this position, and I among others in the progressive wing in town supported her ran, but then we just left her alone, to her own devices. We thought she's smart, she'll make the right decisions. But it doesn't work that way. It takes a lot of time and effort to understand what comes before them, and Ursula is a single mother, with a demanding job. We like to pretend women can do it all, but when she's working 40+ hours a week and raising a kid on her own, where, exactly, is she going to find the 20+ hours she needs to actually read through the material she's given, think about it, prepare questions, talk to constituents, etc.? So it's no surprise she doesn't, so she goes to the meetings completely unprepared and goes along with what staff tells her to do. It's funny, because once in a while what staff does really hits a nerve with part of the community: for example the pot dispensary issue (which has labor up in arms) or the chicken & bees issue, and then she looks completely surprised, like "wait, somebody cares about this? how come staff is telling me to vote on something that will make me enemies?"? So she draws back - as she did with the dispensaries and equivocates. But as she has no knowledge, experience or principles to draw on, she pretty much falls on her butt.
Brash Brazen June 27, 2012 at 07:23 PM
If you're not part of the solution,you're part of the problem ! The voters can solve this problem by voting for Dan Dillman this November !! If the people of San Leandro wanted obstructionists arbitrarily ruining the lives of it's citizens they'd elect Republicans & we all know they'd never do that !!! She's out of step with Democratic leadership as Barbara Lee & Pete Stark were co-sponsors of the bi-partisan Ron Paul & Barney Frank bill known as the Federal Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act !!!! Once these morons realize that they can't hide behind federal law much longer they'll be forced to abide by state law like the rest of us law-abiding cannabis patients do now !!!!! There's plenty of time to register & mobilize young like minded Democratic voters between now & election day so let's get the frivolity started !!!!!!
Paul Vargas June 28, 2012 at 03:47 AM
I can't believe that Bob Glaze isn't trying for this seat again. So Joyce is bailing out of town. No big surprise, she milked the system for as much as she could and now she's ready to take the money and run. Didn't Dopey Bill Stephens and Gary Loeffler pull out right at the end of their terms? I guess with Maltester dead and gone, it's wide open for new candidates.
SAL July 05, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Benny Lee is an amazingly honorable, dedicated, and hard working individual, who happens to be a candidate for City Council. He listens sincerely to people's perspectives and concerns, demonstrating remarkable fairness and wisdom. Benny Lee brings to this office a refreshing honesty and an indominable resolve to affect positive change for every citizen of San Leandro.
Marga Lacabe July 05, 2012 at 04:17 AM
I'm sure Benny is very nice. But we have enough nice people doing bad public policy. Wanting to ban medical marijuana dispensaries because his friend became an alcoholic at 13 is not what I would call a sign of wisdom.
SAL July 05, 2012 at 05:54 AM
Sharing a story of a friend's disastrous life trajedy with marijuana was a very wise response in support of banning pot dispensaries. Benny did not state that he was against the critically ill, hospice patient from getting relief from suffering. Instead, in a story format, he expressed concern about pot falling into the hands of San Leandro's youth. How can any responsible adult support increasing the local supply of an addictive and dangerous drug that could fall into children's hands? If medical pot dispensary proponents could prove that the drug would fall only into the hands of the very few who are about to die and in need of palliative care, no one would argue against it. But the truth is that the abysmally low number of San Leandro residents who are that ill, is not enough to keep even 1 pot dispensary in business. Plus, sick San Leandrans can grow their own pot already in their own backyards. Thus, there is no need to increase the availability of pot in San Leandro. Pot dispensaries in San Leandro would primarily benefit those who enjoy getting high, reselling pot, or enticing others (particularly easily persuaded youth) to abuse.
Marga Lacabe July 05, 2012 at 06:41 AM
Benny's friend did not die because of marijuana - he died of cirrhosis of the liver due to alcoholism. If rather than alcohol, he'd made pot his drug of choice, chances are he'd be alive today. It's hard to understand how Benny - and you - don't realize the irony of that. If marijuana dispensaries are a bad idea for San Leandro, then by all means make a sound argument, based on real facts, that show that's the case. But the key word here is "facts". Do you have any evidence that shows that marijuana dispensaries make pot more easily available for children? Pot is all over the place, right now it's much easier for a middle schooler in San Leandro to score a joint than for a cancer patient. And black-market pot is also significantly cheaper (up to 30% cheaper than dispensary pot), so it's hard to see how the economics of it making it into the streets would work. You say that pot is dangerous and addictive - and yet it's much less dangerous and addictive than prescription painkillers. Do you believe they should be banned as well? Pharmacies, btw, cannot prove that the drugs they sell only fall into the hands of those who need them. There are brisk black markets on opiates and stimulants and everything that makes someone feel good. Finally, the idea that a cancer patient should be growing pot to treat their pain borders on offensive.
Summer Hemphill July 05, 2012 at 04:14 PM
The Second District Court of Appeal ruled on Monday that L.A. County's ban on medical marijuana dispensaries was "pre-empted" by state law & therefore "void' ! As I've said all along it's the patients & dispensaries who are complying with state law & the elected city leaders statewide who are breaking it ! As every elected official takes an oath to uphold state law every San Leandro City Councilmember who has ever voted for banning dispensaries is guilty of malfeasance in office & certainly unfit for re-election ! Putting one's personal biases ahead of the law & needs of their constituents is an outrageous abuse of elected office & unforgiveable ! Many communities will now undoubtably be sued for damages for obstructing & shuttering businesses legal under state law,let's hope San Leandro isn't one of them !
Paul Vargas July 10, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Here we go, all the pot heads out there wanting to toke a doobie for their migraines. boo hoo hoo


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