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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Council Says NO to Democracy For Council Replacement: Appointment Offered Instead

Breaking News:

City Council to Appoint New Council Member

Tonight the Emeryville City Council chose to decide for themselves who should replace former City Councilwoman Ally Medina instead of letting the people decide.  Councilwoman Medina resigned early, effective last Friday and on the agenda at tonight's Council meeting was a choice; who should decide about a replacement.... the people or the Council?  

Some council members balked at the estimated cost of holding a special election, up to $152,000 according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters but in the end it was decided the cost is less important than the idea of having only four Council members until next November, the earliest date date a special election could be held.   The Council will have up to 60 days from today, March 16th, to come up with a replacement. 

An appointee would only need to secure three Council votes to become the next City Council member, it was announced.

Mayor John Bauters expressed strong views that an appointment is the best choice while Council member Kalimah Priforce expressed reservations but he ultimately agreed an appointment is the best way for Emeryville citizens to get their next representative. 

Names thrown out for appointment included two who ran for Council last election, Brooke Westling and Sukhdeep Kaur and also School Board member Brynnda Collins.  Other names were hinted at but not revealed tonight.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Mayor Bauters Leads Drive Against Council Colleague, Kalimah Priforce

Round Two in War Against City Council member Priforce

His Colleagues Refuse to Endorse Him For Assembly Delegate While They Endorse Council Member Welch

Mr Priforce Asked to Sign 'Collegiality Agreement' 

An emerging discord among Emeryville City Council members has manifest in another unprecedented event Friday when the Mayor and two colleagues endorsed Councilwoman Courtney Welch for a delegate to the Democratic Party Assembly District 18, conspicuously leaving aside Councilman Kalimah Priforce, who is also running for delegate in the same election.  Notably, the Emeryville City Council has never endorsed a candidate for the State Assembly, let alone snub a fellow Council member running as they did on Friday.  The negation of Mr Priforce adds muscle to the new polity of hostility against him by the Council majority after the wholesale attack on Mr Priforce at his swearing in meeting. 

City Council member Kalimah Priforce
Since entering the City Council, his colleagues
have been hostile to him.
The Council refuses to say why.


Propping up Ms Welch at the expense of Mr Priforce for Emeryville representation in Assembly District 18, Mayor Bauters was joined by Ms Medina and even newly sworn in City Council member David Mourra.  In a show of force, the existing District 18 Assembly member Mia Bonta has also endorsed Courtney Welch and other corporate backed Democrats, revealing the political reach of Mayor Bauters who plays by the Democratic Party mainstream rules and gets favors like this returned.  

Mr Priforce and Ms Welch are running for delegate on different slates with different guiding philosophies.   Ms Welch’s slate of 14 candidates is noteworthy for its attachment to YIMBY, a developer lobbying backed organization that seeks to remove local regulation in housing policy.  A central figure supporting Courtney Welch is her slate mate Zac Bowling, a software CEO and YIMBY backed candidate.  Ms Welch too is backed by YIMBY, having received $1000 from the 'YIMBY Victory Fund'.  Mayor Bauters has also received YIMBY money from YIMBY supporters it should be noted.  

The YIMBY organization (Yes In My Back Yard) is backed by rightwing groups including the far right Koch Brothers.  The organization has quietly reached tentacles into cities across the Bay Area in recent years as they get municipalities to reverse their rules constraining developers that would deliver livability for existing residents.     

Councilwoman Welch was called out as a “corporate backed Democrat” by several local election watching politicos including the well known progressive Alameda resident, Democrat Dan Wood.  Ms Welch has forcefully pushed back on the accusations on her Twitter account stating "From here on out, if you want to say I'm connect w/, to, involved in, etc something, cite your sources or shut the fuck up & that's on everything."

Courtney "Shut The Fuck Up" Welch
Council member Welch is supported by the YIMBY
backed network East Bay for Everyone.  Their agenda is
to overturn local municipal power and give it to housing developers.
Council member Priforce has been critical of YIMBY.

The snubbing of Council member Priforce by his colleagues is added to the recently released pre-City Council election collegiality agreement they required him to sign.  The agreement stipulated that Mr Priforce is to behave in a collegial manner at City Council meetings (never mind the fact that the Council majority themselves violated the collegiality they sought at Mr Priforce’s swearing in meeting).  

