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Monday, October 31, 2011

Letter To The Tattler: Darice Bridges

The following letter, received today, is from longtime Emeryville resident and former School Board candidate Darice Bridges.  It is written in response to an anonymous commenter on the Tattler story entitled "Pat O'Keeffe Endorses Nora Davis?".
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I often read The Tattler for "the other" prospective because I believe that in order to make an accurate decision/choice you must hear all sides. I don't generally read the comments of others unless I have submitted comments to see if they were posted or responded to. 

Unfortunately, today I read an APPROVED comment regarding an endorsement of a recently deceased city employee WHICH WAS NAMED and is my mother!!! The great idea around The Tattler is that the residents have an opportunity to voice their opinion whether good, bad, or indifferent. However, I was utterly appalled that one would feel it is politically correct to actually name a deceased person (without prior approval from her family) who does not have a voice to respond so I am here to be that accurate voice for my mother, Linda Jones. As I discussed with Brian [Donahue] over the phone today after reading this article, I believe in the freedom of speech BUT NOT when it comes to the expense of others who, in this case, are RECENTLY mourning the loss of a loved one!!! 

I consider it to be in bad taste for The Tattler not black out her name if it is common practice to post "everyone's" comments. There STILL needs to be journalistic integrity even when letting those have their freedom of expression. With that said, I do appreciate Brian addressing my concern expeditiously and allowing me the opportunity to be the accurate voice on behalf of my mother, Linda Jones.

The corrections are as follows: 

My mother Linda Jones passed away October 1, 2011 not over 2 months ago.

My mother and I have been long time supporters of Ms Nora [Davis], in which, I will continue to be a supporter of Ms Nora. 

I notified the City of my mother's passing as well as Ms Nora directly and if there was no respect made in honor of my mother...THEN shame on the Council because I also spoke directly to Ruth Atkin as she made her phone call rounds! Ms Nora, however, even as reported by The Tattler of being ill, STILL facilitated the completion of the proclamation and followed up with me regularly via phone and email. I personally know those on the Council as it stands now and NOT ONE WAS PRESENT TO PRESENT IT during her Celebration of Life ceremony this past week and that is only suppose to be presented by a City official. If it was not for Ms Nora's assistance that Proclamation would NOT have been completed let alone read by a City official. 

In closing, I would like to thank The Tattler for constantly keeping conversations stirring, but in the future I believe if there is going to be an "approval" of comments there should be some form of review NOT censorship.

Thank you again,
Darice Bridges; 35years Triangle resident 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pat O'Keeffe Endorses Nora Davis?

More Election Shenanigans From Nora Davis:
Nora Davis Claims Pat O'Keefe As An Endorser

City employees are barred from endorsing any specific candidates for city council.  It's clearly inappropriate since the employees serve at the pleasure of the city council itself.  This is especially true of City Manager Patrick O'Keeffe, the man that's accountable for the entire workings of City Hall.
If however Pat O'Keeffe were to endorse a candidate for council, with his high profile and high respectability, just imagine the positive effect it could have on that candidate's chances for election.  But alas, it can't happen because it would be unethical.

And yet Mayor Nora Davis' latest re-election campaign mailer lists Patrick O'Keefe as an endorser of her re-election.  What's going on here?

Is this the guy?
The majority of voters will no doubt simply think the City Manager must support the re-election of Nora Davis.  Most probably think that gives Nora's candidacy an extra level of gravitas, an extra reason to vote for Nora Davis.  This is what Mayor Davis wants voters to think obviously.

What our mayor is not telling us though is that in this case Pat O'Keefe is not the City Manager but instead an Emeryville resident, coincidentally, with the same name as the City Manager.  Sharp eyed readers might note the one 'f' in the resident Pat O'Keefe.
Ms Davis could have easily noted in her mailer that the Pat O'Keefe listed as an endorser is not the same Pat O'Keeffe that works as our City Manager, but the Mayor didn't.

