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Sunday, September 12, 2021

City Council Special Election 2021: Charlotte Danielsson-Chang

 City Council Special Election Questionnaire: Charlotte Danielsson-Chang

November 2nd, Emeryville voters will decide a replacement for Christian Patz who vacated his City Council seat in June.  This special election asks voters to chose between two candidates, Charlotte Danielsson-Chang and Courtney Welch.  We thank these two democratically minded candidates for running for our City Council.  As you review their candidacies, we think you'll agree both are very qualified to serve.  The two completed the five question Tattler Election '21 Candidate Questionnaire and by a toss of the coin, Charlotte Danielsson-Chang goes first.  Be sure to read Courtney Welch's responses to these questions appearing soon.

Charlotte's campaign website is HERE

Courtney's campaign website is HERE

Charlotte Danielsson-Chang
According to her campaign website, Charlotte is a small business owner practicing business and immigration law for technology companies in the Bay Area since 1998.  She currently serves as a Commissioner for the Alameda County Human Relations Commission, and is Chair of the National Voter Education Forum for the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association.


1. Briefly explain what your vision for Emeryville is and how you propose to 
take us there.

Emeryville is the city of “arts and innovation” and my vision is to foster an environment where the ingenuity of our citizens can flourish and where both people and businesses feel genuinely invested in our community. We need to focus more on the livability of our city; we need more spaces for people to connect---more parks, green space, bike/walking trails, public gathering spaces, and small businesses---and we need to deal with environmental and climate change issues more proactively. Our smaller size is an asset and means we can be more creative, nimble, adaptable, and make sure all people within our community are treated with respect and dignity. Diverse input results in more innovative and effective solutions so I would prioritize not only respecting diverse voices but actively reaching out to parts of our community that have historically not been very involved with our city government. I would work with companies within our city to concentrate their social impact and sustainability initiatives in Emeryville to make the companies and their employees feel more invested in the city. I’ve spent decades working with entrepreneurs and building tech ecosystems and will use those contacts and that knowledge to foster more entrepreneurship in Emeryville. More info at

2. Do you support Emeryville’s Measure C, the affordable housing bond passed by voters in 2018?

Yes absolutely. We need to make sure people at all income levels can afford to live in Emeryville. We need to make sure that the seniors on fixed incomes, many of whom have lived here for decades and hold the historical knowledge of Emeryville that gives us our roots, can afford to stay here. We need to make sure we don’t lose the artists who play such an essential role in providing inspiration for our city. We need our teachers, nurses, fire fighters and police officers to be able to live in the community they serve. We need to take care of our families who are struggling to survive and our homeless because that’s the heart of who we are as a progressive city. 

3. Do you support Emeryville’s Minimum Wage Ordinance?

Yes, Emeryville has a high cost of living so wages should reflect that and reflect our beliefs as a city that workers matter. The Minimum Wage Ordinance often gets blamed for the empty and boarded up retail spaces in Emeryville but that’s inaccurate because this trend predates the Minimum Wage Ordinance. It started off with new developments creating retail spaces that were too expensive for small business owners and now there is the devastating impact of Covid on top of that which is also accelerating the disruption of the retail industry brought on by technological changes and the rise of ecommerce. I’ve been a small business owner for 23 years and my parents were small business owners throughout my childhood so I know personally that being a small business owner is a 24/7 all-in endeavor that consumes all aspects of your life and being able to feed your family is tied to how well your business does. Our city needs to keep our small businesses in mind whenever development decisions are made both in terms of making sure we have viable spaces for them and that we are ensuring that they have the foot traffic and visibility needed to thrive. Our city also has a role to play in helping small businesses build forward-focused resiliency in terms of providing information and resources to adapt to economic and technological shifts more easily.

4.   Name two areas in which you think Emeryville has done a good job recently.

One, Emeryville is a leader in the region for affordable housing.

Two, giving BioMed Realty development approval to expand its Emeryville Center of Innovation. The project involves building 4 new lab buildings which expands our life science core, will bring more high paying jobs to the region, and expand our reputation as a city of innovation.  The project is being done in a way that it contributes to the livability of the community as a whole by including 300 acres of public space including parks, café, etc. 

5.   Name two areas in which you think Emeryville has done a bad job recently.

We haven’t done enough regarding climate change or public safety. Here’s an example that encompasses both: my husband, an avid cyclist who rides 20-30 miles multiple times per week, would say the bike trails are great here and I know many cyclists would probably agree.  Biking, however, is not currently a truly viable alternative means of transportation that would make our city more livable and decrease our negative impact on the environment.  You know you’ve attained the goal of cycling as an alternative form of transportation when you see seniors with groceries, parents with kids, and people in their regular clothes (not special biking clothes) using our bike lanes and there are safe places for them to store their bikes when they get to their locations.  Emeryville has an extremely high property crime rate, a lot of which could be reduced by better urban planning, smarter infrastructure, and more community engagement. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel here and waste taxpayer dollars trying to figure out what would make this transition work…we only need to talk to cities in Europe who have successfully transformed their infrastructure as I have been doing for over a decade in my nonprofit work…to successfully do this in the cheapest manner possible.  

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