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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Mayor John Bauters: Democratic Ideals Mix With Good Public Policy

A Mayor of Consequence
Mr Bauters Finishes a Year of Competence 

News Analysis/Opinion
It's not often the Tattler mentions a job well done by Emeryville's politicians- as far the elected's work performance goes, usually no news is good news.  But we're going to make an exception in the case of Mayor John Bauters.  An elected public official who knows the proper role of government mixed with extraordinary political competence has made for that rarest alignment of political stars: a democratic government that reflects with fidelity the desires of the citizenry.

As he rotates back to the City Council sidelines, Councilwoman Ally Medina now taking the role of mayor for the next year, we pause to look back at a year in Emeryville with Mayor Bauters in charge.
Emeryville Mayor
John Bauters

Mr Bauters sees a central role of government as attenuating the growing rift of inequality in our riven society.  And the most important things he accomplished as mayor were designed with that in mind; things like the introduction and shepherding of Emeryville's landmark $50 million affordable housing bond known as Measure C and the daunting but critically needed work of ameliorating homelessness in our community (please see the video below).
In addition, Mr Bauters made community values affirmation central to the bi-monthly assemblies of the citizens, the gripefests also known as City Council meetings, in the form of uplifting 'Community Celebrations'.  These celebratory acknowledgments of the civically virtuous in our town, be they the best of the LGBT community, the African American community, girls in the community or simple citizens officially highlighted before each Council meeting for whom community means a selflessness in giving back, have served to offer to us all realization in the proper role of government.  City Hall, Mr Bauters reminds us, is not here just to fix potholes but to help bind us together into a cohesive community.
Further, Mayor Bauters has kept his focus on budgetary concerns like the payment of an additional $4 million towards liabilities on his watch, saving the taxpayers some $11 million in interest.  He has also reached out to small businesses with a listening series of well attended quarterly town hall events meant to mollify their concerns.

As with any politician of consequence, Mayor Bauters took his share of knocks from the critics for his bold moves on behalf of the community.  He has taken on the label 'progressive' proudly and it has earned him the enmity of the right wing in Emeryville.   The editor of the pro-business blog the E'Ville Eye, Rob Arias has practically made taking down John Bauters a personal crusade.  One only needs to peruse the cesspool that is Mr Arias' Twitterfeed to get a taste of the villainization of Mr Bauters there.
Rob Arias uses his blog and twitter account to promote disdain for homeless people and disdain for those who would help people trying to afford homes in Emeryville while taking on Emeryville's mayor and champion of those issues...that's something one would expect but over the last year, John has kept his focus on what matters.  We remember an issue not related to public policy while we have watched Mr Arias' slimy spectacle; we remember how Mayor Bauters brought to Emeryville a brave young man from Kentucky.  This young man, a recent valedictorian at his high school, had been refused to give the traditional valedictorian speech to the student body there because his hometown cannot countenance that he is gay and gender non-conforming.  Mr Bauters cleared the way for that speech to be in Emeryville at one of our Community Celebrations.  We can't think of a better way to show who we are as a community.
Our City Hall should be used in this kind of way, the way Mayor Bauters sees it, the way the greater Emeryville community sees it.


  1. True, it's so unusual to see praise of a city official in this publication, I had to check to make sure what I was seeing was real. But the praise of our activist mayor is well deserved and hard-earned. One of the things I appreciated most during John Bauters' tenure as mayor were his periodic mailings explaining complex issues in great detail and in language we could understand.

    1. Thanks, Will.
      FYI on December 6th, 2016 I called Jac Asher the best Mayor Emeryville has ever had ( ).

  2. Thanks for this story about John. He has been a great mayor for our town. I didn't know about the channel 2 news story you posted. I'm wondering why Rob Arias didn't put it in the evil eye. Usually he puts in everything in the Bay Area media about Emeryville. It must have slipped his mind!

  3. Thanks for this generous, and also accurate, post. Governing is such hard, and often thankless, work and I’ve never seen a harder-working public servant than John Bauters. He digs deeply, understands the issues, and spends the time to work with those who don’t. We are truly lucky to have him living in, and serving, our little city.

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  14. Note to Readers:
    Some of the comments above, made by David Jackson, were probably intended to be posted for the December 25th story on Emery School Board member Cruz Vargas. They have been posted here where they were delivered.

  15. Mr. Donahue is absolutely correct. Please forgive me for posting in the wrong area. That is my only apology. There are no apologies for the content of all of my posts except to apologize for not having proof read. Thank you. And thank you Brian Donahue.

  16. I have deleted the post of mine which were meant for the Cruz Vargas thread. I apologize for the mistake. I have copied and pasted all of those to the thread on Cruz Vargas. I hope that they were not too disruptive and at the very least I hope that they are a bit eye-opening.