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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Former Emeryville Mayor Assaulted, Pistol Whipped

Emeryville Police arrested four youths after former mayor and current Emeryville resident Ken Bukowski was assaulted under the Powell Street overpass near Shellmound Street last night.  Police won't release the names of the arrested youths or details of the case until next week.  At least some of the arrested are juveniles a police representative said.
A lucid Ken Bukowski told the Tattler the group attempted to rob him at gun point under the bridge at approximately 10:30  but he refused to cooperate,*  after which the four assailants knocked him to the ground, kicked and pistol whipped him.  Mr Bukowski sustained a head injury and he sought medical attention on his own recognizance.
The assailants fled on foot after passing cars on Shellmound Street noticed the attack.  Police gave chase, apprehending the four suspects near 59th and Doyle Street.
Mr Bukowski said the gun appeared to be a .45 caliber pistol, "It was a large gun" he said.  He said the four assailants got nothing from him.  This morning, he was waiting for a friend to take him to the hospital to address his head wound, "I think I need stitches" he said.

*Correction-  Previously we reported that Mr Bukowski said to his assailants, "f*** you, I'm not giving you anything".  Now Mr Bukowski reports he ran away after the gun was pointed at him.  He says he thought the quote but didn't actually say it to the youth brandishing the gun.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Planning Commissioner Offers Solution to Pedestrian Path Problem

Plan Straightens Ped Path, Takes Away 
Safety Problems
Will Detractors be Appeased?

Emeryville Planning Commissioner Sean Moss has waded into the imbroglio over the City Council's idea to remove a pedestrian path slated for the Triangle neighborhood with a creative fix for the much publicized safety concerns that have threatened the path with removal.  The pedestrian thoroughfare, the Escuela Bilingue Internacional path (EBI) was required to be built as a condition of approval for the private Spanish immersion school on San Pablo Avenue but it received complaints from two would be neighbors and as a consequence, City Hall proposed amending the City's General Plan to permanently remove the path.  Mr Moss previously appealed to his colleagues on the Planning Commission and the City Council to disallow removal of the path saying the path  comports with the General Plan's guiding principles.  One of the original complainants joined with Mr Moss and has spoken out against removing the path.

Commissioner Moss' new idea involves moving the EBI parking lot to take advantage of the property line jog and remove the jog from the pedestrian path, the main reason neighbors cited for safety concerns.  The idea would seem to render impotent the crime issues some City Council members glommed onto at their last meeting.

The Council will make their final decision on Tuesday night and this idea from Sean Moss should help inform the Council members as they consider amending our new General Plan.

Here is the letter from Commissioner Moss to the City Council dated Friday March 29th:

Hello Councilmembers:

As you consider alternate options for a mid-block pedestrian pathway between 45th and 47th Streets, I write to you to ensure that all options are considered.  

There has been much discussion since the EBI project was first submitted regarding the safety of the proposed pathway.  At the time EBI was approved, some residents advocated for a straight pathway to enhance safety.  Due to the existing configuration of the property, EBI claimed that they were not able to accommodate a straight pathway and the City Council, in their approval of the project, agreed that this option was not feasible.  I find it somewhat paradoxical that the Council is now considering eliminating the pathway based on safety concerns that were, in part, created during the Council's approval of the project.      

I submit to you one alternative design which I sketched out in about 10 minutes.  It is by no means the only alternative available, but it is meant to demonstrate that plenty of alternatives exist.  The design I have sketched out could easily be refined to include additional landscaping and to further enhance the pedestrian experience within it.  We accept these types of pathways through commercial parking lots frequently as a way to provide pedestrian circulation through a auto-dominated environment.  Several commercial parking lots in and around Emeryville have similar pathways.
The parking lot shown in this sketch would be a replacement for the existing northern parking lot.  The existing northern parking lot and the remainder of the large, contiguous area next to the existing building would be available to EBI for future development.

