City Hall

Should Drivers Pay to Park on Emeryville Streets? Community Meeting on New City Parking Plan – 11 a.m. this Saturday

January 11, 2013
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Should Drivers Pay to Park on Emeryville Streets? Community Meeting on New City Parking Plan  – 11 a.m. this Saturday

Reprinted from the Emeryville Property Owners Association website Originally posted on December 20, 2012 The Emeryville Property Owners Association (EPOA) is holding a community meeting on the City’s Parking Implementation Plan 11 am, Saturday, January 12 at the Ralph Hawley School, 1275 61st Street, Emeryville. From 10-11 am, the EPOA will show a video of the City Council accepting the specific details of the Wilbur Smith Parking Plan on September 7, 2010. Approved, but NOT Implemented. At 11:15 am, Council Member Jennifer West will explain to the community why Emeryville should eliminate free street parking. Following her presentation, there will be an open community dialogue about the impact of the parking plan. Then, the EPOA will make a five minute closing statement to end the meeting at 12:30 pm. At the Transportation Committee meeting on December 11,  held at the Fire Station, about 30 people attended. Although about 28 particpants seemed to disagree with the Parking Plan, the Committee decided to move the first steps of the Parking Implementation Plan to the City Council for its consideration at its next meeting on Tuesday, January 15 at 7:15 pm. Please attend the community meeting on January 12th to express your concerns.

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Emeryville Police Chief Ken James Supports Bill Regulating Ammunition Sales

January 9, 2013
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Emeryville Police Chief Ken James Supports Bill Regulating Ammunition Sales

Assemblymember Nancy Skinner Unveils Bill Designed to “restrict the bullets that are ravaging our communities.” Reprinted from Berkeleyside January 7, 2013  by Berkeleyside Editors Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) today unveiled a bill to regulate the sale of ammunition, and said it was time buying bullets required the same scrutiny as buying guns. Skinner, D-Berkeley, held a news conference on Monday morning outside the Oakland state office building on the day Alameda County students returned to school after the winter break and in the wake of the Dec. 14 Newtown, CT, elementary school massacre. “Assembly Bill 48 aims to restrict the bullets that are ravaging our communities,” Skinner said in a statement. “Tragic but true, it is easier to buy ammo than to buy cold medicine, alcohol or tobacco. It’s time for buying deadly bullets to fall under the same controls as guns and Sudafed.” Emeryville Police Chief Ken James, who also serves as the chair of the California Police Chief’s Association Firearms Committee, said: “Like pseudoephedrine is the precursor to methamphetamine, bullets are the precursor to gun violence. If we can control the precursors, we may avert tragedies like the ones at Oikos University in Oakland, Aurora and Newtown.” AB 48 would establish

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City Agrees to Preserve 7 “Parkside” Trees

December 24, 2012
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City Agrees to Preserve 7 “Parkside” Trees

The City Council  voted unanimously on Dec. 4 (Council Member Jennifer West recused) to approve a new design of the soon-to-be-built Parkside Development on Stanford Avenue between Doyle and Hollis streets. The new design retains seven of the mature trees currently on the site along Stanford Avenue. There will be no moving or transplanting of the trees, as previously contemplated by the City Council. The new design, put forth by Public Works Director Maurice Kaufman, keeps the trees where they are, while doing away with 10 new street parking spaces that were going to be added to the north side of Stanford. I think the City made the right decision and the park will be a nicer space because of it. I and many others look forward to sitting in the shade of these 20-year-old Chinese Elms. I thank the city staff and the City Council for being open-minded and for valuing the preservation of mature trees. (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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Bay Street Mall, Emeryville: Shopping on Sacred Ground

December 10, 2012
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Bay Street Mall, Emeryville: Shopping on Sacred Ground

  Reprinted from the Oakland Tribune By Anne Lowe, My Word Posted:   12/04/2012 10:17:08 AM As we shove our way through holiday shopping, I hope we can remember the reasons why we were grateful on Thanksgiving. I hope we can stop running around long enough to be thankful for the land under our feet and remember the people who have held that land sacred for so long. Did anyone remember that November was National Native American Heritage Month? Some residents certainly remember. Last Black Friday, which also happened to be Native American Heritage Day, there were more than 50 people gathered at the Emeryville Bay Street Mall — and not for shopping. People held signs that said, “Protect Sacred Sites,” and “You Are Shopping On Ohlone Burial Ground.” They were protesting the destruction of the oldest and largest Ohlone burial ground, called a shellmound, the rest of which still lies under the Bay Street Mall. The Ohlone people are the original residents of the Bay Area, and a number of Ohlone descendants led the protest on Bay Street. However, according to the U.S. government’s official list of recognized tribes, there is no Ohlone tribe. Emeryville City Council used that missing legal

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What the City, and Wareham Development, Can be Thankful For

November 28, 2012
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What the City, and Wareham Development, Can be Thankful For

Finance Committee Update: Sales Tax Asset, Cheaper Fire Services, and Potential 12-Year Tax Exemption for Wareham Development The Finance Committee met on Monday, Nov. 19, just three days before Thanksgiving.  Are we feeling thankful?  Yes and no. On the positive side, city revenue remains up over last year— the new Target store in town is proving to be a solid sales tax asset—and expenditures by most city departments are down.  Doug Robinson, a regular advisor to the city on its investments, reported that our monies are in safe instruments and remain substantially liquid.  No surprises here, and we don’t expect any given the city’s conservative investment philosophy.  We heard a report on the new contract arrangement with Alameda County for fire services, and aside from a modest increase, county-wide, in overtime costs, the new system looks like a winner for cost savings over all.   I should also add that Debra Auker has been named Director of Administrative Services for the city, and she continues her responsibilities for managing financial affairs.  The Finance Committee members find her reports and analyses clear.  She is also responsive to our queries and suggestions. I think I speak for the Committee when I say that

