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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire: John Bauters

John Bauters:
On Livability

The Tattler presents the 2016 election candidates questionnaire.  Candidates for elected office will answer questions broken down into topical sections that effect Emeryville residents. Responses will be released section by section rotating through all the responding candidates representing the City Council and School Board hopefuls.  
The order of presentation was chosen randomly. Regular Tattler stories will be interspersed in the 2016 election questionnaire.  Readers wishing to peruse all the answers by an individual may use the search bar function by entering ”Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire” with the name of the candidate and all of that candidate’s sections will be presented. Alternatively just typing in the name of the candidate will also work. 
There are six candidates running for three seats and all answered our questionnaire save candidate for City Council Brynnda Collins.  

Today, candidate for City Council John Bauters answers questions on livability (please check the previously posted section 1 answers for this candidate's bio):

Section 4  Livability

Tattler:  Other cities have implemented bans on ‘formula’ retail; that being national chains, franchises, fast food etc.  Emeryville already has a plethora of these kinds of businesses.  Do you see constituting a ban as something Emeryville should do moving forward?

John Bauters: "Banning" things is a negative approach to developing policy. The goal of providing something other than "formula retail" is one I agree with but I would look for ways to incentivize the alternatives instead of instituting a ban. Bans foreclose opportunities for potential partnerships and networking but incentives can often bring curious or entrepreneurial partners to the table. Many prospective contacts might not result in a business relationship but may lead to an introduction to future partners who are a more suitable fit for the goals and vision of the community. I have been pushing for the city to develop a strategy to fund, market and use our Small Business Fund to make incentives possible. I will continue to push for this if elected. 

Tattler:  New construction is commonly too expensive for local retail to afford because of the high rents developers must charge to recoup their construction costs.  This is often cited as the reason Emeryville can’t seem to deliver the kind of locally serving retail Emeryville residents want.  The Tattler has proposed new development write off retail rents associated with their residential projects by forcing developers to put in writing their assurances to bring locally serving/non-formula retail.  Would you force this assurance guarantee from developers for new residential development?

John Bauters:  I am interested in identifying ways to manage commercial rents in order to help make small business viable here in Emeryville. There are a number of ways this could be done without pursuing provisions that may ultimately be difficult to legally enforce against a developer or property owner. Again, I believe in identifying incentives first and foremost and will be examining ways to breathe life into the small business storefronts that sit vacant around town.

Tattler:  Emeryville has gotten worse over time in several key areas, specifically with regards to the things residents tell us they want to see in their town.  We have been told by a generation of City Council members by their voting records that we must accept that Emeryville must get worse over time. The Tattler has made a declaration that we should not permit new development to make our town worse insofar as can be measured.  So for instance in affordability, park acreage per resident, locally serving retail, ratio of home ownership to rentals; these hallmarks of livability (and more) are measurable and the effect new development has on our existing metrics can be measured.  We could have a blanket insistence that all new development not make the town get measurably worse in key areas or even an insistence that new development make our town get measurably better.  Would you support this?

John Bauters:  I support building a more livable community. As discussed above, the best ways to achieve livability is to plan for our future, pursue smart development, engage developers and businesses proactively about our goals for the community and facilitate community engagement at all levels of civic life. I support holistic evaluation of the value that new development would offer. I am committed to pursuing all of these things in good faith in partnership with the community.

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