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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Election 2016 Candidates Questionnaire: Christian Patz

Christian Patz:
On Police, Bikes, Families & Density

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.  

Mr Patz's bio can be viewed in the first questionnaire by using the search bar.
Section 5 Police
After last year’s shooting of Yuvette Henderson by Emeryville police using a Colt AR-15 assault rifle, community members became alarmed to learn our police had quietly been issued these weapons and that they’re now routinely driving around with them as a matter of course. The City has used resources to tamp down citizens attempting to have a public debate about the wisdom of this militarism of our police department, specifically the routine carrying of these high powered rifles by contending these weapons are not assault rifles, directly contradicting the State of California’s finding that they are assault rifles. Police Departments up and down the State disagree with EPD. San Francisco PD, Oakland PD and San Jose PD among others say AR-15’s are assault rifles. The NRA agrees with the Chief that AR-15s are not assault rifles.

Tattler:  Do the people have a right to know how it is that the City of Emeryville has determined the State of California is wrong about the nature of AR-15s since they (the people) are paying for them in Emeryville?
Christian Patz:  The Tattler has done a good job of letting people know this information.

Section 6 Bicycling Transportation

Tattler:  Do you support Emeryville’s Bike Boulevard metric of no more than 3000 vehicle trips per day (vtd) for all bike boulevards west of Hollis Street?
Christian Patz:  What makes a Bike Boulevard is more than just Vehicle Trips per Day (VTD), it has more to do with optimizing bike traffic. As VTD approach and surpass 3000, more separation between bikes and cars should occur. Ideally, this would be done by reducing and diverting traffic, but can also be achieved by dedicated and protected lanes.

Section 7 Families
Emeryville is the least family friendly city in the whole East Bay and, distressingly as we continue to grow, becomes less family friendly over time; this even as we conspicuously build an ambitious new school campus. Developers, insisting over the years family friendly housing “won’t pencil out” economically (but their books are closed), have pushed back against the odd City Council member that has called on them to fix this problem. Notably over one crucial ten year period ending a few years ago, Emeryville actually lost families (in real numbers, not just as a ratio), even as the town doubled in population during the same period.

Tattler: To catch up with neighboring cities (and to erase a source of municipal embarrassment), Emeryville will need to provide virtually 100% family friendly housing from here on out, especially when one considers that our town is almost completely ‘built out’ at this point. Do you feel the ‘family friendly housing ordinance’, recently passed by the City Council, is up to the task of reversing this trend and delivering a city on par with our municipal neighbors?

Christian Patz:  The new ordinance is an excellent start and will help us move in the right direction. It will create more family friendly housing, but expecting us to reach Oakland or Berkeley levels is not realistic. My family has chosen Emeryville as our home. We are working to make it more family friendly, but we know that there are limitations in an urban center. Berkeley and Alameda are seen as family friendly areas, but they are not in the top 100 on the most recent list of Best Places to Raise a Family ( Emeryville is right there with them.

Section 8 Density
With the advent of ‘smart growth’, city planners have recognized the advantages and even the desirability of increasing housing density in urban areas. This is well documented and developers have taken advantage of this new paradigm. However, as with all fads, in the rush to embrace it, sometimes critical former knowledge becomes lost. Problems associated with too much density are being disregarded and a new ‘supply and demand’ axiom has taken the place of our formerly near universal acknowledgment that there can be too much density.

Tattler:  How much density is too much density? What are the warning signs that too much density has been foisted upon us?
Christian Patz:  There is no question that high urban densities are important, but what is the right level, and how does it look? What we want to be dense enough to support vibrant main streets with retail and services for local needs, but not too congested that bike and transit infrastructure is negatively impacted.We want to maintain Emeryville's sense of community and not get so dense as that we slip into anonymity.Our streets are a joy to walk; sun should penetrate to street level so our ground floors can have cafes that spill out onto the street. Emeryville is currently 3,125 people per square kilometer; less than a third of New York City and half of San Francisco’s density. We are very quickly approaching enough density. 
Section 9 General/Miscellaneous

Tattler:  Emeryville’s business pay taxes to City Hall based on gross receipts. The largest businesses pay taxes at a much lower rate than smaller businesses because a former City Council majority placed a cap on taxes for all receipts higher than a certain amount, meaning those receipts are tax free; a classic regressive tax. Would you continue this regressive business tax structure, make it flat or make it progressive (larger businesses pay at a high rate than small business)?
Christian Patz:  I support a balanced approach to our tax structure. In general, taxes should be progressive as flat taxes tend to be regressive. I support looking into adjusting the cap but not ending it. Tax incentives are a way for Emeryville to attract and keep businesses. 

Tattler:  What Council members do you hold in high esteem, now and in the past? What Council members have done a poor job?
Christian Patz:  I could list the council members that I have endorsed and that have endorsed me, but I do not want to get into grading elected officials. Emeryville has been fortunate to have intelligent, hard working people give of themselves and their time for our great city. I want to thank (in order of time served) Nora Davis, Ruth Atkin, and Jac Asher for what they have done for Emeryville. The city is better because of their efforts and will miss what all of they have brought to the council.

Tattler:  Conservative City Council members have long conflated business interests with resident’s interests as they have gone about forwarding their pro-business agenda. This governing philosophy has led us to where we are now leaving so many residents are clamoring for change. Do you feel a need to conflate business interests with residents interests? How do you see the two groups interests as disparate insofar as you do?

Christian Patz:  I do not see them as competing interests, so yes I conflate them. Businesses, residents, and workers are three descriptors of people. Too much time and energy is spent 'othering' artificial groupings of people. Government’s role is to ensure a fair and equitable community. Sometimes that means capping taxes for a large business other times it means instituting a minimum wage. As a community, Emeryville understands this, as individuals, we worry how it will impact us. 

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