On Police, Bikes, Families & Density
The Tattler presents the 2016 election candidates questionnaire. Candidates for elected office will answer questions broken down into topical sections that effect Emeryville residents. Responses will be released section by section rotating through all the responding candidates representing the City Council and School Board hopefuls.
The order of presentation was chosen randomly. Regular Tattler stories will be interspersed in the 2016 election questionnaire. Readers wishing to peruse all the answers by an individual may use the search bar function by entering ”Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire” with the name of the candidate and all of that candidate’s sections will be presented. Alternatively just typing in the name of the candidate will also work.
There are six candidates running for three seats and all answered this our second questionnaire save candidate City Council Ally Medina.
Mr Bauters' bio can be viewed in the first questionnaire by using the search bar.
Section 5 Police
After last year’s shooting of Yuvette Henderson by Emeryville police using a Colt AR-15 assault rifle, community members became alarmed to learn our police had quietly been issued these weapons and that they’re now routinely driving around with them as a matter of course. The City has used resources to tamp down citizens attempting to have a public debate about the wisdom of this militarism of our police department, specifically the routine carrying of these high powered rifles by contending these weapons are not assault rifles, directly contradicting the State of California’s finding that they are assault rifles. Police Departments up and down the State disagree with EPD. San Francisco PD, Oakland PD and San Jose PD among others say AR-15’s are assault rifles. The NRA agrees with the Chief that AR-15s are not assault rifles.
Tattler: Do the people have a right to know how it is that the City of Emeryville has determined the State of California is wrong about the nature of AR-15s since they (the people) are paying for them in Emeryville?
John Bauters: This question is related to ongoing litigation between the family of Yuvette Henderson and the City of Emeryville. I have not received the briefings that council members receive regarding this matter and as such, lack adequate information to answer the question at this time.
Section 6 Bicycling Transportation
Tattler: Do you support Emeryville’s Bike Boulevard metric of no more than 3000 vehicle trips per day (vtd) for all bike boulevards west of Hollis Street?
John Bauters: Answer: Yes, I support the goals for bike boulevards as outlined in the city’s Bicycle-Pedestrian Plan.
Section 7 Families
Emeryville is the least family friendly city in the whole East Bay and, distressingly as we continue to grow, becomes less family friendly over time; this even as we conspicuously build an ambitious new school campus. Developers, insisting over the years family friendly housing “won’t pencil out” economically (but their books are closed), have pushed back against the odd City Council member that has called on them to fix this problem. Notably over one crucial ten year period ending a few years ago, Emeryville actually lost families (in real numbers, not just as a ratio), even as the town doubled in population during the same period.
Tattler: To catch up with neighboring cities (and to erase a source of municipal embarrassment), Emeryville will need to provide virtually 100% family friendly housing from here on out, especially when one considers that our town is almost completely ‘built out’ at this point. Do you feel the ‘family friendly housing ordinance’, recently passed by the City Council, is up to the task of reversing this trend and delivering a city on par with our municipal neighbors?
John Bauters: The family-friendly housing ordinance itself cannot guarantee families. What it does do is create the potential for more family households in the future. Families require more than one bedroom and we have a disproportionately high number of studio and one-bedroom units compared to the region. The shift away from that trend will diversify the bedroom sizes within our housing stock, making it possible for families to come to Emeryville. Family-friendliness, however, is not determined by housing. Families come to a community when it is affordable, has quality schools, good parks and safe streets, among other things. We need to enhance those livability factors holistically if we wish to see more families move to Emeryville.
Section 8 Density
With the advent of ‘smart growth’, city planners have recognized the advantages and even the desirability of increasing housing density in urban areas. This is well documented and developers have taken advantage of this new paradigm. However, as with all fads, in the rush to embrace it, sometimes critical former knowledge becomes lost. Problems associated with too much density are being disregarded and a new ‘supply and demand’ axiom has taken the place of our formerly near universal acknowledgment that there can be too much density.
Tattler: How much density is too much density? What are the warning signs that too much density has been foisted upon us?
Joh Bauters: There is no single answer to this question. Appropriate density levels vary by neighborhood and involve evaluating numerous factors in conjunction with one another.
Section 9 General/Miscellaneous
Tattler: Emeryville’s business pay taxes to City Hall based on gross receipts. The largest businesses pay taxes at a much lower rate than smaller businesses because a former City Council majority placed a cap on taxes for all receipts higher than a certain amount, meaning those receipts are tax free; a classic regressive tax. Would you continue this regressive business tax structure, make it flat or make it progressive (larger businesses pay at a high rate than small business)?
John Bauters: Voters raised the business tax cap in 2011. Regardless of our tax structure, state laws permit larger businesses to report their revenues in other communities to avoid taxes we implement here. I am focused on issues and opportunities that will be meaningful to Emeryville residents.
Tattler: What Council members do you hold in high esteem, now and in the past? What Council members have done a poor job?
John Bauters: I respect everyone who has served our community. Differences in our personal political views should never prevent us from appreciating those who give of their time and talents in service to their community.
Tattler: Conservative City Council members have long conflated business interests with resident’s interests as they have gone about forwarding their pro-business agenda. This governing philosophy has led us to where we are now leaving so many residents are clamoring for change. Do you feel a need to conflate business interests with residents interests? How do you see the two groups interests as disparate insofar as you do?
John Bauters: No. I see businesses as businesses and residents as residents.