Scare tactics or smart move?

cgilcrest.jpgIn today’s San Leandro Times, City Council candidate Charles Gilcrest ran a half-page ad calling for the city to get tougher on crime.

The ad apparently dovetails with a recent announcement by the police chief that crime is up in San Leandro by 18 percent for the first quarter of this year.

This is in stark contrast to the police chief’s report to the City Council late last year that touted a 5 percent decrease last year in overall crime in the city. Everyone knows, however, what happened when the mayor praised these figures, while hundreds of folks felt he was ignoring the city’s uptick in car thefts, brazen robberies and other mischief.

So it seems Gilcrest, a strong ally of Mayor Tony Santos, is attempting to take the discussion in a different direction here. In the ad, he calls for the city to invest in more recruitment of police officers, accelerate the Redevelopment Agency’s debts to the general fund to pay for increased staffing, and have the department release real-time crime alerts when something is happening in a neighborhood.

It’s not really clear why Gilcrest has taken out an ad in the Times speaking to people’s fears just a few days before the election. The ad touts his endorsements from both the police officers’ and firefighters’ unions, from which he received $300 and $650 in contributions, according to the latest campaign finance disclosures.

But then again, maybe he’s just doing what many people do when they’re running for office, and making one last push before the election to get more votes?