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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Minimum Wage Study Shows Little Effect on Emeryville's Business Climate

Emeryville's Landmark Minimum Wage Ordinance: 
Tempest in a Teapot

The long awaited City Council commissioned Minimum Wage Ordinance Business Study, ordered after passage of Emeryville's landmark living wage law and released this month shows an Emeryville business community remarkably unfazed by the increase in employee labor costs brought on by the 2015 ordinance.  Upon presentation of the study and in summery, Emeryville's Economic Development Manager Chadrick Smalley told the Council members at their November 15th meeting, "The picture is good. Emeryville is still a good place to do business".


The staff presentation of the plenary study conducted by students at the Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College revealed an Emeryville business climate that is healthy and growing after passage of the ordinance and an improved quality of life for minimum wage workers, a significant contrast to dark prophecy loudly expressed by several business owners in the run-up to the ordinance.  Alarms raised by the business community before the passage of the MWO included warnings of wholesale business closings and businesses fleeing to other cities with lower labor costs but have been proven to be unfounded the study clearly reveals.

The increased minimum wage has barely registered a blip with Emeryville businesses.  A survey associated with the Mills Collage MWO Study completed by business respondents shows the biggest problems facing Emeryville's businesses is not increased labor costs but rather finding skilled and experienced employees, rising rents and the general cost of living.  Further, the survey shows fully 60% of businesses had a positive reaction to the MWO while 21% reacted negatively but that number is tempered by what Mr Smalley said is a combined negative reaction to any government regulation some business owners display.
"After implementation of the 
Minimum Wage Ordinance, 
Emeryville lost 188 businesses
but gained 238 new businesses"

Further, the study shows 82% of businesses have no intention to leave Emeryville after the MWO while 16% said they could or would but again Mr Smalley told the Council members the 16% number is misleading, "If you ask businesses without passing such an ordinance, you would get comparable results" adding, "There is no increase due to this ordinance".

The staff warned the Council not to put too much stock in businesses openings and closings tabulated before and after the implementation of the Minimum Wage Ordinance because those numbers don't necessarily correspond to the MWO but the Business Study does show an increase in new businesses and more than 1,100 new Emeryville jobs created in the year after MWO implementation; a 6% increase over the previous year before the MWO.  That number, even though it beats Oakland job increases represents "no significant difference between pre and post MWO" the Economic Development Manager said.  Berkeley it was noted actually lost jobs in the same time period while it also had the lowest rise in its minimum wage.

The Business Community Was Alarmed
They predicted massive business failures.
Although the Business Study, more than a year in the making, was formulated primarily to show the effects the Minimum Wage ordinance would have on Emeryville's businesses, part of the study was undertaken to show the effects the ordinance has had on minimum wage workers in town.  Those are revealed to be mostly positive effects as one would expect including improved cognitive and behavioral outcomes for the children of workers as well as improved stability for families and improved mental health owing to reduced stress levels of these workers.

The staff additionally cautioned the City Council that the Study, while complete is not necessarily definitive for all time.  As yet unknown effects could make themselves evident given more time.  "The Business Study should be revisited in a year or two", Mr Smalley said.

MWO Business Survey HERE

Emeryville's Business Climate Since MWO 
ratio of closed to opened businesses
Red = closed businesses
Green = newly opened businesses


Month by month tabulation of Emeryville's new businesses vs closed businesses
since the MWO took effect

In the 16 months of study, more business openings are shown than business closings
in all but three of those months.  However the City staff cautioned making 

too much from these numbers.


Emeryville's Minimum Wage Ordinance took effect in July 2015
More business openings means more jobs: 1,100 from the implementation of the MWO
up to the end of 2015 alone.  During the study period (July 2015 up

to November 2016) 238 businesses opened while 188 closed. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Emery Unified Finally Reaches the Top 70% of School Districts Statewide

Emery Unified School District: Failed to File 
Transparency Documents


California State Controller Betty Yee
Challenged Emery Unified.
Emery's response?, 'No thanks,
we don't do transparency here'.
Transparency has never been their strong suit.
Our school district, a perennial punching bag so used to being alone near the bottom of lists and struggling for explanation, can finally enjoy what fruits can be had from being in a majority.  To wit; Emery Unified's existential troubles with accountability and transparency, legendary regardless of its claims to the contrary and despite School Board Trustee Christian Patz's prodigious work in this area, has netted a new meritorious distinction.  The district has joined 70% of other California school districts that failed to file to report salary and benefits data to the people of California as recently revealed by State Controller Betty Yee.

