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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

RULE Meeting: School Board

Residents United for a Livable Emeryville

School Board Candidate Discussion

Hello Friends and Neighbors!
Please join us Saturday, Jan. 27 for the next meeting of RULE.  Share a late breakfast and coffee, meet your progressive neighbors, and speak your mind!

This month's meeting will focus on the Emeryville School Board election in November and how we can recruit qualified, knowledgeable candidates - vital to improving the quality of education the district provides.
We would love to hear from all members of the community, but particularly parents and teachers. What insights can you share?  Are you interested in running?  Do you know someone who is?  Maybe you have suggestions about how to recruit good candidates.  There will be three seats (out of five) open this election. 
Please spread the word. All are welcome! 
If there are other (or related) issues you want to discuss, please call the host and we will add it to the agenda.

Hope to see you there!

Doyle Street Co-Housing
5514 Doyle Street (common room, 1st floor)

Saturday January 27th at 10:00 am

Lillian Schroth host 
(510) 205-5850

To make your town a more livable place!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Councilman Bauters' Blog Takes on Train Noise

Mayor Bauters Attempts Long Standing Train Noise Fix

Public Invited to Help

Blog Drives Public Policy Using Facts as a Foil Against 
E'Ville Eye Hyperbole 

Mayor John Bauters is using his Emeryville-centric blog to activate the long simmering issue of excessive train horn blaring with a citizen drive to secure grant money for infrastructure to quiet the neighborhoods adjoining the tracks.  The issue, a source of much agitation especially for those Emeryville residents living near the tracks on the north end of town, has been taken up by many City Council members over the years, notably at election time, but Mr Bauters' efforts seem to be real and on the verge of success.  He is requesting residents to help in this effort by use of a letter writing campaign (see letter below).

It is the latest from Councilman John Bauters who has been a whirlwind of activism on the public's behalf since he took office starting with his prodigious blog he began shortly after being elected to office in November of 2016.  The no nonsense John Bauters' Blog has been used effectively to impart valuable information for residents and has stood above the blog sites other Emeryville City Council members have edited over the years not least in its rigorous density of information.
A recent January 1st blog entry, Closing out 2017: Progress on Priorities is especially impressive with its plenary list of footnotes and links that will long serve as a central repository of factual information on Emeryville's progress moving forward with the City's priorities up through 2017.
Also impressive is how Mr Bauters' March 2017 blog entry Information on the Halleck/Beach Dog Park, effectively used his blog to shut down a politicized issue of a dog park across the border in Oakland proposed by local blogger Rob Arias who sought to use it to keep homeless people out of his Park Avenue neighborhood.  Animating Mr Arias was a not-so-hidden attempt to increase his standing and that of his monetized blog The E'Ville Eye in the eye of the public by huckstering his dog park idea, PT Barnum style.  Councilman Bauters was viciously attacked by a hurt Rob Arias after the Councilman led a drive to kill the ill-advised dog park; a return to rationality after Mr Arias' self promotional foray into what should be public public policy.  Mr Bauters' blog post defending his Halleck/Beach Dog Park action was a non-political tour de force of purely rational public policy featuring a total lack of hyperventilating bombast to serve as a counterweight to the poisonous  E'Ville Eye missives.

Now, Mayor Bauters is using his blog to remind us the train noise issue looms with a deadline of January 25th and he urges residents to help write emails to secure the funding to finally do something about this vexing problem for Emeryville residents.
 Mr Bauters submitted the following letter to the Tattler to help towards that end:   

Dear Neighbor,

The City Council is actively pursuing a competitive grant that would bring us the funding necessary to install infrastructure at the 65th, 66th and 67th Street railroad crossing that would allow us to create Quiet Zones that silence the Amtrak train horn.

I am working with city staff to pull together an application and we need your help!

Attached to this email are two letters. The first letter is a letter I am submitting on behalf of the city council with our grant application.

The second is a draft letter we wish to submit from you, the residents and community members who stand to benefit from winning this grant award.

We would like to sign as many resident names onto this letter as possible to show how much the community supports the city's efforts to bring Quiet Zones to Emeryville. You can help us by doing the following easy steps:

(1) Read both of the short letters attached to this email.

(2) If you are willing to sign on in support of this request, please send an email addressed to both:

(3) In the subject line of your email please write: "Quiet Zones"

(4) In the body of your email please provide only the following information:

  • Names of any adults in the household who wish to sign on to the letter
  • List whether you are a resident, business owner or employee
  • Your physical street address (we will not publish this, it is only to confirm for the grant review team that those signing the letter are from Emeryville if we are asked to provide proof)

Only your name and affiliation to our city (resident, employee) will be listed at the bottom of the letter.

