Notes on my conversation with Bill Stephens.
Council Member Bill Stephens returned my phone call on June 27th. We had a somewhat long conversation on the issue of the book commissioned by city manager John Jermanis, during which Mr. Stephens made several points. These included:
-Mr Jermanis asserts that the book project was cancelled because the writer wanted to write it in a "novelized" form.
-Mr. Stephens was concerned as to "why this is an issue" and what my objectives were.
-Mr. Jermanis has the right to commission a book and terminate the project, and do so without any community imput. He has the right to determine how San Leandro history should be told.
-Mr. Stephens believes that the city manager does not owe the citizens of San Leandro any explanations about the decisions he makes. He believes that he has no need to justify those decisions to the citizenry or to talk to San Leandro resients.
-A history of San Leandro need not include parts that are considered irrelevant by the city manager.
-Even if Mr. Jermanis cancelled the project because he did not want the subject of discrimination in San Leandro being included, this is not a matter of concern to Mr. Stephens.
-He believes Mr. Jermanis is not a racist.
-Mr. Stephens believes that it is not necessary or important to look back at San Leandro's treatment of African-Americans, and instead he wants to concentrate in the future.
-Mr. Stephen acknowledges that it would be unusual for the city to commission a project without a contract with the writer.
I forwarded these notes to Mr. Stephens to make sure they conformed with his recollection of our conversation. He did not respond.