It's another case of 'trust us there's nothing to see here' from Emery Unified.
But Emeryville residents who still listen to what their school district says rather than look at what it does may want to consider this as they decide where to send their children to school:

CA Controller Publishes 2015 Salary and 
Benefits Data for K-12 Education Entities

SACRAMENTO — State Controller Betty T. Yee today updated her Government Compensation in California website to include 2015 self-reported salary and benefits data for K-12 education employers, including public school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education.  The data covers 648,129 positions and almost $24.81 billion in total wages. 

While cities, counties, and special districts are required to report salary and benefits data to the State Controller, K-12 education employers are voluntary reporters.  The State Controller’s Office requested data from 1,887 K-12 education employers, and 655 chose to report in the interest of transparency.  Of those, 569 reports were complete.

Almost 70 percent of K-12 education employers did not file the requested reports or provided incomplete information. 

Since the government compensation website was launched in 2010, it has registered more than nine million page views. The site now contains information on more than two million jobs in California, as reported by each government entity.

Users of the site can:

·         View compensation levels on maps and search for compensation by region;
·         Narrow results by name of entity or by job title;
·         Build charts; and
·         Export custom reports or raw data.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Emeryville's Nordstrom Rack Proudly Selling Trump Products

Emeryville Residents Can Help 
Make America Great Again
Shop Nordstrom Rack in Emeryville and
grab 'em by the p****!
White Emeryville residents who are interested in showing their support for President-elect Donald Trump can do so by shopping at the Nordstrom Rack store in the East Bay Bridge Mall and pick up a great bargain in the deal.  White Nationalists and Anti-Keynesians in town can grab a pair (!) of Ivanka Trump pumps at discount prices or peruse the Trump offerings in the accessories department all while showing their disdain for Mexicans and women.  Nordstrom has drawn the ire of non-racist and non-misogynist Americans who have called for nation-wide corporate divestiture in Trump products especially since the November 8th Presidential election.  Nordstrom however has expressed plans to continue selling Trump swag, fomenting a nascent boycott of the Seattle based department store.
Here in Emeryville, store manger Peter Ruiz told the Tattler he has no plans to discontinue the Trump line of products, giving those who wish to show their appreciation for Mr Trump's brand of racist authoritarian trickle down supply-side economics a chance to enrich and enable the future President as he makes America great again.
Corporate sales representatives and PR executives at the Nordstrom's headquarters in Seattle did not return calls to the Tattler.
Hail Trump!
Trump pumps made in China for sale in Emeryville.
Try scaling a big beautiful wall in these!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sherwin Williams Project is More Important Than Any Bike Blvd Says City Council


Almost 4000 Cars Per Day Coming To 
Horton Street

City Council Says Bike Boulevard Not Compatible With Sherwin Williams Project

"Unavoidable" Conflict

'Horton Street Bike Blvd Has To Go'

The Emeryville City Council voted to finally and permanently load up Horton Street with at least 3980 vehicle trips per day as a consequence of their November 1st approval of the contentious Sherwin Williams project.  That glut of cars, a third more than the maximum allowable to enable the street to be a bike boulevard according to the City’s own rules, was found by the Council to be a “significant, adverse and unavoidable effect” when they approved the Sherwin Williams project according to the Council’s own ‘Statement of Overriding Considerations’ they signed precluding the bike boulevard and green lighting that housing development.
Horton Street Today
Weekends are quiet and safe for biking.  Weekdays are
chock-a-block with traffic.  After Sherwin Williams
gets built never again will Horton Street be quiet
and safe for biking at any time. 
   
The Council, four of the five of them having spent much public airtime claiming to be strongly supportive of the Horton Street Bike Boulevard, now says it regrets the demise of the idea of a bike boulevard for the street but the Sherwin Williams housing project will add almost 500 market rate apartment units to our town they hasten to add with their Statement of Overriding Considerations, and that’s more important than any bike boulevard.  

The idea for a bike boulevard on this street has been a someday-to-be realized dream of bicyclists for years and is even ensconced in the City of Emeryville’s General Plan but there has been a remarkable lack of political will over the years by the City Council to actually deliver it.
The maximum number of vehicle trips per day allowed for a bike boulevard in Emeryville is 3000, a number already exceeded on Horton Street.  But because of the Sherwin Williams housing project, an unavoidable minimum of 3980 vehicle trips per day will be using the street according to the Environmental Impact Report for the project.  The street is unsafe today and after the City Council’s capitulation to the Sherwin Williams developer on November 1st, will now become increasingly more unsafe for bike use as a bike boulevard.
Mayor Dianne Martinez
Bikes are OK but providing more housing
is an emergency.
Housing will "add life and vitality" to the
neighborhood and inexplicably will
"improve bicycle connections" in
the neighborhood she and her
colleagues say.

