The Tattler queried the four Emeryville City Council candidates running in the November 4th election on topics of the day and all four responded. We asked five questions of each candidate and readers wishing background information on each question may preview the primer HERE. We will present each survey respondent every other day or so in alphabetical order. Emeryville voters will select two from the four. Second up in the cue is candidate Ken Bukowski.
Ken Bukowski: Candidate for City Council
1) Will you vote for, support and/or endorse Emeryville Measures U&V? Yes or no please. If yes why and if no why not?
YES, I support the Charter City Measure U. A charter city confers more power to the residents to control city government. We should have done this a long time ago.
YES, I support the Real Estate Transfer Tax Measure V. It is something the City has been trying to accomplish for a long time. Every city should have the same powers for taxation. A portion of the money collected should be used to upgrade the antiquated street lighting in East Emeryville.
2) Do you support Emeryville’s Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan as it pertains to the Horton Street Bike Boulevard? Would you weaken the Plan or would you defend it as it is?
The proposed traffic calming measures for Horton Street are unnecessary. There doesn't seem to be a problem. The goal of reducing the number of vehicles is totally contrary to all the projected growth in the area and the region. How much will safety be improved? If safety on Horton Street is improved, does that mean other streets in the area are less safe? If a biker thinks Horton is not safe, how could you ride on other streets?
A dedicated bike lane along the whole route makes more sense, and perhaps a few traffic circles. The City is also is mishandling delivery vehicles. The market for Internet sales is growing all the time. The City should be working with the delivery companies to accommodate the market demand. Delivery vehicles are an essential part of life and should be accommodated.
The process is broken. Why did the city obtain a grant for traffic calming before asking the community if they want traffic calming? If the community says NO, will the city return the money? The city should be required to do an environmental analysis. I also don't think the statement in the [primer section of the] question is accurate. I never heard the business community agree to any number [of vehicles permitted on the Boulevard]. We are going to create traffic congestion, and I don't know how that can be a benefit. We should not allow any new development in the area, if we are going to impair access.
3) In the future, how should the City guarantee independently owned and locally serving (non-formula) retail associated with residential and commercial development projects, if at all?
I have been advocating for the creation of affordable retail condominiums for a long time. The ability to pay rent is the biggest obstacle for a local merchant. Once an affordable condo is created, it can be affordable forever. The city has to subsidize the retail units or it will not work.
4) How do you define family friendly housing for Emeryville? How do we get it? How much is needed?
The City's program to attract families is a failure. If the units are not affordable, families will not be attracted. The quality of the schools is the key to attracting families. I don't have a specific definition for family friendly housing.
5) Should the City encourage residents to enter into Community Benefits Agreements (CBA's) with large development projects? How?
Community Benefit Agreements should NOT be encouraged. It is circumventing the role of the City Council. Neighborhood groups like RULE should not have back door meetings with developers seeking to make deals for the rest of the city. Why would the City Council encourage something which is only necessary if they are not doing their job?