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Sunday, May 19, 2019

E'Ville Eye Editor Says Emeryville Has Criminally Attacked Free Press

E'Ville Eye Tantrum:
News Blog Editor Calls $2000 Gift From the City Too Little, "An Attack on a Free Press"

Rob Arias Resigns From City's Bike Committee 
in Protest

Calls City Council "Criminal", "Unethical"

The Emeryville City Council recently approved a gift of $2000 from the City’s Community Grant Program for this year to the Emeryville Historical Society, an amount that business advocate, local news blogger and Society member Rob Arias says is less than what they had asked for and further, that amount is so little that it constitutes a criminal act of biased retaliation against him he said.  Mr Arias, the editor of the conservative Emeryville centric pro-business blog The E’Ville Eye said in a sharply worded letter to the Council the paltry $2000 subsidy of taxpayer funds granted to his Historical Society group, is so miserly, that it is “biased” and amounts to a “criminal retaliation against a free press”, referring to the fact that he is editor of that news blog.
Editor and Former
Bike Committee Member
Rob Arias

Says the City's $2000 grant is a
"criminal attack on a free press".
He quit his Bike Committee
position in protest. 
An anguished Mr Arias, who in addition to being a Historical Society member, renders services to the group and stands to materially benefit from the City’s largess, told the Council in the rambling and pointed May 6th letter that Emeryville is no longer “worthy of his efforts” and that he is quitting his position “effective immediately” as a member of the Pedestrian/Bike Committee in protest.  The Historical Society had requested a community grant of $7150 for this year.

The Society reported to the Council at the April 16th meeting that they wish to digitize their private collection of some 1000 photos and any subsidy from the City to the group would primarily be used for that endeavor.  The Society, which has no public access address but holds its archive of photos in the home of a founding member who lives in Oakland, said the pictures, once digitized, would be available for viewing online. The group maintained their right to keep the photos as their private property.  The online public presumably would need permission to reproduce the images and pay a fee to do so.  Mayor Ally Medina concurred, telling the audience, “The community doesn’t own these photos once they’re digitized.”  The online photos available for single use viewing would likely have a standard overlay stamp claiming ownership rights.
Regardless of the Oakland address of the photo collection, the Society listed the Emeryville home address of Rob Arias as their place of business for purposes of their grant application.

The City Council, who yearly grants money to groups they believe do valuable work in the interests of the community, gave a total of $73,500 this year to 11 groups such as Head Over Heels gymnasium, Friends of the Golden Gate Library and California Poets in the Schools.  Most, but not all of the groups on the list received the amount they asked for in their respective grant applications.

Reviewing the Historical Society’s request for $7,150, the City Council took issue with the amount of money the group said it would cost to digitize 1000 photos.  Mayor Medina said she checked industry standard pricing for digitizing and reported that the amount cited in their grant application as too high, “Far, far over anything I could find online” she said.

Perhaps the most surprising allegation in the Arias letter is the charge he leveled at the Council as being “out of step with the desires of the community.”  Long time Tattler readers will recognize the irony in that statement.  We have long chronicled the history of Mr Arias’s political editorializing in Emeryville and have noted that in every ballot initiative, measure plebiscite and race for elected office that has come before Emeryville voters over the years, Rob has always backed the losing side.  Not once has he endorsed the winner, making his claim to know the desires of the people of Emeryville a stretch.

City Hall’s lack of full funding to the Emeryville Historical Society’s request has brought out some overwrought if baffling charges in Mr Arias’s missive. Citing the $2000 endowment as a slap in the face, he’s making it out as a City Council crusade against the community and him personally, a “vindictive” attack on “working families” in Emeryville he says.  His letter calls out Council members Christian Patz and Dianne Martinez as “unethical”, projecting their vote to give his group less money then he asked for as “petty and vindictive”.  He added that he believes Mayor Medina is complicit in the Council's scheme to inadequately fund the Historical Society, equating her silence on the issue as an act of “cowardice”.

$2000 is not enough!

