Mike Biddle, City Attorney: "Yes we do"
Sometimes it comes off without a hitch at the dog and pony shows known as Emeryville City Council meetings. But sometimes, well, let's just say it doesn't come off as planned.
Take last Tuesday's Council meeting; a little back and forth, meant to play to the camera, between Councilwoman Nora Davis and City Attorney Mike Biddle didn't quite turn out as the councilwoman expected. The interplay ended up revealing a darker truth about Emeryville... a corner of the covering having been lifted a little.
|Councilwoman Nora Davis|
Excuse me while I manage
The Council finally approved the entire contentious development Tuesday night leaving many residents in dismay over the No Lawsuit Clause but also the agreement that lets Wareham leave significant levels of highly toxic waste on the site under a proposed tower, a reneging of a previous agreement to properly clean-up the site by removing all the toxins.
As Emeryville residents tried to take stock of what was given away Tuesday night, the particular repartee between Councilwoman Nora Davis and City Attorney Mike Biddle was a moment of clarity, emblematic of the sycophantic depths attainable by this Council majority.
|City Attorney Mike Biddle|
The agreement lets Wareham off the hook.
They must be offered comfort at
the expense of Emeryville residents.
Mr Biddle explained to Ms Davis' definitive statement about letting people off the hook, "It's been a negotiated position between CBS [the owner of the site before Wareham purchased it], Wareham and the City when they move forward with the clean-up pursuant to the plan we approved that we would release them from any future claims." Mr Biddle went on to say other developers in Emeryville have been similarly let off the hook with regard to toxic site clean-up releasing them from future claims; notably Madison Marquette, the developer of the Bay Street Mall. He said these developers want protection from the City coming back after them for additional clean-up if additional toxins are discovered or anything else that may go wrong. "We're releasing them from any ability of the City to pursue them based on what we know today. This provides [Wareham] some level of comfort that the City will not pursue them."
|Wareham's Rich Robbins|
The man behind the curtain
The people of Emeryville DID get one thing in the embarrassing fiasco however. We did get to see Council member Nora Davis publicly blow it: her legendary and prodigious political acumen revealed to be less than prodigious. We got to see the curtain lifted and Wareham's CEO Rich Robbins at the controls.
Video courtesy Emeryville Properties Association