For his part, Council member Priforce has taken the attacks and snubbing from his colleagues on the Council in stride.  He told the Tattler, "As a Black man, a Buddhist Haitian Afro-Latine son of foster care, I'm used to being judged and non-engaged with out of fear and biased assumptions.”  He said of his fellow Council members, “I have no power over darkness, only my own light.”

The City Council members did not respond to Tattler questions about the snubbing of Mr Priforce as he seeks to represent Emeryville in the Democratic Party except David Mourra who said he didn’t receive an ‘ask for endorsement’ from Mr Priforce. 

California Democratic Party Assembly District 18 includes Emeryville, Oakland, Alameda.   Emeryville voters registered as Democrats were asked to vote last Friday for 14 candidates although they can still vote by appearing at polling places outside Emeryville up until January 22nd.  Winners will be announced in March.

UPDATE TO STORY:  We received emails asking for us to include the full quote Council member Priforce supplied us with.  We left part of the quote out initially to keep the story on track and to the point.  Because Tattler readers have requested it, here's one better, a revised full quote from Councilman Priforce:

As a Black man, a Buddhist Haitian Afro-Latine son of the foster care system, I'm used to being judged and non-engaged with out of fear and biased assumptions. Today, an elderly White woman pulled me aside after church and told me, 'it's so good to have a Godly Black man on the city council.'  That is what centers me throughout all this drama that looks more like student government than a real government led by mature, mindful adults.

But it's folk like her that remind me to pray for my colleagues and focus less on them and more on the mandate granted to me by the voters to make Emeryville a better village to work, live, and play in. I don't agree with many of the views expressed in this body, but any semblance of special interest influence that warps the destiny of our city, its residents, homeowners, and workers is something I will always fight against and address. Silence is complicity. I also suggest readers focus less on the sensationalism or the back and forth and more on the solid points being made.

Matthew 5:16 says 'Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works..." so I'm focused on my own good works and to continue to be a light that shines in darkness - like I've done all my life. I have no power over darkness, only my own light. What my colleagues say and do is up to them and I want no part in anything that doesn't serve the best interests of Emeryville."

SECOND UPDATE & CORRECTION:  We erroneously reported that Councilman David Mourra was not asked to sign a collegiality agreement.  We apologize for the error.  At 8:31 tonight (1/10) Councilman David Mourra confirmed he in fact also signed a ‘Candidates Pledge’ (AKA collegiality agreement) given to him by his colleagues.  Before we posted the story, we reached out to Council members Bauters and Medina to ask if Mr Mourra was given the Pledge to sign after we got tips from two independent sources that they did not ask Mr Mourra to sign it or even present it to him.  The two Council members refused to confirm.  

The collegiality agreement cooked up for this election is unprecedented in Emeryville City Council history and this election with Kalimah Priforce (and David Mourra) running, was the first time there has ever been such an agreement presented to any Council candidates.  No other Emeryville City Council members or Council candidates have ever been asked to sign such a document.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

The End of Collegiality at the Emeryville City Council? Yes, But Why?

 Petulant Name Calling, Ugly Xenophobia and Racism 

Emeryville's Famous City Council Collegiality Evaporates

News Analysis/Opinion

The ugly specter of xenophobia was raised at the December 12th City Council meeting along with petulant name calling and something else by one Council member against another when Councilwoman Ally Medina, reversing the long storied Emeryville City Council culture of collegiality, attacked her new colleague, the incoming Kalimah Priforce.  Eight days after the outburst, at another meeting, Ms Medina announced her resignation from the City Council,  citing personal reasons of a financial nature.  

The disobliging attitude against Council member Priforce, who had been sworn in only moments before the attack, came after he had respectfully expressed his discomfort in Council member John Bauters being selected by the Council majority to serve a second back-to-back term as mayor.   Ms Medina defended the selection and accused Mr Priforce of sexism with his stated discomfort, calling out his male privilege and disparaging him as a "man" who will not be listened to.

Former Council member Dianne Martinez
and current member Ally Medina. 

They're panicked.

