Search The Tattler

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How They Voted

Hear Ideas On Helping School Funding?

At the Tattler, we've noticed the city council and other deliberative bodies in Emeryville make controversial votes that sometimes get forgotten by the residents over time. In deference to the general edification of public policy and to strengthen Emeryville's democratic institutions, we will publish occasional short reminders on how the Power Elite in town have voted on these controversial issues.

In 2010, the vote before the School Board was:

Should the Board hear a presentation by a citizens coalition on  how to increase school funding by a 'Community Benefits' developer agreement?

Josh Simon - NO
Melodi Dice - NO
Cheryl Webb - NO
Pat Hooper - NO
Miguel Dwin - NO

The community group known as Residents United for a Livable Emeryville (RULE), concerned that the city council backed proposed expansion of the Bay Street Mall won't benefit Emeryville residents, conducted a town hall meeting to discuss the issue in 2009.  More than 100 residents participated.  The group also conducted a city-wide survey of over 400 residents about what benefits the new mall expansion should deliver for the city.  Residents put increased financial support of the schools at the top of their lists in their survey responses.

RULE then proposed a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), an agreement between the developer of the mall, Madison Marquette Corporation and the residents themselves.  RULE identified more school funding at the top of the list in the CBA.
After compiling the CBA, RULE requested to make a presentation to the school district at a school board meeting but the school board members voted NO to even hearing about more money for the schools.  The Parent Teacher Organizations in town likewise said NO to hearing about more money for the schools.

The city council majority is vehemently against a Community Benefits Agreement, presumably because it represents a vote of 'no confidence' in the council, by the residents.  They no doubt see RULE as meddling.  The council's unwarranted effect on the school board is evident by this absurd vote of NO to even hearing about possible free money for the schools made by the school board.


  1. The School Board has no approval authority over the Bay Street project or any sort of Development Agreement which might result in funding for the schools. If the City Council/RDA Board is not pursuing such an agreement the entire point is moot and there is no reason for the School Board to hear a presentation about funding they can't get. It's like me asking the School Board if they want to hear my presentation about raising funds for the District by asking Bill Gates to donate $1 billion.

  2. To the readers-
    The above commentor is correct that the School Board has no approval authority over the Bay Street project. The commenter is incorrect however in asserting that a CBA could not result in any increased school funding. If a CBA were made with Madison Marquette and the residents desired more school funding as part of the agreement, then the school district would receive money from the developer.
    A reasonable person might surmise that a school board or a PTO would want to know about a possible new funding source. The commentor here however joins with those on our School Board and PTOs and thinks new funding is something that they have no interest in or even curiosity about. They are free to act and think this way and the people of Emeryville are free to be informed that these elites are acting and thinking in this way.

  3. One more thing, for any naysayers including Mr Anonymous, A few years ago, Oakland residents entered into a CBA with a developer of the estuary area and the schools have received more money as a result. The school district there, for all its problems, was interested in hearing about the CBA beforehand.

  4. back in 2000 i was employed by an architect who had a project under construction in emeryville. at that time, we were supposed to pay towards traffic impact fees and school fees. it took me over six months to find out what we were supposed to pay in school fees alone because no one at the superintendent's office knew what the formula was. and when the formula was found out, i never knew for sure if we paid enough or too much. i have tried to get an audit for the past five years to see what major developers paid in school and traffic impact fees but all i got were spreadsheets which lacked sufficient information. i always had the impression that small businesses and small projects (compared to bay street and wareham developments) were subsidizing big developments. occasionally, these fees show up on the monthly progress reports issued by the city manager's office but far too little goes to these two areas when compared with what is paid to the arts. take a look for yourself.

  5. It really is time for the state to look at the books in this city!