So what’s the deal about the 3000 vehicle trips per day?  Isn’t Horton Street a bike boulevard now?  Some might say because the City has painted stencils on the asphalt claiming as much, that’s good enough to call it a bike boulevard.  People could say that but they would be wrong, because like many things in this world, opinion, however vigorously stressed, does not make the thing so.  Rather, bike boulevards are defined by the City of Emeryville as ‘bike priority’ streets with specific parameters encoded by the City, in this case limits on vehicle speeds and vehicle volumes.  A bike boulevard is not a feeling or a desire; it’s something the City has quantified.   

Will bikes still be able to continue to use Horton Street after the Council’s Statement of Overriding Considerations?  Yes, but Horton Street is just an average albeit dangerous street loaded up with cars like San Pablo Avenue or Hollis Street.  Like those other streets, it is not safe for bikes according to the General Plan.  Unlike those other streets, Horton Street has purple signs and stencils on it erroneously giving bicyclists the impression the street is quiet and they are safe using the street.  And that makes Horton Street actually more unsafe than the other streets.  And now the City Council has sealed the fate of the Horton Street Bike Boulevard; it will never be a bike priority street, a quiet and safe street for bikes that Emeryville residents have said they want.  The people of Emeryville never said they want more housing.  The City Council never promised the voters that if we vote for them, they’ll deliver more than 200% Association of Bay Area Government’s recommended quantity of market rate housing as they now have. They have said that if we vote for them they WILL deliver a better and safer bicycling environment, one specifically with bike boulevards; a campaign promise they have yet to fulfill and what now presents as a fait accompli for . 


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Breaking News: Barbara Inch, Cruz Vargas Appear to have Won School Board Race

Breaking:  Tonight Emery Unified School Board candidates Barbara Inch and Cruz Vargas appear to have won election to the Board of Trustees.  With all precincts reporting, the results are:

Barbara Inch  1454  (44%)

Cruz Vargas  1296  (40%)

Ken Bukowski  455  (14%)

Breaking News: RULE Candidates Appear to have Won City Council Election

Breaking: RULE backed candidates John Bauters, Ally Medina and Christian Patz appear to be the winners of the 2016 City Council election with all precincts reporting.  The results:

John Bauters  1378 (23%)

Ally Medina 1254 (20%)

Christian Patz 1036 (17%)


Other candidates:

Louise Engel 755

Brynnda Collins 702

John Van Geffen  627

Monday, November 7, 2016

Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire: Ken Bukowski

This year there are three candidates vying for two open seats for School Board of Trustees for the Emery Unified School District.  The three Emeryville residents are Barbara Inch, Cruz Vargas and Ken Bukowski.  Last up in the Tattler rotation is Ken Bukowski.  We ask five questions: 


Tattler:  Do you see yourself primarily as a representative of the community or as a representative of the school system?

Ken Bukowski:  I am a representative of the community.  I'm not sure who would fit the description of a school system representative.  I have supported our schools for a long time as a former member of the City Council, always sought and continue to seek to improve community awareness and participation. 


Tattler:  What is your own experience with public education?  

Ken Bukowski:  I was raised attending the New York City public schools.  The State of California is not providing adequate resources for public education.  This is creating a real problem for Emeryville.  Attendance at our schools does not reflect the diversity of the community. The proliferation of charter schools is having a negative impact.  They don't have the same State mandated requirements as public schools to provide for all children.  They take the better achieving students, degrading the quality of public education for the remaining children.  The public schools are unfairly forced to handle all of the kids with special needs. The damage done by Proposition 13 must be re-examined.


Tattler:  What are your priorities for the district in the coming year? Why and how did you select these issues?

Ken Bukowski:  Creating a stable Board and adopting polices and practices to empower the teachers and the community in the decision making process. 

  •   Creation of a parent advisory board establishing a new form of input in the decision making process.  We need to change the long standing practice of not involving the community in the decision making process.
  •   Creating a quarterly community meeting, a live interactive event where school issues can be discuss publicly, and where parents have an opportunity to call in with their concerns.  A new on-going way to achieve community involvement.
  •   Expand solicitation of fund raising efforts and create a new annual event to show recognition to all who have donated to our schools, and recognition for teachers.
  •   Actively pursue the creation of teacher housing in Emeryville.  The regional housing crisis is forcing teachers to move out of the area.  The State is about to provide funds to subsidize the creation of teacher housing and Emery needs to make teacher housing a major priority to leverage those funds.


