Search The Tattler

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Emeryville Police Announces Public Debate Regarding Department Issued Assault Rifles

Captain Oliver Collins of the Emeryville Police Department announced at a community engagement event at the Center of Community Life tonight there will be a future public forum on Department issued AR-15 assault rifles EPD officers have been carrying on their rounds here for several years.  The EPD issuance of the controversial weapons, banned for civilians by the State of California, has been a point of some contention since an Emeryville officer used one of the rifles to kill Oakland resident Yuvette Henderson in a 2015 shooting following a shoplifting event after a pistol was brandished by the woman.  Prior to that shooting, most Emeryville residents were unaware Emeryville police had been issued these consequential guns at some point in the recent past and calls for a public forum on the issue began to be expressed by members of the public.

Captain Collins made the announcement of the future AR-15 forum at the 1st Annual Emeryville 'Barbershop Forum', a series of police department sponsored public forums to build community trust after the tragic BART police shooting of Oscar Grant in 2009.  Top brass of police departments from around the Bay Area attended the Emeryville event tonight including the Chiefs of San Francisco, Oakland and Hayward.  Emeryville's Chief of Police, Jennifer Tejada was notably absent however.

Making the announcement to the crowd of 50 or so members of the public tonight, Officer Collins didn't commit to a date or location for the proposed AR-15 forum but presumably it will take place at Emeryville City Hall Council chambers as part of a 'Special Meeting'. Such community forums commonly occur before regularly scheduled Council meetings.  The Tattler will announce the date and pertinent information as soon as it is made public.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Emeryville's Progressive But Incapable City Council

City Council Incapable of Delivering 
Things We Want,
or Securing Protections for 
Things We Have

As Emeryvillians head to the polls this November, 
Questions Loom

News Analysis
Our elected leaders at Emeryville City Hall have shown themselves to be quite capable of delivering progressive labor protections over the last few years, something the people here clearly want.  These are manifest in Emeryville's landmark Minimum Wage Ordinance and the worker friendly Fair Work Week Ordinance.  Additionally, the City Council has gone a long way towards moving the needle on housing affordability with their noteworthy initiating and forwarding of Emeryville's progressive Measure C, resolutely passed by voters last June.
However, Emeryville's City Council, despite being collectively among the most progressive elected municipal bodies in the progressive Bay Area, is nonetheless incapable of delivering on the most basic checklist of minimum livability standards for the people that live here.  Among them parks, bikes, locally serving retail, peace and quiet on weekends, traffic and family friendly housing.
Perhaps more surprisingly, they can't seem to even protect and retain the things the people like that they already have: trees, home ownership and traditional single family homes.  And to that now add something of public benefit from an earlier era (when conservatives ran the show here); a public fire escape at the police station.  It's a trifling issue compared with the rest but symbolic: this City Council can't even protect and retain a public fire escape at their own police station.

On these livability scores, this progressive Council can't seem to distinguish itself from previous Council iterations who's central guiding principal was always to mollify developers and the business community at the expense of the residents.

Each livability issue can be examined and measured.  We know for instance that every year and getting worse each year, Emeryville residents face a degraded park and open space experience because the City Council hasn't added enough park acreage to keep pace with the burgeoning population rise.  The result is a lowered level of service for residents.  The downward projection is easy to measure: we know the population of the town and we know the park acreage and hence we can see a ratio and note how it has continually gone down, even picking up steam as it does so.  We can see by the numbers how our neighboring cities are passing us by on this, leaving Emeryville residents dramatically underserved on parks/open space.
So even as the Council toots its own horn when a new park is added, it's a ruse; they're not telling us the whole story (because it's uncomfortable for them).

We can measure for the other quality of life issues as well; family friendly housing, units proclaimed as such versus numbers of families they actually draw.  Bike Boulevards; General Plan identified metrics to achieve boulevard status versus actual achieved metrics.  Locally serving retail; number of square feet over time against non locally serving retail.  Noise Ordinance waivers issued against denials. Traffic increases over time in numbers of vehicles and intersection levels of service.

Additionally we can track what we're losing: Number of mature publicly owned street trees cut down over time against those saved.  Home ownership versus renters over time.  The number of detached single family homes in the General Plan identified 'Areas of Stability' that get demolished versus those saved.
When these objective metrics are studied, the current progressive City Council is shown to be no improvement over the previous conservative Council and further it is revealed that they are actually worse in some areas.

The Tattler has long chronicled these livability issues and how our elected officials have been recalcitrant in taking them on between elections.  Without getting into reasons of why this broken polity is a broken record, the Tattler will be going into pure data driven territory for this election season.  Just the numbers.  And we're going to take them to the City Council wannabes, especially the incumbents.  The incumbents are going to explain why campaign promises from four years ago were ignored.  We're going to let them tell the voters why and why not, all splashed out on our pages.

