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Monday, January 11, 2021

"Hyper-Local" Emeryville Blogger Rob Arias Purchased Home in Pleasant Hill in 2019, May Be Forced to Sell His Home Here

 Emeryville Booster/Blog Editor Reportedly Moved Out of Town in 2019

Possible Violations Against City's Affordable Housing Program

Editor Rob Arias Tells His Readers He Still Lives in Emeryville

The self styled 'voice of the community' hasn't
been seen in the community for quite some time.

Emeryville blogger, local booster and political pundit Robert Arias, apparently moved to Pleasant Hill nearly two years ago.  A move would tend to undermine Mr Arias' public positioning as the voice of the Emeryville community, if he's sleeping each night in another county.  The move would also have real consequences.  Mr Arias may have violated stipulations in an Emeryville affordable housing program by apparently retaining possession of one of City Hall's few subsidized units, if the Park Avenue unit in question is no longer his primary residence.

The Tattler learned Mr Arias apparently jumped ship in 2019, closing escrow on an 1,163 square foot, two story home with two bedrooms and two baths, in May, according to public records, in the Contra Costa County community.  At the same time, he has apparently retained his Emeryville unit, purchased (in 2003) through the City's Below-Market-Rate affordable housing program, rather than selling it to a qualifying buyer or obtaining a waiver as the housing program requires. 

Having built a fairly successful, heavily monetized web presence in Emeryville, offering generally positive coverage- the digital equivalent of an old time small town newspaper’s proud, if boosterish coverage, Mr Arias hasn't volunteered anything publicly on his E'Ville Eye about any move 30 miles to the east.

The E'Ville Eye editor purchased this
Pleasant Hill home in May 2019.  
According to Emeryville’s low income housing assistance regulations, BMR owners must live in their units as a ‘primary residence’ for at least 10 months per year.  Living elsewhere represents a breach of contract.  Renting out a BMR unit is also a violation, though it is unclear that this has occurred. The program requires the sale of units to applicants meeting the city's income guidelines, (just as Mr Arias had in 2003) after the owner relocates.  The goal being having a supply, albeit a small one, of affordable housing for purchase in Emeryville. 

BMR unit owners, even though they receive assistance in the initial purchase, are allowed to realize property value gains over the tenure of their occupancy.  By law, Mr Arias would be allowed to keep 20% of the sale price above his initial investment.  Being across the street from the long-planned ten-acre, 500-unit, Sherwin-Williams development and new public park now under construction, Mr Arias’ unit has likely increased in value in recent months, a windfall he will be able to realize the longer he holds the unit.

This story will continue to evolve as new facts are revealed and we will report as our investigation continues.

Mr Arias declined to comment for this story.  

Rob continues to tell his readers he lives in Emeryville.  If the City's housing assistance director finds he has defrauded City Hall's BMR program, Mr Arias will be forced to sell his unit.  Bio pulled from his E'Ville Eye this week.


  1. Rob is your competitor and rival. I smell sour grapes. He does a lot for our Community, and this is his chance to accumulate a piece of the rock. Even if you are right,leave him alone. He struggles in this economy, just like the rest of us. Thank you!

    1. Rob is a blowhard. But that’s not why we’re focusing on him for purposes of this story. Blowhards are everywhere but Rob is a blowhard member of the elite in the community. He says he is himself: he’s a voice of the community. I accept his claim and that’s why he will be reported on when he engages in wholesale hypocrisy like this. Rob IS the voice of the community, a certain part of the community….the business community and their sycophants. When the elite breaks the law or engages in hypocrisy or is dysfunctional, be they from the private sector or the public sector in Emeryville, the Tattler will report on it. I fully expect government officials and business leaders and their voice pieces to not be happy when I report on their transgressions. So being on Rob’s ‘team’, the pro-business team, I understand you’re not happy with me reporting on him being a hypocrite. It’s to be expected.
      He is not a rival. His blog exists for a whole different reason. He does it to make money and forward business interests. In addition to selling subscriptions and ads, he is underwritten by corporations in Emeryville. They actually write him checks for the pro-business slant he provides. I have no problem with any of Rob’s funding streams, even the corporate underwriting as he goes on to make a living off his blog. It’s just a wholly different model than what the Tattler does. Here there’s no monetizing at all. I never need to drive people to the Tattler like he does. I don’t get money when people read Tattler stories. Rob keeps his readers in the dark if the story invades his narrative. He won’t do stories critical of his business clients….and there’s a lot of them. Rob has taken over after the collapse of the Chamber of Commerce. I have no problem with the business community forwarding feel good stories about themselves using Rob as their proxy. But let’s not make it anything more noble than it is.

  2. If he can afford a second home, it's time to get the BMR unit in new hands. We've got plenty of people willing to play by the rules that are desperate for affordable housing.

  3. WTF? He obviously doesn't like Emeryville but he wants to keep that money coming in. Disgusting! Please please please keep reporting on this.

  4. His news site is boring af. I noticed its turned into air recently and then I checked and sure enough it changed right about the time he bought his place in the suburbs. I used to go to the Tattler and the EE but now theres nothing there.

  5. Wow! Now it all makes sense. I used to see Rob walking his dog in my neighborhood all the time and I have noticed I never see him anymore. Now that I read this I realize just how long it’s been.

  6. Rob has the only news site in Emeryville. It doesn’t matter if he lives here or not at least he tells the news. All you do is liberal loon opinion. I’ve read the EVille Eye for years and I’m not going to stop now. I know that’s why you did this hit piece on Rob, to get us to stop going to EE. It’s not going to work. Stop attacking Rob, it’s really obvious that you’re just jealous.

    1. When you say Rob's blog is the only news site in Emeryville, there's some truth to that. He is the only conservative pro-business news site in town. The Tattler does not compete with Rob's news blog. He's got 'if it bleeds it leads' and we've got Emeryville City Hall has reversed its COVID policy. He's got a real estate report, we've got Lennar Development working with the Department of Toxic Substance Control to cheat a toxic site cleanup. He's got restaurant reviews, we've got the bus bays taxpayers paid for at the 'Transit Center'and the public library we paid for never got built. He's got business community news and we've got resident community news. It's two entirely different universes.
      It sounds like the Tattler is not for you...please keep reading Rob's blog.

  7. Oh this story is good. As the other guy said, please make sure to tell us how this plays out. Hyperlocal my ass. Rob needs to start a new blog in Pleasant Hill.

  8. Womp-Womp. Brian, this is hilarious. Keep up the good work. For the most part, I thought the rivalry between the two of you was fairly childish. There's more than enough going on in town for two blogs. Always thought you were more honest in acknowledging your perspective---and it's easy for readers to discern. Rob however, went to great lengths to claim objectivity, but when he wasn't gushing about ribbon cuttings he was mostly peddling developers verbal assurances that such and such wasn't needed in writing or how some crumb for the community didn't 'pencil out' but was bad anyway.