Tattler:  In 2012 more than 90% of teachers at Emery signed the 'Teachers Resolution' expressing no confidence in the former Superintendent of the Schools.   The teachers asked the Board for their support with the Resolution but the Board refused and ignored the request of virtually the entire teaching staff (please see the Tattler for details).   More recently the teachers were united in their voices to delay the opening of the ECCL citing student safety and lack of curriculum reasons.   Again the Board ignored the teachers request. The teachers at Emery have felt their voices are not being heard by the Board of the Administration.   Please explain what you think broke down in these two cases.

Ken Bukowski:  The School Board has simply not adopted a mechanism for public involvement in the decision making process.  They have allowed the school superintendent too much latitude to keep problem issues close to the vest.  The failure of disclosure leads to suspicion.  That is followed by discovery of the issues which created distrust.  The personal interests and the desire to control seem to take precedence.  
In 2012 I signed a letter of community support for the teachers, I actively supported delaying the opening of ECCL based on the testimony they gave.  However, I disagree with the wording of this question.  It is not accurate to say the Board ignored the teacher's request.  It was apparent to me a majority of the Board agreed with the teachers.  However, the Board president violated proper procedure by refusing to allow the Board to support the request.
Perhaps the worst part of it is a lack of major safety incidents on the opening day caused the Board President and School Superintendent to claim the opening was a success.  That is a total disregard for the emotional damage sustained by the teachers who were forced to start the school year on the wrong foot.  They Board President showed us how to do it the wrong way and now it is being subverted into a publicly made claim that he (and the Superintendent) did the right thing?   It has to make one wonder who's interests are really being served.  The actions of that day could lead to another vote of 'no confidence'.  This has to change in my opinion.



Tattler:  Parents too felt ignored by the Board during planning meetings for ECCL when they requested hearings into the wisdom of closing Anna Yates Elementary School.   The Board refused to entertain holding even a single meeting to gauge public concern or hear the parent's and citizen's ideas.   Please explain what you think broke down when parents and citizens were not listened to.

Ken Bukowski:  I was on the City Council when the decision was made to close Anna Yates as part of a plan to put all of the kids in one location.  I consistently advocated to have the community involved in the decision. However, the School Board did not want the community input contrary to their claims.  My concern over this issue can be found in a written transcript I prepared from a City Council/School Board joint meeting held in June 2010, when the decision was made to place the school bond measure on the ballot.

The transcript (third from left) is available at:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B1oeHPokfoWja1NWNmRweGVHc2c

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Tattler Correction

We extended two questionnaires to candidates for Emeryville City Council and we have posted all we received back.  At least that's the way we intended to do it.  We're sorry to say candidate Louise Engel never received the second questionnaire (on police, bikes, families, density and miscellaneous) from the Tattler and readers should note that's why Ms Engel's answers haven't been posted.  We apologize to Ms Engel and the voters of Emeryville for the mistake.  Ms Engel has been offered a chance to respond but at this late date, it would be understandable if she did not take up the offer.  Again we apologize for our mistake.

Readers can note Council candidate Ally Medina did receive the second questionnaire but we did not receive a response back from her.  Also, candidate Brynnda Collins did receive the first questionnaire (on housing affordability, parks/open space, Sherwin Williams project and livability) but we did not receive a response back from her.

Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire: Christian Patz


Christian Patz:
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.  

Mr Patz's 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?
  
Christian Patz:  The Tattler has done a good job of letting people know this information.

          
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?
  
Christian Patz:  What makes a Bike Boulevard is more than just Vehicle Trips per Day (VTD), it has more to do with optimizing bike traffic. As VTD approach and surpass 3000, more separation between bikes and cars should occur. Ideally, this would be done by reducing and diverting traffic, but can also be achieved by dedicated and protected lanes.
  


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?

Christian Patz:  The new ordinance is an excellent start and will help us move in the right direction. It will create more family friendly housing, but expecting us to reach Oakland or Berkeley levels is not realistic. My family has chosen Emeryville as our home. We are working to make it more family friendly, but we know that there are limitations in an urban center. Berkeley and Alameda are seen as family friendly areas, but they are not in the top 100 on the most recent list of Best Places to Raise a Family (https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-cities-for-families-in-california/15993/). Emeryville is right there with them.


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?
  
