Search The Tattler

Saturday, July 16, 2016

City to Take Possession of Ohlone Artifacts From Bay Street Mall

City Council Hopeful Brokers Deal on Purloined Emeryville History

School Board Member and
City Council candidate
Christian Patz (Ed.D)

We have a "shared history"
with our native predecessors.
School Board member and Emeryville City Council candidate Christian Patz announced today he is brokering a deal between the City of Emeryville and the corporate owners of the Bay Street Mall to take possession of certain Ohlone Indian artifacts, dug up when the mall was built, ultimately to offer the objects to living ancestors of the Bay Area tribe.  The mall is built upon the site of the largest Native American shell mound on the West coast and construction workers uncovered many votive and religious objects some up to 2800 years old as well as every day  tools and buried human remains in 1999 when the mall was being built.

Madison Marquette Corporation, the builders of the mall, gave over to the University of California most of the trove of artifacts in 1999 but they kept some for themselves where they have occupied a dusty corner of the corporate leasing office ever since.  It is not known if the corporate seizure of the objects in 1999 was legal.  The City of Emeryville's Redevelopment Agency is the responsible party to the final destruction of the shell mounds but Mr Patz says the pre-Columbian objects should not be in the possession of the Bay Street Mall.

The building of the mall brought much protest from the Bay Area Native American community especially at the time since the site was the burial ground for many generations of their ancestors.  The swapping of a 2800 year old sacred site to a shopping mall has been called an insult and worse to Native Americans.  Protesters still convene on the site every Black Friday before Thanksgiving.

Although Dr Patz says the artifacts should be returned to their rightful owners, he thinks City Hall should at least temporarily display them for the benefit of the people.  "The loss of the shell mounds was tragic" Dr Patz told the Tattler today. "While it cannot be undone, we can empower the few remaining decedents by letting them decide where these treasures end up.  Until then, they should act as a reminder of our shared history" he added.

The Deal brokered by Mr Patz appears to be imminent as Bay Street Mall Manager Jen Nettles has expressed interest in donating the objects to the City and City Manager Carolyn Lehr indicated she would accept them.

Below: The 2800 year old Emeryville Ohlone artifacts in the Manager's leasing office at Bay Street:

Sunday, July 10, 2016

RULE Meeting

Residents United for a Livable Emeryville

Making our city a great place to live and work!
Please come and meet your progressive neighbors
Next Meeting:  We're back at Doyle St. for Saturday meetings 

Where:  5514 Doyle St., first floor common room
When:  July 23, 12:00 - 2:00

             -Discussion of By-Laws re:  non-Emeryville residents

            -Candidates for City Council

            -Sherwin-Williams Site:  RULE letter; position in response to the EIR document 

            -Draft of the Donahue Letter on Bike-Boulevards

            -Police use of weapons

See you there!  Judy Timmel, RULE Steering Committee

Thursday, July 7, 2016

45th & 53rd Streets: Mayor Says Emeryville's Bike Plan Will Not Be Implemented

Mayor: Settled Bike Plan Not Needed,
Will Be Superseded

45th & 53rd Streets Won't Get Bike Plan Treatment 

Emeryville’s Mayor Dianne Martinez announced recently she intends that City Hall’s certified Bicycle Plan be superseded and a new set of extralegal metrics, identified by her and not voted upon by the City Council, take the place of the Plan’s previously adjudicated traffic calming measures for our bike boulevards.  Ms Martinez said in an email that two previously scheduled street improvements not recognized by the Bike Plan will satisfy the requirements to limit the number of vehicles using both streets and that the Bike Plan is unneeded.  The sentiments relayed by the Mayor represent the first publicly professed retrenchment or abandonment of Emeryville’s five year old Bike Plan expressed by a City Council member even though in previous deeds the Council has shown a propensity to disregard the Bike Plan.
Emeryville Mayor Dianne Martinez
We need not be locked in by our
General Plan or our Bike Plan,
we can make stuff up as we go along.

The City of Emeryville has identified 45th Street and 53rd Street as Bike Boulevards and thus subject to a General Plan/Bike Plan mandated program of directing vehicles to other streets known as traffic calming, to assure bicycle safety for these bike priority corridors.  However 45th & 53rd streets have languished since 2012 when the Bike Plan was certified by the Council, the two streets saddled with too many cars to be considered bike boulevards by City Hall and no interest up until now has been shown to rectify the unsafe condition there. 

Regardless of a 2015 traffic study revealing the extent of the unsafe vehicle traffic, an amount of traffic in excess of what’s allowed by the Bike Plan, the City has remained unmoved, doubling down instead on their insistence to continue to ignore the problem.  This has come in the form of a recent email from Mayor Dianne Martinez to the Tattler explaining that the City’s Bike Plan need not be enforced at all for these two streets.
The Mayor says traffic calming is coming to the two streets independently of the Bike Plan; a traffic circle for 53rd Street and a new crosswalk for 45th Street even though these are not identified by the Bike Plan as legitimate traffic calming measures.  Ms Martinez refused to qualify the two unrecognized traffic calming solutions in her email, suggesting she believes traffic calming methods are all the same as far as reducing traffic is concerned.  She answered the Tattler in the email, “In short, the City has indeed initiated traffic calming for these two streets. The City has started working with Pixar to implement a mid-block crosswalk/traffic-calming measure on 45th. On 53rd, the Emeryville Center of Community Life is constructing a traffic circle, which is a calming measure”.

The Bike Plan's regime of traffic calming measures was commissioned by Emeryville in a study by Alta Planning of Berkeley at a cost of $200,000.

The Bike Plan, formulated over two years by Emeryville’s Bike Committee with public input and with help from Alta, provides vehicle traffic metrics for bike boulevards, taking pains to note too many cars on a bike boulevard is unsafe.  The Plan gives a detailed prescription for what to do if too many cars are using the boulevard; a specific suite of traffic calming measures with increasing intensity (Levels 1-5) is the remedy for an excess amount of traffic. 
Mayor Martinez is disregarding the democratically (and professionally) agreed upon process laid out by our Bike Plan stating other measures, not included in the Plan that happen to be forthcoming on the two streets that she herself has identified as traffic calming, are all that is needed. 

Vice Mayor Scott Donahue, who ran as a slate mate with Ms Martinez and as an advocate for bicycles specifically, refused to comment regarding the Mayor’s would be new City policy for 45th & 53rd Streets.

The traffic counts revealing the excess traffic for bike boulvards in the area, including the Horton Street Bike Boulevard, were conducted in 2015 as a condition of the draft environmental documents for the Sherwin Williams development project.  The Bike Plan requires the City to conduct its own traffic counts to monitor its bike boulevards but none have been conducted so far.  The Tattler revealed in 2015 through a Public Records Request of internal documents at City Hall that the Public Works Director Maurice Kaufman was attempting to hide the traffic study requirements from the newly hired City Manager Carolyn Lehr.  This year the City finally has funded money to conduct the required traffic counts beginning in 2018, presumably as a result of the Tattler investigation.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Maz Project Burns: "Biggest Fire in Decades"

At 2:45 AM today Alameda County Fire Department received the call; the Maz housing project at 39th Street and San Pablo Avenue was in flames.  The fire, fueled by the bare wood studs of the 6 story project still under construction, quickly turned into a six alarm conflagration that was still burning at 9:00 this morning.  One unnamed firefighter called it the biggest fire in decades for Emeryville.  No injuries have been reported at what is being designated as a crime scene.