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City Council’s Discounted Loan to Developer Called Illegal

July 8, 2013
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City Council’s Discounted Loan to Developer Called Illegal

It is illegal for the City Council to allow Bay Street Mall developer Madison Marquette to pay back just $12 million on an $18 million dollar loan, according to the attorney for Emeryville’s Oversight Board. The county-level board is charged with monitoring the city’s transition after the elimination of state redevelopment funds. The City Council last week voted 3-2 to allow Washington DC-based Madison Marquette to repay just $12 million on a promissory note owed to the city’s former Redevelopment Agency for $18.345 million. The City Council majority (Ruth Atkin, Nora Davis, and Kurt Brinkman) supported the loan discount, while Council members Jac Asher and Jennifer West voted against it. “Payoff of the promissory note for the discounted amount of $12 million is prohibited … The former redevelopment agency has no authority to modify any existing agreements with any entity, including forgiving all or part of any balance owed on a loan, or changing any term of a loan,” wrote Oversight Board Attorney Paula Crow, in a memo included in the Board agenda packet for its Tuesday, July 9, meeting. The City Council thought it could forgive Madision Marquette $6.5 million of the loan based on information provided by Helen

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Letter (& photos) to the Editor: The Degreening of Temescal Creek Park

May 15, 2013
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Letter (& photos) to the Editor: The Degreening of Temescal Creek Park

Dear Editor: Makes me heartsick to see it.  All that open, green space gone for a smattering of ugly toys on top of pavement and rubber. I find it hard to believe that people with children require the destruction of a beautiful mixed use park for this unimaginative and narrow development. Trisha Ristango (To comment or to read the comments of others, click on the headline to go to the story page, then scroll to the bottom.)

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The (Emeryville) Ship’s Afloat

May 13, 2013
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I’ve been studying the city of Emeryville’s Comprehensive Annual Report covering the year ending June 30, 2012.  Not an easy read at 206 pages, but it gives a useful picture of how we are doing as a financial entity.  My general impression is that the ship is afloat and riding fairly high in the water, at least for now.  Quarterly reports since that June, 2012 date confirm that impression.  Here are some things that caught my eye: Sales tax revenues are up 2.5% from June, 2011 and transient occupancy taxes are up 18%.  Other revenue sources remain stable.  These are not bad signs given the lingering effects of the Great Recession.  Property tax revenues jumped 81% as a result of the dissolution of the city’s Redevelopment Agency, a one-time phenomenon.  This surge tells us little about the future. Total expenses for governmental activities were $47.9 million in fiscal 2011-2012, a decrease of $25.5 million from the previous year.  Dissolution of the  Redevelopment Agency was responsible for most of the drop. The city’s departments, in the main, have been coming in under budget for the work they do.  In keeping with our budget philosophy, one-term windfalls are not being used for

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Hundreds of Cyclists Made Magic Last Night

May 11, 2013
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Hundreds of Cyclists Made Magic Last Night

  Last night after 10 PM, while I was fading out via Netflix, unusual sounds from outdoors raised my awareness beyond the flickering screen. I heard many people and music, whooping and joy yelling. I thought I detected Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyries.” Off of the couch, slipped on my shoes and out onto 45th Street looking towards Horton Street. I saw a continuous flow of bicyclists with fabulous lights on their wheels, on their bodies, and multiple overlapping soundtracks emanating from sound systems mounted on racks. The music now had a beat and people were yelling “bike party!” In my 34 years in Emeryville  I have never seen or heard anything quite like this. People on bicycles just kept coming, hundreds upon hundreds of them. New Civility During the procession a car came down 45th St. and at the stop sign the parade of cyclists prevented this car from turning left. After about a dozen bicyclists blew through the stop sign as if they were a stampeding herd, a young woman chose to stop, a few more cyclists flew by her and then another cyclist stopped, then another. The entire following procession came to a halt and the car

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Letter(s) to the Editor: The Degreening of Temescal Creek Park

May 9, 2013
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Letter(s) to the Editor: The Degreening of Temescal Creek Park

  (RE Oct. 16, 2012 Letter to the Editor from Eric Gascoyne: Cut Spending, Save the Trees at Temescal Creek Park) To the Editor: Thanks (to Eric Gascoyne) for writing his letter. I went to the City Council meeting and spoke on behalf of the trees and the hawks. I’m glad we have saved them for now. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the park project has made a park with lots of potential into an ugly “inner city”-looking park. They paved over the entire grassy area, giving ample room for vandals to break glass, urinate, and tag on the abundant hard surfaces. If you urinate on grass or on a tree, nature will deal with it, this is not the case for man-made materials. Will Emeryville parents really want their kids riding trikes through busted glass and human urine, passing by swear words tagged all over the play structures? Do you remember who actually hung out on the former play structures? Usually they were not children. This combined with Emeryville taking over the Oakland school on Adeline and 53rd Street, sending waves of high schoolers up 53rd – littering, loitering, selling drugs and even trying to steal my cell phone, has