Christian Patz:  There is no question that high urban densities are important, but what is the right level, and how does it look? What we want to be dense enough to support vibrant main streets with retail and services for local needs, but not too congested that bike and transit infrastructure is negatively impacted.We want to maintain Emeryville's sense of community and not get so dense as that we slip into anonymity.Our streets are a joy to walk; sun should penetrate to street level so our ground floors can have cafes that spill out onto the street. Emeryville is currently 3,125 people per square kilometer; less than a third of New York City and half of San Francisco’s density. We are very quickly approaching enough density. 
  
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)?
  
Christian Patz:  I support a balanced approach to our tax structure. In general, taxes should be progressive as flat taxes tend to be regressive. I support looking into adjusting the cap but not ending it. Tax incentives are a way for Emeryville to attract and keep businesses. 


Tattler:  What Council members do you hold in high esteem, now and in the past? What Council members have done a poor job?
  
Christian Patz:  I could list the council members that I have endorsed and that have endorsed me, but I do not want to get into grading elected officials. Emeryville has been fortunate to have intelligent, hard working people give of themselves and their time for our great city. I want to thank (in order of time served) Nora Davis, Ruth Atkin, and Jac Asher for what they have done for Emeryville. The city is better because of their efforts and will miss what all of they have brought to the council.

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?

Christian Patz:  I do not see them as competing interests, so yes I conflate them. Businesses, residents, and workers are three descriptors of people. Too much time and energy is spent 'othering' artificial groupings of people. Government’s role is to ensure a fair and equitable community. Sometimes that means capping taxes for a large business other times it means instituting a minimum wage. As a community, Emeryville understands this, as individuals, we worry how it will impact us. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire: Cruz Vargas

This year there are three candidates vying for two open seats for School Board of trustees for the Emery Unified School District.  The three Emeryville residents are Barbara Inch, Cruz Vargas and Ken Bukowski.  Next up in the Tattler rotation is Cruz Vargas.  We ask five questions:

Tattler:  Do you see yourself primarily as a representative of the community or as a representative of the school system?

Cruz Vargas:  I believe an effective School Board member should be a representative of both sides so i don’t see these being mutually exclusive. So I see myself - and will continue to be -  a representative of both families and teachers alike.



Tattler:  What is your own experience with public education?

Cruz Vargas:  As a student, my experience dates back a generation as my own parents were very involved in my school’s parent associations. When I was 8 years old, I asked my parents to transfer me to a private school. To which my dear mom replied "honey, a school doesn't make students. It's the students and their families that make the school". Needless to say, I’ve only attended public schools: from kindergarten through International Baccalaureate in Mexico to my degree at UC Berkeley.
As a parent, our experience with public schools has also been very positive. The best example I can provide is that my daughter is the product of our district’s ESL program - allowing her to quickly and productively integrate into our educational system.



Tattler:  What are your priorities for the district in the coming year? Why and how did you select these issues.

Cruz Vargas:  For a more detailed view, I recommend visiting my website: www.iloveEmeryville.com.
I believe the first priority is to bring all of us together around the shared common ground: the education of our children. Second, we’ll empower our teachers by providing the tools and resources required so we can transition quickly to the full utilization of all our new resources and technology. I believe our third priority should be to focus on our curriculum to further incorporate enrichment programs including STEM, arts/music and to evaluate programs such as International Baccalaureate.
To build this view of priorities, I have met with - and I’m endorsed by - our teacher’s association and both current and former board members; and have met with many of the families that have the drive to move our district forward.



Tattler:  In 2012 more than 90% of teachers at Emery signed the 'Teachers Resolution' expressing no confidence in the former Superintendent of the Schools.  The teachers asked the Board for their support with the Resolution but the Board refused and ignored the request of virtually the entire teaching staff (please see the Tattler for details).  More recently the teachers were united in their voices to delay the opening of the ECCL citing student safety and lack of curriculum reasons.  Again the Board ignored the teachers request. The teachers at Emery have felt their voices are not being heard by the Board of the Administration.  Please explain what you think broke down in these two cases.

Cruz Vargas:  As the only registered candidate endorsed by the Emery Teacher’s Association, I do not take this responsibility lightly. The past is behind, let’s learn from it. I encourage the other candidates to meet for the first time with our Teacher’s Association and to pledge their support to our wonderful teachers, administrators and supporting staff regardless of the outcome. We are here to move forward together, for the sake of our children.



Tattler:  Parents too felt ignored by the Board during planning meetings for ECCL when they requested hearings into the wisdom of closing Anna Yates Elementary School.  The Board refused to entertain holding even a single meeting to gauge public concern or hear the parent's and citizen's ideas.  Please explain what you think broke down when parents and citizens were not listened to.

