"I'm Sorry, I Don't Have That Information"
The Emery Unified School District lost a rare battle April 2nd when it failed to convince the City Council to amend the General Plan to delete a planned bike/pedestrian path near the future school site at the Center of Community Life (ECCL), causing School District watchers to conjecture about how the District is going to regroup to try to force the closure of this path. The fact that even chief Emeryville City Planner Charlie Bryant openly speculated at that meeting that the District would not abide by the Council's decision to keep the path, gives Emeryville citizens an idea about the level of arrogance and the obstinacy of this School District.
The Emery Unified School District really does not like the idea of a bike/pedestrian path running alongside the proposed Center of Community Life. They never elucidated precisely why they hate the path but the lengths the District went to force closure of this path are really quite extraordinary. Point man Roy Miller, the District's architect (how many school districts do you know that retains an architect as a permanent employee?) purposefully denied City Hall decision makers the information they need to make an informed decision about it.
The first body to decide about the ECCL path was the Planning Commission at their meeting on February 28th. At that meeting Mr Miller testified the existing high school swimming pool was going to be saved and the width required for the proposed bike/ped path would mean the pool deck would be compromised to such an extent as to render it useless. The Planning Commission Chair, Venessa Kuemmerle asked Mr Miller how wide the existing pool deck is in order to get an idea of what he was talking about. That's when Roy Miller, District architect in charge of the Center of Community Life told the Commission he wasn't sure, "I'm sorry, I don't have that information " he told the Commission. He did say he knew it would destroy the pool's usefulness, an outright falsehood. What he failed to tell the Commissioners is that the pool deck has plenty of extra room and it could easily be reduced a few feet to accommodate the path.
Onlookers might have been shocked to hear about a District architect that would not have this basic dimension information at hand especially since Mr Miller has been immersed in all aspects of this school campus build out for some 10 years.
Nevertheless, Roy Miller came unprepared for that Planning Commission meeting, if you believe his claim. To those who feel inclined to believe Mr Miller, perhaps you should ask why, after he was chastised by Ms Kuemmerle, would he again fail to provide that same information a few weeks later, when asked by the City Council, at the Council meeting on April 2nd? Once again, the Council needed to know how large the existing pool deck is so they could make an informed decision about the path, but again Mr Miller responded with, "I'm sorry I don't have that information." With schools Superintendent Debra Lindo looking on, he did volunteer that the deck is too small and the path would render the swimming pool useless.
Superintendent Lindo it should be noted, moved to protect her employee after the performance at City Hall. She refused to comment after the meeting, on Mr Miller's tactics used against the City Council.
So we have to ask, why is Roy Miller still in the School District's employ? Is this how the District plans on operating all the way down the line with the Center of Community Life? Will the District ignore the ruling by the City Council to save our General Plan and our ECCL bike/ped path?
With its history of shutting down dissenters on the Center of Community Life and these sort of arrogant tactics brazenly used, we say its time to reel in this District. We expect the School District to honor the City Council's decision to save the ECCL bike/ped path.