After a San Francisco friend of Mr Priforce phoned in during the public comment period, defending him against the attack, Council member Medina denounced the commenter as having come from outside Emeryville and therefore illegitimate.  “Be well aware that with a simple public records act request we can look at all of your text messages and confirm who is and who is not from Emeryville”, she warned Mr Priforce with xenophobic and autocratic flair.  Left unmentioned by Ms Medina is the red carpet treatment given to every out-of-town developer who comes to Emeryville with an apartment tower proposal she (and the rest of them) always lavish praise on.  Didactically lecturing Council member Priforce and acting as if Emeryville were not a regional player in power politics, ugly xenophobia is only to be aimed at Mr Priforce it would seem, others are to get a pass.

Noteworthy was the fact that the rest of the Council sat in stoney silence during Ms Medina’s tirade against our new Councilman, letting her comments stand unchallenged.

Council member Kalimah Priforce
....the reason the City Council
is so distraught.
Also of note in the evening filled with Council chicanery was the stern publicly given harangue directed at Mr Priforce by retiring City Councilwoman Dianne Martinez.  The outgoing Martinez wanted the incoming Priforce to know collegiality is the coin of the realm in the Emeryville Council chamber and that he is on notice to oblige.  The irony that Ms Martinez’s friend on the Council, Ms Medina, attacked the newly instated Councilman moments later, was lost on Dianne Martinez.

The first-two meetings ordeal faced by our new Council member Kalimah Priforce was shocking to be sure.  It leaves us wondering why.  Mr Priforce made statements on the campaign trail that would indicate he might be an independent voice on the Council, it is true.  He was heard questioning Emeryville’s new pro-marketplace housing policies for instance.   But the force aligned against him was strangely disproportional.  Is this to be a new era of Council infighting we’re entering?  If Mr Priforce, who is Black, actually is an independent voice, that will likely be the case.  But the disrespect shown by the Council majority and the asymmetrical force of the attack makes us think there’s more at play here.  Name calling and lecturing the incoming City Councilman?  We think the Council is unduly afraid of Mr Priforce.  We think this is mostly racism.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Breaking: Ally Medina Resigns


Councilwoman Ally Medina Resigns

Tonight, Emeryville City Council member Ally Medina resigned from office effective immediately.  Citing financial reasons and her desire to move out of town, Ms Medina made the announcement at the council comment section of tonight's regularly scheduled meeting.  Her colleagues expressed surprise at the announcement but an agendidized item on council travel authorization tonight notably left her name out, which would indicate she had notified the City Clerk of her impending departure at least three days ago. 

Ms Medina made news at a special City Council meeting the Monday night before last when she attacked her new colleague Kalimah Priforce, overturning a general culture of collegiality that has marked the City Council for years.


It was not revealed how a replacement would be selected but it is presumed a taxpayer funded special election would need to be done or an appointment directed by the Mayor and decided by the City Council majority.  

Monday, December 12, 2022

Breaking: Councilman Bauters to Be Mayor a Second Term

 BREAKING Back to Back Mayor Term:

Two New Council Members Sworn In, Mayor John Bauters is Forwarded to Be Mayor For a Second Term

Tonight mayor John Bauters was elected mayor by his colleagues, skipping Ally Medina who had been Vice Mayor and in line to become mayor.  The action makes Mr Bauters mayor two years running, an unprecedented thing in Emeryville history.  The Council elected Cortney Welch as Vice Mayor. 

The move was not without drama, Vice Mayor Medina invoked newly elected Council member Kalimah Priforce’s privilege as a “man” after he raised objections to the prospect of re-upping of Mr Bauters for a second term.  Ms Medina called Mr Priforce “offensive” as he raised his objection, saying it didn’t “feel right” having the mayor go for a second round.

The name-calling came moments after departing Council member Dianne Martinez stated the most important thing the new Council needs to do moving forward is to maintain collegiality. 

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Emeryville City Hall Finally Recognizes the Fourth Amendment

 Emeryville Will Now Allow You to Do Business With City Hall Anonymously As The Law Guarantees

After 22 years violating the people’s Fourth Amendment rights at City Hall, the City of Emeryville has recently joined with other Bay Area municipalities (and beyond) who honor the United States Constitution.  Formerly, people in Emeryville who wished to do business with their government were required to surrender their identification, a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment and the Brown Act.  With a little bit of help from the Tattler and some tape, we happily report that after about a week tearing off our corrective signs, City Hall has finally given up and joined Team Constitution.  Way to go Emeryville!  