Cruz Vargas:  As a parent, I attended multiple sessions and hearings regarding ECCL aimed to gather input from parents and from the community. More importantly, I believe we should focus on moving our beautiful, state-of-the-art school forward. We will only achieve this together with your vote and your support. Thanks. Cruz J Vargas.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire: John Van Geffen

John Van Geffen:
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 Ally Medina.  

Mr Van Geffen's 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 Van Geffen:  I think this question frames the issue poorly. We shouldn't be arguing over what model of gun the police carry, rather we should be focusing our conversation around what sort of training we can expect our officers to receive in crisis management and De-escalation so that, hopefully, we never get to a point where caliber and clip size becomes relevant.
From what I read of the public investigative report from that very unfortunate day, when the officers arrived at the scene, they weren't responding to a simple shoplifting call, rather they were responding to reports of a woman waving a gun at people in cars in an attempt carjack a vehicle to get away from police.  
Different scenarios call for different strategies--e.g., police shouldn't arrive to a peaceful protest or a domestic violence call with an AR15 just as they shouldn't show up to reports of an active shooter at ECCL with only a sidearm. 
          
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 Van Geffen:  I believe the Bike Boulevard issue and the Sherwin Williams project discussions need to be approached in tandem since each will affect the other.
We need to learn more about the Sherwin Williams development plan as it progresses so we know what the ingress/egress routes will be for the 500+ new tenants (not to mention the proposed West Oakland BART shuttle service). Only after we know how people are getting in and out of Emeryville can we decide what, if anything, should be done to Hollis. 
  
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 Van Geffen:  First off, you need to preface statements like "Emeryville is the least family friendly city in the whole East Bay" with "In the Tattler's opinion" so that readers do not get confused since your site continuously jumps back and forth between 'local news' and 'personal blog'. It is safe to say that a great number of people, myself included, disagree with this preface and are happy living with their families in Emeryville. But, I do believe there is room to make family life in Emeryville even better and I absolutely want to see more families moving to Emeryville.
Regarding the 'family friendly housing ordinance' that mandates new multi-unit residential developments with 10+ units have a minimum number of multi-bedroom units (again thank you Tattler for pointing out the exact Ordinance Article Subsection you wanted addressed in this question), I think that this clause is important to ensure that developers do not build honeycomb apartment complexes filled with static studios simply to maximize their return on the price per square foot. 
To answer your question more precisely, No. In my opinion, this ordinance, by itself, is not enough. It will take more than having some new 2 or 3 bedroom apartments in large complexes to incentivize families to move to Emeryville. 
If we want to entice families to Emeryville we need homeownership opportunities, construction of single family residences, new Below Market Rate housing options, raised testing scores at ECCL, enhanced bicycle and pedestrian paths, increased community participation in neighborhood events, etc., etc., etc.... 
Editor's Note: Data inference concerning families in this question comes from the US Census Bureau.  It is not based on opinion.

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?
  
John  Van Geffen:  There is no right answer to this. Everyone has an opinion and a personal preferences when it comes to community development and the scientific research on 'ideal density' varies from city to city and block to block.
My answer to this question can only be a reflection of what I personally believe is ideal. But, since you asked, my preference is for what architect Lloyd Alter dubbed the 'Goldilocks Density'--i.e., dense enough to support vibrant main streets with retail and services for local needs, but not too high that people can't take the stairs in a pinch. Dense enough to support bike and transit infrastructure, but not so dense to need subways and huge underground parking garages. Dense enough to build a sense of community, but not so dense as to have everyone slip into anonymity.
How do we find this magic middle ground? By working together and coming to a general consensus on new developments.  
  
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 Van Geffen:  In order to provide a concise answer to this question, I need more information on how Emeryville's tax code compares and contrasts with the codes in Berkeley and Oakland and then I would need an opportunity to speak with city staff about the costs associated with changing the tax code and then approach those businesses that would be affected to ask for their input.
But, what I can say without hesitation is, I do not want the Council to pass any resolution or ordinance that will make it more expensive or complicated to do business in Emeryville. I want jobs coming in, not businesses going out. 
  


Tattler:  What Council members do you hold in high esteem, now and in the past? What Council members have done a poor job?
  
John Van Geffen:  I hold all the council members in high esteem. I do not agree with the current council on many issues but I respect them for the commitments they have made to this city.  