This is not the first time Nora Davis has pulled this.  Last election, four years ago, she listed the same Patrick O'Keefe as an endorser of her re-election.  After the City Manager received complaints, Ms Davis was notified that she should make sure voters understand the City Manager is not an endorser.
So now Nora Davis does it again four years later.  Perhaps it slipped her mind.  Maybe it was a "senior moment" for the Mayor.  If Nora Davis is re-elected, are there to be ever increasing senior moments like this?

This is the second endorser list slip-up, if it is that, for Nora Davis this campaign cycle.  Ms Davis also erroneously listed former Emeryville mayor Greg Harper as an endorser.  We call on Nora Davis to stop this amateurish campaigning and play fair.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Nora Davis' False Endorsement List

Former Mayor Harper Cries Foul:
Nora Davis Falsely Claims Former Mayor's Endorsement

Former Emeryville Mayor and continuing Emerville resident, Greg Harper has announced the Nora Davis city council re-election campaign is falsely using his name as an endorser.
After a city-wide mailer was released from the Davis campaign, listing Greg Harper as an endorser, Mr Harper drafted a letter to neighbors in response stating, "Yesterday you voters may have received a campaign piece from Nora Davis listing me as a supporter. I do not support her, and she has no reason to think otherwise."  
Mr Harper declined to further elaborate and Ms Davis could not be reached for comment.  The campaign mailer was sent out to registered voters across town.

Aging Politicians VS The Public's Right To Know

Aged Politicians; A Protected Class?
Where Do Voter's Rights End?

Council member Ruth Atkin is incorrect: elected representatives, including elderly representatives, are not a protected class.  In fact they are subject to all manner of public musings, condemnations, inquires , speculation and even accost by all comers. And the Country's founding documents set it up that way.

We've got a right to know.
Ms Atkin made the pronouncement at Wednesday's candidate debate at City Hall that Emeryville voters have no right to know about the health and especially the age of any council candidate in response to a question from the audience about that.  "It's ageism"  she commented and she noted that the elderly in America are a legally protected class.  In fact, she's right in one regard; the elderly are so protected from prying employers, unscrupulous landlords and such.
But democratically electing a government representative is not like hiring a simple employee. There is a sacrosanct nature of the enfranchisement and voters have a right to know a lot about a candidate including age and health.

Voters need to know whether a particular candidate is fit for the job, whether they may become incapacitated in the voter's judgement.  They need to know whether a candidate may likely step down and not complete the term, especially if there is a municipal procedure to allow a council replacement appointment.
Now if a candidate for elective office chooses not to reveal her age or answer truthfully questions about her health, that would be her prerogative, however if the press were to find out this information and publish it, there is no crime committed.

We have to ask Ms Atkin; who's breaking the law, in her estimation, the Tattler (for instance) by reporting these unrevealed facts of a candidates age or health or the voters by voting with consideration of these facts?  Who gets the handcuffs?

We abhor ageism in all its manifestations but this cannot be construed as ageism, it's democracy and it's about transparency and it's about the voter's right to know.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Its Official: Santa Fe School To Close

Oakland Schools Failure Ripple Effect:
Anna Yates Elementary School 
To Face Crush Of Parents

Oakland's Santa Fe Elementary School, on the Emeryville border, has been axed.  Emery's Anna Yates is sure to be impacted with a surge of inter-district transfers as parents scramble to seek alternatives for their children.
Re-posted from the Oakland Tribune

The verdict is in: Five Oakland elementary 

schools will close 


Updated: 10/27/2011 03:21:02 PM PDT
Most of the people who had packed the Oakland Technical
High School auditorium for the marathon session were long
gone by the time the school board made its decision, but a few
dozen people remained to hear the verdict.

"I can't say that I'm surprised, but I did hold out a little bit of hope,"
 said Pam Chinn-Scoffern, who teaches at Lakeview, one of the
five schools slated for closure.