(5) Once you have sent us your sign-on, please forward this email to your neighbors and ask them to sign on as well.

We must submit the application on January 25th.

I will post a final copy of the letter we submit on my blog site after we file the application. You can find my blog site at

Thank you for supporting our community and helping us create a more livable space for everyone to enjoy!


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

At Emery a Second Place Finisher Rises to Top: the Selection of Board President Cruz Vargas

Democracy Stalls at Emery Unified School District

Politics Trumps Fair Play

The People's Choice, Barbara Inch, Skipped Over in Favor of the Rubio Supporting Vargas

New School Board President Cruz Vargas
The people's second choice but the
Board's first choice.
Even after he was caught in a lie, the
Board majority 'Vargas for President'
steamroller rolled on.
In a controversial move at their end of the year December 13th meeting, the Board of Trustees of the Emery Unified School District disregarded the people's choice of Barbara Inch and instead elevated  the less popular Cruz Vargas to the position of Board president for a one year term.  The Board's move to crown Mr Vargas as president also gives a big thumbs up to the Superintendent of the Schools John Rubio, a man strongly disliked by the teaching staff at the struggling district.
The 4-1 vote (Inch dissenting) for the bellicose Mr Vargas, a strong supporter of Mr Rubio, will likely fortify the disputatious Superintendent as he continues on his scorched earth campaign against Emery's teachers, taking last place on his watch among Bay Area school districts in teacher retention.

The Board seemed to be saying they like the direction the district is going in by elevating Mr Vargas, one of the Superintendent's biggest supporters. The move, an affirmation of the status quo of an entrenched Superintendent, caused some Emery watchers to muse about the future of EUSD, a district reeling from a flurry of bad news coming in the form of a devastating academic study from Stanford University and continuing State reports of falling test scores.

School Board Member Barbara Inch
The most popular elected official in
Emeryville is critical of Superintendent
Rubio's public policy. She's the people's
choice but not the Board's choice.  They
want a Rubio flunky as Board President.
Further highlighting the political nature of the Vargas pick is the fact that open lying on the part of member Vargas was not enough to sway the support he has from his Board colleagues.  Mr Vargas last October 5th told colleagues on the City School Committee on an open mic that the "vast majority of parents at the school" are supportive of putting a police officer in the school, a lie that City Council member Dianne Martinez exposed in front of the cameras.  Mr Vargas' supporter on the Committee and on the Board, Bailey Langner used her position as Committee Chair to chastise Ms Martinez and deny that Mr Vargas had lied.  However, a viewing of the video of the meeting shows Mr Vargas in fact did lie; a fact apparent to meeting attendees (and video watchers) all except Ms Langner.
Still however, the revealed and scurrilous fabrication told by member Vargas at the October meeting was not enough to stop the 'Vargas for Board President' steamroller.

Member Inch has been the Board's sole critic of Mr Rubio's policies and the vote to bypass her regardless of her popularity with the people in favor of the obsequious Cruz Vargas, is conspicuous.  The December 13th vote sidelining Ms Inch and elevating Mr Vargas, the second place choice of Emeryville voters in a two person race, also sends a message to the people of Emeryville that their vision for their school district as personified in their choice for School Board, is not something this Board is interested in.
Emeryville voters like the vision of Barbara Inch over that of Cruz Vargas, who with 2773 votes, won her November 2016 election to the Board with more votes than any person has ever received for any office in Emeryville electoral history.  Mr Vargas, with 273 fewer votes, came in a distant second place in the two person race.
Ms Inch's popularity with Emeryville voters however was not enough for the School Board to rise above the politics at play and they voted instead for the second placer Cruz Vargas who promises to retain and buoy Mr Rubio as chief at Emery even as the district sinks.

Elected Official
Election Year
Votes Received
Percent of Vote
Difference from Barbara
Barbara Inch*
Nora Davis**
Dick Kassis**
Ruth Atkin**
Cheryl Webb*
Jennifer West**
Jac Asher**
John Affeldt*
Dianne Martinez**
Donn Merriam***
John Bauters*
Cruz Vargas***

*= Most votes EUSD; **= Most votes City Council; ***= Votes for EUSD Board

Emery USD had several years without or uncontested elections

Barbara Inch received more votes than any other candidate for local election in 
Emeryville history. While acknowledging that her election had a larger voter 
turn out, her percent of the vote was greater than others, the largest percentage 
in modern Emeryville history.