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Crimewatch: Robbery Near W. Oakland BART

May 8, 2013
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Crimewatch: Robbery Near W. Oakland BART

This was recently posted on Nextdoor Emeryville, a local social networking site. The incident occurred about a week ago. “K and I were riding our bikes along Mandela from WO BART a bit after 7:00 this evening, more or less side-by-side in the bike lane with me on the traffic side. Just before 14th Ave. there were two young men on the sidewalk a few yards away, and at about the time K noticed one had a gun he lunged at her and knocked her to the ground. I saw the gun pointed at me when I turned back, and handed him my phone and her bag as he directed. All this as cars were passing! The gun guy headed up 14th with our stuff, two OPD officers arrived, and half an hour later when the reports were finished we found the bag, minus only cash and phone, a block away. The business in front of which it happened has a security camera, so perhaps we’ll even have pictures of the guys — assuming a robbery where nobody was hurt rates any of a detective’s time. I bet most of the cyclists who passed thought we were being given a

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Children Matter: New Family Resource Center, and What’s New at Emeryville Child Development Center

May 2, 2013
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Children Matter: New Family Resource Center, and What’s New at Emeryville Child Development Center

New Family Resource and Wellness Center! Several years ago, John Sugiyama, interim superintendent of Emery Unified School District, put together a small working group to look at services in Emeryville for children birth to 5 and their families.  There were many gaps in services and families looked to Berkeley and Oakland for support.  Using information prepared by the working group, Superintendent Sugiyama wrote a federal grant to bring resources to these families and fill the service gaps.  Emeryville USD received a federal grant of $250,000 to open a Family Resource Center and alleviate some of the difficulties families faced. The grant’s main purpose is to provide a “rainbow of services” targeted at children and families of all ages.  This grant provides funding to set up the Family Resource Center and implement a unique city-wide, birth to 5 project—”The 5 Bold Initiatives”—that encompasses (1) search and serve, (2) promoting  school readiness, (3) building community capacity to access services, (4) a coordinated network of service providers, and (5) early screening, identification and referral. The Family Resource and Wellness Center opened on March 26th at the city’s recreational building, 4300 San Pablo Ave.  The 5 Bold Initiatives Project has been incorporated into EUSD’s

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An Emeryville Retrospective: Sneaking into an Oaks Game in 1949

April 29, 2013
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An Emeryville Retrospective: Sneaking into an Oaks Game in 1949

I was thinking the other day about my first time in Emeryville, not driving past the city but putting feet on the ground in it.  The attraction was an Oakland Oaks ball game against the San Diego Padres in the summer of 1949, an encounter between two Pacific Coast League teams in the era before major league baseball came to the Bay Area.  Two friends and I, all teenagers with no money to speak of, heard from an acquaintance that you could sneak into an Oaks game through a loose board along the 45th Street wall of the stadium, the wall along the first-base foul line. Off we went in a borrowed car from our homes in Concord to mysterious Emeryville, found the loose board, and made it into the stadium. (I still feel guilty about our modest larceny.) We had hoped to see Ralph “Pine Tar” Buxton pitch for the Oaks, famous (or infamous) for loading the ball with pine tar hidden in his mitt.  The illegal stuff gave Buxton, a right-handed pitcher, a wicked “screwball” that broke back over the plate from outside on right-handed batters or in over the plate to lefties.  To our disappointment, Buxton didn’t

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Check Out Documentary “Girl Rising” at Emery Bay

April 28, 2013
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Let’s go to the movies! Girl Rising:  Stories of 9 young girls from developing countries overcoming great obstacles to obtain an education and change their fates. Now playing at UA Emery Bay Stadium 10, 6330 Christie Avenue, Emeryville. If you enjoy films or documentaries without car chases, explosions, or Dolby sound so loud it hurts your ears, support Emery Bay Stadium, the city’s first movie house. Only $5 on Tuesdays! (To comment, or to read the comments of others, click on the headline to go to the story page, then scroll to the bottom.)  

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‘Residents United for a Livable Emeryville’ Thanks Local Businesses for Support!

April 27, 2013
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‘Residents United for a Livable Emeryville’ Thanks Local Businesses for Support!

Residents United for a Livable Emeryville (RULE) wishes to thank and acknowledge our local businesses and professionals who so generously donated their goods and services for our first annual free raffle at Emeryville’s 2013 Earth Day last Saturday (April 20). Dr. Parissa Peymani, Emeryville Chiropractic, 5858  Horton St., Ste. 155, Emeryville Eric Pascuale,  Cafe E-22, 1366 Powell St., Emeryville Inna Jam (purveyors of organic jams), 1307 61st St., Emeryville Summer Summer Thai Eatery, 5885 Hollis St., Emeryville Wendy Yoshimura, Oakland Artist and congratulations to our winners!! (To comment, or to read the comments of others, click on the headline to go to the story page, then scroll to the bottom.)

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