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Monday, June 13, 2011

The Government Accountability Project

The Emeryville Government Accountability Project
Citizen Access

As part of the on-going effort to strengthen democratic institutions and citizen involvement in Emeryville, the Tattler will publish the telephone numbers of elected officials as they become known.  For decades here politicians made their phone numbers public and would take calls from constituents.  Sadly, this tradition has been waning, and citizen access has eroded.  Meanwhile, developers routinely meet with politicians and city staff in closed door sessions. We are dismayed to see this weakening of citizen access to the levers of power even while corporate access has never been stronger.  Accordingly, we now add the unpublished telephone number of school board member Pat Hooper to the list of published numbers of Emeryville's elected officials.
Future would be politicians should take warning:  If you win office and try to keep your telephone number confidential, the Tattler will publish it if we can find it.
Here then is the newest contact-

Pat Hooper, School Board Member:
(510) 384-7882

Here is the list so far:
City Council
Nora Davis -  (510) 652-2199
Ruth Atkin - Unlisted
Ken Bukowski -  (510) 305-0000
Kurt Brinkman - Unlisted
Jennifer West - (510) 420-5795

School Board
Josh Simon -  (510) 601-1480
Cheryl Webb - (510) 654-6012*
Melodi Dice - Unlisted
Miguel Dwin - Unlisted
*unlisted but obtained by the Tattler


  1. Good for you! Now we just need to add the 5 missing numbers. Keep takin' it to 'em Tattler!

  2. RIGHT ON! This is so great - what IS the story with the City Council giving access to special, monied interests and NOT to the citizens who they are elected to serve. It must be because the special interests pay for their campaigns. And that's what matters. Yes, the EMERYVILLE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT - excellent! It's about time.

  3. I would also like to see the Planning Commission held accountable along with every Emeryville City Employee. They need to start working for us the residents and not their own self intrests.

  4. Your unethical behavior no longer surprises me, but what does surprise me is the way you flaunt it as if it is something we should be aspiring to. Just because someone is an elected official does not mean that they lose the right have their phone number unlisted. All of these public officials are available via email addresses which are published by the agencies they are elected to. In addition, each official can be contacted via US mail sent to the agency. In addition to these methods some officials choose to publish their phone numbers, others do not. That is any individual's prerogative. I was taught phone etiquette by my mother and it is not polite to contact anyone on an unlisted number unless they give you the number. I wouldn't do that to you and I would do that to an elected official either--it's rude. No legitimate media source would be allowed to get away with the garbage you are pulling here. It's not constructive to a civil, educated dialogue with our elected officials either and I think we can all agree that we should be striving for that.

  5. To Anon 11:21-
    If you don't want to call your elected officials in Emeryville then I suggest you refrain from calling them. I think anyone who agrees with you that elected officials with unpublished telephone numbers should not be called will also not call those elected officials.
    This line of thinking goes further: perhaps you shouldn't call elected officials even with published numbers, after all they may not want to be bothered with work related stuff at home. Perhaps you shouldn't bother them at home in that case.
    Maybe the US mail is inappropriate because the elected officials in question open their mail at their home. Maybe it's unethical to mail elected officials work related stuff at all.
    Perhaps the only ethical way to tell your elected representatives anything is at the "Citizen Comments" section of council meetings and school board meetings. Even there, perhaps it's presumptuous of you to insert your own subjective view of politics. After all these politicians were elected by a majority.
    Maybe it's best for all concerned to just leave them alone and let them do the important work they need to do...they were elected to do, without molestation. Who are you to impose your selfish arcanery on the rest of the population anyway? Ethically, perhaps it's best to just not get involved.

  6. I was an Emeryville resident for over 18 years and even now I live in Oakland on the Emeryville boarder a stone’s throw away and I am surprised but not shocked at the political games that go on in this small city. I am however even more surprised with the full frontal attack on the City Council, City Manager, School Board, and other bodies that govern this town. I have been reading the archives of the Emeryville Secret News and the Emeryville Tattler and have been getting a baptism by fire of all the ‘newsworthy’ things going on in Emeryville. While I do not claim to be a resident expert in matters of government, now and I a cheerleader for City officials, I do however see that there are various groups in Emeryville that are out for self gratification and some of those groups submit articles and/or open letters regularly to the Tattler and Secret News. I’m interested in the conversations that are not happening. For example, where are the conversations about the gentrification going on in Emeryville neighborhoods that used to be saturated with people of color who can no longer afford to live here? While the various blogs and online newsletters do a great job of whistle blowing City of Emeryville employees and elected officials, who is doing the whistle blowing for what’s happened to the neighborhood and community I grew up in? Emeryville has its political scandals just like every other city but there ought to be an outcry from someone out there discussing the continued inequities for various citizens in the community. Mr. Donahue, you seem to be well versed in what’s going on in Emeryville and I must say that I have not read your breadth of journalism. I may not agree with some of the things that you write or report, I also understand that everyone does not have to agree and there is a place for all opinions, interpretations of facts, and anecdotal commentary. That being said, I will continue to read items published about the City so that I can stay informed…

  7. To the above reader-
    I would welcome information on a story about gentrification in Emeryville and it's negative effects on people of color here. I would like to hear what you have to say about this. This is most assuredly the kind of story I am interested in for the Tattler. Please contact me at

  8. Mr. Donahue:

    I do enjoy my anonymity so I hesitate to email you which will in turn provide you with my contact information. I will however provide you with a few starting points and places so that you can conduct your own research as you have proven to be a coinsurer of fact finding. I have noted the following:

    • Over the past 60 years the white non-Hispanic population has been at least 60% of the overall population in Emeryville. That number has only slightly decline over the years as the numbers of Blacks, Hispanic, Native Americans, Asians, and Native American number have been increased. There can be an argument made that the Census data from the turn of the 20th century may not be accurate as people of color were not given access to vote or participate in census data collection in the way that the white minority has.
    • If you look at the school data, you will see a stark difference in the racial make-up of the EUSD population. For the at least the last 20 years, the racial population of EUSD has been year after year predominately Black/African American comprising on average 60% of the total district pollution. While this group makes up only 17.5% of the total population for the city at this time (which is significantly above the state average of 12.8% 2010 Census Data), Black families clearly send their students to EUSD schools while the white resident do not.
    • There have only been 9 Single Family Home building permits from 1996 to 2010 for new home construction building permits issued in the city. While there has been a proliferation of rental units and or codo/townhome/lofts with rental prices and/or selling prices being out of reach for many of the residents that are at the poverty level.
    • Percentage of residents living in poverty in 2009: 16.6% (11.0% for White Non-Hispanic residents, 14.3% for Black residents, 37.0% for Hispanic or Latino residents, 0.0% for American Indian residents, 41.5% for other race residents, 14.0% for two or more races residents)

    I will provide you with several website links so that you can check the data for yourself and also conduct further research. The abovementioned are just a few items to start with.

    Anecdotal information: Wallace Christie, Emeryville’s first mayor held office for 40 years… (I’m sure you knew that already),_California