We're not going to take anything away from this remarkable Council.  Credit where it's due; Emeryville has gotten markedly better for those working poor among us who toil at Emeryville businesses with this City Council in charge.  Also, the Council has courageously tried to put a dent in the regional and intractable issue of housing affordability with Measure C's $50 million bond they championed. 
Protections for low wage workers, housing affordability...that's a lot from a little city like Emeryville.  Perhaps it's enough.  But for those who think more can and should be done, the coming election vulnerability can be leveraged to try for accountability.  Look to the Tattler for help in getting that accountability this election season.  Next up: the 2018 Tattler City Council election questionnaire...expect hard questions and lots of hard numbers...tell tale numbers.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Emery School District in Hot Water Over Bottled Water Vending Idea

The Emery Unified School District has drawn the ire of members of the public and at least two City Council members over a scheme made public at tonight's School Board meeting to raise revenue by installing bottled water vending machines on the school campus.  The plan, presented by Food Services and Wellness Director Juliette Dunn, would raise approximately $10,000 per year in revenue she said.  But vending machines selling plastic water bottles to students would also run counter to the District's own waste stream reduction goals, a duplicity not lost on Council members Christian Patz and Dianne Martinez, both of whom wrote trenchant letters to the Board.  
The Board did not take action on the plan that member Cruz Vargas called "great" but vowed to discuss the idea further at a future meeting after noting Councilman Patz's letter.
Mr Patz's circumstantiated and pointed letter to the Board and Superintendent, intercepted by the Tattler, is presented:

Dear Emery Superintendent and School Board,

In reading your AgendaOnline for Wednesday August 22, I was shocked to see that your nutrition plan was investigating vending machines for disposable water bottles.  The goal of the plan was to raise $10,000 per year.  Please reject this plan. Instead, sell branded reusable water bottles.

There are a number of things wrong with this plan, but my top three are,
1)   Raising money off your majority low income students drinking of water

2)   Adding 13,000 to 40,000 water bottles to the waste stream

3)   Teaching students that disposable water bottles are acceptable

The environment and social good should come before revenue.  If it were not against state law, I suspect the plan would have been for the vending machines to contain soda and candy.

To generate that level of income, the school would need to sell anywhere from 13,000 to 40,000 bottles per year depending on cost and sale price.  Assuming the total cost per bottle is $0.25, including cost and maintenance of machines plus staff time to deal with the day-to-day usage, the school would need to sell 13,000 bottles at $1.00 to net $10,000.  The number of bottles increases to 40,000 if the price is $0.50.

Approximately seventy percent of your students have been identified as socially economically disadvantaged.  The projection of $10,000 of income means student spending more than that amount.  Emery has about 700 students, meaning each student would be spending between $20 and $30 per year.  That assumes that the student would purchase at the same rate.  It is more likely that the middle and high school students would be the ones making the purchases, increasing the cost per student to $50 to $100 per year.  That is one bottle every two days.

Studies show that water bottle get recycled at less than a fifty percent rate.  About fifty percent of recyclables are never recycled. Using the smallest number of bottles sold, 13,000 at $1.00, only 3,250 would be recycled.  The remaining 9,750 bottles would end up in the landfill or worse, the ocean.  A plastic bottle takes 450 years to decompose.  Double or triple those numbers if the price was lower.

As educators, we are role models.  Students at Emery are learning life long habits.  Making water bottles easily accessible sends the message that they are acceptable.  They are not.  The new facility has quality tap water and bottle fill stations.  There is an opportunity for students to take pride in reducing their waste stream.  Council Member Martinez has worked hard to partner the school with the Alameda County Waste Management
Authority to teach composting, recycling, and responsible citizenship.  Build on that by rejecting disposable water bottles.

A better option for students is a reusable water bottle with a school logo.  We can probably find a sponsor to cover the cost of the bottles.  Ideally, we would distribute them to students sell them to parents, and gift them to partners.  A quick search showed that a nice metal bottle with the school's logo would cost less than $2.50 per unit.  Selling them for $5 per student (700 students), $15 per parent (300) and community members, only 300 would need to be sold to community members to earn the $10,000.  Even fewer if there was a sponsor, which should be easy to find.

