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Sunday, April 21, 2013

"Triangle Residents Need More Exercise"

Arrogance in the Council Chambers
EBI Pedestrian Path Dies  

Emeryville residents watched with dismay April 2nd as four out of five city council members killed a required pedestrian path in the Triangle neighborhood against a ruling by the Bike/Pedestrian Committee and against the collective will of the people of Emeryville as reflected in their new General Plan.  The pedestrian connection, called the EBI Ped Path was appealed by exactly one person in our town of 10,000; a neighbor worried about safety.  After safety concerns were addressed and the council majority stood their ground, killing the EBI Path, many Emeryville residents were left unsure as to why the council deleted the path.
Nora Davis says: 
You people need to walk more 
and I'm here to help with that.

The council majority for their part did offer reasons, none of which were very cogent save one:  Citing the obesity epidemic and conjuring Marie Antoinette, Councilwoman Nora Davis opined, "Triangle residents need more exorcise"  given that with her vote, Ms Davis denies these residents the benefit of a pedestrian short cut through their neighborhood, forcing them to walk farther.

Another reason offered by the council majority that can be discounted out of hand is their contention that the EBI Path is "too close to San Pablo Avenue".  This idea flies in the face of the General Plan and it's primary charge to increase connectivity for our town.  It also cancels these same council members later vote to move a different pedestrian path closer to San Pablo at the Center of Community Life (ECCL).  Most of these council members at the same meeting voted to move the ECCL Path as close to San Pablo as the EBI Path would have been, apparently incapable of seeing the glaring irony.

Councilwoman Davis' snip, filled with executive hubris about Triangle residents needing more exercise may have offered a humorous respite from the tiresome and prejudicial proceedings in the council chambers April 2nd but residents are still left wondering why, really, they're not going to get their pedestrian path.

  "The city council is not supposed 
to deny the vast majority 
of what the people want 
based on some personal 
capricious whim."

We're going to take seriously comments given as an aside at the April 2nd meeting about this; these arrogant council members just don't personally like this EBI Path for whatever unspoken reasons and so they're using their authority to deny their fellow residents this neighborhood connection.
This is not how local government is supposed to work.  The city council is not supposed to deny the vast majority of what the people want based on some personal capricious whim.  Barring some new evidence come to light since the writing of the General Plan that would reasonably call into question the wisdom of requiring this EBI Path, and none was offered by either the staff or the city council, we say these council members are not free to vote like this.

Our General Plan should not be so easy to upend.  We need this city council to stop acting with such arrogance and give proper weight to the people's General Plan.
We thank Councilwoman Jennifer West for her deference to the people's will on this and we cast shame on her four colleagues for this narrow and arrogant application of governmental power.  


  1. You would think, upon being elected to Emeryville’s City Council, that all members would aspire to uphold the General Plan and to increase the livability factor for all who live here. But it seems that this city’s policy is to dissect the General Plan (and anything else as that matters) as a matter of convenience, especially when it will save a developer some money. The action to delete the EBI Pedestrian plan out of the General Plan by the City Council is purely a political favor to EBI and the Developer, Oliver and Company and is not a response to complaints as we have been led to believe. It is sad to see that our City Council does not have the backbone to do what is right for its’ residents. The right thing that should have been done would have been to approve the EBI pathway, but with gates locked at night. This should have been handled two years ago when it was first brought up. Now we have nothing, only heavy traffic and screaming kids all day long from this top down approved project. Thanks, Emeryville.

  2. Seems like all it takes to strike fear in the council is one loud dissenter. Makes no sense