The sign has been removed from the lobby after the City was threatened with a lawsuit.  The City Manager probably realized the City standing its ground in its violating the Constitution would not be looked upon favorably by any judge.  The illegal sign is gone.  This is how progress is made in our town….a lot of activism and then baby steps. 

This sign remained in the lobby at City Hall since the building was
constructed in 2000.  Some people over the years, not knowing their rights,
probably gave in and allowed the government to intimidate them.

The Tattler had a correction to the violation. We 
returned many times over a week to replace our
paper sign.  The police were summoned but 
EPD allowed the paper sign to stay put.  No arrests
were made even though a charge of 'vandalism' was bandied.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Failed Family Friendly Housing Policies: Housing YES But Family Housing? NO

Emeryville: Worst City For Families in the East Bay

City Spending Money on New No Account Housing Plan 

To Follow the Last No Account Housing Plan 

Lots of Talk But Where Are The Families?

News Analysis

The City of Emeryville has failed in its pledge to bring families to Emeryville that it promised when it passed its 2014 housing plan, now in the process of being updated.  The 'Housing Element' plan, is part of the General Plan and it places "family friendly" housing as one of its core goals.  Regardless of the officially stated goal of increasing families in town, Emeryville’s average household size remains stuck at 1.8 people per housing unit, the same as it was when the last  Housing Element was written.  And it continues to be the lowest, by far, of all cities in the East Bay.   

The objective data highlight failed public housing policy for Emeryville, even as all the familiar talking heads try to tell us otherwise.  Despite family friendly housing being identified as a primary goal by the Housing Element and despite the Planning Commission and the City Council both having repeatedly assured us they are taking the goal seriously, Emeryville has not moved the needle forward on that metric one iota according to data from the US Census Bureau.  Emeryville is as family un-friendly now as it has been since before 2010.

Listening to all the over heated talk from City Hall and the City Council on this subject, people could be forgiven for thinking Emeryville is doing very well bringing families to our town.  It’s the kind of talk voters like to hear.  At election time, every City Council candidate says they’re going to deliver more families to Emeryville, sometimes ad nauseam.  The developers with construction proposals all say their residential developments will attract lots of families.  But at 1.8 average household size for more than ten years running, Emeryville is on the bottom among East Bay cities, right where it's been for decades.  Berkeley is the second least family friendly at 2.2 people per housing unit, followed by El Cerrito that has 2.3 people per unit.  Many cities east of the hills in the Tri-Valley area average three or even more than four people per unit.

Like it did in 2014 when it was writing the Housing Element it is currently replacing, the City has been conducting polls to see what housing goals the people want.  Then as now, the people are stating family friendly housing is essential.  In 2014, the goals ensconced in the Housing Element included “larger households” and to “improve the housing tenure” for families as well as “more for-sale units and less rental units” and to “increase owner occupancy”.  Emeryville has failed on all counts. 

The new goals, same as the old goals, will almost certainly be unmet when the newest Housing Element itself sunsets (in 2033) owing to the City Council’s recent pledge to build more housing at the cost of building parks.  The General Plan delineates providing at least 50 acres of park by the time that document sunsets in 2030.  However Emeryville’s mayor, John Bauters recently announced no new parks would be build in Emeryville until enough housing is built, an unquantified statement that will not likely happen before 2030, if ever.  If building parks means building less housing, then also requiring developers to build family friendly houses that actually attract families will also come at the cost of greater numbers of general housing units. 

If Emeryville would build the parks it has promised, they would likely find themselves in a virtuous circle; parks bringing families, families bringing more parks.  But with a City Council hostile to parks, this will not be tested.  Instead, Emeryville seems to be caught in a viscous circle; a lack of parks keeping families away and a lack of families demanding more parks translating into no parks being built.