The district administration has estimated the closures of Lakeview,
Lazear, Marshall, Maxwell Park and Santa Fe elementary schools
will result in a savings of roughly $2 million a year, or an additional
$50 for each student in Oakland Unified.

The restructuring plan also includes mergers that are already
underway: the small high schools on the Fremont and Castlemont
campuses in East Oakland; the conversion of Far West High School
in North Oakland into an academy of nearby Oakland Technical
High; and the merger of Barack Obama Academy, an alternative
middle school in East Oakland, with Community Day School.

Superintendent Tony Smith told the crowd that the district simply
can't fund or manage the number of schools as it operates -- nearly
100 for 38,000 students. In addition to a declining number of
students and reductions in state education funding, he said, the
district must repay the state $6 million each year for the $100
million bailout loans extended during the school district's 2003
financial meltdown and state takeover.

"Having too many underfunded schools is not a good strategy,"
Smith said.

But many urged the board to reject the plan, arguing that the
closure of historic neighborhood schools and the displacement
of 1,000 students and staff members was not worth $2 million.
Some questioned if the district would even save that much,
especially if it uses general fund dollars to help pay for the
students' transportation to their new schools.

Erica Persons, 8, was asleep just after 11 p.m. when the board
made the decision, with board members Alice Spearman and
Noel Gallo casting the dissenting votes. She and her friend
Donaven Kelley, 9, who attend Marshall Elementary School,
said they were saddened by the news.

"It's just hard to go away from a school you've been raised in,
really," Erica said.

Read Katy Murphy's Oakland schools blog Follow her at

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

School District Might Not Meet Its Financial Obligations

Not Again:
Emery Unified School District May Not Meet Its Financial Obligations

Just after the Emery School District finally pulled itself out of State receivership and seemed to be on better fiscal footing, the California Department of Education now says Emery is once again a bad bet.  The Department released its first interim status report for fiscal year 2010-11 and Emery School District is on the list of "qualified certifications",  those districts that have been red flagged for internal financial problems such that its financial obligations might not be met.  Emery Unified joins 96 other school districts statewide on the watch list, nearly 10% of the total school districts in California.  
Last November's Measure J Emeryville school bond vote provides funds for building a new school and those monies are off limits for operational expenses.
The State looked at school districts forward through fiscal year 2013 for the watch list.
In California there are 977 school districts made up of 560 Elementary districts, 87 High School districts, 330 Unified districts.   

For the report, click here: State Interim Status Report

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Meet The Candidates

City Council Election:
Decision 2011

The following city council candidates interview, a joint project between the Tattler and The Secret News, is provided as a public service for Emeryville voters.  Prospective council members answered 14 questions, most on urgent matters facing the city now and looming in the future.

Three council seats are up for election and there are five candidates.  The following candidates participated in the interview: Jacqueline (Jac) Asher, Ruth Atkin, Ken Bukowski and Michael Webber.  Candidate Nora Davis didn't respond to repeated calls to participate.

Meet the Candidates 2011

October 26, 2011
By Ruth Major

Meet Jac Asher, Candidate For Emeryville City Council
The information below is based on personal interviews with the candidates and is either quoted directly or paraphrased (in the first person), with the exception of information in parentheses.

Jacqueline (Jac) Asher, 40 married with two children (one enrolled in the Emeryville Child Development Center and one attending Anna Yates Elementary School). Educator PhD, UC Berkeley. She has lived four years in Emeryville.


  • Development:
Cites Doyle/Hollis park as successful land use development but Oakwalk “could have been better”. Oakwalk suffers from a “lack of family friendly common space, the stairs are problematic and in general it doesn’t .....

      (click here to continue to The Secret News)

Monday, October 24, 2011

League of Woman Voters Candidates Debate

League of Woman Voters Sponsored 
Candidates Debate Wednesday Night 7:30 PM City Hall 

The premier Emeryville candidates debate will be held Wednesday night October 26 at 7:30 pm in the council chambers at City Hall, 1333 Park Avenue.
The League of Woman Voters is sponsoring the event and the debate will be moderated by League member Lessly Wikle.  The debate will be cable cast (channel 27) and taped by ETV and will run one hour.  Citizens will be allowed to ask questions in writing and the League will review for relevancy and the moderator will pose the questions to the candidates.

