Being Smart About San Leandro's Finances

City finances are among San Leandrans’ biggest concerns these days, and rightly so. The priorities we set
and how we manage the budget today will determine our success in the future.

As Mayor, I approach the city’s budget the same way I approach my family’s finances: Establish clear
spending priorities and savings goals, put aside funds for unexpected expenses and emergencies, pay
bills on time, and try not to waste money. Of course, managing city finances is exponentially more
challenging than managing one’s personal finances, but the basic principles still apply.

Fortunately, San Leandro is financially stronger today ever before. The economy is thriving,
unemployment is lower than it has been in 20 years, and our city has become a destination for
entrepreneurs and established businesses who are creating new jobs and adding to the tax base.
But we still have work to do, especially when it comes to reigning in the city’s escalating retirement
costs, which are on the rise because of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) fund
lost about $100 billion in the Great Recession and never has fully recovered.

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Full Time Mayor

Did you know that the San Leandro mayor position is supposed to be a part-time job?

When I first became mayor, I was familiar with our city’s programs and services, but not all the details. I
knew that I needed to ramp up and learn as much as possible to represent San Leandro properly. During
this onboarding period, I recognized that there were many opportunities to participate in collaborations
and partnerships to bring recognition and new funds to the city. I concluded that I needed to treat the
position as a full-time job. When I was elected, I was a retired school teacher. Today, I’m a full-time
mayor in a part-time job, and I’m working harder than ever before.

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Planning Ahead: Resilience, Sustainability, and Disaster Preparedness

San Leandro has become a role model for the progress we’ve made in the areas of disaster
preparedness, sustainability, and climate resilience. In recent years, we've improved our infrastructure,
organized volunteers, and implemented programs that address some of the most pressing challenges
we face as a community. It all began with our “Adopt A Drain” program, paid for through a grant from
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Cities of Service, which recognizes and funds innovative collaborations
between local governments and their residents.

Adopt A Drain is a perfect example of how we need to work together to prepare for storms, disasters,
and the impacts of climate change. Winter storms, for example, can cause significant flooding and other
damage to homes, businesses, and roadways. The Adopt A Drain program, funded through a $25,000
Cities of Service grant encourages residents and businesses to adopt drains and to keep those drains
clear of debris on a regular basis.

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Making San Leandro a Smart City

I never imagined I would be recognized as a champion of Smart Cities! But after learning what it meant to be a Smart City, I realized that it was essential for San Leandro to reap the rewards of becoming a smarter, more efficient, more resilient city. So, through collaborations with other cities, support from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, conversations with community members, and strong leadership from the city’s Chief Innovation Officer, we worked hard to make San Leandro a Smart City, and we are already benefiting from the results.

What is a Smart City?

A Smart City uses data and technology systems to improve efficiency, manage complexity, and improve the quality of life for its residents, while using fewer resources. Smart City innovations include smart lighting, smart parking, smart transportation, smart waste removal, and countless other smart technologies and applications.

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A City Where Kindness Matters

A City Where Kindness Matters

During my first term as Mayor of the City of San Leandro, I adopted a slogan: “A City Where Kindness Matters.” I had the slogan printed on the back of my business cards, and I speak about it whenever I can. The slogan gives me confidence, guides my decision-making, and helps me to maintain focus on the things I believe in, including being kind to the earth, to each other, and to ourselves. To me, kindness means giving people the benefit of doubt and helping lift people up instead of bringing them down.

Kindness has been at the heart of my mission throughout my life. Early in my career when I taught preschool, my priority was to prepare my students to be kind individuals. I hoped they would develop an innate kindness they could carry with them throughout their lives. One small act of kindness multiplied across individuals can make a significant impact. That’s what I taught the children, and that’s what I’ve tried to demonstrate through programs and partnerships I’ve established for San Leandro.

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Join Pauline in moving San Leandro forward!