 Having previously worked as a consultant, I am keenly aware of the needs of property owners.  I have a good eye for master plans, and I worked very hard to develop an alternative which provides plenty of future expansion opportunity for EBI.  I am simply trying to demonstrate that an alternative exists with a straight pathway which makes sense for EBI.  EBI will most likely resist this alternative.  When I suggested it to John Horsch many months ago, he replied that "there was significant concern that it would impact future development opportunities."  I'll remind the Council that the "future development opportunities" which Mr. Horsch refers to have not been approved by the Planning Commission or City Council or analyzed under CEQA and thus should not garner any consideration from the City at this time.  
EBI may have begun preparation of an internal long-term master plan, but again, this master plan has not been approved or vetted by the City in any way.  The City Council's role is not to speculate about future development at EBI, but to make decisions that best serve the citizens of Emeryville based on current information and current entitlements. 

The Council is in an extremely good negotiating position at this point in time.  Any changes to EBI's current approval require approval of the City Council.  The City Council will not find itself in a better negotiating position regarding this pathway.  It would be irresponsible public policy to now eliminate all the public benefits of the project which the Council negotiated.  

Lastly, if the Council decides not to require EBI to build a pathway, I implore you to at least leave in place the Irrevocable Offer of Dedication (IOD) which has been recorded for the pathway.  IODs are commonly used instruments which allow a City or other entity to dedicate property at any point in the future.  Leaving the IOD in place would allow EBI use of their property, while still allowing the City to improve the pathway at any point in the future.  
There almost no downside to leaving the IOD in place.  EBI could use the portion of the property within the IOD for a variety of uses and in 30 or 50 or 75 years or any point in the future, the City could determine that it made sense to improve the pathway an would be free to do so.  We all know this is the only way a pathway will ever be developed on this block.  Moving the pathway in the General Plan makes the provision of the pathway almost certainly unfeasible.  
We have the opportunity now to provide the City with a resource which can serve the citizens of Emeryville when the conditions are right.  It would be incredibly short-sighted to eliminate this opportunity forever. At a minimum, please leave the IOD in place.  

I regret that I cannot attend the Council meeting on Tuesday since I have to attend the El Cerrito City Council meeting as staff of that city.  I ask that you please consider my comments and I would be happy to discuss them further with any of you.  

Thank you so much for your time,

Sean Moss

This rendering by Sean Moss shows the trajectory of the proposed EBI pedestrian path.
San Pablo Avenue is on the left and the path connects 47th Street (on the top)
and 45th Street (bottom).The new parking lot is at the bottom and the path traverses thorough the lot, shown by "zebra stripes". Parking slips are seen on the sides of the proposed lot.  The northern trajectory of the path can be seen with proposed tree plantings.

Shorebird Park Body ID'ed

From the Oakland Tribune:

Police: Fremont woman found dead on Emeryville beach 

Thursday was apparent suicide

Updated:   03/29/2013 12:52:39 PM PDT

EMERYVILLE -- A woman found dead Thursday morning on the beach at Shorebird
Park was a Fremont resident who committed suicide, authorities said Friday.
The woman's name and age were not immediately released. Fremont officers had
taken a missing-person report Thursday about the woman and were told she had threatened to drown
herself in the Emeryville area.
The report was taken after the woman was found.
The woman was found by a passer-by about 7:14 a.m. Thursday, wet and clothed on
park's beach, near Interstate 80 off Powell Street next to Chevy's Restaurant.
It was not known how long she had been in the beach before being found.
Police said her car was parked nearby.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Bank Robber Caught in Emeryville

THE Hunter Thompson?
From the Milpitas Patch:

Police Arrest Man Connected To Milpitas Bank Robbery in Emeryville

Police in Milpitas arrested a man Tuesday in connection with a bank robbery from more than two weeks ago, police said.
Hunter D. Thompson, 32, of San Jose, is believed to have robbed a Chase Bank, located at 37 N. Milpitas Blvd., on the afternoon of March 9, according to police.
Thompson allegedly walked into the bank with a firearm, approached
a bank teller and handed over a demand note, police said.
The teller handed over cash and the suspect fled, according to police.
Police were unable to find the suspect during a search after the robbery and, after a joint investigation with San Jose police, Thompson was located and arrested in Emeryville on Tuesday, according to police.
Officers recovered a revolver and an air gun in the car Thompson was traveling in. Methamphetamine and heroin were also found in Thompson's possession, police said.
Thompson also may be responsible for bank robberies in San Francisco, Redwood City and Palo Alto, as well as retail store robberies in Palo Alto, Santa Clara and Fremont, police said.
He was booked into the Santa Clara County main jail.
Anyone with information about the robberies is asked to call Milpitas police at (408) 586-2400, or anonymously to (408) 586-2500.

