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Thursday, July 15, 2010


Petrograd to Leningrad
to St Petersburg

More than five years after its inception, The Emeryville Center of Community Life (ECCL) is undergoing a name change; for now it's being called the Joint Use Facility (JUF) until presumably a different name can be agreed upon by those in power. ECCL watchers have pointed to the extreme sensitivity shown by the Council and the School Board to negative public association for the expensive community project as a reason for the name change, especially since a $95 million bond initiative for the project is looming.

Council members and the School Board, together called the City Schools Committee, have noted they want to do everything in their power to increase the chances that the bond initiative will pass. They are very sensitive that the freshly released survey by the Lew Edwards Group, an Oakland political consulting firm commissioned by the city, has indicated that the Emeryville Center of Community Life is a losing idea and that the voters should be told they are voting simply on a school bond. Lew Edwards' information shows school bonds generally are looked at with more favor by voters and the school/community social services project presented previously by ECCL, is a loser in November.

Further, the political consultants are also pushing earthquake safety as a way to spin this massive project. Unspoken is the fact that any building more than five years old is not up to currant seismic codes and it's not fiscally prudent or even possible to be continually tearing down schools and rebuilding them as seismic codes change.

So it's going to be all about a school bond on the November 2 ballot and the need for seismic upgrading because that's what will sell this project according to the consultants.

We feel this project, now slated at almost $120 million, after $25 million kicked in directly from Emeryville taxpayers, is too important for trickery like this. The people should be allowed a real debate about a public project this massive for our town. We are chagrined the City Schools Committee has decided to engage in a game of three card monte rather than leveling with the Emeryville people about what the real stakes are.


  1. Check your history, dude. Stalingrad is the city formerly--and currently-- known as Volgograd. Leningrad is the city formerly--and currently--known as St. Petersburg.

  2. Point well taken...mistakes were made, we should have left out 'Stalingrad'.

  3. $125 mil? That's it? That's a bargain by today's standards.

  4. $125 million? That's it?

    Here's how it breaks down:

    More than $12,000 for every man, woman and child in Emeryville*
    More than $150,000 for every student at the entire school district*

    *numbers don't include interest on the debt, so the real numbers are much higher.

  5. Wouldn't be nice if the companies who make so much money living off Emeryville, decided to pay for this--imagine "Disney-Pixar Children, Families and Community Center".

    It would do so much for Disney's image and our city's legacy. In 48 hours Disney Pixar, in its latest animation, made almost as much as this project costs.

  6. The city cannot afford landscape and lighting without taxing us further. Why on earth would we open ourselves up to such a huge tax burden for an unneeded project. Instead of renaming the project JUF they should name it KFC, the cornerstone of this fiasco.

  7. How about renaming it the Nora Davis Museum of Failure?

  8. How about re-naming it the Nora Davis Museum of Corruption, Greed and Failure

  9. $95 million is a pretty good deal for a project as cool as this one.

    A per person cost isn't a fair comparison since Emeryville has such a small number of people. By that logic it doesn't make sense to approve a bond for any project. Bonds exist precisely to FINANCE projects for which funds are not immediately avaliable. Whatever it takes to get the bond passed and this projet built within budget, let's do it!

  10. Number of students enrolled in EUSD........770
    Projected cost of ECCL............$120,000,000
    Construction cost per student.........$155,844

    Conclusion: fiscally unsound.

  11. once more with feeling: avenues for expense reduction and revenue production appear to be ignored by council
    viz salaries/benefits of city mgr, despite failed performance( budget deficit is his responsibility -no excuses acceptable, grounds for dismissal apparent ), salaries /benefits of city atty and assessment/cost of his performance ,probably absence of competitive bidding for both of those positions, no indication of willingness to consider contracting out those positions, dereliction in matter of oversight of possible commercial marina revenue..

    of course citizens should not support 95 or 120 million or whatever more indebtedness, with these matters on the table...

    oakland is laying off police officers! they are considering contracting... many cities are responding to their own losses of revenue by looking at the big ticket items of salary, benefits and revenue production...

    there are specific ways to do that in emeryville...

    and of course there is no legitimate explanation for retaining bukowski....