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Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Visioning Thing

It's Thursday, Another Day We Can't Afford Livability

With much fanfare, Tuesday night's City Hall 'Visioning Workshop' drew a large crowd of residents keen on weighing in on and hearing about Emeryille's future in a post Redevelopment Agency dystopia.  Three council members made it clear: the collapse of Redevelopment funding need not mean the end of pursuing livability for our town.  The other two were not as sanguine; now is the time to throw in the towel when it comes to livability they warned.

The two council member naysayers, predictably, are Nora Davis and her sidekick Kurt Brinkman.  These two are the same ones that have for years let developers walk all over us, even during the go-go years, refusing to negotiate on our behalf, instead giving in to the "it won't pencil out" histrionics from developers about how they can't afford to build anything nice in Emeryville.  The pedagogy is remarkably consistant: the Davis/Brinkman team always feels the developers pain.

Now there's a whole new paradigm with the Redevelopment Agency gone and we're going to need to rethink how we develop and to hear Davis/Brinkman giving the same old prescription as they did on Tuesday night removes all doubt: listening to them now is a little like listening to the Fox News commentators didactically lecture about how to prosecute the Iraq war even after the whole 'weapons of mass destruction' lie they forwarded was revealed.

Livability is not something we can afford now the Emeryville Two say.  It's going to be public safety and public works and nothing else from City Hall...oh and we're not in a position to ask developers to build family friendly housing, thank you very much.  Nora Davis detoured for a moment to explain that we don't even need family friendly housing anyway since families will locate here no matter the housing stock supply since the schools are going to be so good.  We're wondering why she bothered to rationalize beyond the standard line that family housing 'won't pencil out'.  Could it be that Davis/Brinkman feels a little exposed on this in front of hundreds of onlookers?

Still, it shouldn't be surprising that a massively destabilizing contraction like the demise of the Redevelopment Agency should net anything substantively different from these two; the broken record twins.  The idea it would seem is to keep your copy of Machiavelli's The Prince close at hand, stay on message, patronize, co-opt when you need to and smile, smile, smile.


  1. I always thought that the definition of livability were centered around quality of life issues and not the affordability to live here. Sure, I'd love a cheap place in a fine city, but to get it off the backs of others doesn't really seem fair.

    1. It looks like you're asking for a city council majority that's to the left of Davis/Brinkman on livability (as you define it) but to the right of the current council majority on affordable housing. It seems like a tough one to find such council candidates but good luck with that.