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Emeryville Police Seize 400 lbs of Marijuana from Warehouse

November 10, 2012
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Emeryville Police Seize 400 lbs of Marijuana from Warehouse

Police Estimate Street Value at $250,000 Emeryville police have seized 400 pounds of marijuana from a Pellegrini warehouse space in the 4300 block of Halleck Street. Acting on tips, and information gathered by Emeryville police, about 12 patrol officers and detectives descended on the warehouse with a search warrant at about 7 am last Thursday, said Emeryville Police Officer Brian Head. There was no one at the location at the time of the search and no one has been arrested, according to Head, who was among the officers at the scene. Police became suspicious after receiving reports of increased night time activity and distinct smells in the vicinity of the warehouse, said Head, Emeryville PD’s public information officer. “We received tips about some suspicious-looking people coming and going at all hours of the day and night,” Head said. “We also received reports of vehicles backing into the warehouse very quickly and leaving very quickly.” He added that during the search, a nearby resident approached an officer and told him that “people could smell it.” But Head said that a recent, routine traffic stop by two Emeryville patrol officers in the vicinity of the warehouse provided the information crucial to securing

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City Should Provide Design and Approval Histories for all Development Projects

October 29, 2012
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At the Oct. 16th City Council meeting, at the request of Councilmember Jac Asher, the City Council discussed the Parkside Park design and in particular the Council’s decision to approve the removal of all the trees in the new public park.  The discussion began with a presentation from Planning Division Director Charles Bryant who gave a full history of the park’s protracted design and approval process. During his presentation, Mr. Bryant shared a lot of interesting information including these two points: Although the current park design drawings show replacement trees being planted very close to where the existing trees are, there are significant grade differences between the current topography and the topography called for in the park design. The trees are located on a raised mound (“the berm”) and keeping them there would require significant changes to the current design. According to Archstone, redesigning the park to accommodate the existing trees could cost up to $100,000 Mr. Bryant’s presentation was followed by public comments from residents, a discussion among councilmembers and finally two motions and two votes. The first motion, put forth by Councilmember Jac Asher, directed the city staff to find the most cost-effective way to retain some of

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Basic Research Reveals Some Trees Easily Preserved; City Council Needs to Step Up

October 16, 2012
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Attention all interested residents! Preservation of the trees at Parkside will be discussed at tonight’s (Tuesday) City Council meeting. Anyone wanting to make a public comment on the matter should attend the meeting. Public comment on the tree issue will begin at approximately 8 pm. ___________________________ In recommending the removal of all the trees in the Parkside park, Archstone, the developer, and the city staff tried to pull one over on the City Council and the residents of Emeryville. The City Planning Division has finally revealed the real motivation for the tree removal: Archstone needed the space as a temporary staging area for construction equipment, and for a temporary parking lot for PRC, the medical facility across the road. This information can be found in the attached staff report (see section entitled “Southwest Quadrant”). The big question is, has this temporary parking lot been approved by anybody other than Planning Director Charles Bryant? Was it ever put before the planning commission or the City Council? I’ve seen no evidence of that. It just suddenly appeared in this staff report. And this is no minor project after all: it involves the removal of a dozen trees, the leveling of grades, the

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Cut Spending, Save the Trees at Temescal Creek Park

October 16, 2012
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Cut Spending, Save the Trees at Temescal Creek Park

Below is an open letter to the City Council from Emeryville resident Eric Gascoyne. The Council is expected to vote on the tree cutting and other Temescal Creek redesign plans at its regular meeting Tuesday (tonight). The meeting starts at 7:15 pm. Dear Honorable Mayor and City Council Members, I am writing to you in regards of your important upcoming decision you will be making for the removal of 3 very large Eucalyptus trees at Temescal Creek Park .  The following are a few points that I would like you to consider when you make you decide to remove or let these trees remain at our park: These Eucalyptus Trees a.)  Are the longtime homes to mating Red Tailed Hawks.  These birds are beautiful and awe inspiring.  There are no guarantees if they are removed that they will make Emeryville their home in the future. b.)  The trees themselves are magnificent.  They are some of the tallest trees in Emeryville.  In my opinion, the City has done a great job in maintaining these trees and the pruning of them looks good.  I don’t think the number you have been given of $25,000.00 of a one time pruning is accurate.  At

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City Willing to Trade 20-Year-Old Trees for Temporary Parking

October 15, 2012
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City Willing to Trade 20-Year-Old Trees for Temporary Parking

Council Member Jac Asher has put on the agenda for the next City Council meeting (Oct. 16th) a discussion of whether the city should change the design of the Parkside park to include some or all of the existing trees. Council Member Asher’s willingness to do this shows her commitment to transparent government. It shows that she wants the freedom to cast her votes on the basis of complete information, not partial information cherry-picked by city staff. It shows that she values the right of Emeryville’s residents to receive proper notification (i.e. signs posted on the trees) when the city is contemplating the removal of its trees. Her actions have already yielded results. In response, Charles Bryant, Planning Director for the City of Emeryville, has issued a staff report which finally reveals the real motivation behind the removal of these trees. It has nothing to do with landscape design. It has nothing to do with drip lines and root damage and berms and “maintaining open spaces in the park.” Here is what the report says: “Most of these trees will need to be removed to accommodate the temporary PRC parking lot during construction of their permanent lot at the eastern

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