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 Van Geffen:  To start, I believe every premise in your question is false. Emeryville's businesses pay taxes to City Hall which then in turn use the funds towards the city's streets, police, firefighters, etc. To say that business interests and resident interests don't connect, is to ignore the clearly symbiotic relationship between businesses, social services and local culture.
Second, just because I understand what is involved in running a business does not automatically make me "conservative", just like being liberal doesn't automatically equivocate with being "anti-business." 
Third, I do not believe "residents are clamoring for change" (at least as it applies to the FWO and MWO). At the October 18th City Council meeting, for every Emeryville resident in attendance there appeared to be at least six or seven non-Emeryville citizens who had been brought in from neighboring cities by EBASE, ACCE, SEIU, and CPD in order to fill seats and grab headlines. 

Simply put, I do not believe the City Council's "priorities" are in line with Emeryville residents. Rather, I believe the Council has effectively handed over the agenda to labor groups that will always put the interests of their members ahead of the interests of Emeryville and its residents. Where we disagree over issues is irrelevant, my concern is that the council has handed control of the city's self-regulation to people outside of Emeryville. It is dangerous.   

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Patz, Bauters, Van Geffen Get East Bay Times Endorsment

Christian Patz
Got top billing honors

from the East Bay Times
as a corruption fighter.
The widely circulated East Bay Times endorsed Emeryville City Council candidates Christian Patz, John Bauters and John Van Geffen today.  The late in the season endorsements moved forward even though candidate Ally Medina couldn't make the interview date it was reported.  The Times places Christian Patz at the top of the heap praising his commitment to accountability and transparency calling the Emery School Board out over Brown Act violations while he has served as a trustee on that body.  Mr Patz has placed accountability and transparency at the top of his candidacy according to his campaign literature and the East Bay Times, in addition to showing appreciation to Christian Patz's commitment to those issues also agrees they're issues needing attention in Emeryville, tendering two stories to a Brown Act Violation by the Board last year.
The Times praised all three candidates for their fiscal acuity on budgetary issues.
John Bauters

The story can be read HERE.


John Van Geffen




Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire: Barbara Inch

This year there are three candidates vying for two open seats for School Board of trustees for the Emery Unified School District.  The three Emeryville residents are Barbara Inch, Cruz Vargas and Ken Bukowski.  First up is Barbara Inch.  The Tattler asks five questions:

Tattler:  Do you see yourself primarily as a representative of the community or as a representative of the school system?

Barbara Inch:  I consider the office of School Board Trustee to be a representative of the community and together they make up the school system. They should not be seen as separate entities. It is very important for the board to be seen as open, accessible, and representative of the community. Transparency and trust in a governing body is critical to building a functional community built around the schools.



Tattler:  What is your own experience with public education?

Barbara Inch:  I attended public schools in California and my son attends a public (not charter) school in Oakland. My husband has been a public school teacher, administrator, and board member. I volunteer in my son’s classroom and am active in his school.
Before my son entered kindergarten, I began following the Emery School Board, met with the administration, and  toured the school. I am a member of the Parks and Recreation Committee which has allowed me to see how the City-School partnership works first hand.



Tattler:  What are your priorities for the district in the coming year? Why and how did you select these issues.

Barbara Inch:  
-Improve leadership. I plan to take a very active role in refocusing administration on supporting teachers and staff development. The leadership needs to empower students, parents, and teachers.
-School messaging and outreach is out of date on inclusion and equity. Schools must be the model of positive engagement on ideas and issues of race, gender, LGBTQ, religion and religious attire. I will work to create an school environment that is welcoming to ALL families.
-Improving our schools’ academic performance. Emery has some of the worst test scores at the middle school level. I believe parents leave the district before this critical time because of these struggles.
I have adopted these issues as my top three priorities because I feel they will have the biggest impact on student performance, creating a positive educational experience, and preparing our student for their futures.


Tattler:  In 2012 more than 90% of teachers at Emery signed the 'Teachers Resolution' expressing no confidence in the former Superintendent of the Schools.  The teachers asked the Board for their support with the Resolution but the Board refused and ignored the request of virtually the entire teaching staff (please see the Tattler for details).  More recently the teachers were united in their voices to delay the opening of the ECCL citing student safety and lack of curriculum reasons.  Again the Board ignored the teachers request. The teachers at Emery have felt their voices are not being heard by the Board of the Administration.  Please explain what you think broke down in these two cases.

Barbara Inch:  I remember watching a clip of the Teachers’ Resolution on video and I was at the September 14, 2016 board meeting. Too often the board has been unmovable. This has been the norm over the years. The breakdown is that the intention of the board is decided in advance. On these occasions it was clear that no matter what the teachers said the outcome would be the same. Their valid  concerns have been dismissed by the board president. I understand that it takes courage to speak up and when you stifle  their voice and discourage them from participation, you create an atmosphere of mistrust.