To the extent that the City Council brags about building more family friendly housing units, a reality check is in order.  Because even if Emeryville is building more "family friendly" housing units than before, that fact has failed to bring more families the Census data shows us.   That being the case, clearly Emeryville needs to re-define what family friendly housing is.   Any proper definition needs to include a metric that relies on actual families moving into town.

However, bringing in families may not even be a real goal for Emeryville's elite.  Developers want to maximize their profits and to do that they need to build more market rate rental housing.  The City Council is helping the developers by ignoring the jobs/housing balance we traditionally have followed delineated in the objective data complied by the Association of Bay Area Governments and its Regional Housing Needs Assessment.   The City of Emeryville is a dues paying member of ABAG but has been de-coupling itself from that organization in recent years in favor of a different organization; YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard), a developer backed national housing lobbying conglomerate.  The group calls for de-regulation in housing and is funded by right wing scions including the Koch brothers.

During the formulation of the 2014 Housing Element, there was a high level of popular support for bringing families to Emeryville.  The power elite in our town, the corporations, the School Board, the City staff and the City Council however have not supported this.  The Census data proves that.  The powers that be in Emeryville have not delivered on this goal despite a near constant whinging on about how they support it.  

Decade after decade, Emeryville is the most un-friendly city for families in the East Bay.
  All the talk has net ZERO for average household size.  At what point do we conclude they're not serious about bringing families to Emeryville?
                                                                               Data from the US Census Bureau

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Parks Get in the Way of Housing Says Emeryville Mayor

Mayor Announces Parks Are No Longer a Priority for Emeryville

It's Only Housing, Housing and More Housing For Emeryville

General Plan Parks Policy Overturned With Mayor's Proclamation

News Analysis

Emeryville’s mayor Tuesday night, finally put to words why Emeryville has stopped building new parks; “Because people don’t need to sleep in a park, they need to sleep with a roof over their head” he said, adding that “the region is suffering from a lack of housing”.  

The surprising announcement came as a response to questions from the Tattler at the City Council meeting, when Mayor John Bauters presented a major reversal of settled public park policy for Emeryville.  He said the City of Emeryville will no longer prioritize building parks, focusing instead on building as much housing as fast as can be built.  “Our housing jobs balance is off” he offered as a rationale. 

While his City Council colleagues looked on silently, the Mayor did not equivocate, “Every person on the City Council agrees we wish to expand parks and find opportunities to do that but not at the cost of housing” he said.

Mayor John Bauters
He says Emeryville needs housing
instead of parks.  He presents a false equivalency
between the two: it's going to be
parks or housing and he choses housing.

The issue of parks was discussed Tuesday night as a result of developers who had responded to a request for proposals from the City of Emeryville to build a large, new all rental residential tower on land south of Christie Avenue park.  The developers told the Council they were prepared to expand the existing park by as much as 10,000 square feet if they are given permission to build their proposed project.  But 10,000 square feet of park expansion is anemic, short by about 120,000 square feet if we are to keep pace with what the General Plan says should be built to offset the proposed tower.

The false equivalency of parks or housing put forth by Mr Bauters mimics draconian language from the national housing advocacy organization YIMBY, a group with tendrils extending into the Emeryville City Council.  YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard), a lobbying organization funded by developers and right wing entities such as the Koch brothers, was formulated as a pro-development foil to the discredited and disorganized NIMBY phenomenon that local residents sometimes engage in to fight undesirable development.  Other cities in the Bay Area have also recently taken up the YIMBY cause, some council members taking money from them and approving formerly controversial development projects as the organization grows in political power.  Several Emeryville City Council members are associated with YIMBY and at least two have taken money from them, either directly or indirectly.  

It's important to note while NIMBY represents opinions and behavior from individual citizens and as such is not an organization in any meaningful sense of the word, YIMBY is a powerful lobbying organization funded by interested parties, often with corporate dark money.

Emeryville City Councilwoman Courtney Welch (in red)
She agrees, Emeryville needs much more market rate housing.
Posing with YIMBY luminaries at the
YIMBY Prom Gala: "2022's biggest YIMBY party".  
City Council candidate Welch quietly took a campaign
donation of $1000 from the 'YIMBY Victory Fund' .

