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Sunday, June 19, 2011

New Private School Ok'ed, Dissenters Attacked

Drink this and you'll want to quash dissent

Woe Be To The Dissenters
Is The Water OK In Emeryville?

Is there something in the water here?
We have to ask:  What is it about Emeryville that makes the power elite so keen to automatically attack dissenters?  Take last month's resident appeal of the Esquela Bilingue Internacional school:  Three resident citizens were attacked after they took issue with the neighborhood damaging aspects of the private school to be located on San Pablo Avenue.
These courageous neighbors spent $200 of their own money to try to force this private school operator to work with the neighbors and limit some of the worst impacts the school will bring to the Triangle neighborhood.  This audaciousness was enough to make School Board Member Pat Hooper and Planning Commission member Frank Flores launch into a personal attack against the appellants: they discredited the appeal and called these Triangle neighbors "NIMBYists".  The spokeswoman for the Oakland based school it should be noted, piled on and derisively called the three Triangle neighbors "appellant landlords"; a clear attempt to discredit and try to re-cast the three residents as some kind of exotic money grubbing interlopers.

The three neighbors, by their appeal, forced the traffic for student drop off and pick up, some 400 students in all, away from the residential 45th street and over to 47th Street.  The project before the appeal would have resulted in a massive amount of cut-through driving on 45th Street from San Pablo to Adeline Street. Now the cars will turn onto 47th Street, and turn around in the school parking lot and re-emerge onto 47th and back to San Pablo, leaving the residential neighborhood unimpeded.
Further, the appellants got the school to agree to 'Transit Demand Management' practices, including carpooling and van pooling, thereby lowering the total vehicle loads to our streets.
Also, the three neighbor appellants forced concessions on the school to make the new pedestrian path jogging around the back of the school to be gated to keep out nefarious types late at night, owing to the lack of visibility for the police.

These concessions would only have been made as a result of the appeal since the Planning Commission was not interested in lowering the impact on the Triangle neighborhood.  Together, the concessions make the Esquela Bilingue Internacional school a less impactful presence on the Triangle neighborhood and a better project for the whole town.
These three neighbors who bravely faced the anti-dissenter gauntlet at City Hall should be thanked for their work improving the livability of our town.  Instead, these three Emeryville residents had their integrity challenged by our government in the accusations leveled by Ms Hooper and Mr Flores.

We use the word courageous to describe the three neighbors because of Emeryville's infamous lack of tolerance for dissenters at City Hall.  The three neighbors likely knew they would be attacked by the government officials and undaunted they brought their appeal anyway.  We continue to be exasperated by this culture at City Hall and we thank these three neighbors for working to improve the livability for our town.

The drama of the San Pablo Avenue private school appeal had audacity all right.  But it came not from the appeal generated by three Emeryville neighbors, it came instead from the thuggish reactions of government officials Pat Hooper and Frank Flores.


  1. Once again the Tattler acts shocked by the normal state of affairs in Emeryville. Attacking dissenters has been the M.O. since Nora Davis took charge of city hall back in the 80's. Why didn't you tell us who the dissenters were this time?

  2. To the above reader-
    One of the three appellants asked to have their name withheld and we felt it wasn't necessary for the editorial piece to reveal the other two; the important part of it being the longstanding culture of intolerance for dissent at City Hall, as you have noted. The three appellants names are a matter of public record if you want to thank them personally, and they can be obtained by asking the city clerk's office.

  3. That frivolous appeal was completely NIMBY driven. Just because the City Council granted some concessions to the appellants does not mean the appeal wasn't frivolous. It should be noted that the Council did deny the appeal. The appeal in no way represented the whole neighborhood. I live in the Triangle and most of the people I heard from supported the school's application. Just because a vocal minority shows up at the hearing does not make them "heroic."

    Since when do you fail to publish information which is public record? The appellants names where given at the hearing and in the staff report. Everyone knows who they are at this point. I don’t think they have anything to worry about. When you appeal, having your name published is the risk you take. You published an unlisted phone number. That is the height of hypocrisy! Your lack of ethics sickens disappoints me. I would expect more from a blog which purports from the resident's perspective. I don't know any resident who wants censorship of public information. Your tag line might as well read, "...from the resident's perspective as long as it agrees with mine."