Thank you,

Christian Patz

“A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change… Fewer than half of the bottles bought in 2016 were collected for recycling and just 7% of those collected were turned into new bottles. Instead most plastic bottles produced end up in landfill or in the ocean. Between 5m and 13m tonnes of plastic leaks into the world’s oceans each year to be ingested by sea birds, fish and other organisms, and by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish” – The Guardian, June 28, 2017

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Candidates Statements for Emery School Board

Five school board candidates are running in November for three seats making for an historically rare strongly contested Emery Unified School Board of Trustees election, despite their anodyne candidate's statements (presented below).  Although some candidates filed statements with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters for the soon to be printed official Voter's Guide, some did not, presumably owing to the $800 printing fee.  With an eye towards expanding the franchise and informing voters, the Tattler here presents each candidate a chance to present a statement for your consideration.  

Unlike another blog in town, who in presenting the school board statements, held some candidates to a word count standard while relaxing it for others and allowed the embellishment of at least one candidate's statement with a CV, here each candidate is held to the Alameda County standards.  Only up to 200 words are permitted and no other information about candidates are allowed excepting their designation and any website associated with the candidate's election campaign.  Additionally, the Tattler commits to spelling each candidate's names correctly.  
The name order was selected randomly. 

Please note- We could not get ahold of candidate Katy Brown.  She did not file a statement with Alameda County, and apparently does not have a website and so her statement (less than 200 words) is here re-printed from the E'Ville Eye blog, the editor of which presumably she has connection with.  As such the Tattler is not responsible for any possible inaccuracies or problems with this statement and it is posted here only insofar as it can help increase the franchise through voter awareness. 

Brynnda Collins
Emery School Board (Appointed member)
As the current Emery Unified School District School Board President I find myself answering a call for continued change in our district. Appointed to the position of School Board Trustee in 2017, in just a few short months, I have been elected Vice President and now hold the seat of the Presidency.  Currently, I am developing a strong communications structure between staff and community to inform and engage both internal and external stakeholders. My character and leadership – both, courageous and strong has insured a positive impact on the Emery Unified School District family and will continue to do so.

As a proud Emery USD parent of an alumni and past employee, I served as PTO President, School Site Council Chairperson, Youth Development Coordinator, College Career Coach, member on the Instructional Leadership Team, and in the redesign efforts that have built the Center for Community Life. 

Under the direction of new leadership, I am left enthusiastic about continuing to serve. With a strong vision and high expectations for student achievement, quality instruction and teacher retention, I am asking for your support by casting your vote for me to retain my seat on the board.

Susan Donaldson
Mother/Business Owner
I am an Emeryville home owner and parent of an Anna Yates student about to enter 5th grade. She has been at Anna Yates since kindergarten and was at ECDC before that – raised in and by Emeryville! I have been the Vice President and most recently the Secretary of the Anna Yates Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) for the past 3 years. I have been an advocate for the teachers and students of Emery Unified over the last 6 years – attending board meetings, meeting with administration, volunteering and fundraising in and out of the classroom.

I have served as a board member on the nonprofit Bay Area Girls Rock Camp for the past 6 years and work with communities and stakeholders to develop programs that empower youth through music. I also have my MBA in Sustainable Business and run an event rental and workshop company.

I would be honored to serve on the Emery School Board to continue to support and fight for the public education all our students deserve.

Sarah Nguyen
As a teacher and a mom, I feel a deep sense of concern and responsibility for children. For the past 23 years, I’ve supported student success one classroom at a time. Now I am ready to work towards students and families in our community having access to engaging, equitable, and socially just experiences at Emery Unified.

I have more than two decades of experience partnering with families, caregivers, teachers, school staff, and community-based organizations towards our common goal of increasing positive student outcomes. Lasting educational change requires the knowledge, experience, and effort that I can contribute as a member of the school board.

I believe every child can succeed and every family should feel welcome and included in Emery schools. That is why I have been endorsed by Emeryville Mayor Bauters, Vice Mayor Medina, Council Members Martinez and Patz, and Emery School Board Member Inch. Please vote for Sarah Nguyen for Emery Unified School Board. Strong schools create strong communities!

Katy Brown
Parent/Tax Accountant
We have lived in Emeryville since before my daughter started Kindergarten, and she attended Anna Yates for K-4. Given some frustrations we had, we explored every non-private school option for Emeryville residents, and none were workable. We’re returning to Anna Yates this year, and I would like to make it the first-choice for all Emeryville families instead of the only option.

I believe public schools can provide our kids with a safe, high quality education that will prepare them for success after graduation, but we need to focus on hiring and retaining great teachers and providing the resources they need to teach our kids effectively. I believe my professional experience can help with fiscal management and decision making, and as a parent, I’m dedicated to making our school the best it can be.

