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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

School Board Member Christian Patz: Willing to Agitate for Emery's Students

Member Patz Tells the City Council to Hold Out For a Family Friendly project

Emery School District Not Interested in Bringing Families to Emeryville Despite Claims to the Contrary

For years now, the Emery Unified School District has decried the existential threat posed by falling student attendance and the critical need to bring more families to town to help with that.  Followers of the District know however that this kind of talk is just so much hot air because never have any District employees or School Board members ever actually done what it takes, impolitic though it may be seen by some, to facilitate that; none have summoned the courage to appear before the City Council to challenge a non-family friendly residential development project on the docket to press the District's interests.  For more than 20 years as the Emeryville City Council continued to approve residential projects, one after another, all built to attract singles or childless couples, never once did anyone from the School District press its case for holding out for building housing for families.  Not as the Center of 'Community' Life was being planned and built, not ever.  Not until the Tuesday before last.
Emery School Board Member
Christian Patz

Courageous agitator for the
students and the District. 

The Emeryville City Council meeting that Tuesday July 21st was historic in two ways: first the City Council said NO to a developer pushing a flawed project and second a School Board member came and testified for the need to build family friendly housing and to reject a residential development proposal, the Market Place project, for not being family friendly.  The City Council as it turned out, agreed with the School Board member and rejected the project, also something that's never happened before in Emeryville.

So who is this heroic and courageous School Board member?  None other than Christian Patz...the dissenting voice on the School Board...the voice for the citizens, students and parents; the same Board member that voted NO to the disastrous hiring of the now infamous Russom Mesfun, a vote incidentally that stands now as an archetype for political courage at the Emery School Board analogous to Senator Barack Obama's 2003's vote, so deeply unpopular at the time, against the Bush invasion of Iraq.

We applaud Mr Patz for his principled stand at the dais before the City Council on the 21st but we are chagrined it's taken this long for anyone from this District to have the cajones to get involved, for this is how democracy works and how change can happen. And so with a School District filled with administrators and politicians making political calculations all while the District fails for lack of revenue increased attendance would alleviate,  we are relieved finally someone has shown he will put his ass on the line and speak out for the students even though it may embarrass some entrenched aging politicians.

Emery School Superintendent John Rubio
Not willing to stand up for family friendly housing to
help the schools.  Not courageous. 
Emery School Board President
John Affeldt

Like the Superintendent, not courageous...
another 'C' word comes to mind:

rhymes with 'showered'.
To School Superintendent John Rubio and School Board president John Affeldt, both of whom have never had the temerity to so challenge the City Council in the District's interest, we say you two have just been humiliated.  Your colleague Christian Patz, the same one you routinely vote down 4-1 when important decisions come before the Board, has shown us all what principled courage looks like...done at your expense (even though he didn't intend for that to be the case probably).  Because where were you on the 21st when it was time to testify for family friendly housing?  We've heard your oft repeated but empty family friendly rhetoric, why though we ask, have you never followed through?
We're sad it's newsworthy when an Emery School Board member gets up before the City Council and tells it like it is because that's what's in the student's and the District's best interests.  This should happen every time a residential project appears before the City Council, not once in...well, once ever.


  1. it takes a lot of chutzpah (and character) to stand up when you are in the minority amongst your colleagues or committee members of any group. those are the ones I hold most respect for.

  2. Not surprised by this story except that there's now a school board member who's different. I've followed this board over the years even though I'm not from Emeryville and I have to say you guys have got yourslves a really dysfunctional situation with your schools. To fix it, you'd have to elect 2 more people like Patz but you can't ever seem to do that.

  3. yeah, it's hard to find candidates with any conviction. the pitiful thing is that it's not only emeryville. look at all the school districts, not only in alameda county but l.a. county, san francisco and w.contra costa. each time we get a new superintendent, and we've had plenty, they lay off teachers and hire more administrative staff.

  4. It's time for the EUSD to fold and become part of Berkeley USD. EUSD is not sustainable with the current enrollment and model going forward.