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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Council makes parents wait

Local Baby Sitters Profit Handsomely From Mayor's Decision

The Emeryville Child Development Center budget agenda item drew scores of people to City Hall last night. But parents who showed up with their infants and toddlers at City Hall to speak on behalf of the Child Center were made to wait...and wait...and wait.

It was by design; the staff saw fit to place the Child Center discussion dead last on the night's agenda, after presentations about the Fire Department and the Police Department's budgetary concerns. Many parents with their children were observed giving up and leaving, not having been given the chance to speak after having waited for hours. Some 17 parents, many with squirming children and six childless residents managed to wait more than two and a half hours to plead with the council to not outsource the Child Center to a private concern.

Mayor Ruth Atkin was not concerned enough to change the agenda, her prerogative, to accommodate the beleaguered parents. Local babysitters however were no doubt appreciative of the mayors recalcitrance since they netted more money than anticipated, at least the ones that were able to stay up late.

The council will decide about the fate of the Child Development Center on Thursday night at 7:15 at City Hall.


  1. There's something here that stinks and it's not dirty diapers!

  2. Shame on the Council. Ruth Atkin, the community deserves a PUBLIC APOLOGY for your mean and downright nasty behavior. Shame on you!

  3. I for one am tired that the babysitters are always being repressed. Good for Ruth Atkin for looking out for THEIR interests for a change! It's always the parents that get the kudos. What about the babysitters? Thanks to Ruth.

  4. There is nothing to apologize for. I drives me crazy when the council changes the order of things on the agenda. Many people time their arrival to the meeting based on the order of the agenda which is how things are supposed to work. There are agendas for a reason. You can even watch the meeting online and time your trip to City Hall accordingly. This works especially well in a small city like Emeryville where no resident lives more than a few minutes from City Hall. I always miss the item I want to speak on when they move the agenda around. It is disrespectful to the public to change the agenda order.

  5. The refusal to accommodate a large crowd (by changing the agenda order) opens a new precedent. Historically, the council has been quite fair about this. I've noticed they will accommodate a crowd even if it's on a topic they wouldn't feel comfortable with.

    This new refusal is undemocratic at its core. It's hard to see how this can do anything but spread ill will towards the council. This has a Marie Antoinette feeling about it.

    And the staff. Why did the staff put this item last? It's really insensitive.

  6. Sadly, this kind of contempt for the public they serve (and who pays their salaries) has long been in practice among city councils and county boards of supervisors elsewhere. That Emeryville is a late adopter is hardly comforting. We should make sure that Emerville's council members know how we feel about this now if we don't want it to keep happening.