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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Tattler Celebrates Five Years

The Emeryville Tattler turned five in February and during our month long celebration, we re-blasted some oldies but goodies from the archives. 

We finish the celebration with a piece from Wednesday June 5, 2013.
The Emery School District pulled out all the stops to kill a bike/pedestrian path required by Emeryville's General Plan on the western property line of the Center of 'Community' Life.  The sad epic included copious amounts of lying to the City Council and the people of Emeryville.  Ultimately, the District won their fight against walking and biking by indefinitely postponing building the required path.  The losers were the people of Emeryville.  The Tattler documented the entire tale as it unfolded in several editions.

Here's the story, titled "School District Moves Against Bicycling at Center of 'Community' Life", one of our reader's faves:

June 5, 2013
"Pimps and Drug Dealers" Will Prey On 
Our Children

No Intent to Build Required Path
The Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee ruled Monday against a plethora of high level authorities that had assembled at the City Hall meeting asking to approve a plan for bike parking at Emeryville's proposed new school and to remove a bike path adjoining the school.  After the Committee voted unanimously to require the path be built and the City Council concurred in April, the Committee was descended upon Monday by a dozen City and School District staff members and department heads.  Included in the fray was the Superintendent of the Schools, the Chief of Police, the head of the Recreation Department and the President of the School Board all pleading for the Committee reverse its earlier vote to compel the District to install the required bicycle/pedestrian path adjoining the incipient Center of Community Life.  The Committee refused Monday to reverse the earlier vote. The assembled group uniformly expressed concern that the proposed bike pedestrian path, called the ECCL Path, would attract a criminal element and that the children at the adjacent school would be imperiled.

Monday's appeal to the Bike/Ped Committee seems to represent a desire on the School District's part to get as much support as possible for not building the ECCL Path but the District indicated it has no intention of building the path in the foreseeable future regardless of the Bike/Ped Committee and the City Council vote forcing them to.  

"I'm Sorry, I Don't Have That Information" Part 2
The throng also asked the Committee members to accept a bike parking component of the Center of Community Life plan but the Committee rebuffed the proposal citing insufficient parking spaces. The plan called for 44 total bike parking spots (22 secure) for the entire Center of Community Life which will include 800 students plus teachers and staff plus the Recreation Department faculty and staff plus members of the public.
Emery schools architect Roy Miller
Again, he doesn't have the information.

The Committee attempted to determine how much bike parking would be appropriate based on how many people would be using the site on a given day, the standard metric the Committee uses as it recommends bike parking for commercial projects in town.  The School District architect, Roy Miller told stunned Committee members he had no idea how many people could be expected to be on the site leaving them unable to make an informed decision, "I'm sorry, I don't have that information" he said, in a moment of deja vu.  Mr Miller had uttered the same remark to the planning Commission and then the City Council in April about size of the existing school pool deck, as those decision making bodies attempted to determine whether to shrink the deck to make way for the ECCL Path.
After Mr Miller punted on the number of people expected at the Center of Community Life on a daily basis, the Bike/Ped Committee members determined on their own it must be more than 1000 and they called for at least 10% bike parking spots or 100 for the cramped site, a number that seemed to stun the school officials.

Schools Superintendent Debra Lindo
Bike/Ped paths are bad..."drastic" even 
So why are WE being picked on? It's not fair!
The meeting was punctuated with plenty of hyperbole and overblown bombast as the authorities attempted to throw their weight around and intimidate the Committee members.  Two school security personnel testified that the bike/ped path would be crawling with criminals preying on the school children, upping the ante of the previous "gang rape" rhetoric from Council member Nora Davis.  The chief of school security, Ken Wright noted thugs and criminals would use the path as an access point; "pimps and drug dealers" would be "cutting holes in the fence" to get at the children he said.  In an emotional plea, he hinted children could be "taken" and he said no one would want that on their conscience.
Schools Superintendent Debra Lindo said the bike/ped path is "drastic" and she complained that it is unfair that the neighboring private school, Escuela Bilingue Internacional (EBI) was released from a proposed path alongside that facility while the Center of Community Life is being forced to accepted its path, a double standard.  She called the April decision by the City Council allowing removal the EBI Path "classist",  owing to the advantaged private school and disadvantaged public school dynamic.

Ms Lindo and the anti-ECCL Path crew plans on taking its show on the road after the drubbing it suffered at the Bike/Ped Committee Monday.  They plan on giving the Committee a tour of the site in the near future in hopes of peeling off a majority of Committee members before appealing to the City Council at a later date.

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