All citizens are encouraged to attend and ask questions of the candidates.

Asshat of the Month

Introducing a new Tattler feature:
Asshat of the Month:
Laurence "Buzz" Cardoza, Asshat

The Tattler presents the biggest asshat in the city for a given month.  It is reserved for people, through their public transgressions and foibles, for whom the epithet putz or schmuck just doesn't quite describe.

With a nickname like Buzz, the Tattler could fairly be accused of merely stating the obvious by gracing Mr Cardoza with the envious premier edition of the Asshat of the Month feature, but we couldn't think of a better guy to lead the Tattler's new monthly public service announcement.
Buzz is an appointed Emeryville government official; he sits on the Planning Commission and the Housing Committee, both organizations rich in asshat tradition but even there, Buzz really shines.

As vice chairman of Emeryville's Housing Committee, Buzz recently took control of the reins after the chair called in sick.  Buzz wasted no time in showing his colleagues how a real asshat runs an Emeryville city committee; citizens would hereby be verboten from making comments on agenda items under his rule he announced.  Buzz even outdid committee colleague and council member Nora Davis with his dictatorial edict; she had to reluctantly tell Buzz that unfortunately the law does allow citizens to comment at public meetings..."But only for two minutes!" she exclaimed in a nod to the audaciously anti-democratic Cardozian bravado.

Later, at a Nora Davis re-election campaign function, a candidate for council whom he supports, Buzz publicly trashed men who might be nurturing fathers, contemptuously calling them "house husbands"; a re-branding of the term, now becoming pejorative in Buzz Cardoza's world.
To any Emeryville fathers out there; make sure you keep the kids in mom's care (slaving barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen one would presume), least you be judged by your government officials as unmanly or worse still, a house husband.

Buzz Cardoza: Emeryville neighbor, manly man, esteemed appointed public servant, and the Tattler's Asshat of the Month.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Emeryville Best Buy Downsizing

Re-Printed from the San Francisco Business Times:

Downsizing Best Buy to sublease 16 Bay Area spaces

Date: Thursday, October 20, 2011, 2:32pm PDT - Last Modified: Thursday, October 20, 2011, 2:50pm PDT
Sarah Duxbury

Reporter - San Francisco Business Times
Email  | Twitter: @duxburysarah
Small is the new black: Best Buy is downsizing 16 of its
Bay Area big box stores, and offering others the freed up
space, from 5,000 square feet to 18,000 square feet.
Best Buy had previously said that it was moving away from its
biggest boxes, those stores over 45,000 square feet, in favor
of an average 36,000-square-foot space. Now it has named
names, and the local list includes stores in San Francisco, Colma,
Marin City, Dublin and Emeryville, to name a few.
Here's the data on Bay Area Best Buy space available:
  • -Colma: 200 Colma Blvd., Colma 11,723 square feet available
  • -Dublin: 4820 Dublin Blvd., Dublin 5,023 square feet available
  • -East Palo Alto: 1751 E Bayshore Road, East Palo Alto 10,389 
  •      square feet available
  • -Bay Bridge: 3700 Mandela Pkwy., Emeryville 4,950 
  •      square feet available
  • -Marin City: 180 Donahue St., Marin City 13,937 square 
  •      feet available
  • -Milpitas: 63 Ranch Ave., Milpitas 11,007 square feet 
  •      available
  • -Pinole: 1490 Firtzgerald Road, Pinole 9,828 square 
  •      feet available
  • -Pittsburg: 4405 Century Blvd., Pittsburg 17,329 square 
  •      feet available
  • -San Carlos: 1127 Industrial Road, San Carlos 10,524 
  •      square feet available
  • -San Francisco: 1717 Harrison St., San Francisco 5,000 
  •      square feet available
  • -Santana Row: 3090 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose 11,632 
  •      square feet available
  • -Blossom Hill: 5065 Almaden Expy., San Jose 7,492 square 
  •      feet available
  • -San Jose: 181 Curtner Ave., San Jose 8,921 square feet 
  •      available
  • -Union City: 31350 Courthouse Drive, Union City 5,381 
  •      square feet available
  • -Vallejo: 1182 Admiral Callaghan Lane, Vallejo 8,832 square 
  •      feet available
  • -San Francisco: 2675 Geary St., San Francisco TBD
Interestingly, the San Francisco Geary Street store lists "TBD" as the amount of space available. Jake Randolph at Cornish & Carey said that Best Buy is not sure about downsizing that location; it may be taken off of the list completely to continue operating as it does today. That City Center shopping center location will soon be home to San Francisco's second City Target , and Target is pretty desirable as neighbors go.
According to the Cornish & Carey marketing flyer for the properties, Best Buy will consider all types of retail or service tenants, including restaurants, retailers, groceries and dentists.