  4. Pat Hooper is a pretty reasonable person, so I'm inclined to say that if she is going to speak out against someone they are probably being unreasonable. Sometimes people need to hear that they are being unreasonable--in a respectful way. Isn't that what you think you are trying to do on this website, sans respect?

  5. To the above two readers-

    The 9:34 reader: Webster's New World Dictionary defines frivolous as:
    "of little value or importance; trifling; trivial", so since the city council is the final arbiter on these issues and since they allowed three appellant driven improvements, you have to accept that the appeal was not frivolous unless of course you think the council was wrong to have allowed the three improvements. In that case you would have to provide evidence you are 1) not an employee of the school or 2) not a resident of Emeryville or else you will find yourself at risk of being outed as an ideologue.
    Hypocrisy is defined as "pretending to be what one is not". So since the appellants in this case are not elected government officials, my failure to identify them does not have a corollary with the fact that I print elected government officials phone numbers. Sorry, but you haven't made a cogent case. Your ethics charge is left dangling.

    The 2:24 reader: No need to conjecture about who's being reasonable...Ms Hooper attacked the three appellants for the appeal, nothing else. If you think it's reasonable for government officials to so attack citizens for this type of infraction, well then you would be correct in your summation about Ms Hooper's reasonableness.

  6. I know the dictionary definition of 'frivilous.' I looked it up before I wrote it. I choose my words carefully. I don't think the Council was wrong to change the conditions of approval, but the changes were insignificant and thus the appeal was frivolus (of little value.) Your definition of 'hypocrisy' is overly simplistic. I looked that one up too. The definition is "a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess." That describes this blog to a T.

    P.S.- You refer to the school as "Berkeley based" [sic]. However, the school is on Alcatraz Ave. in Oakland.

  7. To anon above-
    "My" definition of 'hypocrisy' is not mine, it's Webster's.
    Correction noted about Berkeley; the school is on the border but lies in Oakland, not that it's germane to the story. I will make the change in the story. Thanks for the correction.

  8. Addendum to anon-
    The city of Emeryville spend a large amount of time and money assuaging residents desires to calm traffic in the Triangle neighborhood. Residents there are rightly concerned that excessive traffic volume lowers the quality of life and they won their multi-year fight to bring the traffic calming several years ago. The fact that the three appellants for this school project were able to take project generated traffic off 45th Street, traffic from 400 students, and shunt it over to 47th Street was a very significant victory for the residents. They effectively made it so there will now be much less traffic impact for the Triangle neighborhood from this new school. No reasonable person that has the resident's interests at heart could call this insignificant.

  9. Most people seemed to have missed the simple fact that adding another 400 students showing up to the corner of 47th and San Pablo is going to create a huge mess.
    I wouldn't be surprised if Emery students also started fights with the students of EBIS.

    And watch out for Pat Hooper, wolf in sheeps clothing was coined for people like her.

  10. Here is the video link of the Special City Council Meeting of May 19th for those who wonder what all this is about.
    Watch it for yourself and make a comment.

  11. What about the folks that live on 47th street? Screwed us over

  12. To the above reader-
    Actually, the folks that live on 47th Street will not be screwed over by this. 47th Street has an already existing traffic calming emergency vehicles only road block one short block east of San Pablo Avenue, where the new school will be. It will be impossible for school related traffic to impact 47th Street. Parents will turn onto 47th from San Pablo and then turn into the school parking lot, drop off and exit back onto San Pablo. The short block of 47th Street has no residences on it so there will be no negative impact.

    The three demonized appellants are the ones responsible for this positive change in the traffic pattern.

  13. Brian: actually, the City Council is responsible for the positive change in traffic patterns--they approved the change in the the conditions of approval. The appellants enabled that change but the Council took the action.

  14. Drivers constantly go through the existing traffic calming road block thats on 47th street. I've seen it happen on numerous occasions, the three cones they placed have been abused by all the cars that have traveled over them. Im willing to bet parents who are in a rush will go through it as well. Those who wish to go to Adeline/47th from San Pablo are forced to go through two very narrow streets in 48th and Salem. The last thing those streets need are more cars coming through.

    Also, the company on 47th street, blanking on the name, has regular deliveries which often come on huge trucks (think big rigs). I'd imagine they will be impacted as well.