Below is the full text of the Rob Arias resignation letter:

May 6th, 2019
Marcy Greenhut - City of Emeryville Environmental Programs Technician
and Committee Secretary
1333 Park Avenue Emeryville, CA 94608

City of Emeryville Staff and Council,
Please accept this letter as notice that I will be resigning from the
Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee effective immediately.
I've enjoyed my time on the BPAC and have developed camaraderie with
many of its members. While I fell short of my personal goals of
improving pedestrian access in my own neighborhood including obtaining
sidewalks on the strip of Hubbard b/t Park & 40th and improving
thoroughfare on Halleck, I felt I made a meaningful contribution to
the city's efforts to be more bike/ped friendly. I'm especially
satisfied with the walking tours I contributed to including the
sponsorship of the 2018 post-ride happy hour at Rudy's where I spent
$250 of my own money.
I'm a 15 year resident with a long track record of advocacy for the
residents and small businesses within our city. I've served on panels,
graduated from EPD's Citizens' Academy and serve on the nonprofit
board of our city-run daycare ECDC. I'm the neighborhood captain for
the annual National Night Out event and created Emeryville's only news
website The E'ville Eye that keeps citizens informed on important
issues. Recently, I turned my efforts toward the preservation of our
city's unique history through my involvement with The Emeryville
Historical Society. I've devoted my personal time to helping modernize
their platform, fundraising and achieving nonprofit status.
Unfortunately, what I witnessed at the April 16th City Council meeting
contradicts everything I hold dear about this city and is out of step
with the desires of our community. For the second straight year, the
Historical Society was recommended for a community grant by a
subcommittee. For the second straight year, the grant was subjected to
unparalleled scrutiny and denied the grant as requested. This is more
than a coincidence. This is bias. This is retaliation against a free
press. This is criminal.
Councilmembers Patz and Martinez' pettiness, lack of ethics and
vindictiveness toward working families and members of our senior
community is deplorable. Mayor Medina's silence is cowardice and
complicity. Any body that ignores the bias that was exhibited and
blatant to everyone in the room that day should be ashamed.
There are many great causes worthy of my personal time and dedication.
If this is the behavior I should expect from those that purport to be
leaders in our community, then this city is not worthy of my efforts.

-Robert Arias


  1. I'm afraid Rob is irredeemable. Emeryville's biggest narcissist. I've never seen a guy more full of himself. "Out of step with the desires of the public?" You're too much Rob.

  2. This is a curious report that deserves further investigation.

    In reviewing the Emeryville Historical Society website (, there is a distinct lack of public transparency for a charitable 501(c)3 organization. Rob Arias serves as the secretary and creative director for the non-profit, and created and presumably maintains the organization's website. The Historical Society website actively solicits paid memberships priced from $20 to $100, but offers no information whatsoever regarding the non-profit status and that at least a portion of the fee should be tax-deductible. All legitimate non-profit organizations provide such transparency to reassure donors (members in this case) that their funds are being used properly.

    Another website ( confirms the organization is a non-profit, but that the donations are directed to Rob Arias, presumably at his own apartment. Again, most non-profits include a finances page with any past form 990s, which are required by the federal government to be filed annually (but organizations with less than $25,000 in income are exempt).

    It may be that such financial documentation does exist, but Rob Arias has simply not posted this to the organization's website. He certainly hasn't provided updated digital newsletters of the organization - the most recent available being from Winter 2010.

    As to the second issue, Rob Arias's decision to quit the Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee for the city in protest, this makes no sense whatsoever. A valid protest would be for Rob to quit the Historical Society, since he is upset that the city provided only a portion of the requested grant. His action is not unlike if he was upset with service at Trader Joe's, that he informs Bay Area Rapid Transit that he'll never take another train. Apples and oranges.

    A more meaningful action is if the Historical Society returns the grant money to the city in protest. Yet, we don't hear that the board has done so.

    It is also very curious that the requested grant amount was so much higher than the cost of the digitizing historic images. Perhaps the city or the historical society might share this grant request for full transparency.

    1. Wow Tattler reader! Good sleuthing! I keep saying the readers here are all above average.
      Historical Society donations are sent to Rob Arias?!? OMG....That's a story we will definitely look into. Maybe he's hoodwinking the Board. We're going to delve into this.
      Thanks again and I have to add:
      Great job Anonymous Tattler reader!

  3. I don't believe it. I think this story is mostly or completely made up just because you're jealous of Rob. Fake news to borrow from Trump. I went to the E'Ville Eye the only news site in Emeryville and there's no story on this. Rob would report on this if the city council did this. There's nothing there. Just like the Tattler- nothing there.

    1. Well, if Rob never sent this letter to City Hall, then he's got quite a story, doesn't he? You should have been a better minion however. You should have checked with Rob before you made this Tattler comment. I don't think he would have allowed it because now you've made his blog look bad. Why indeed hasn't he reported it? It's really easy to check to see if he sent this letter to City Hall. You've reinforced the oft repeated mantra about right wing 'journalism' serving the narrative rather than reporting the truth.