Business/Economy

September 30, 2012
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Quote of the Moment:

“Bike lanes, trees, old houses with character, interesting neighborhoods all attract the types of people who, in turn, tend to enhance the community.  Livable neighborhoods that include the above attributes (and more) are always cited in the ‘best places to live’ surveys.  When the developers and their money are gone and huge housing complexes, busy streets,  and cookie cutter businesses remain, something has been lost that cannot be replaced and your town becomes yet another anonymous, impersonal cityscape.  Think about it before its too late to preserve your town’s character.”

~ Carla Ennis, Emeryville Resident

Saving the City’s Trees: Planning Commission Study Session Tonight

September 27, 2012
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Saving the City’s Trees: Planning Commission Study Session Tonight

Calling all interested residents! There will be a study session during tonight’s Emeryville Planning Commission meeting to discuss the regulations and policies governing the city’s street trees.  The session, and public comment, is expected to begin about 8:30 PM. Emeryville Mayor Jennifer West, her husband, Adrian McGilly, and other residents plan to make statements. West and McGilly, who live with their two daughters at Doyle Street co-housing, opposed removal of mature street trees by the developer of an apartment/retail complex at Doyle and Powell streets.  With the city’s blessing, more than 40 trees, and an historic brick building, will be destroyed to make way for the “Parkside” development. West and McGilly argued that at least some of the trees could have been saved. The planning commission will also consider a request by the owner of the property at 1258 Ocean Avenue to remove one street tree. The owner eventually wants to tear down the single-family house on the property and build “Ocean Lofts,” comprised of two detached 1,700 square-foot residential units. That item is second on the commission’s agenda. The meeting begins at 6:30 PM in City Council chambers, City Hall.

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Say Good-bye to Another Historic Building, and Lots and Lots of Trees

September 19, 2012
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This historic brick building at Powell and Doyle streets will be torn down (with the exception of the south and east outside walls, which will be preserved) to make room for "Parkside", an apartment/retail development. The developer, with the city's blessing, also plans to cut down more than 40 mature trees.

This gallery contains 8 photos.

No Deal for Madison Marquette

September 12, 2012
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No Deal for Madison Marquette

Not in City’s Best Interest to Rush Sale; MM’s Exclusive Right to Develop Land Near Bay St Mall Expires Sept. 30 In a closed session last week, the Emeryville City Council decided not to sell the four acres north of Bay Street Mall to developer Madison Marquette (MM), concluding it was “not in the city’s best interest” to make the sale. After years of delay, MM was rushing to finalize a deal before its exclusive right to develop the land expired on Sept. 30. Mayor Jennifer West said in an email that a “long range property management plan” will be developed as part of the process of dissolving redevelopment in the city. She said the City Council (as successor agency to the redevelopment agency) will decide probably sometime next year what it wants to do with the property. West said the Council’s decision does not preclude MM from purchasing the land at a later date. The Council did not decide whether to allow other developers to bid for the land, known as Bay Street Site B. The Council’s decision officially ends MM’s exclusive hold on the land. Under a deal made between the city and MM back in 2005, MM had

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City Budget: Revenue Up, Spending Down, But Cost of Losing Redevelopment Funds Still Unclear

September 4, 2012
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City Budget: Revenue Up, Spending Down, But Cost of Losing Redevelopment Funds Still Unclear

Finance Committee Recommends Community Input on Priority Projects for Capital Improvement Pool The Finance Committee took a close look at the economic state of the city at its meeting last month.  What did the quarterly figures show?  Eight of the top 10 budgeted revenue sources showed increases over last year.  Sales tax revenues were up 14 percent, hotel occupancy tax revenue up 18 percent, and business license tax revenue up 29 percent.  These are the three biggest income producers for the city, and increases here suggest at least a modest local recovery from the recession.  Only the two smallest revenue producers, fines and vehicle license fees, showed decline, the first down 4 percent, the second 7 percent. It’s too early to start cheering, but the tide of up-ticks in key areas is encouraging. How about expenditures?  Taking the 12 categories of our spending in aggregate and comparing what was spent last year to the same time this year, we find a decrease in spending of about $1.5 million.  Revenue is up, expenditure down, and that helps explain why the city’s credit rating is excellent despite a considerable debt and the cost of financing it. So, what’s to worry about?  Here

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“Parkside” Developer Will Cut Trees in Violation of City Ordinance, Resident Says

August 30, 2012
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“Parkside” Developer Will Cut Trees in Violation of City Ordinance, Resident Says

Below is a follow-up article by Adrian McGilly to a letter he sent yesterday to City Planning Director Charles Bryant. The letter, which was printed in The Secret News, asks the City to save some of the mature trees on the future site of an apartment/retail development – that also includes a park – on Stanford between Doyle and Hollis streets. The plan is to cut down 33 mature trees. McGilly is joined in his plea by his wife, Emeryville Mayor Jennifer West, who could not vote on any aspect of the new development because she lives a block away. ______________ I got a response from Mr. Bryant. He assured me that the park design went through all the proper public noticing and hearing processes, that everyone had ample opportunity to weigh in on the fate of these trees, that not very many people did, and that now it’s too late because wheels have been set in motion. It was a very thorough, detailed and respectful response and I am grateful to Mr. Bryant for his time and attention. But that’s not the end of the story. There is an Urban Forestry Ordinance (UFO) in this city that includes provisions

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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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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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