Search The Tattler

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Preview: The Tattler City Council Candidates Questionnaire for 2018

As Emeryville's bi-annual election season heats up and while the candidates for City Council are making their rounds pitching their cases, now is the time to get them to commit to doing the work we want them to.  Accountability will come after November 6th and extend over the next two years.  What we should be doing now though is to pin them down publicly on our democratically vetted laundry list of tasks.  The list includes what's anchored in our General Plan.  Beyond that is a matter of what each elected official sees as valuable and what each resident voter sees as valuable that presumably will come out during the campaign season.  But it's what's in the General Plan is what we have all agreed is what we want to accomplish in Emeryville.  We should make the candidates know the General Plan list is the minimum of what we expect them to work on.  We should let them tell us why parts of the General Plan should be removed or added to if they think it's warranted.

Tuesday's League of Woman Voters sponsored Emeryville Candidates Forum at City Hall presents an evening for interaction between the electorate and the candidates with the citizens asking the questions.  Be sure to take part in the 7-9 pm Q&A.  In addition to that, the Tattler will take it to the candidates in our 2018 City Council Candidates Questionnaire. 
Below are the questions we'll be asking of the three candidates.  As you can see, we're not letting them off easily.  Their answers to these questions (presuming they cooperate) will be posted by the Tattler in the weeks before the November 6th election.

City Council Candidates Questionnaire for 2018

1)   Do you favor implementing or amending Emeryville’s General Plan rather than ignoring it as a general rule?

2)   Name the three biggest problems facing Emeryville right now and how would you deal with them?

3)   Our General Plan has much in it that isn’t being realized, especially in the areas generally known as ‘livability’; measurable things such as parks, bicycling accommodation, or even intangibles like the need to create a “memorable” place.  During election season, politicians sometimes demagogue the things that are wanted but aren’t getting implemented.  Acknowledging these livability issues specifically, how can voters recognize when a politician is playing the role of a demagogue? 

4)   City planners universally measure park and open space in terms of ‘level of service’ calculated by the number of residents or users per acre of park land.  Using these metrics, Emeryville is shown to be well below average among cities our size or indeed for any city in the Bay Area.  How can we get closer to average Bay Area levels of service for park land?

5)   The General Plan calls for 26 acres of new park land to be furnished by 2029, the date the Plan expires.  However, since the Plan’s certification in 2009, Emeryville has added only approximately two and a half acres.  Acknowledging it should reflect the desired and possible, do you think our General Plan should be amended to show less park acreage than it now proposes, owing to the reality of the large amount park land still needed and the short amount of time left to build it?

6)   According to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and its corollary planning document, the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA), our town now has more than 200% of recommended market rate housing.  Do you feel it’s more important to keep adding to this number than to build more park space?  Will your tenure on the City Council reflect your views on this?  

7)   Over the last 25 years Emeryville has morphed from a city of homeowners into a city of renters as developers seek to maximize profits by building lots of rental only apartment buildings.  Is this something you’re satisfied with?  If not, how will you address this issue? 

8)   For more than 10 years, vehicle traffic on the 53rd and 45th street bicycle boulevards have exceeded the number allowed by the Bike Plan, despite its deadlines that have come and gone.  The newest deadline facing the City to calm traffic as the Plan provides is September 14th, 2019. Will you commit to either following the Bike Plan or amending it for these two streets? 

9)   Please succinctly give us your views on Emeryville’s parking plan.

10)   In 2010 Emeryville voters authorized and property owners paid for a public library at ECCL.  The voter’s will has been ignored and the library has not been provided.  Will you make getting this library a priority during your tenure?

11)   The General Plan provides for housing to be built in our town in certain areas.  The Plan gives guidance as to particulars for all housing; things like density, massing, etc. North Emeryville and the Triangle neighborhood have a plethora of traditional detached single family homes that the Plan addresses.  What do you think the General Plan has in mind for these neighborhoods, specifically set aside and identified as ‘Areas of Stability’ as opposed to other housing neighborhoods in Emeryville?  Why is the word ‘stability’ used and how does that differ from the other housing without that protection?

12)   Since its certification in 2009, the Urban Forestry Ordinance has failed to protect our street trees (only two were saved).  Also, developers who cut down our trees are supposed to pay fees as the UFO delineates but they have almost universally not been levied.  Would you favor amending the UFO to reflect reality at City Hall; the desire to make it easier to let developers cut down our street trees and not pay us for it?

13)   How can Emeryville get more locally serving non-formula retail (a stated goal of the General Plan)? 

14)   How can we know if the Family Friendly Housing Ordinance is successful? 

15)   If an inexpensive and easy way is found to provide both, 1) security needed for the police station as well as, 2) a California Fire Code approved fire escape for the second floor public lobby there, would you commit to a public inquiry into that with a mind to fixing what the City Manager calls a "less than ideal" situation?

16)   Are you concerned with the militarization of Emeryville’s police forces, specifically the issuance of AR-15 Assault Rifles.  How about .50 caliber rifles or weapons with even greater lethality in the future?  Some cities have not gone down this path.  Should the public specifically be part of the debate about this in Emeryville?

For the Incumbents only:

1)  The Sherwin Williams project approval will not help Emeryville housing affordability (comes in at about 11% which is equal to our existing percentage) and the park acreage to be built will actually take Emeryville backward (527 Residents Per Acre versus Emeryville’s existing 472 RPA ).  Also, as part of the approval, you signed a ‘Statement of Overriding Concerns’ that explained how this project is more important than building the Horton Street Bike Boulevard as per our Bike Plan's specifications.  Given the park and bike problems associated with this project and considering our 200% of ABAG recommended market rate housing already built in Emeryville, why did you feel it was so important to OK this project?

2)  In 2014 when you ran the first time, you both pledged to deliver ‘level four’ traffic calming for the Horton Street Bike Boulevard because the street was at ‘level three’ and the Bike Plan called for the next level to be implemented.   A traffic count conducted before the election showed excess vehicle traffic on the street, necessitating the installation of level four traffic calming measures (as laid out in the Bike Plan).  After the election, instead of bringing level four traffic calming, you both instead installed a new level three measure, thereby contradicting your promise.  The Tattler several times asked for explanation from the two of you but you both chose not to explain your change of heart on this matter.  Will you now tell Emeryville citizens why you did what you did? 


  1. You should have asked them if they plan on overturning our business killing minimum wage ordinance.

    1. The Minimum Wage Ordinance, being settled law, is not controversial and therefore not worthy of asking the candidates about directly. However, if one of them has an opinion about it they think the public needs to know about, they have the chance to bring it up in question #2.
      FYI, the MWO is not "killing business". We know that because that much was proved by the Emeryville commissioned independent Mills College MWO Business Survey and Study. What the Study proves is the MWO has had "no significant impact" on existing businesses. Readers of the Tattler know this because we reported the results of the study (as well as provided a link to it). Unfortunately, the pro-business blog in town, the E'Ville Eye, chose to do a total news black-out on the Study... probably because the results don't comport with the editor's pro business owner/anti worker views. The readers of that blog as a consequence, are totally ignorant of the MWO Study. Are you, per chance, a reader of that blog?