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Resident’s Plea to City Planning Dir. Charles Bryant: “Save Some of the Trees … That is all I am Asking”

August 30, 2012
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Resident’s Plea to City Planning Dir. Charles Bryant: “Save Some of the Trees … That is all I am Asking”

Below is a letter sent today to Emeryville Planning Director Charles Bryant from Adrian McGilly, who lives with his wife (Emeryville Mayor Jennifer West) and two daughters at Doyle Street Co-housing. McGilly, West, and their neighbor Judy Timmel appeared on KTVU news last night to protest the city’s plan to cut down 33 mature street trees to make room for an apartment/retail development, including a park, on Stanford between Hollis and Doyle streets. These residents are asking the city to preserve some of the trees. Mayor West, who is not allowed to vote on any aspect of the development, known as “Parkside”, because she lives a block away, has noted previously in her blog, “I find it surprising that the park could not be designed to incorporate and enhance the mature trees that are already on the site. When I look at the project, I see that some of the trees … might have been retained with careful planning. If the developer and architect don’t value the trees … at least the city council should …” For a previous Secret News story on the planned tree cutting at Parkside, click here. ___________________ To see last night’s KTVU newscast, click here. _________________

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Buy Local: Never Too Old! Find Your Inner Monkey at The Athletic PlayGround

August 14, 2012
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Buy Local: Never Too Old! Find Your Inner Monkey at The Athletic PlayGround

“I thought maybe I could get a little fitter, and do some cartwheels.” These were the modest ambitions of Zach Fischer, 27, when he joined Athletic PlayGround in Emeryville a few years ago.  But Fischer shocked himself. “I can do a backflip now. And that is something I never thought I could do. I thought I’d missed my window of possibility long ago, when I was a kid.” Fischer has even started teaching an acrobatics class at Athletic PlayGround. Athletic PlayGround draws its inspiration from the circus, and provides a place where people discover “they can do things they never thought they could do,” says David Grace, who started Athletic PlayGround in 2008 with Shira Yaziv. And like the circus, the atmosphere is playful, high energy, and, well, alittle wacky. One member often dances around the gym between rigorous sets of strength and balance exercise. Two others always appear with colorful, mismatched striped socks. And there are monkeys everywhere – monkey toys, monkey murals, and humans doing monkey-like things. “Monkeys are very strong … and very playful!,” says Grace, adding that the gym offers Monkey Conditioning classes every day of the week. In addition to weekly classes, Athletic PlayGround offers

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Seeing the Trees for the Forest

July 17, 2012
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Seeing the Trees for the Forest

If developers have their way, no tree that falls in Emeryville will ever make a sound. Those trees will go away quietly or accidentally or inadvertently, and, in many cases, illegally. But you can bet that if trees impede a developer’s cheaper, faster way to build a strip mall or condo high rise with faux amenities and lots and lots of parking, they’ll come down, one way or another. Believe it or not, it appears that trees even get in the way of making more trees! The developer of the future “Parkside” apartment/retail development on Stanford between Hollis and Doyle streets is going to chop down (with the City Council’s blessing) 33 mature trees to make room for – are you ready? – a park! Emeryville Mayor Jennifer West is among many residents none too happy about developers’ endless assault on the city’s trees. West, who was not able to vote on any aspect of “Parkside” because she lives a block away, said in her blog, “I find it surprising that the park could not be designed to incorporate and enhance the mature trees that are already on the site. When I look at the project, I see that some of the

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Buy Local: Arizmendi Celebrates 9 Years with Community Appreciation Month

July 10, 2012
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Buy Local: Arizmendi Celebrates 9 Years with Community Appreciation Month

A message from Arizmendi: This month, we’re celebrating our 9th anniversary of being a small local-serving business in Emeryville. For almost a decade, Arizmendi has prided itself in staying true to its mission of being a just and democratic workplace that provides an invaluable service to our surrounding community.   We’ve strived to offer community members the best products we can at the most affordable rates, provide a central gathering space that strengthens our community,  and maintain socially-conscious practices such as donating to local organizations, using products that don’t exploit workers or the environment, and advancing our cutting-edge cooperative business model that prioritizes people over profits. We could not have stayed true to our mission and still stayed successful in the midst of arguably the most significant recession of our times without the incredible support of our customers. As we reflect on our accomplishments, we thought it would only be appropriate to celebrate our birthday by honoring our community with a month full of promotions and fun events as a token of our appreciation. Highlights: Every Sunday, we’ll be providing live music in the courtyard from 1-4 pm. Come and stay a while! Enjoy some music and food with family and

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Emeryville’s 2012 “Dinner and a Show” Summer Performance Series

July 2, 2012
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Emeryville’s 2012 “Dinner and a Show” Summer Performance Series

A message from Emeryville City Hall: Food and Drink and Music/Movies?  Yes Please! Join in the fun as Emeryville residents and employers come out this summer to enjoy great live music, hot food, and cold drinks!  This year’s performance series features an Emeryville mobile food truck serving up delicious food/drink to accompany live music and a movie night. What should I bring? You, your friends/family and willingness to have a good time.  As the title suggests, we’ll have food, drinks, and the entertainment covered…but you are welcome to bring your own drinks/snacks too. This is the Bay Area, so remember it can get chilly if the fog rolls in early, so bring a warm jacket or blanket! We definitely encourage everyone to bring a lawn blanket, beach towel, or folding chair.  If you forget, we’ll also have a number of folding chairs for you to use too. Where are these parks? Here are the addresses and links to each park via google maps: July 5 – Park Avenue Plaza via Google Maps (1556 Park Avenue, where Park Avenue dead ends at the railroad tracks) July 12 – Doyle-Hollis Park via Google Maps (1333 62nd Street, Emeryville’s award winning park on Hollis Street) July