Tattler:  Parents too felt ignored by the Board during planning meetings for ECCL when they requested hearings into the wisdom of closing Anna Yates Elementary School.  The Board refused to entertain holding even a single meeting to gauge public concern or hear the parent's and citizen's ideas.  Please explain what you think broke down when parents and citizens were not listened to.

Barbara Inch:  When people attend a school board vote they come with a certain exception that public comments will not only be listened but truly considered. They want to have an impact of the board vote. That is how it is suppose to work.  But the majority of board member too often stands united and dismiss the public. Although the community is humored with the option for public comment there seems to be little expectation or hope of impacting any decisions that has already made.  As you already know there are two open seats on school board. John Affeldt has resigned effective in December. When Christian Patz wins his bid for City Council, his seat will also be open. Now that the new site is open and 3 or 4 new board members starting fresh, I hope to see a lot of progress in the board responding to families, teachers, and community feedback and improving the quality of education in Emeryville.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire: John Bauters

John Bauters:
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.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire: Brynnda Collins Police, Bikes, Families & Density


Brynnda Collins:
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 for City Council Ally Medina.  


                                                                
Brynnda Collins
bio: 
I have established residency in Emeryville over 12 years ago. During this time, I have worked for our school district and our city. I am the proud parent of 23 year old School Board Trustee Brittany Collins-Rogers. While raising my daughter as a single parent, I completed course work with Harvard University earning a certificate of completion in Teaching for Understanding. My character and leadership – both, courageous and strong insure my positive impact on behalf of the citizens of Emeryville.
As a Youth Development Coordinator, I am passionate about serving our children and elders and building the capacity of others to create positive change. Using a proven track record for building networks and effective personal relationships, I am poised to facilitate courageous conversations and take action addressing issues like affordable housing and rent control, equitable access to City services and spaces, student achievement, and civic engagement. Bridging the gap between city, schools and community across divides like class, generation and race, I  am focused on moving forward with affordability, sustainability, public safety, housing the un-housed, safe biking and creating a greener Emeryville all with great transparency. I am prepared to lead Emeryville forward with action!
    


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?
  
Brynnda Collins:  Yes, the people have a right to gain deeper understanding in regards to AR-15’s and the need for them in our city. The Emeryville Police Department also has the right to justify why it is they routinely drive around with them and what safety measures are in place as a rule. As a matter of developing deeper transparency we need to engage in conversation relating to gun control and what weapons will better serve and protect the citizens of Emeryville.

          
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?
  
Brynnda Collins:  The metric used to monitor the boulevards are according to the city’s promise to monitor the goals measuring speed, motor vehicle volume and intersection traffic. The data provided does not seem to be updated. I have been looking to gain greater understanding in the City’s Pedestrian Bicycle 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?

Brynnda Collins:  Emeryville may not be the greatest family friendly place to live, however, I would not like to call it the least family friendly either. It’s not only what needs to be built to call us family friendly. Making affordable what is already built will allow Emeryville to retain residence. Until we have an ordinance passed that address the controlling of rent and exercise fairness to the renters and home buyers we will never achieve our goal of providing 100% family friendly housing. The ordinance recently passed is up to the task of addressing this trend however it may not reverse it. Making Emeryville  affordable will keep our families in their homes.         
  
  
  
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?
  
Brynnda Collins:  As in all things density is a matter of balance. When you have city services that can no longer serve the community, is a major red light that too much density has been foisted upon us.    
  
  
  
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)?
  
Brynnda Collins:  I would not continue this regressive business tax structure. We need to support our small businesses by not making them carry the burden of paying higher taxes. The large businesses need to pay what their receipts are worth just as the small businesses are required. This is classic example of the rich get richer and the poor stay poor. It’s all about moving Emeryville forward in a progressive manner.
  
  
Tattler:  What Council members do you hold in high esteem, now and in the past? What Council members have done a poor job?
  
Brynnda Collins:  Our Council members are selected by the voters and we should therefore hold them all in high esteem. I have respect for all Council members past, current and will continue to respect those in the future. We may not always agree with them but we need to respect them as the body that has been elected to govern our city. As far as the job they have done, I am personally not comfortable with this choice of questioning and feel as if it is created to cause divides throughout our 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?

Brynnda Collins:  The business community should balance with the strength of our community involvement. The two go hand in hand in helping to develop a strong, vibrant, progressive Emeryville. With the vote of the community, I will lead us to the needed change as we move forward to building community making Emeryville livable.