City Hall

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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City Council Votes to Cut Community Preservation and Arts Staff

June 9, 2012
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City Council Votes to Cut Community Preservation and Arts Staff

The City Council made key budget decisions at its June 5 meeting last week. The basic budget package developed in the three May workshops changed little, but the variations that did emerge are worth a look. They center on staff cuts, funding for Capital Improvement Projects, and two low budget but useful programs/projects. Staffing cuts produced the sharpest divisions and a split Council vote. The job of Community Preservation Officer and an Arts Coordinator post generated the heat. SEIU representatives made eloquent pleas to keep both posts, making three key points. They argued that if reductions were needed, management and workers should share the pain. Why are just folks on the line rather than their up-line superiors at risk? A second argument focused on the danger of losing talent that could not be replaced. Down the road, as one of them put it, you’ll be sorry you lost the expertise these people represent. Finally, they argued for early consultation with workers when layoffs are first considered. SEIU didn’t win the day, but their reps’ arguments, I think, had an impact.  City Council Members Ruth Atkin and Jac Asher were sympathetic from the start. Mayor Jennifer West was inclined to “bite

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Mayor Jennifer West To Speak Tonight on State of the City

May 31, 2012
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Mayor Jennifer West To Speak Tonight on State of the City

(Reprinted from the E-ville Eye Community Blog) As part of Mayor Jennifer West’s community outreach program, she will be visiting and sharing her “State of the City” report at the Emeryville Warehouse lofts 7 pm tonight (Thursday, May 31). Also in attendance will be city manager Patrick O’Keeffe. Come hear about what’s happening in our town and have a chance to share your thoughts. Subject matter including: • Sherwin Williams Cleanup & Development • Bay St. Pedestrian Bridge • Park Avenue Beautification • Greenway Path To read more, go to The E-ville Eye Community Blog (If viewing this story from the homepage: To make a comment, or to read the comments of others, click on the headline to go to the story page, then scroll down to the bottom.)  

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To the Editor: Emeryville Can be Creative, Smart in Using Staff, Saving Money. And Don’t Forget the Arts.

May 23, 2012
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To the Editor: Emeryville Can be Creative, Smart in Using Staff, Saving Money. And Don’t Forget the Arts.

Re: “The City’s Financial Future” (May 8, 2012) (City Council Special Meeting to Discuss the Budget 5:30 pm Today, Emeryville City Hall) When I look at the staff cuts, I only see people in the front lines getting cut. Why does the city need a Director of Redevelopment at $180,000 a year when there won’t be a redevelopment agency?  A lot of smaller, innovative cities have combined economic development and planning. On Monday night, at an Emeryville budget meeting, the City Manager said he does his own clerical work. Get him some help and free him up to do some of his old duties as head of Economic Development. And he won’t be as busy because he won’t have the redevelopment funds to cut deals with developers. I heard on Monday night that the two people who the Director of Economic Development wants to cut is Nancy Templeton, the person handling everything from graffiti abatement to community gardens and more, and another person who only makes $35,000 and whose job it is to run the public art program part-time. She has a background in the arts, and according to what I heard on Monday night, has taken the arts to

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Emeryville and Oakland Celebrate Bike-to-Work Day!

May 10, 2012
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Emeryville and Oakland Celebrate Bike-to-Work Day!

Bike-to-Work Day in Emeryville saw 30% increase in bicyclists over last year! Here’s a report from Peter Schultze-Allen, Emeryville’s Environmental Programs Analyst: The count at our three bike stations in Emeryville was up 30% from last year. And that doesn’t include the new bike station at 46th and Adeline that had a big turnout. We had record numbers at all our stations! 1. San Pablo and 40th once again was the leader with 322 cyclists riding by and/or stopping at the table (up 15% from last year.) Back in 2006 we only had 110! 2. The Greenway Station was very popular with 224 cyclists. Clif Bar wants to host a station there next year on their own like Novartis. 3. Next was 46th and Adeline with 206. A great start for a new station. Oakland is planning on striping bike lanes on Adeline soon so that will help next year. 4. The Bay Trail station at Powell and Frontage was up 50% over last year with 127 cyclists counted! 5. Novartis had 168 at their station this year. On to Next Year! (Click photos to enlarge.) (To comment on this story, click on the headline to go to the story

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The City’s Financial Future

May 8, 2012
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The City’s Financial Future

