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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Emeryville's Greedy Business Sector: No Support for Schools

Emeryville's Stingy Business Sector 

Emery Schools Left in the Cold

Tightfisted Businesses Extract From Community,
Don't Support the Community

Wareham One Bright Spot

Emeryville’s growing business sector, an economic engine that funds City Hall with a workforce that more than doubles the town’s population each work day, is nonetheless extremely stingy when it comes time to help fund Emery’s schools according to a document recently released by Emery Unified School District.  The document, obtained by a Tattler public records request reveals that only one business, Wareham Development, donated anything beyond a pittance to the schools during the last three years.  

Despite occasional claims to the contrary, corporate philanthropy to Emery schools has been anemic over the three years we checked; the top ten major corporate employers in Emeryville were all shown to have given the schools nothing or almost nothing.

Sad that Pixar is so miserly.
And Grifols...and Leapfrog...and
the Oaks Club...and Peet's Coffee...
Only San Rafael based Wareham and its CEO Rich Robbins, Emeryville’s largest developer, gave any substantial donations to Emery Unified, breaking the $10,000 mark three years running.
Major corporations in town have long made public claims of support for Emery schools but only Wareham and Mr Robbins have followed though, the document shows. 
Perhaps the other corporate actors in our town meant they support the idea of supporting the schools.  Or they support the schools in saying the word support is itself 'I support the troops'.  

A District spokesperson has noted in addition to the large donations from Wareham, some small non-monetary donations have come in from some businesses during the three years.

Also of particular note is the penurious parsimony of Pixar, a Disney subsidiary that has earned $11 billion for its parent company, itself a nine billion dollar a year corporate entity with a youth oriented focus.  Pixar has led all Emeryville penny pinching corporations in cupidity by offering virtually no support at all to the schools or the community.  Other than in 2004 when it needed Emeryville voters to support a major campus expansion and when it stated categorically it would be a continuing major benefactor for Emery schools, Pixar has never felt any need to share its good fortune with the education of the children of our community who pay to watch its films.  Pixar supports the troops and maybe they'll offer Emery schools their thoughts and prayers.
Chart courtesy of City of Emeryville and EUSD
Emeryville's Biggest Employers Number of Employees 2014-2017 Donations to Emery Schools  (10K or greater value)
AC Transit
Oaks Card Club 
Clif Bar
AAA of Northern CA,NV,UT
Peet’s Coffee & Tea
Fiscal Year Donor Amount
14-‘15 Wareham Development
15-‘16 Wareham Development
16-‘17 Nancy & Rich Robbins

Grossly Overstated: Emeryville's former City Manager goes to bat for Pixar in 2004 with effusive public testimony as the citizens prepare to vote on Measures T&U; permission for a major corporate campus expansion.  They will be a "major benefactor to the schools" the City Manager said of Pixar.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Breaking News: Schools Superintendent to Quit

Schools Superintendent John Rubio 
Calls it Quits

Breaking News
Embattled Emery Unified Schools Superintendent John Rubio has announced to the School Board of Trustees he plans on quitting his position with the following statement released today to the public from Emery Unified:  "Dr. Rubio has sent a letter to the board indicating his desire to not complete the 5th year of his contract, and instead move to a larger school district."  Mr Rubio's two year contract had been re-upped in December 2016 and it is presumed he vacates Emery at the end of this term on June 30th of this year.  This would make the forth Superintendent in 10 years for the tiny school district that has slid in academic performance since Mr Rubio took over in 2014.
The Tattler will report as details come in. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

RULE Meeting Called

Residents United for a Livable Emeryville

Hello Friends and Neighbors!
Please join us Saturday, March 17 for the next meeting of RULE. Share a late breakfast and coffee, meet your progressive neighbors, and speak your mind! 
Tentative agenda items include:
  • The School Board and City Council elections coming up in November 
  • Plans for a new Emeryville Art Center 
  • Efforts by some California tenants' advocates to strengthen rent control regulations amidst the current affordable housing crisis.  
10 AM to 12 PM  Doyle Street Co-housing 5514 Doyle Street (Common Room, first floor) 

Please spread the word. All are welcome! 
Hope to see you there!
Doyle Street Co-housing
Common room is through the trellis and
behind the stairs.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Bike Plan Reinterpreted: 45th & 53rd Street Bike Blvds Languish

Bike Plan Unilaterally Reinterpreted

City Hall’s New Vision Means Traffic Calming Must Wait for Bike Boulevards

1,143 Cars Per Day Over the Allowable Limit

City Council Refuses to Protect Bicyclists

Level Four Goalposts Moved 

The City of Emeryville Public Works Department has announced it is unilaterally reinterpreting its Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan, adding additional procedures and making it more difficult to protect designated bike boulevards from excess vehicle traffic.  Elucidated in a recent letter to the Tattler, the City Hall staff generated reinterpretation changes the traffic calming ‘level’ system in the Bike Plan, adding many more steps to each level before a designated bike boulevard can move forward to the next level of traffic calming.
The new policy, revealed by the Public Works Department, states that “multiple iterations”, of a particular traffic calming level should now be conducted before the Council would be advised to consider raising the street to the more rigorous next level, theoretically adding decades before a bike boulevard would reach the highest level of protection (Level Five).