Ken Bukowski
Former Emeryville City Councilman/Videographer
I have demonstrated a long commitment to the kids of Emeryville including helping approve the Emeryville Child Development Center during my time on Council. Two of my nephews attended Emery High, one of whom I had custody of at the time. I was heavily involved with the ECCL project and want to help carry out the vision the community had for it.

This District is lacking the transparency it needs on school issues. When I was on Council, I successfully pushed the city to video record school board. For years, I personally posted these meetings on YouTube to make them available to the public. This district needs to have open and live discussions about the school issues. The practice has been to keep the problems quiet. I don't agree with that approach. If we are not aware of the problems, we can't work together to solve them.

I think it’s very important for the district to accomplish teacher housing on one of the school owned properties that could help improve teacher retention.

I think Emeryville has a unique opportunity to bring this community together which could be a real benefit for our schools.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Emeryville's Disappearing Conservatives

What Happened to Emeryville's Right Wing?

MIA for November's City Council Election

Running for City Council This Time:
Dianne Martinez
Scott Donahue
Ken Bukowski (the populist)

Emeryville's political conservatives, those among us with a predisposition towards ameliorating local business and developer interests as their central tenet of governance, have been a shrinking force in our town of late.  As of Friday August 10th at 5:00 pm however it's now undeniable: Emeryville's right wing, formally potent and authoritative, has for all intents and purposes, winked out of existence.
Or at least they've transmogrified into a picayune trifle.
At 5:00, once the City Clerk's office closed, the deadline for filing candidate papers thus passed and with it any hopes for an ascendent Make Emeryville Great Again movement dashed, we became aware the Tories of Emeryville have ceded November's City Council election to the progressive elite.
It's going to be a re-coronation of Councilwoman Dianne Martinez and Councilman Scott Donahue.
A Black Hole Singularity
Right wingers in Emeryville have
passed through the event horizon.

Conservative voters will get to cast a single protest vote in the twofer election; former City Councilman, the deposed but perennial Ken Bukowski has again thrown in his hat so there will be the appearances of democracy at least.
Dianne and Scott have the endorsement from the resident advocacy group Residents United for a Livable Emeryville and as such they will mop the floor with the guileless Ken Bukowski, like they did last time, securing for RULE and all progressive minded Emeryville residents another two years at least, total representational power.

But it is the folding up of the right wing tent we find so astonishing; their collapse being so complete and final.

Those of us who arrived in Emeryville in the early '80's found a vile little place run by the all powerful Emeryville Industries Association and a corrupt Chief of Police propped up with his dirty patronage machine.  It had been a matter-of-fact kleptocracy like that for years but it was soon to morph into the doctrinal neoliberal quagmire embodied by the "reformist" 30 year Councilwoman Nora Davis.  Her chief sycophant, Ken Bukowski joined her on the Council for decades after forming the Chamber of Commerce, the libertarian replacement for the erstwhile clubby Industries Association.
The whole affair seemed unstable in the progressive Bay Area.  We wondered how year after year Emeryville voters, by reinstating the hubristic Nora Davis, her sycophants and her developer friend paymasters,  they seemed to present a perplexing vignette of a little right wing burg surrounded by normal (progressive) people (in Oakland, Berkeley and such).
Perennial Council Candidate
Ken Bukowski

A Councilman in the 1980's,
he's running again this year.
Formerly a Nora Davis sycophant,
Ken's an ideologue turned populist;
 no longer owned by
the right wing.
After a time, stability finally did assert itself.  Reality caught up with Emeryville, as mass numbers of (normal) new people moved into town and asserted their (normal) desires, unconcerned as they were with Ms Davis's insistence developers be coddled and in the face of promises of livability to be achieved after a great tricking down of prosperity from the developers.  The Ancien RĂ©gime with its facile and Procrustean allegories was in retrograde, its practitioner/leaders decamping en masse. 
It was in the cusp of the new milieu that RULE and the Tattler were born, representing the new Emeryville; a town like the rest of the Bay Area, shorn of its magical thinking narrative from its right wing high priestess.

So it was to be expected our town would cast off its strange and unsustainable What's-good-for-business-is-good-for-Emeryville ideological overlay.   The change has been underway for some years now, the demise of the Chamber of Commerce coming in 2015.
Even still, we can't imagine our former overlords would be so utterly vanquished.  We're going into an election season with no resistance!  Where did they all go?  For all the efforts of our blogger friend Rob Arias, his villainous right wing tropes offered up to the easily manipulated by his heavily monetized E'Ville Eye, there appears to be nobody home in right wing world Emeryville edition.

It's all so weird.

So it's to be a brave new Emeryville.  Now onward comrades to glorious one party rule, this time from the other side.  What could go wrong with that?