What Mayor Bauters failed to note as he announced Emeryville’s new park policy is that our guiding document, the General Plan, says Emeryville DOES need to build more parks.  A lot more.  In fact, more than 50 acres of parks are delineated by the sunset of the General Plan in 2030.  As of 2020, Emeryville had (and still has) only 22.4 park acres.  We should have had 41.6 acres by 2020 if we were following the General Plan.

Mr Bauters’ unquantified announcement that the City will not build parks until some future day when there is enough housing, was really more of an imprimatur, finalizing what has been a 'no park' trajectory by the City since the General Plan was written more than ten years ago.  The City has not been building parks nearly fast enough to offset all the new housing being built and Emeryville has been falling further behind our designated park needs every year.  The mayor’s announcement simply puts to words what has been the City's default policy of not building enough parks.  

The ‘parks or housing’ false choice proffered by Mr Bauters belies Emeryville’s massive market rate housing boom of recent years.  The City has been building housing at a prodigious rate.   The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that Emeryville wants to exceed housing requirements from the Association of Bay Area Governments by 50 percent even while neighboring cities are failing to meet the ABAG housing minimums.  The Chron reported as such, "One Bay Area town, the small city of Emeryville, is shooting to not only meet the target but exceed it by a mile".  Councilman Bauters admitted as late as 2019 the City was doing its share building housing, “Developers line up to build in the City”, giving Emeryville a “pro-housing” designation, he told the Real Deal, a local real estate magazine. 

YIMBY Prom Court
Ms Martinez, a vocal
antagonist against planning and
a long time critic of ABAG's 
housing needs assessment,
was also a 'VIP' guest at the
October YIMBY prom gala.

So while Emeryville has built housing more than what the jobs/housing balance actually requires as tabulated by ABAG and in spite of Mayor Bauters’ proclamations,  Mr Bauters now says the City needs to step up even more in its zeal to build housing.  Taken at his word, the parks-at-the-expense-of housing equivalency presented by Mr Bauters hints that whereas before Emeryville could presumably build parks, now we can’t, regardless of what our General Plan says.  Parks are a luxury Emeryville can no longer afford Mayor Bauters implies.  

The new no parks policy has come at a bad time for our town.  Emeryville has been the worst city in the East Bay area for parks for decades.  Our residents per acre of park in 2020 was at 549.  That number has gone higher since 2020.  We need to be much lower; three acres for every 1000 residents or 333 residents per acre. As we build more housing and don’t build enough parks to offset the increase in population, every year Emeryville gets worse.  And with Mr Bauters’ new no parks policy, delivered by executive fiat, that will likely be our fate.  Against all this pressure from an outside organization and barring a democratic pushback, Emeryville is now on track to remain the worst city in the East Bay area for parks into the foreseeable future.

Mayor Bauters refused to comment for this story but he said his comments made at the City Council meeting can be quoted as accurately portraying his policy ideas.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

School Board Election Autopsy

 To the Tattler Readership-

Our copy editor today accidentally deleted and erased this story (we're going to have to dock his pay!).  We will re-build the story from our contemporaneous notes over the next day or two so please check back in later.  The story might be slightly changed but we will strive for an accurate re-post.  The comments will be loaded after the story is re-done.  All the comments were saved luckily.   Our new Councilman made a couple of news breaking comments so it is imperative we re-load the comments. 

This is the first time in our almost 13 year history this has happened but I'm going to have a word with Mr X about being more careful when he mucks about in the posting area.   Sorry for the inconvenience and please bear with us.

The Editor

What are we to make of the just passed November 6th elections in Emeryville?   

The City Council election was normal; candidates all said the same things they always say.  We need more parks, less traffic, safer bicycling opportunities they said….everything you would expect to say and what candidates do say every election season.  But what about the School Board election?  That was most unusual.  In fact it was bizarre. 

To start with, it was very unusual that we even had an election for School Board at all.  Normally at Emery Unified School District, there are no contenders for School Board races every two years and as a result, the incumbents are able to walk right back in without an election.  In fact, the only reason Emeryville voters got a chance to vote at all this time is because I ran against the three incumbents.  If I hadn’t run for election, there would have been no election at all and the people of Emeryville, those who pay for the schools, would have not have had a say in how their money gets spent. 

