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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scott Donahue: Tattler City Council Candidates Questionnaire

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.  Third up in the cue is candidate Scott Donahue.

Scott Donahue: Candidate for City Council
Candidate's website: HERE

1) Will you vote for, support and/or endorse Measures U&V? Yes or no please.  If yes why and if no why not?
I will vote "yes" on both Measures U and V.  I enthusiastically support both measures because they will enable our city to create capital funds for infrastructure - - crucial to our growing city.  With the loss of our Emeryville Redevelopment Agency, this tax is needed to keep our city going strong.

The sole purpose of the charter city Measure U is to provide a legal mechanism that would allow the voters to pass a property transfer tax, Measure V.  This transfer tax, is 20 percent less than Berkeley and Oakland and will keep our city very attractive to future business and development.  Don't let the National Association of Realtors scare you with their upcoming anti-Emeryville no on U and V campaign.

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?
I strongly support Emeryville's Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan overall, including maintaining Horton Street as a bike boulevard.  I helped craft the plan, having spent more than 10 years on the City's Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.  It is a balanced plan and addresses the needs of all stakeholders. 

The plan calls for traffic calming on Horton Street.  This street is our main north-south bicycling Street through our city.  It needs a slower traffic speed then Hollis Street or San Pablo Avenue to be safe for bicyclists.  Horton Street is getting regional vehicular traffic looking to avoid Interstate 80 and this is starting to endanger our bicyclists and pedestrians.  Our bicycle plan provides a variety of street designs to keep this route safe for all users.  I have advocated that we should use grant money we received for this purpose to try some designs that will slow automobile traffic.  These will be temporary structures installed on Horton Street which we will study the effects on traffic and safety.  If it proves successful and we like the results, we can make these structures permanent. 

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?
Our city has wisely specified a certain amount of commercial space designed for retail as a part of new residential developments.  What it has not done is create a way for much needed independently owned, locally serving retail to thrive in our residential neighborhoods.  We should require developers to structure rental agreements that provide for subsidies and other support to help smaller, locally serving businesses to succeed.

4) How do you define family friendly housing for Emeryville?  How do we get it?  How much is needed? 
Successful family friendly housing is housing that allows families to put down roots in Emeryville.  We can do this by providing incentives to developers to provide affordable and adequate space, good design and public space.  Brooklyn NY, a very dense and family friendly urban area, has many homes and apartments with small private backyards that provide critical outdoor space for children to play, while being in a safe environment where they can be closely supervised by their parents.  Permitting apartments or condos to be built above these ground-level spaces would be the developer incentive to build these town home family oriented units.  Parking could be provided in an adjoining structure.

Our supply of family friendly housing is not sufficient to meet the minimum needs of our school district, which is forced to recruit students from outside of Emeryville.

5) Should the City actively encourage residents to enter into Community Benefits Agreements (CBA) with  large development projects? How?
Emeryville needs to do a better job educating its residents about Community Benefits Agreements.  These agreements allow residents to get directly involved in requesting and managing community benefits of new development projects in the city.  By encouraging residents to enter into a Community Benefits Agreement with large developers, we will help address the needs of our neighborhoods.  At no cost to our city, we can reap the same neighborhood improving benefits of what larger cities create in their precincts, neighborhood councils and urban political districts and this will create better neighborhoods (and a more actively engaged citizenry) here in Emeryville.

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