Friday, October 21, 2011

From The Tattler Achieves

Below is a Tattler news story and editorial from May 14th 2010, posted now for voters consideration.  People voting on November 8th would have interest in this recent Emeryville history:

May 14 2010-

Public Education To Remain At Child Center

After a five month roller coaster of a fight to protect public education at the pre-K level, pitting parents against the City Manager, the Emeryville City Council handed down their unanimous verdict Thursday night; the Child Development Center is to remain a public institution.

The council acknowledged the persistent work of the parents in letter writing, meeting attendance and contributions to the specially designated 'ECDC Task Force'. Supporters of the Child Center Friday were praising the efforts of one parent in particular, Jacqueline "Jac" Asher. Ms Asher, and her husband Brian Carver led the fight by organizing the parents into a united front of opposition to the outsourcing scheme.

One council watcher noted the unexpected unanimous vote, "I'm surprised Nora Davis voted for this" he said, adding his desire to remain anonymous. In fact several council votes have been made to weaken or degrade the Child Center over the years and Thursday was the first vote cast by Ms Davis in favor of supporting the Center.

It was a stunning loss for City Manager Pat O'Keeffe who threw the entire weight of his office behind the proposal to outsource the Center to the Berkeley/Albany YMCA. Many parents complained about Mr O'Keeffe's insolence and rudeness directed at them. "His comments about us being 'too emotional' were really offensive", one parent who asked for unanimity said.

Ms Asher tempered her victory letter to parents with descriptions of "hard cuts" to come at the Center including staffing reductions. She indicated it was time for her to take a break for a little while, after the five month ordeal, "I'm tired" she exclaimed.

May 14th 2010-

All Hail Jac Asher
Brian Carver

Last Thursday's stunning council vote to save the Child Development Center couldn't have happened without the organizing skills and plucky persistence of wife and husband team, Emeryville parents Jac Asher and Brian Carver.

City Hall is legendary in it's ability to fight off resident's concerns, however over the last five months City Manager Pat O'Keeffe and his staff withered under the barrage laid down by the parental onslaught brought by Ms Asher and Mr Carver. They did not shy away from this fight and our kids are the beneficiaries.

Some have noted the fact that the Child Center still faces deep cuts and that the quality of the program will surely suffer and there is truth in this, but the weight of what has been accomplished should not be diminished. Indeed, such a spectacle is rare in Emeryville. Only the superb job done by private citizen John Fricke, battling the staff's insistence that bikes not be permitted on the proposed pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks at Bay Street, has equalled the performance by this wife/husband team. Mr Fricke's popularity rose to such an extent over that fight, he was able to win his subsequent council bid in a landslide.

One wonders in happy anticipation, what else Ms Asher and Mr Carver might have in store for us. We hope they continue to use their formidable organizing skills and admirable dogged persistence to the betterment of our town. We are lucky to count them as fellow residents.