The ‘incumbent advantage’ is very powerful in Emeryville, be it at the School Board or at the City Council.  The elected officials know this of course and Emery School Board members usually quit before their terms are complete to allow their Board colleges to appoint a replacement, usually one of their friends.  Then the appointment is an incumbent and able to leverage Emeryville legendary incumbent advantage at the next election.  Most Emery School Board members start out as appointees and some never even have to face the voters.  Right now, four out of the five sitting School Board members started out as appointees.

It’s been like this for decades.  The culture of ‘quitting early to allow for appointed replacements’ is why Emery Unified School District never changes in any substantial way.  New voices are shut out in this way.  ‘Group think’ sets into an ossified system like this.  And as far as academics and pedagogical performance is concerned, it shows at Emery.

As I showed during my campaign for School Board, Emery’s performance is not commensurate with the amount of money the people of Emeryville throw at the district.  And the children suffer for it.  

Emery is by far the richest school district in the entire East Bay.  We fund our schools at over $27,000 per student per year (and this doesn’t include the $400 million new ECCL campus we paid for).  The next highest paid district is Berkeley Unified School District where they fund at a rate of about $18,000 per student per year.  But Berkeley also gets extremely high academic performance for its children compared with Emery.  Emery, for all the money we spend gets terrible academic results.  In fact Emery is on the bottom among all the school districts in Alameda County.

These facts prompted consternation on the campaign trail and Emeryville voters were witness to a spectacle about the District’s low academic performance during the campaign season.  The three incumbents were desperate to NOT talk about their record.  But I kept talking about it.  So they mostly ignored and prevaricated when they couldn’t ignore.   One incumbent, Board president Susan Donaldson took issue with Emery’s last place academic record.  She cherry picked data to make it look like Emery isn’t the worst but only the third from worst.  ‘Take heart Emeryville voters’, Susan said, ‘Brian is wrong; Emery is only third from last place despite all the money we spend’.   It was a specious argument people with an expectation of excellence wouldn’t normally make.  But Emery actually is in last place among all 18 Alameda County school districts, all the sanctimonious hyperbole from the incumbents notwithstanding.

The worst academic record with the most money spent.  That’s the three incumbent’s record and that’s not something people would vote for.  So why did Emeryville voters vote for it? 

My campaign focused on teacher pay.  Right now Emery pays about average for the Bay Area.  I said we need to pay teachers more.  Because we’re the wealthiest school district in the East Bay, we can and should pay our teachers more because that’s how to build an equitable city and how to build a better school district with better academic results for the children.  At the League of Woman Voters Candidate’s Forum, the three incumbents had a ready response to my challenge: NO they said, we can’t afford to pay our teachers more they insisted.

As I went door to door during the campaign, every single person I talked with and I talked with hundreds, every one agreed: paying teachers more should be a priority at Emery. 

But what about the incumbents?  Did the voters they talked with tell them paying teachers more should be a priority?  No.  Because the incumbents didn’t give them a chance.  Because they don’t want to pay our teachers more.  So the incumbents don’t want to hear that.

But why should it be that the likely majority of voters, who think we should be paying teachers more, shouldn’t get their way at the ballot box?  Why didn’t the only candidate running that clearly said teacher pay should be raised, why didn’t that candidate win the election?  The only reason that seems plausible is the lack of information.  I raised and spent only about a thousand dollars.  The incubates raised much more.  The used their massive campaign dollars to tell voters Emery is doing great with them in command.  They didn’t talk about test scores, academic achievement, dollars per student spent or teacher pay.  They talked about nebulous things like racial and gender diversity of the school board, stability (status quo)  and keeping Emery “on track”.  

Emeryville has no newspaper.  That simple fact allows elected officials to demagog issues and get away with it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Breaking News: Election Results

 With two of two precincts reporting, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters released results from the City Council election and the Emery School Board election.  Kalimah Priforce and David Mourra will be elected to the City Council and the three incumbents, Regina Chagolla, Susan Donaldson and Brynnda Collins won re-election to the School Board.

Kalimah Priforce



David Mourra



Sukhdeep Kaur



Brooke Westling



Eugene Tssui



Regina Chagolla



Susan Donaldson



Brynnda R. Collins



Brian Donahue