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Emeryville’s New Budget: Some Important City Services Preserved But Debt a Staggering $250 million

July 2, 2012
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Emeryville’s New Budget: Some Important City Services Preserved But Debt a Staggering $250 million

The City Council approved a two-year budget for Emeryville at its meeting on June 19.  It’s our first financial blue print since the demise of Redevelopment Agency (RDA) funding, and it reflects the fact that building boom days are over.  The fight to pay for key services and essential projects without RDA support now begins.  Let me  offer some personal comments on our financial prospects. I’ll start with a selection of good news.  The city’s early childhood development center (ECDC) will be fully funded and strengthened.  Funding for our traditional community promotions grants and for ECAP has been found.  Fire service expenses have been shifted to Alameda County at considerable savings to the city, and service has been enhanced.  Funding to bring police services to full strength are in the new budget.  Essential public works projects—Marina dredging, sidewalk repairs, sewers, tree planting, maintenance—are funded.  Modest reserves are built into the new budget. Finally, provisions for the care and feeding of the city’s General Plan are provided. But here’s a look at the darker side.  I reported last year that the city’s long term debt stands at $165,474,763.  When you add interest, our combined debt is $250,102,582.  Funding that debt cost

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Thank You All for Coming …

June 29, 2012
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Thank You All for Coming …

Emeryville parents and residents have done a lot to try and convince the Emeryville School District Board of Trustees to save Anna Yates Elementary School. For several years, dissenters have publicly and privately raised their objections to the Board’s plan to combine grades K-12 on one campus and close Anna Yates. A letter signed by 12 residents, including current PTO members and the former presidents of both the PTO and the District’s Board of Trustees, was sent to Board members last May urging them to keep Anna Yates students where they are. Meanwhile, more than 60 people signed a Change.org petition in support of that letter and many made comments next to their signatures explaining their reasons for wanting to save Anna Yates. The school recently underwent a renovation costing almost $9 million. In response, this is what the Board of Education has done:  Nothing. So it came as no surprise to parents and residents attending last Monday’s Board meeting when – after detailed presentations and impassioned pleas to preserve Anna Yates – the Board again did nothing. Actually, this is what they did: Appeared friendly, open, and smiled a lot Listened politely to each speaker (until 3 minutes was

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Doyle Street Cohousing Celebrates 20 Years!

June 19, 2012
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This gallery contains 31 photos.

School District Long Ignored Residents Concern Over Anna Yates Closing, Some Say

June 17, 2012
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Comments from Our Readers The Secret News periodically features readers’ comments that might otherwise get overlooked. Some were among many comments on a particular story or were made well after the story was first posted. We believe these comments are worthy of our readers’ attention and hope they spark still more comments and conversation. RE: Teachers Blast Superintendent Debbra Lindo; Vote “No Confidence” From: Some Guy You guys and Anna Yates. You’ve been asleep at the wheel for the past 10 years, you suddenly wake up and want everyone to bend over backwards for you. Where have you been for the past 10 years while all the planning was being done? The district asked for input from the community for YEARS and NO ONE EVER SHOWED UP. But now that they are ready to get started, you guys cry foul. Grow up. From: quathy @ Some Guy Are you kidding? I attended the meetings from the beginning as did many triangle residents and parents who outright opposed the consolidation of Anna Yates and ESS. Did it matter? Apparently not. Just like everything in this corrupt little city it went ahead without consideration for public outcry. I am disgusted after 20

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Emeryville Teachers Blast Superintendent Debbra Lindo; Vote “No Confidence”

June 11, 2012
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Emeryville Teachers Blast Superintendent Debbra Lindo; Vote “No Confidence”

  Teachers cite “unprecedented all-time low in staff morale” created by Superintendent Lindo, “leaving teachers feeling unwanted, devalued, and disrespected …” Teachers with the Emeryville School District publicly blasted Superintendent Debbra Lindo tonight for violating the District’s guiding principles, destroying teacher morale, and polarizing the parent-teacher community during her one-year tenure with the District. The litany of complaints, listed in a resolution of “no confidence” presented to the School Board during its meeting tonight, includes: Failing to provide clear leadership and academic direction aligned with the District’s purpose and guiding principles Using superficial “dashboard indicators” to address academic performance Failing to communicate with staff and/or respond to questions Creating an unprecedented all-time low in staff morale, leaving teachers feeling unwanted, devalued and disrespected Cutting teaching staff so significantly as to negatively affect student learning Polarizing the parent-teacher community Adding more administrative positions while cutting teachers Undermining the teachers’ union and members’ rights Excluding teachers from discussions and decision-making The “no confidence” resolution, prepared by the Emery Teachers Association and presented by 20 teachers, concluded, “Our district needs a superintendent who is a leader who inspires trust and loyalty with families, employees, and the community … who is focused on students

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