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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Developers Complain About Proposed Emeryville Impact Fees

Billionaires Don't Want to Pay Taxes:
World's Smallest Violin

Emeryville is so unfair to developers!  That's what John Nady, gazillionaire CEO of Nady Systems told the City Council on Tuesday.  He's not happy with all the government largess already poured on him from his friends at Emeryville City Hall.  Now they want to raise taxes on him.  It's sooo unfair!  Can you imagine?  If the City Council raises the developer impact fees like they're investigating doing, Mr Nady may have to pay money.  He told the Council he doesn't like paying money.  Now he might have to pay almost as much as he would in other neighboring cities like Berkeley or Oakland.

Emeryville is so mean!  
Developers like 
John Nady
need one of these.
Cry Me a Friggin River
In the wake of the loss of the Emeryville Redevelopment Agency and the accompanied loss of revenue for the City, starting last April the City Council has been entertaining the idea of raising developer impact fees, in an attempt to recover costs incurred by the City attributable to new development.  As it stands now, Emeryville has the lowest such fees of all the neighboring towns and as a consequence, developers here have enjoyed what amounts to a large taxpayer funded subsidy.  It is this subsidy Mr Nady told the Council members he wishes to reap as he develops Avalon Bay, a large residential project on the Berkeley border.  Mr Nady has entered into an agreement with Avalon Bay Communities, a Virginia based REIT development corporation to build the 200 unit project and any increase in fees will scuttle the deal he says.  It would seem Mr Nady's profits are going to be cut into.  Mr Nady instead likes the idea that Emeryville taxpayers help him out with a gift of tax relief.   He wants us to pay for his project. Isn't that special?
A representative of SRM Ernst, the developer of the Sherwin Williams project also spoke out against the idea that Emeryville raise the impact fees at Tuesday's meeting.  It would seem that the sky will fall if Emeryville charges (almost) as much as other cities charge and developers will be crushed, bringing down the whole economy with them, it will be thus or so they say.

John Nady in happier times
Now he wants us to 

cry him a river.
Realize, John Nady has already been the recipient of a huge gift from the Emeryville City Council majority in the form of a lifting of the constraints of the General Plan back in 2009.  The whole city had engaged in a two year, four million dollar process of rewriting our General Plan.  A guiding principle ensconced in the Plan is the idea there be a "central core" of tall buildings radiating out from the Christie/Powell area, building heights lowering as they move away from the core area.  This idea was vetted by the Emeryville residents in a series of town hall meetings.  As a result of the central core concept, John Nady's property, being on the extreme north end of town, was subject to a 55 foot height limit.  But Mr Nady wanted to maximize his profits and sell his land to Avalon.  The height limit would cut into his profits so he appealed to the City Council to help him out.  So Councilwoman Nora Davis and her colleagues in the pro-developer Council majority changed the new General Plan to allow for unlimited height on Mr Nady's parcel.  No findings of fact were presented.  It was simply a gift from the people of Emeryville to John Nady to the tune of millions of dollars in property value enhancement.   They gave this gift, against the wishes of the people of Emeryville to a developer on his way out of Emeryville.

But he's still not happy.  That gift of property value increase as it turns out, only meant to serve as an appetizer for Mr Nady.  Now he wants more from the taxpayers of Emeryville.

Police guard the gated Nady 
mansion in Piedmont.
1%'ers have it so tough!
It's not the first time the private desires of John Nady have crashed into the domain of the greater public.  In 2011, in the style of a bad Hollywood movie script, Mr Nady brought on the ire of the Elem Pomo Indians as he sought to build a vacation home complex on Clear lake's Rattlesnake Island, a Native American sacred site including burial ground.   After Mr Nady purchased the island by dubious means with intention to develop it, his Piedmont mansion was picketed by Native Americans.

While Mr Nady's childish antics at City Hall last Tuesday were certainly entertaining and as the City Council continues to deliberate impact fees moving forward, we've got a novel idea for them both to consider:  If a developer can't make a go of it without (another) government bailout like Mr Nady is saying he needs, they can't make a go of it at all and they don't deserve to be in business in the first place.  This is especially true if the developer in question wants to build a residential project (as opposed to a commercial development) since those projects have been shown to be net revenue neutral  for City Hall: it pays out in resident services as much if not more than what it receives in residential taxes.
  We're tired of the kind of pro-developer favoritism that's been the culture at City Hall and we say to the natty suited John Nady and the other developers who will surely step forward looking for more handouts, we're not listening to billionaire whiners and complainers and their childish claims of entitlements anymore here.
Let's recoup everything we have to pay for these developers.  It's time we raise the impact fees to at least as much as what our neighbors charge.

Video courtesy of the Emeryville Property Owners Association


  1. Tiny violins play sweet music.

  2. He's just like the rest of the 1%ers who control our government in Washington. They never want to pay their fair share. We may not be able to stop them there but sure can here. Good on you Brian for taking this on. Don't let the council freaks give in to this guy.

    1. Sounds like you like socialism. Would that be accurate?

    2. I'm not sure if you're asking me or Mr Anonymous. If you're asking me, I can tell you unequivocally I like me some sidewalks....Sidewalks, roads, schools, police, firefighters, parks, airports and the like. I love em' all. All that socialism. I also love me some labor power....the people that brought us the weekend! Weekends, sidewalks (and beer)'s all good. Makes this comrade a happy camper.
      Go ahead and tell us why sidewalks and the rest of it must be privatized.

  3. I like to see journalists document the wrongdoings of the rich and powerful.

    So, John Nady bought land on Rattlesnake Island "by dubious means". What exactly does that mean? He paid with monopoly money? He defrauded the sellers? Since you present no facts, nor even claims, I infer that you are smearing him. So how are you different than the Swiftboat crowd?

    Yes, I like to see good journalism. I wish you practiced it.

    1. The "Swiftboat crowd" presented fiction as fact. They forwarded a story that is factually incorrect for political gain (funded by interested parties).
      The purchase of Rattlesnake Island by John Nady is controversial and contested by the Elem Pomo tribe. This is well documented. A Google search will facilitate you if you're interested. I'm not interested in presenting facts or claims here about Rattlesnake because the issue is tangential to the lead story of Mr Nady's sense of entitlement in Emeryville. However mention of Rattlesnake Island does support the thrust of the story since it evokes what appears to be a pattern and a practice of this man's temperament. It's important enough to touch on the controversy without going into details.
      I could have reported on the whole legal cannon of western jurisprudence starting with the Magna Carta and British common law to underpin the story of Mr Nady's insistence on receiving City Hall give-a-ways but I thought that would similarly bog the story down.

    2. Great reply...great journalism Mr.Donahue