At stake is bicycle safety on our Bike Boulevards as the new interpretation hamstrings the City in effectively dealing with an unsafe amount of vehicle traffic sharing the road with bicyclists that the Bike Plan was formulated to protect against.  By adding new steps for each level of traffic calming, the staff presumes to speak for the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) and the City Council that certified the Plan (without the stringent new metrics) in 2009.  It is informative that before the new staff interpretation, bike boulevards were moved up in level without these extra steps for each level. 
Indeed, several streets in our town have moved up from Level One to Level Three traffic calming over the years, where they now appear to be stuck, as is the case with the 45th Street and 53rd Street Boulevards. The new tougher policy now effecting these two streets will require more iterations of Level Three traffic calming elements be installed before they can move up to Level Four. 
If the City Council really wanted to implement
the Bike Plan, they could do it.  It's the

'stick to it' step they can't seem to accomplish.
It's either Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or 
Developer Surplus Disorder (DSD) indicated.
Symtoms are the same.
Remedies would be Ritalin or 
Electorate Reckoning respectively.

A recently conducted traffic count reveals those two streets are shown to have 1,143 (45th St) and 638 (53rd St) too many cars in Average Daily Trips (ADT) to be considered bike boulevards by the Plan.  But regardless of the excess traffic on these specific streets, the staff has ruled neither street is ready for a level ‘upgrade’ because of the new metric of “[up to] five elements” of Level Three traffic calming measures have not yet been installed.  
For a complete description of each traffic calming level, please see the chart below. 

The 45th and 53rd Boulevards join the former Horton Street Bike Boulevard in languishing; all three hitting a wall at Level Three traffic calming regardless of their excess vehicle traffic.  Notably, the previous head of the Public Works Department Maurice Kaufman and the previous City Council member Nora Davis both declared Level Four calming for any Emeryville street a ‘no go zone’; being too onerous for vehicles as described by developers wishing to build auto-centric projects near the Boulevards.  Accordingly, an earlier traffic count conducted by the developers of the Sherwin Williams project that also showed too much existing traffic on all three streets, was ignored by Ms Davis and the rest of the City Council.  Later, Mayor Dianne Martinez steadfastly and unilaterally refused to move the two streets, 45th & 53rd, to Level Four as the Tattler reported in 2016.
On Horton Street,  the City Council refused to institute Level Four traffic calming elements and instead issued a ‘Statement of Overriding Considerations’, stating the Sherwin Williams project is more important than the Horton Street Bike Boulevard and that the City would ignore the Bike Plan remedy for excess vehicle traffic.  The Statement of Overriding Considerations signaled to the community that the City Council has no intention of supporting bike boulevard status for Horton Street.  Regardless, before they were elected, both Dianne Martinez and Scott Donahue promised Level Four traffic calming for Horton Street.

The 45th and 53rd Street Bike Boulevards have not been subjected to a statement of overriding considerations but the City Council is continuing to let them languish, unrealized as bike boulevards.

The Bike Plan calls for traffic counts to be conducted every two years, a fact the Public Works Department now acknowledges even though the Department was caught lying to the City Manager about that in 2014.  The Tattler uncovered an internal document by use of a Public Records Request that showed how the Department was going to extraordinary lengths to prevent a street moving to traffic calming Level Four by attempting to get the newly hired City Manager Carolyn Lehr to ignore the Bike Plan.  In the memo, the Public Works staff told the new City Manager the Bike Plan says traffic counts are not to be conducted every two years, but rather only if a substantial construction project happens on the street in question or if a large number of citizen complaints are registered; an outright falsehood.  The Bike Plan is very clear that traffic counts must be conducted every two years without conditions.

The new interpretation of up to five required applications of Level Three elements (up from one) being ‘required’ may be the latest attempt by the City to stall implementation of Emeryville’s Bike Plan.  The City has felt no compunction against moving any Bike Boulevard speedily forward through Levels One to Three but they haven't thus far been able to make the breakthrough to Level Four, forwarding different reasons that change over time as to why it can't be done.  The latest prohibition against Level Four in the form of the unilateral Public Works reinterpretation seems to be just the latest blockage offered up by an ignominious City Hall.  It would seem the admonitions against Level Four traffic calming by the assailing Maurice Kaufman and Nora Davis made years ago are still the modus operating principles at City Hall.  

Bike boulevards are supposed to be "cars allowed but bikes preferred" streets meant to maintain bicycling as a safe and convenient form of transportation by discouraging motor vehicle use.  Developers and the business community have long tried to dissuade the City Council from enacting effective traffic calming on Emeryville's Bike Boulevards.

From the Emeryville Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan
Level Four=street narrowings, Level Five= full and partial closures
Level Four (and Level Five) have been determined to be too effective 
so the City has resisted implementing them on any street.  The City Council however has not 
seen fit to amend the Plan to remove these two highest levels they don't like, probably because 
they don't want to be perceived by the public as anti-bike.

From the Bike Plan
53rd Street is at the top of the photo, 45th on the bottom with Horton Street to the left.

North is up, east right, south down and west is left.
The Average Daily Trip (ADT) is supposed to be no more than 1500 for the eastern sections of
45th and 53rd Streets.

53rd Street From the Latest Traffic Count
The eastern section of 53rd Street has 2138 Average Daily Trips or
638 over the maximum allowable amount.  Since the street is now at Level Three, 
that should mean 53rd Street is a candidate for Level Four traffic calming elements.
The Public Works Department says NO however.

45th Street From the Latest Traffic Count
The eastern section of 45th Street has 2,643 Average Daily Trips
or 1,143 over the maximum allowable amount.  A City Council
that cared about bicycling would impliment
Level Four traffic calming elements for the street.
A traffic count from years ago east of San Pablo Avenue
showed 45th Street with more than 3000 cars per day.
Note the vehicle speeds are too high also.

Earns Two Smiling Nora Davis's
Nora Davis smiles down on
the Public Works Department 
and the City Council!