Emeryville’s Financial Advisory Committee met on April 23 and tackled a draft of the city’s proposed budget for the next two years.  The 245-page document is a rough map of how the city will earn its living and pay its bills. It starts a budget process we citizens should watch carefully, and it proceeds in an atmosphere of state, national, and global economic uncertainty. The size of the city’s staff peaked some years ago at 182 employees.  Emeryville presently employs 148, and if the proposed budget is adopted, that number will drop to 143.5.  The drop in 4.5 more positions involves four different departments and includes an assistant city attorney, a building inspector, two economic development/housing staffers, and a community service technical aide.  This is our current “contribution” to the wave of recession-driven public sector job losses occurring right across the nation. On a more positive note, the proposed two-year budget projects that the city will take in $1,901,896 more than it will spend, despite the loss of $1.7 million in Redevelopment Agency funds.  The positive balance stems from reduced spending, an anticipated $750,000 boost in business license taxes, and an increase of $1.2 million in sales and hotel tax

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Former City Councilman Ken Bukowski Urges Council to Support Program for Poor

April 19, 2012
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Former City Councilman Ken Bukowski Urges Council to Support Program for Poor

Bukowski sends letter to City Council members urging their support of $50,000 needed to save ECAP Ken Bukowski is seeking the Council’s support of a $50,000 allocation from the city’s General Fund to maintain the distribution of food and clothing by Emeryville Community Action Program (ECAP), located at 3610 San Pablo Ave. ECAP has provided food and clothing to the community for 15 years. Bukowski sent the letter to Mayor  Jennifer West, and Council members Jac Asher, and Ruth Atkin. He said he did not send it to Council members Nora Davis or Kurt Brinkman because they do not support his request. Jennifer, Jac, and Ruth: I bumped into Helen Bean and Michelle DeGuzman at ECAP (Emeryville Community Action Program) this afternoon. They have really cleaned up the place. I sure hope you will support $50,000 of funding for ECAP ASAP. Please don’t insult them any further by mixing up potential funding for them with any other city expense. I can hardly believe the April 3 staff report would even suggest that any cessation of services to feed hungry people is OK …  For $50,000 each year, can you think of any other way to provide food and clothing for the needy?

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Emeryville in the Post Redevelopment Agency Era

March 8, 2012
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Emeryville in the Post Redevelopment Agency Era

The city’s Finance Advisory Committee met on Monday, Feb. 27.  Some of its business was routine, some not. First, some good news:  Revenue for the second quarter was up $1,512,843 over the same period last year, a gain of about 15%, and expenditures for the quarter were down $356,958.  That’s encouraging, and we hope these figures represent continuing positive trends, not just circumstantial or temporary budgetary adjustments. That’s about it for the good news.  On the grimmer side, consider the pending fate of the City’s Community Promotion Grant Program, which spent $94,500 last year to support artists, art organizations, art exhibits, access to local art, library programs, nutritional programs, low income legal assistance, and other worthy activities.  Between $91,000 and $92,000 of this funding came from our Redevelopment Agency.  And now that money is gone.  Should the General Fund be tapped to keep things going?  Should the list be pared?  Should a cap be put on the Grant Program and have entities compete for a slice of what’s still there? The Committee, wisely I think, deferred judgment on what to do.  We need to think carefully about our options, hear more from the community, and consider other possible sources for

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Meeting Tonight! Charting Emeryville’s Future

February 28, 2012
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Meeting Tonight! Charting Emeryville’s Future

Tell the City Council What You Would Like to See When: 5:30-8:30 pm, Tonight, Tues., Feb. 28 Where: Emeryville City Hall, 1333 Park Ave. What: Redevelopment is gone and we must set our shared priorities before the new two-year budget is drafted and adopted in June. Hear information from staff, share your ideas, and meet neighbors. Participate in the shaping of your city’s future. The agenda is available here. (From Council Member Jennifer West’s blog): To keep you informed on Redevelopment changes, there will be an Oversight Board. The Board will be established in the next month or so and will be in place by May 1, 2012. This body will be reviewing all decisions made by the City Council as Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency as we wind down its affairs, including looking at all of the projects and “enforceable obligations” that are listed on our Enforceable Obligation Payment Schedule (EOPS). The Oversight Board will have 7 members: the Mayor a person appointed by the County Superintendent of Schools, Sheila Jordan a person appointed by ACTransit a person appointed by the Peralta Community College District a member of the County Board of Supervisors a person appointed by the

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