Search The Tattler

Monday, July 8, 2013

Brian Carver's MOU #3 City Council Statement

The following statement was read aloud by Emeryville resident Brian Carver at last Tuesday's momentous 'MOU #3 Council meeting' .  Mr Carver's statement, televised on ETV-Comcast channel 27, is reverberating around town and the Tattler has received requests to post it from many Emeryville neighbors.   The document Brian Carver refers to in his statement is the proposed MOU #3, a controversial agreement between the City of Emeryville and the Emery Unified School District that will quadruple the operating expenses for Youth Services and otherwise endanger the City's finances.

Here then is the July 2nd statement that's causing such a stir in our town, posted with permission from Mr Carver: 

"Good evening Mayor, members of the Council, my name is Brian Carver. I live in the Triangle neighborhood.

The document before you tonight is not a memorandum of understanding. It is a suicide pact.

The District promised us increased efficiencies and economies of scale from the Emeryville Center of Community Life, but instead, as your staff report points out, this document finally reveals that these are broken promises. Joining this project under these terms is going to cost the City dearly, in amounts that Staff are currently not even able to predict. What they can predict amounts to significant increases in annual expenditures that would require far more careful study than can be had in this single meeting.

If the State ultimately succeeds in taking away the nearly 22 million that has been the subject of the litigation described in the staff report, then this agreement would require the City to cover the District anyway—to “make them whole.” I am far less optimistic about the City’s ability to keep this money out of the State’s hands. It is an enormous gamble to take, because this could go the wrong way. When that happens, say goodbye to any hopes for a bike/ped bridge across the railroad tracks, forget about an Art Center, or a dozen other projects that might be important to Emeryville residents. All our resources will be allocated to this single project for a long time.

It has become clear to those of us following this process that the School District will stop at absolutely nothing in order to achieve its misguided vision. When 70 stakeholders signed a letter to the District asking that they not move the elementary students from Anna Yates Elementary and into this K-12 on San Pablo Avenue, the District was unmoved.

When Emeryville’s assessed valuation dropped and adequate bonding capacity was unavailable to seek a conventional bond for its fourth bond series, known as Series D, the District turned instead to a controversial Capital Appreciation Bond that will cost Emeryville taxpayers nearly $70 million over the next 32 years and eight months in order to receive just $17 million for the project today. With a total payback price tag now at nearly $150 million, many of us will be long gone before Emeryville taxpayers can pay off the enormous burden the District has placed on us.

Even at this cost, the District admits that there is not enough money to pursue an environmentally-responsible set of buildings that could achieve LEED certification as Emeryville’s municipal code requires of public agency buildings. So, the District had to seek a special exemption in order to become part of the problem of climate change rather than an example of its solutions.

The Emery Unified School District has rejected legitimate community concerns, abandoned any semblance of fiscal responsibility, has shown a willingness to run roughshod over the environment, and in general has shown that there is nothing that will dissuade them from this ill-conceived and poorly executed project.

But tonight they want this Council and the entire City to join hands with them as they gleefully jump off a fiscal cliff. This Council should finally be the responsible party and say no.

But if you’re not ready to do that, then I implore you to at least send this out to relevant advisory committees and give it more study, fill in more details, and get a better deal."

Brian Carver is a parent of two children in the Emery Unified School District, was the Chair of the Center of Community Life Measure J Citizens' Oversight Committee from March 2011-2012, and has been critical of the School Board's moving of the elementary students from Anna Yates School to the Center of Community Life site on San Pablo Avenue.  An attorney and Assistant Professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information, Mr Carver is an occasional contributor to the Tattler.


  1. Good for Brian Carver, and his position. He finally uses the term "ill-conceived". Where have he and all the rest of you been? This dilemma has been obvious all along, to anyone with vision, since its inception.
    Truth is, we don't even need to fix what isn't broke. We already possess the appropriate assets.
    This whole Development is stupid, stupid, stupid.
    And the generations, after us, will just pay, pay,
    pay. Would these "Jerks" spend their own money on such a project? I doubt it! The entire Project should be killed, NOW!

    1. I agree, kill it and open the pool immediately!

  2. Yes the pool is an unfortunate casualty of this debacle. Well except the high school kids being housed in a rented facility in Oakland and the middle school kids languishing in an apparently substandard Elementary school. And here we are with no finalized plan yet and almost a year overdue. Oh and the City just realized that it's going to cost THEM money to run the City services that we just had to co-house in the high school facility. Imagine their reactions when they start to discuss who pays to keep the lights on when the District (Roy Miller) continues to obfuscate these issues at the City meeting. This is winning?

  3. How many of the current Board members have children enrolled in the District? Not a very strong vote of confidence.

  4. Basic Question: Is this about kids, and their educations? Local School Board Members are supposed to be Academic Theory People, and operators of a Local School District. They are NOT "Developers". That's why this ridiculous endeavor is so expensive, and not needed.
    They are completely out of their league. And, we PAY!!! I hate it.