Body Found at Shorebird Park

From the Oakland Tribune:

Woman's body found on Emeryville beach

Updated:   03/28/2013 12:21:45 PM PDT

EMERYVILLE -- Authorities are trying to identify and determine the cause of death for a woman whose body
was found Thursday morning on the beach at Shorebird Park.
A passer-by saw the body about 7:14 a.m. and called police.
Officer Brian Head said until the autopsy is completed, police are investigating the incident as an
unattended death.
Police are not sure how long the woman had been on the beach before she was found or if she washed
up on the shore from the bay.
She was clothed, police said.
The park is near Interstate 80, off Powell Street next to Chevy's Restaurant, authorities said.
Anyone with information about the woman can call police at 510-596-3700.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The School Board Doesn't Support Emery Teachers; But You Can

Piss Off the School Board: 
Support Emery Teachers

Opinion/Free Offer
The Emery School Board has earned quite a reputation for not supporting our public school teachers here in Emeryville.  After the teachers read their Teachers Resolution against School Superintendent Debbra Lindo last summer, a call for help to the School Board, the Board countered with a resolution of their own supporting the Superintendent.  The Board wished to show everyone where their loyalties lay.  Since that shameful Board action, the teachers have been ignored and the Teachers Resolution has gone unanswered.

Now, the Tattler makes it possible for you to show the Emery School Board where YOUR loyalties lay.  Let's piss off the School Board and the whole Emery School District: let's openly show our support for Emeryville's teachers!

You can show that support for the teachers with a free bumper sticker.  Please select one from the four shown below.  One per household please.  Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.  Offer is limited.  Just send a self addressed stamped large size envelope to:

Emeryville Tattler
4333 Holden Street
Suite 51
Emeryville, CA

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

State Treasurer Expands Legal Opinions About CABs

In an ongoing investigation of possible fiscal improprieties surrounding school district construction Capital Appreciation Bonds, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer seeks more legal opinion. Emery School District and its bond underwriter Caldwell, Flores & Winters is among those being implicated in possible illegal behavior.
From the Los Angeles Times:

Lockyer widens request for legal opinion on school bond campaigns

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California Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Monday expanded his request for a legal opinion to determine if some local education officials and the financial underwriters they hire are violating state law by campaigning for school bond measures.
In a second letter to California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, Lockyer asked her office to also consider financial advisors and bond counsel that are employed as consultants to help school districts prepare bond issues.
Lockyer first contacted Harris a week ago when he requested that she render a formal opinion on the conduct of school officials and underwriters as it relates to political campaigns for school bonds.  
The state treasurer said a legal opinion is needed because some arrangements between school districts and firms that sell bonds “raise substantive questions” about whether the officials are using public money to conduct campaigns advocating the passage of bond measures—an action banned by state law.
Under some agreements, Lockyer said, underwriters who stand to profit from selling bonds conduct voter opinion surveys or help prepare ballot arguments. Other agreements, he wrote, “specify [that] the underwriting fees paid in connection with any subsequent bond sale will reimburse the underwriter for pre-election campaign services provided.”
Lockyer noted that financial advisors and bond counsel may have entered similar agreements to provide campaign services.
In recent months, the treasurer has been examining the way schools issue bonds, in part because of possible abuses that arose from the issuance of risky and expensive instruments known as capital appreciation bonds. He is now supporting pending state legislation that would limit the use of the most onerous forms of such bonds.
Based on data developed by Lockyer’s staff, The Times reported last November that 200 school and community college systems — a fifth of all districts statewide — had issued billions of dollars in such debt, often when pressed for construction money during the recession.
Unlike conventional bonds that require repayment to start almost immediately, long-term capital appreciation notes allow districts to put off payments for decades. The delays, however, often result in staggeringly high compound interest charges that dramatically increase the total debt.